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ACLU, Libertarians Join Pig Roast Fight

By Prescott Carlson in Food on Feb 9, 2008 1:52PM

Village of Wheeling handout photo via the Tribune website

The other day in Extra, Extra, we pointed to a story about Amante Enad, who was cited by the Village of Wheeling for roasting pigs in his backyard. Enad argued he was simply preparing lechon -- "roast pork" -- in traditional Filipino style, and was donating the pigs to his church. It seems this porker prosecution has sparked the attention of a libertarian group, the Philippines Consulate General of Chicago, and even the ACLU is taking a break from aiding terrorists and persecuting poor Christians to look into the matter. Is the future of backyard weenie roasts in peril?
"He should have the freedom to roast as many pigs on his property as he wants as long as he doesn't harm anything in his neighborhood," said Izzy Santa, press secretary for theSam Adams Alliance, a Chicago-based non-profit libertarian organization that offered Enad legal assistance, media training or other help.

But while the Tribune story seems to tell a tale of village officials run amok, the Daily Herald presents a different side to the story. It appears Enad's setup was a bit more elaborate than a backyard BBQ -- at one point he had up to five roasters going at the same time, and last year he admitted to selling the pigs to pay for his kid's college tuition. Then in November, inspectors questioned a market owner about a roast pig for sale, who claimed it was from Enad. Enad is sticking by his assertion that the pigs were for his church.

But [Village Manager Mark] Rooney and [director of economic development for Wheeling James] Lang said the village never intended to stop anyone cooking for their church or any other religious organization.

"We're not the barbecue police," Lang said. "It essentially was a catering business in the guy's garage."

To run such a business, Lang said, Enad would need a license and to submit to inspections. Rooney said the village is not trying to trample on Enad's cultural freedoms.

Now we have the hankerin' for some crispy pig skin and tender pork -- where's the best lechon in the city?