Roasting a Pig – A Family Affair

The 4th of July weekend is always a great family and neighborhood gathering date and when there are numbers to feed roasting a pig is a wonderful choice.

This year marked the fifth pig we put on the roaster and it certainly was one of the best. Here is what you need to roast your own pig:

1. A pig, properly prepared for roasting.
2. A pig roaster
3. Charcoal
4. Some leather gloves.
5. A cutting board and sharp knives.
6. BBQ Sauce.
7. Time

I buy my pig from a processor in Iowa (Lynch BBQ Roaster Pig) that has done all the work. This year we ordered an 80 lb. pig, which is in the small to medium size range. It yields about 30 – 40 pounds of meat, which will feed about sixty-five people. The pig comes wrapped, packaged and frozen. Thawing is not an issue, but the key is you need to be sure it is totally thawed before you put it on the roaster.

We rent a pig roaster for the weekend at a cost of $75.00. It is built on a frame with wheels so we are able to take it with us to where we want to set up for the event. The grill we use is a rotisserie type and engineered for error free roasting. It has a slide out tray for the charcoal, a large drip pan that moves the grease fat to a retaining bowl and most important, a spit with holding rods to keep the pig in place while it turns during the cooking cycle. The ½ horsepower electric motor works great to keep the rotation at a perfect pace. I am told that a flat roasting grill works well too, but I prefer the whole pig on a roasting spit.

Plan to use 40 – 60 pounds of charcoal. This year we paid a little more and bought hardwood briquettes, rather than the regular charcoal. The result was worth the small difference in cost. We used less product and had a hotter cooking element. Load the holding tray and leave the briquettes outside the grill to catch fire. During the 15 minutes it takes for the fire to take hold we put the pig on the spill and secured the holding rods. It’s a two-man job to hoist Mr. Pig onto the roaster. Once in place, start the motor on the rotisserie, slide the charcoal try into the roaster and shut the hood. pig roast nj

Now comes the hard part. Do Not Open the Hood until you are ready to take an internal temperature reading. In our case, with an 80 lb. pig, that is 6 and ½ hours later.

A couple of pairs of leather gloves with allow you to pull out the charcoal try about three hours into the cooking cycle so you can add more fuel to the fire tray. When the internal temperature of the shoulder or hind quarter reaches 160 degrees you are ready to remove the pig to a cutting table. Let it rest for a time and you are ready for cutting and serving. Be careful with this step because the internal temperature of the meat makes it hot to handle. We have learned that a pair of rubber gloves comes in handy. Some carving is required, but for the most part, once you cut the crispy skin away most of the meat is fall off the bone ready.


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