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Old 03-23-2011, 05:01 PM   #1
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The Roasted Pig Project

Last year, some friends and I, decided to roast a pig. It didn't happen but now that spring is starting we're talking about it again.

I'm now in the planning stages of roasting a whole pig. I've been collecting links and watching videos, scanning forums and searching threads.

I guess the first question I have is about the grate the pig is going to be on while it is over the coals.

The gameplan so far is to use concrete blocks to form the pit, use charcoal, and roast Porky on a metal grate of some kind.

I know plenty of welders who can make something for me but do I need to make one I can flip or do I need to have a cover? If I sandwich Porky between two grates and flip him every few hours, does that mean I will lose flavor?

If I flip Porky after a few hours, does that make the meat too dry, as opposed to having a cover of some kind?

Like I said, I'm in the early planning stages and nothing is written in ink. If anybody has roasted a pig in this fashion, I would love some tips. Also, if you have a link you think I should check, kindly posting it would be great. I've done the googling and youtubing searches. Google is our friend. Be nice to the google.

Ted

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Old 03-23-2011, 05:16 PM   #2
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I've seen whole pigs roasted on a spit wrapped in chicken wire. The constant turning makes the pig self-basting. You'll need lots of wood/charcoal as a pig will require half a day or more to cook, depending on size.
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Old 03-23-2011, 05:27 PM   #3
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Roasting a pig requires either a rotisserie, or a large enough pit, with a cover, to allow indirect cooking. The rule is the same as in the oven, you want a low/slow fire. I would suggest that you get your hands on some alder, maple, or fruit wood and soak it for a day or so. You can place the wood over the hot charcoal to create smoke and moisture while the pork cooks, and to block the direct heat from the fire so that the meat cooks by convection rather than infra-red radiation. The former with create even roasting, while the latter will be hot where the radiation strikes the meat.

Use a meat thermometer to determine when the pig is cooked through. With a divided bed of coals, and wet wood to protect the meat, you shouldn't need to turn the pig. A flavorful mop can be applied to enhance the meat. But know that the flavor of whatever you mop the pig with will only be on the outer skin of the meat. Sugary sauces should be made and served along with the carved meat, so as not to scorch in the heat of the pit.

To season the whole pig, soak it in a brine solution for several hours before cooking, overnight if possible. That way, everything will be seasoned, not just the outer layer.

Hope that helps.

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Old 03-23-2011, 05:53 PM   #4
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Any pig roast I've been to they were always done on a rotisserie, some over an open fire, some in a large grill with a cover. Not counting a luau, where they were buried in a pit. But... I seem to remember some competition cooking show where a whole pig was cooked on a grate like you are saying. I believe they laid the pig open (think spatchcocked chicken, only reciprocating saws were involved). And I also remember some of the cooks being worried about drying the thinner sections out, which did happen. I'm pretty sure the pig was also covered and not flipped.
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Old 03-23-2011, 06:05 PM   #5
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Pig Roasting

Check into Meadow Creek Pig Roasters. The best way to cook a pig. Meadow Creek BBQ: Barbecue grills, sauces, roasters, smokers, seasoning and accessories and for a video of it in action. Order directly from Meadow Creek Barbecue Supply.

(The Amish family that makes these units are friends of mine.)
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Old 03-23-2011, 06:11 PM   #6
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Oh--I love pig roasts! Send me the directions, and I'm there. I'll bring sides <g>. In another lifetime, I lived in North Dakota. The "farmers" used to do beef roasts. They did the beef in a pit...and I used to go with my "cowboy/cowgirl friends to Montana to visit their cousins who were also cowboys and cowgirls--there was always a pig roast when we went to Montana...I wanna say the did it in a pit...but not 100% sure on that. Perhaps s/one from Hawaii can tell you how they do their infamous pig roasts...Oh--so good. I'm acting like a Saint Bernard...drooling...(maybe that's why they carry the kegs...drooling makes you thirsty).

(I know all about drool--I share my life with 3 Saints right now, but I've had as many as 6 in the house at one time...)
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Old 03-23-2011, 08:01 PM   #7
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Caja China! If roasting is your thing. Whole hog on the stick burner, may require up to 24 hours of cook time and several hours of prep. The Caja China requires about the same, just different ingredients. I love both methods.

Craig
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Old 03-23-2011, 08:01 PM   #8
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You know, I was thinking about doing it rotisserie style but I was wondering about the motor and all that goes with that. That would mean I need a source of power for it. I doubt I could con a group of people to spin Porky for several hours. Of course, it would be fun to try.

I've seen a number of videos on doing it with a rotisserie and a pit. I'm wondering if I should do chicken wire or use a metal rack so Porky is splayed out. That would have to be made custom, I think. No problems there, but whenever I see one I keep wondering how the meat falls off the bone but the pig stays on the steel bar.
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Old 03-23-2011, 08:18 PM   #9
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More on pigs

If you'd prefer to use a rotisserie method, I've used the unit from here: Big John Charcoal Rotisseries . I still prefer the Meadowcreek unit. Best results with the least work of any method I've used.

John Ross, Ph.B.
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Old 03-23-2011, 09:25 PM   #10
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A friend of mine roasts pigs for catered events. He no longer roasts entire hogs. He just roasts the butt end and the shoulders. It looks like two big roasts. He claims that these areas are where most of the meat come from and they are comparible in size so they require close to the same amount of time. He also says it is quicker and easier this way. He uses chicken wire.

Personally, I would prep it like the Italians do their Porchetta.
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