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!

  1. I’m new to this. But, I’m very interested in the art of roasting/ smoking hogs

  2. In my opinion the perfect pig roast uses the Cuban Style “China” roaster.

    It is a wooden box with the coals on top and the heat radiates down to roast the pig. I have cooked a 95# pig to absolute moist and fall off the bone perfection the very first time I tried it. Actually about 85# as we had to roast it headless. With the head the pig was over 4′ long.

    The time this takes is about 6 hours. Less if you DO NOT OPEN THE BOX!!!!!!! Which is very hard to do.

    4 hours into the cook is time to turn. First cook it cavity up and well seasoned. Turn, it and salt well the skin. First score the skin into narrow slices for perfect crackling!!!

    The meat is not smoke flavored and you collect the smoke free gravy in the bottom tray.

    If you can follow directions then ANYONE can roast a perfect pig the first time out!!

    • Robert, thanks for the step-by-step directions for a “pig-in-a-box”. I’ve heard good things about it and with your testimonials, I may need to try that with an open mind.

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