The pig roast is the new sensation sweeping the nation. Yes, they have been going for a fair few years- the medieval world was a huge fan of the spit roast after all.
When one pictures a succulent hog glistening that lovely, rich mahogany colour, with an apple in its mouth, images of women with flowing locks and frocks, and cone-like head pieces, and men with jugs of ale and pink blushed cheeks, come leaping into view.
Yes, Henry the Eighth may have been all too enamoured with the hog roast, but so, it seems, are we. The pig roast is back.
One of the best things about a hog roast is that it’s relatively low maintenance, yet feeds an army of hungry people. A whole hog roast can feed up to 120. Now that’s a party! Ideally, for a full sized pig roast, you would want at least 50 guests at your event.
For parties smaller than 50 people it would be best to opt for a smaller beast, a lamb would be the perfect choice. A whole lamb roast will feed up to 45 people. So, once you’ve decided how many people you’d like to entertain, then you can get down to the nitty gritty of cooking the hog.
And this is the best bit, it’s really quite simple. The one rule of the spit roast, is that the heat source has got to be at least twelve inches away from the meat. This makes perfect sense as no one wants a charred- to the point of incinerated- hog for their dinner! Most spit roast machines come ready set at twelve inches, so you won’t need to worry about that. The heat needs to be kept constant as the spit roast turns.
It should take about five hours to cook, but then you also need to factor in time for the carving of the hog. And that’s the great thing about it. It’s a long, slow, relaxed cooking process that will have your guests watering at the mouth for a taste. It’s just the perfect crowd-pleasing party food, and instantly makes any event memorable.
How to Roast a Pig
1: Stay about 12″ away from your heat source.
Your cooking time is going to vary depending on the size of your hog and the method you are using to smoke it… but if you are using an 80lb hog (which is what I would recommend to get started with) then it should take you approx. 8-10 hours at about 250 degrees if you stay about 12″ away from the heat source. You don’t want to be too close – and you don’t want to be too far away.
2: Keep Your Sweet Stuff On The Inside
You should avoid putting anything sweet on the outside of the pig until an hour before it is finished. If you use a glaze with a high sugar content any longer than an hour, it will burn. It is best to make an injection that is sweet and put as much of this sweetness inside the meat as possible. This is exactly what we do for the 150-200 lb hogs that we smoke.
3: Always Inject
A good injection is 64oz Apple Juice mixed with 1 cup Sugar, 1 cup Corn Syrup or Molasses, and 1 cup Finely Ground Dry Rub ( the rub has to be a fine powder or it will clog your injector). You can make up 4 batches of this and inject it into the Shoulders, Hams, Loins, and along the sides (where the bacon is located).
4: Keep your Pig Belly-Up
If you have the option – smoke your pig belly-up. The body of the whole pig will act like a bowl and self-marinate with the injections and the rendered fat.
5: Make A Little Appetizer For Your Friends
Some people recommend packing the cavity with is fresh sausage. Some also pack it around the loins and ribs to keep these areas from drying out. Many people use chicken, pork butts, or slab bacon in the cavity. Though, a handful may be a bit hesitant to use chicken because of possible cross contamination and improper cooking temperatures, but these are all ideas you can experiment with.
6: Always Dry Rub
Make sure to apply your dry rub to any exposed meat. I also rub on a thin coat of regular yellow mustard before applying the dry rub. It helps it to stick to the meat really well and give the meat a great flavor.
7: Presentation Is The Most Important Part
You want to spray the outer skin with cooking spray or rub it down with a vegetable oil. This will make it have a really nice “tan” color instead of a dark burnt look.
You can even wrap the ears, snout, and tail in aluminum foil to keep them from turning to dark. It’s basically an appearance thing but you want the end result to look good as well as taste great.
When it comes to eating the hog, this is really down to personal taste. However, nothing beats a soft white bap and apple sauce lathered ontop of the piping hot meat. Bliss.
To get detailed instructions on how to roast a pig, you can now download our eBook for free. This will serve as your step by step guide on how to use your La Caja China hog roaster to roast your pig.