Only Once A Year On November 11th


At precisely 11:11 a.m. each Veterans Day (Nov. 11), the sun’s rays pass through the ellipses of the five Armed Services pillars to form a perfect solar spotlight over a mosaic of The Great Seal of the United States.

The Anthem Veterans Memorial, located in Anthem, Arizona, is a monument dedicated to honoring the service and sacrifice of the United States armed forces. The pillar provides a place of honor and reflection for veterans, their family and friends, and those who want to show their respects to those service men and women who have and continue to courageously serve the United States.

The memorial was designed by Anthem resident Renee Palmer-Jones. The five marble pillars represent the five branches of the United States military. They are staggered in size (from 17 ft to 6 ft) and ordered in accordance with the Department of Defense prescribed precedence, ranging from the United States Army, the United States Marine Corps, the United States Navy, the United States Air Force and the United States Coast Guard.

Additionally, the brick pavers within the Circle of Honor are inscribed with the names of over 750 U.S. servicemen and women, symbolizing the ‘support’ for the Armed Forces. The pavers are red, the pillars are white, and the sky is blue to represent America’s flag. The circle represents an unbreakable border. Anthem resident and chief engineer, Jim Martin was responsible for aligning the memorial accurately with the sun.

Anthem Veterans Memorial

41703 N. Gavilan Peak Parkway
Anthem, AZ 85086
(623) 742-6050

Photographs by Mike Spinelli

Veterans Day is an official United States holiday that honors people who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces, also known as veterans. It is a federal holiday that is observed on November 11. It coincides with other holidays such as Armistice Day and Remembrance Day, which are celebrated in other parts of the world and also mark the anniversary of the end of World War I (major hostilities of World War I were formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, when the Armistice with Germany went into effect).

The United States also originally observed Armistice Day; it then evolved into the current Veterans Day holiday in 1954.Veterans Day is not to be confused with Memorial Day; Veterans Day celebrates the service of all U.S. military veterans, while Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving.


Memorial Day 26 May 2014


Our Debt To The

Heroic Men And Valiant

Women In The Service

Of Our Country Can

Never Be Repaid. They

Have Earned Our

Undying Gratitude.

America Will Never

Forget Their Sacrifices.

by: President Harry S. Truman

Rub It Before You Smoke It

Before I actually get started I would just like to remind everyone that y’all will be reading about the butchering, preparation, smoking, and consumption of a pig. So, if eating meat or reading about meat is offensive to someone this would be the place to turn around and exit. For everyone else, follow me and let’s see if I can sort all of this out for you. Doing this post was actually not planned however I was asked to do a post on this subject since I knew what I would be doing this Memorial Day weekend well in advance. Otherwise, this probably would never have happened for you to see. Let me start by saying that the pig involved was butcher house slaughtered and then purchased by my dad somewhere in Katy Texas. My dad is old school when it comes to cooking outdoors, he prefers an open fire pit which no matter where he has lived we have always dug out and built up. Oddly enough, I didn’t actually learn to much of anything about cooking/smoking/grilling from my dad. There is an exception tho, growing up I was exposed to it by him on a regular basis, however, in his words, “smokin’ is for adults” and I was barely allowed to watch anything. So, I learned most of what I know as I traveled the world. However, in the last ten years, my dad and I have gotten kinda close and therefore things we like to do sort of overlap. In the end, we have been able to show each other new tricks and twists in the way we cook. That goes in many directions tho, as y’all have read here before, we build and remodel quite a bit together as well. So, lets get this ball rolling so I can explain what the hell happened.
As mentioned, there was a considerable amount of preparation that took place before this pig ever hit the pit. Unfortunately, I don’t have actual recipes for everything I will be discussing, but I have faith in the cooks out there that they will understand and be able to duplicate it if they choose. First of all, there was a two step preparation to the pig, an all over injection and all over rub. What can I say, I like deep, deep flavor, flavor beyond the smoke, flavor that goes down to the bones. We will need to talk about the dehydration of some things first. As always I will let you know you are free to Google things that I tell you to because the process is too long and sidetracks the conversation. With that being said, I had to prepare my personal pork meat rub. It’s tried and true, yet very time consuming to prepare because of dehydrating the tequila. Yes, you heard me, I use a meat (jerky) dehydrator and I essentially “crystallize” or “powder” tequila. I am sure there is a scientific term for it but I have no idea what it is. What I can tell y’all is that I started with two 750ml bottles of Jose Cuervo Silver tequila and after dehydration it yields just under 4 cups. Sounds like allot of work but there is plenty to keep doing for that 5 hour process. Other ingredients in my rub include, but are not limited to, cayenne, habenaro, chiles, lime rind, orange rine, salt, pepper, and some chili powder. All ingredients are ground together with in a pestle until it has the consistency of fine grain sugar or somewhere close. I also do an injectible where pretty much every inch gets a deep flavor injection so there is flavor to the bone. Using four 750ml bottles of Jose Cuervo Silver tequila and a handful of hydrated spices the mixture becomes a slurry about the consistency of cough syrup. Some of the items used are salt, pepper, habenaro, lemon juice, lime juice, orange juice, Tabasco sauce, and some liquid smoke. Before this pig gets the rub down of a lifetime it gets injected with my concoction from head to toe.
After it has been injected and rubbed down it needs to rest for a few days in a refrigerator or in a freezer set in the 50’s F. In my case, I did all the prep work of the injection and rub the weekend before and then prepared the meat Thursday night. After that it sat until early, early Monday morning where it was placed on the open pit for 14 hours. It was cooked at an average temperature between 225F to 255F the entire pre-dawn and well into late morning. Other than flipping this pig every 4 hours nothing else was added as far as seasonings. I used a combination of two woods for this smoke, Hickory and Red Oak. I like allot of rich smoke which in turn penetrates deep into the carcass and makes the meat fall off the bones every time. If you have never open pit smoked anything then you don’t know what you are missing. However, I understand great food isn’t for every person’s taste because that is just life sometimes.
I mentioned this entire ordeal was completed at my parents house for the Memorial Day holiday. In addition to my family, my parents, both sisters with kids, a family my parents are friends with next door to them, we also had some yankees (northerners) that were in town on a break from RV’ing and also friends of my parents. In the area of the United States we live, southeast Texas, sites like this are fairly common. But, as I was informed, the yankees found it to be a ghastly site and in all their years of life and travels  have never seen anybody pit smoke an entire pig in their backyard before. Well, Welcome to Texas you traveling yankees. Their tune changed after they began eating and then the smiles were everywhere. I still don’t know if it were all the margaritas they were drinking or if they actually liked the smoked pig. Matters not to me actually because I really only about one person liking what I cook and that person is me.
Overall it was a fabulous weekend and holiday to spend with friends and family. We had allot of great food as well, we could have easily fed 10 more adults. Luckily, we had no injuries and no mishaps occur so that was a total bonus. I got a little sunburned according to my wife but as I looked this morning I didn’t see anything and neither did I because that is just how I tan. I am tired tho, I slept very little this past weekend and I am definitely feeling it today. As summer comes into full play now y’all can expect to see more of me smoking it up and so forth. Anybody wishing to have more details on my methods, ingredients, or additional information can comment on this post or e-mail me and I will see what I can do to accommodate those requests. Until next time……………