July 4 Pig Roast

Hey, we're home for the fourth and things are opened up again.  We've come out of our covid confinement and it's time to do another pig roast.  It's been 15 years since our first and last pig roast, which you can find here: 2007 Pig Roast, Last time we had borrowed a spit which was much too large for the size pig we had and therefore took forever to cook.  Since then, we've gotten our own smaller spit, which we used for our lamb roast a few years ago

Before we go on, a PSA that there are a lot of graphic photos of the pig, so proceed at your discretion. 

We picked up a beautiful, happy looking piglet of 37 pounds on Sunday, July 3.  We brought him home and I made a simple mixture of equal parts salt and sugar and then some ground black and white pepper and rubbed it all over the pig.  We sealed him back up in the plastic bag, covered him in ice and put him back in the box and into the bathtub downstairs.  I did a quick internet search to get my bearings on cooking time and followed this post from Kenji Lopez-Alt: How to Roast a Pig on a Spit . 

So, not a big rambling post here, just a few notes.  Timing and amount of coal needed was right on from Kenji:

1.25 hours per 10 pounds of pig

10 pounds of coal for every 10 pounds of pig

We brought the pig up in the morning so it could get to room temperature.  I rinsed it out and stuffed it with onions, shallots, and pineapple and sprinkled it again with a bit of salt.  Then the work of getting it attached to the spit was next.  Using wire  to secure the back to the spit was key in making sure the pig would not flop around.  We did the same with the feet/legs. Then I sewed up the belly and he was ready to go.  I'd forgotten about the ears, and sewed them back while the pig was already on the spit, but eventually, the string broke and the ears flopped out, but turns out that was just fine.  

To play it safe, we put the pig on with time to spare in case cooking took longer than anticipated.

12:15pm Chris lit the coals.  Once ready, they were spread to the sides of where the pig would be rotating.   

12:50pm Pig was put on the spit.  We started it on the middle position of the spit, and quickly moved it down to the lowest position, closest to the coals.

Chris monitored the cooking throughout the day and I went to work on sauces and sides for the meal.  The time went by really quickly and we lucked out with a perfect temperature day for roasting.  Though cool at night for our meal outside, it was nice to have the cloud cover for an all day roast.  

Notes for future roasts:  Next time I will not stuff the pig and will have to think twice about brining it.  Though the brining and stuffing makes the meat delicious, I don't know if it had an effect on the skin not crisping.  This doesn't make sense since what I've read is salting the skin and drying it out is essential for a crispy result.  It could be that the heat was too high at first as I've also read lower temperature for a slow roast followed by hot heat will crisp the skin. More research needs to be done. 

The "stripes" you see on the skin is the blood/juices leaking out as the pig roasts.  This does not make for an attractive finish.  Don't know how to avoid this other than to wipe away the liquid as it comes out.  

We followed Kenji's advice on putting a pan underneath the pig once juices started to run at about the fourth hour.  This turned out great as I reheated the juices and poured them over the meat to serve.  It was all a little bit of a blur and I did not get photos of me taking apart the pig.  Might be better as that got even more graphic than the all the photos already included. 

The meat was tender, juicy and so delicious.

On the table was a group effort of Maggie's Mac 'n Cheese, Bob's Beans, Cucumber, Corn and Avocado salad with sesame soy dressing, Mexican roasted Zucchini, Green Goddess Slaw, Onion Rings, Kenji's recipe for Sichuan Peanut and Roasted Chili, Thai Lime and Herb Sauce and my Secret Sauce and various buns and tortillas. 

The next day, there was still a lot to do with the leftovers.  I had sent some home with our guests last night, but we had a lot left to get through. I wrapped up the legs and feet for my mom to make stock with and added a few packets of portioned meat and put that in the freezer. I put the rest of the bones into a pot for stock, which is still simmering away as I write this.  I cut up the skin determined to crisp it up somehow.  And finally, I portioned the rest of the meat for our future meals.

Nothing was wasted.  I took the ears off the head and fried those for the dogs.  Chris and I will each have a cheek with our dinner.  The skin fried up okay... some crispy pieces, some not so much.  I'll sprinkle the crispy bits on our tacos tonight and the dogs will get the rest as treats over time. Thank you sweet delicious pig, you fed a big crowd and will continue to do so. 

July 7 Update: 
Dogs are happily enjoying their crispy treats.  Stock made and put into the freezer to make ramen at a later date.  We had tacos on July 5, and last night I made Chinese Twice Cooked Pork for dinner.  Delish!


Popular Posts