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I have roasted a couple of pigs for a local ski club. Generally,
we've used pigs that weigh in at about 125 pounds hanging weight
to feed around 75 people. You can call a local butcher shop to
make arrangements to have the pig slaughtered and dressed in time
for your event. It takes about 2 days to complete the process.
Total preparation time will be about 9 hours (setup, cooking,
carving, etc.), so you may need to make some special arrangements
if the butcher doesn't open early that morning.

We used a roaster that was made out of a 55 gallon drum slit
lengthwise and mounted on a trailer. This works better than an
open fire, because it is easier to control the heat. The roaster
included a spit and an electric motor to keep things moving. The
roaster didn't have to be that big, but you will need something at
least as big as the pig. We rent the roaster from a local farmer,
so check around to see if one is available.

1 pig
A roaster
Access to water (preferrably a hose)
200 lbs of charcoal
leather gloves
rubber gloves
lots of carving knives
roasting pans
lots of clean cardboard
new (unused) chicken wire
baling wire
wire snips
sledge hammer
Aluminum foil
large meat thermometer
4 helpers
70 of your closest friends

First thing is to start the fire. I like to use good charcoal to
get things going; once you get some good glowing coals, you can
use the cheaper stuff. Bank the coals in the corners of the roaster.
We used about 40 lbs to get things started. The amount you use
will depend on the size of your roaster. Remember to place the
roaster in a place where grease and the occasional dropped coal
will not cause any problems.

Start by covering a large picnic table with clean cardboard. Roll
out aluminum foil over the cardboard. The aluminum foil should be
long enough to wrap around the pig. Use the heavy duty wide rolls.
Now roll out sections of chicken wire on top of the foil so that
you can wrap the wire around the pig. You will probably need two
sections. Lay the pig on its side on top of the chicken wire.
Take the spit and insert the sharper end into the anal area of the
pig and drive it towards the head. You will probably need the
sledge hammer for this. The chest cavity will be open, you can
help guide the spit through there if your aim is off. The spit
should pass through the pig's throat and come out through the mouth.
You will want to center the pig between the sections of the spit
that will be resting on the bearings. Next, drive the spit forks
into each end of the pig and tighten the forks to the spit. This
will keep the pig attached to the spit as it rotates.

Next, bind the legs with baling wire and wrap the pig with the
chicken wire. Stretch the wire as tight as you can and secure it
with more baling wire. The chicken wire will keep the pig from
flopping around as it cooks. You want to pull the wire as tight
as you can because the pig will shrink quite a lot by the time it
is fully cooked. Now wrap the aluminum foil around the pig.
Actually, the foil is optional, I prefer to use it to prevent the
pig from getting scorched by the fire. It also keeps the meat
moist. The pig is ready for roasting.

Place the spit onto the roaster and start the motor. You will want
to keep the level of charcoal consistent throughout the cooking
time, so add it as needed. You can use the rake and shovel to move
coals around to keep hot spots down. As the pig cooks, lots of
grease will be cooked out and will leak into the fire pit. Be
especially careful of this when opening the lid of the roaster.
You can use the hose to take care of any flash fires caused by

Cooking time runs somewhere between 6 or 7 hours, depending on the
size of the pig. I usually check temperatures throughout the
cooking time to ensure that the pig is cooking evenly. Be sure to
check several places and make sure the thermometer is inserted into
meat and is not touching any bone. Otherwise your readings will
be inaccurate. Your meat thermometer should have a marking for
pork, around 170 degrees F.

While you are waiting for the pig to cook, you will need to get
ready for carving. Discard the cardboard you used earlier and set
out a new layer. When the pig is done, take it over to the table
and lay it on the cardboard. Remove the foil carefully, as very
hot grease will run every which way. Wear your rubber gloves over
your leather ones. Next, cut off the chicken wire and the baling
wire from around the pig's legs. Now start carving. This part
usually draws quite a crowd. Three or four people can easily carve
off of the pig at the same time. It is important that the head
chef carve the hindquarters of the pig. If you are careful and
quiet about it, you can remove the loins intact. Be sure to set
those aside for your helpers. They will appreciate it.

Plan ahead for a way of disposing of the stripped carcass. Public
parks may not be amenable to having it left in their dumpsters (or
in your garage if the party's at your house).

Serve on buns with all kinds of barbecue sauces, corn on the cob,
mustard potato salad, baked beans, bread and butter pickles, ice
cold beer, and home made ice cream.


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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful:
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Hog roast explained, July 1, 2005 - 05:48 PM
Reviewer: Duncan Glasson from Hanwell London England
I\'ve been asked to help out roasting a whole hog and a lamb in 2 weeks time. Researching how to do this I came across this recipe which is easy to follow and has already helped me in my preparation. In the exitement of a crispy roast pig what guy would remember gloves to assist in carving of the beast ? Thanks for the list of things I will need, also internal meat temperature is very handy to know. Now all we need is a day with no rain (well this is England) - cheers guys

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