A Whole Pig Roasted In The Ground

My pig roast events generally are a variation on slowly smoking and roasting the pig for 20-24 hours laid out on a grill over oak wood. It entails tending the fire all night and all the next day — a major task for all involved. I had a bright idea of how much easier it would be to dig a hole start a massive fire for coals, wrap the pig in burlap bags, and dump the pig in the hole and cover him with dirt. Then I can stop worrying about it until 20 hours or so later when we simply dig the pig up and serve it!

It is a variation on the Hawaiian traditional “Kalua Pig”.  To the right is a YouTube video of clear steps needed to do a pig in the ground “correctly”. If you are interested in trying this and don’t have banana plants growing around you, most Asian stores sell banana leaves. As you can see from the video, you need a lot of them so you may need to visit more than one shop. As I watched the process, I found it was much more complex than I gave it credit. So much for digging a hole and dumping some coals and a pig in it!

Ok, I also realized that digging up the ground in Hawaii seems much easier than digging a hole in the ground in rocky Connecticut. I actually saw a couple of video’s where a backhoe is brought in to dig the hole, cover it up, and excavate the cooked pig at the end. That seemed like quite a production and the only way I’d be able to dig through all the rocks and tough roots that abound right below the surface.

I saw another video (on the left) of a family affair — an in-ground pig roast possibly more suited to our crowd. Skip past the first 30 seconds or so of family photos and you will see what needs to happen if you don’t have a backhoe handy. There is a lot of digging involved. I don’t think I have many friends that dedicated to helping! I don’t even think I’m that dedicated!

Based upon countless videos and websites of in-ground pigs, I decided that perhaps that is not as appealing to me as I first thought it would be. I’ve tried to give you some details on how others do it in case you are interested it giving it a try. I’d love to hear of your results!

Another consideration is that putting a pig in paper bags and/or wrapping it in burlap, then sealing it in foil to keep the dirt out, seems like that would keep most of the smoke flavor out as well. I like the idea of slowly smoking the pig over embers of oak or hickory. I can’t say I’ve been able to compare them but it seems like sealing the pig and burying it would just steam the pig. Very tasty I’m sure. But not the same as smoked pork.

So I’ll be back to smoking my pig on a grill for now. Let me know if you get an opportunity to try burying a pig in the ground to cook it.

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