Saturday, July 4, 2009

4th of July pig roast

My brother Bryan wanted to try his hand at roasting a whole pig; so we did two. One was pit roasted in a bed of greens, stuffed with pineapples and papaya, and the other was spit roasted.

This is the spit-roasted pig. The pig is a 60lb live weight pig, about 12 weeks old. Field dressed and bled, and then rubbed with salt and pepper in the body cavity with a couple of stalks of celery and a quartered onion. It was suspended above 5 bags of charcoal, approximately 30lbs. The distance between the coals and pig was about 30". It was slowly turned by hand for its cooking time, about 4 hours. Temperature was checked throughout, with an internal temp of 160 degrees reached. After that, it was lowered to crisp the skin and give it that deep mahogany finish. While it was cooking it was basted with a sugar/water mix. White sugar and water.

If you look carefully in the background you can see Bryans hand on the crank used to rotate the pig. It was pretty darned good.

The second pig came out looking like this. It was wrapped in greens and foil and the greens kept the skin softer. The pig was injected with a brine consisting of pureed garlic, salt, sugar and various other spices at various points, then wrapped and stuffed, and then put in the oven on a metal frame.

I liked the taste of the second pig better (how can you go wrong with garlic?) but visually the other pig was much better. Next time I think I'll brine/inject the pig, and then rotisserie it or butterfly it. I like the presentation of a whole pig - part of the dish is the spectacle of the whole pig.

This is the spit roasting rig that Bryan made to do this. It's constructed of round stock in an A frame, with a piece of angle across to keep it spread. On the far side you'll see pegs so that you can raise or lower the pig to vary the heat level, and at the top a holder so that you can mount the pig for carving, away from the heat. The spit itself is a piece of 1/2" solid stock. It has two spikes welded onto the end closest to us to stop the pig from rotating around the spear. He put a trailer jack handle on the end to make it easier to rotate. His comments about this rig after having used it once: "I'd make the spit at least 3' longer so that you can be further from the heat when you're rotating this. Instead of welding the hooks to the spit, I'd weld them to a collar that slides up and down the spit to allow me to roast different sizes of pigs, and make two collars, so that you can move the spit back and forth to allow you to have the person doing the rotation at either end of the firepit. " You can see the seat used by the person rotating the pig to the right. You can click on the picture to see a larger version.

When it came down to carving the pig, there were plenty of volunteers with opinions. And then the bystanders starting eating it. A good time was had by all.
They're eating it faster than it can be carved.

1 comment:

howlingduckranch said...

I once was given a wild boar in New Zealand which I did similar to your pineapple and papaya. It is amazing how well the pork goes with those tropical fruits--yum!