Tag Archives: grill

Slowww Roasted Whole Pig — Yum!

If you have the patience, a pig that has been slowly roasted over a low bed of smokey coals is the best way to create an unforgettable event! It requires a rotation of “pig sitters” because this pig will be slowly cooked for about 24 hours. Here’s how we did our slow-roasted pigs.

Whole Roast Pig Ready

Whole Roasted Pig Ready To Serve!

We dug a pig pit in the back yard that was not much bigger in width and 3 foot bigger in length of a good-sized pig (between 150-200 lbs or more live weight will feed lots of folks). Our pig pit was around a foot deep.We lined it with big stones but a row of concrete blocks, while not as natural looking, works just fine (see photo). A grating was needed the size of the pig with a couple of angle iron posts under the grating width-wise and long enough to be able to rest it on the stones and, when done, to pick the pig up and carry it to its carving table.

I used to do the pig roasts in Florida and had unlimited palm fronds that we would use to cover the pig and keep the smoke in. Now I don’t have those so I cover it with aluminum foil over a wire mesh frame. That isn’t as natural and rustic looking as palm fronds but tastes just as wonderful. Fresh Maple leaves work well if you have an abundance of them but, like with palm fronds, get them fresh and keep hosing them down periodically to keep them from drying out and igniting. You may need to rotate in fresh ones from time to time if the ones you use are too dry.

We butterflied the pig which means cleaning it and breaking the backbones so it will lie flat. The pig is splayed out with the skin down toward the fire on the grating. I get a spool of stainless steel wire to tie the pigs hoofs to the grating otherwise it has a tendency to curl up a bit. I always mop some marinade on the roasting pig every hour or two to give it more flavor and keep it moist.

The reason the pig pit is 3 ft longer than the pig is because that is where the fire is. You will toss logs (my favorites are hickory or green oak) into this open area and when they are burned down to hot coals, take a shovel and toss them under the pig’s for hams (legs). No need to put coal in the middle since that will stay hot anyway and will burn easily. Just keep a hose handy in case the pig fat flares up under the pig. Douse that flame quickly or your pig will be dry and burned rather than juicy.

After slowly roasting the whole pig over low coals for 24 hours, double-check it with a meat thermometer to make sure no parts are below 150 degrees. And then get ready to dazzle your guests. A pig that has been slowly roasted over oak or hickory logs may come out looking very blackened and what I like to call “nasty looking”. But wait until the first person gets to taste that flavorful juicy smoked pork. Word will go through the line of hungry guests that it is a heavenly treat they will never forget!

Ways To Roast a Whole Pig

The whole roast pig is served!There are numerous ways to roast a whole pig. Much of it depends on your level of adventure, your willingness to spend time tending to the tasks, and the nature of the event. Everyone has their favorite method and when you talk with them, many will swear that theirs is best and all others are below par for whatever reason.

However, with most popular methods, you won’t go wrong as long as you learn a bit about the method you want to try, keep a roasting thermometer handy, and keep reminding yourself and others that it is a fun feast — not an arduous chore!

Here are some of the more popular ways to roast a delicious whole pig.

Slow Roasted on a Grill

My favorite method is to butterfly the pig (clean the pig and lay it out flat), and then put it on a large grill, with the backside down, over a very slow bed of coals and slow roast it for hours. The pig should be covered to keep the smoke contained and the heat even. This takes a lot of patience, but the end results are well worth it!

Pig on a Spit

I’ve roasted a pig on a spit (wired to a big post) and slowly turned over a bed of coals. That is much faster than the slow roasting on a grill. But someone needs to be very attentive at all times to squelch fire flare-ups and too keep the pig turning over the coals.

Pig in the Ground

A method of roasting that removes all the tending to the pig is to cook the pig in a hole in the ground with a bed of coals under the pig and another bed of coals on top and covered with a layer of dirt. You put a lot of faith in your timing this way. You put the pig in the hole, wrap it, cover it with dirt, and then hope that you dig it up at the right time while all the hungry guests are standing around. Once it is in the ground, there is no marinating the pig, no way to check the temperature of the pig, and nothing to do but wait and hope you got everything just right!

Roast Suckling Pig

For the Winter holidays, there are roast suckling pigs available. Generally they are around 20 lbs but if you find a smaller one, you can even cook it in the oven for those looking for a real treat. A beautiful roasted suckling pig with the apple in its mouth can look too cute for some folks so be sure to poll your guest list to make sure someone doesn’t get caught by surprise and freak out and ruin the event for the rest of you!