While some look at whole pig roasting as a tedious process, others take up pig roasting as a challenge and enjoy accomplishing this 'not so easy' task. Pig roasting is a tradition enjoyed by many across the globe. For example, Il Buco of New York conducts its annual pig festival called 'Sagra del Maiale', to commemorate the autumn equinox.
The staff at this restaurant prepare a bonfire and slow-roast a 200lb heritage Ossabaw pig. This occasion is a much awaited one and people from all over New York come to enjoy the occasion. Those of us who cannot make it to Il Buco and would like to roast a pig in the backyard can follow some easy pig roasting instructions shared here.
Have the pig scaled and de-haired but do not get the skin off. The pig roast with the skin on does look gross, but it's the skin that keeps holds the meat together while roasting. For people with average appetites, one pound dressed meat would serve perfectly for one person each.
Depending on the size of pig you wish to roast, you could get your spit basket. Remember, whatever size spit basket you purchase, the size of the pig purchased should be 8 inches smaller. A full size adult hog can weigh somewhere around 100 lbs.
The stores have a variety of pig roaster rotisseries for you to choose from. For smaller roasts you could get the suckling pig, which comes typically under a size of 20lbs. For small roasts a smaller fire pit rotisserie would do. Besides the rotisserie, you will need a meat pan, sharp knives, carving board and a strong table.
Preparing the Pig
Since no one wants to bite into any organ after roasting, make sure the cavity of the pig has been cleaned, thoroughly. If you want to stuff it, then you could get dried fruit stuffing, wherein you add chopped onion and garlic into a pan with oil and then add the dried apricots, dry white wine, ground veal, grated lemon, chopped parsley and salt and pepper.
Fry the mixture gently and stuff it into the pig. Now sew the hog's cavity with a butcher's string to keep the stuffing in place during the roasting. Do not forget to puncture the skin of the pig with a knife several times, to create an outlet for grease to escape or else, fat blisters will be formed on the pig which will explode during roasting.
Preparing the Fire Pit
Start off with 30 lbs of charcoal and begin by arranging charcoal along the length of the pig in two rows. It is not advisable to place charcoal directly below the spit. This is because the fat dripping from the hog can conduce to a burst of flame.
This can result in charring of the outer layer of the pig. So it's better to place a drip pan directly under the pig to catch the dripping fat. Get ample amounts of charcoal, as you require 10 pounds of charcoal per hour of cooking time.
Roasting the Pig
After preparing the pig, place a support bar clamp on the spit and tighten. Run the spit through the pig and fix the pig firmly onto the rotisserie as mentioned in the rotisserie booklet. Secure all the parts of pig with chicken wire. After an hour check the progress of the pig.
You will need to keep adding 2-3 pounds of charcoal on each side. By this time, the skin would have begun becoming brown and the grease would also be dripping into the pan. After 5 hours of roasting the pig, the skin is dark brown and would have split open.
These instructions for roasting a pig were only primary guidelines to roasting a pig. There are various books available in cook-book stores, wherein one can get hold of pig roast with charcoal guide & instructions, pig roasting grills, pig roasting box, pig pit cooking instructions, etc. Reading these books will give you a better idea of roasting the pig.