Category Archives: First You Need a Pig

Does a Roasted Pig Really Need a Pedigree

What type of pig should you roast? How should you pick out a pig? Does it need papers?

As with most pig roasters, when we first started roasting whole pigs, we would simply find a local farmer who raised pigs and trust his judgement. And we got good results that way.

Some pigs were fattier than others but overall, we never went wrong letting our local farmer select one for us.

However a few years ago I stumbled across a farmer who specialized in Yorkshire pigs. It was delicious. It was lean but not skinny or dried out. For that reason, for the past few years we have been hooked on those Yorkshire pigs.

So based upon my experience, if you run across a Yorkshire pig, you won’t be disappointed. Otherwise just look for a small farmer willing to work with you. Or if nothing else, ask your local butcher if they can get a pig for you.

I’m not sure if many of my guests would notice the difference between a Yorkshire and a non-pedigreed pig. And if I no longer could get a Yorkshire, I’d be just as happy with a local farmer’s no-name pig. But since I have a good source for them at a reasonable price, that’s my first choice for a roasted pig.

So skip the whole family-tree research and just get a good pig and enjoy your own pig roast!

“Did You Leave The Head On It?”

Pig Roasted With Head On

A pig being roasted with the head on

One of the most popular questions I’m asked when I talk about having a whole pig roast is, “Did you leave the head on it?”. I regretfully answer that to keep peace in our family, I’ve found the easy route is to have the butcher remove the head.

Before I got married and became more civilized (heh, heh), our pig roast always was with the head on it. Then I discovered a better use for the head rather than decoration — head cheese. Head cheese is a delicious luncheon meat made by boiling the head in a BBBIG pot with celery, onion, and lots of other flavorful items. Pull out the meat and much of the veggies and make a giant pate with it. The gelatin from the head binds all the pork meat (yep, there is a lot of meat in the head too) together with the other ingredients when it cools.

So there are some options there. If you want, leave the head on. Cover the ears with foil so they don’t burn (unlike burnt ears in photo above), and put a block of wood in the mouth to keep it open so you can put in the apple for the grand presentation. Or, cook the head down for some leftovers. Or give it to the butcher like I do and make him very happy.