I’ll tell you how to roast a pig on a spit – it’s easy – you call Cowboy Jeremiah at Leftcoast Grassfed and you see if he might rent his motorized spit (that he built) and provide pit master/fire starter services for the day. Then you bribe him with whatever libation he might desire!
Every hour or two you both stand around and talk about the game plan as the pig turns one rotation per minute and you let Jeremiah take the meat temperature from different parts – because his arms are much longer than yours – while trying not to die of smoke inhalation because the direction of the light breeze is following you both around the pit.
When the hog is cooked to 160˚F (figure 1 hour for every 10 lbs. at 225˚F) you push the indirect fire away and just let it slowly continue to turn on the spit so the juices reabsorb. This way the pig rests and you can actually carve it without burning your fingertips off – well sort of – it’s still going to be pretty darned hot even if it rests for thirty minutes.
We went through about two pallets of firewood over 8 hours and used whatever applewood we could find from neighboring farms mixed in with oak and eucalyptus. Jeremiah did a great job with the fire and created indirect piles next to the 4 honches with some coals alongside the belly (as you can see from the pics below) and then replenished them as needed.
His spit held the pig sturdy – better than any I have ever seen – and this took a few people to secure because the main rod is going to go from nose to tail (ouch!!!) Jeremiah’s spit securely bolted the pig to the spit.
No need to brine or inject the pig with marinade unless you want to. I prefer the pig to taste like pig and the sauces can be added on top afterward. And we didn’t coat it with oil before roasting because we didn’t want the skin to turn black. Once that skin turns to crackle no salt or seasoning rub is going to stick to it, so again, it’s best to season after wards.
Lastly, you enlist Jeremiah and another cowboy (my husband in this case) to carry the 170lbs. pig to your make-shift carving station (2 saw horses with a piece of really thick ply wood over the top). Stick an apple in the mouth for your guests to see and go for it.
Why the obligatory apple? I’m not sure but it is necessary…
Note: this is the second pig roast I’ve done and no matter how amazing your butchering skills are, spit roasted pork is going to look pretty much the same color which is a greyish-white. I take the legs off and carve them, then go for the loin and slice it up, then cut in between the ribs and serve those too, and cut the pork belly into chunks.
I put large pieces of crackle over the top of the platters (boy oh boy does crackle from a pig that’s been perfectly spit-roasted taste amazing) and serve with a bunch of sauces on the table – in this case guajillo BBQ sauce, tomatillo salsa, and blue cheese dressing.
But lets not forget the sides and I will follow up with recipes in another post. Because a pig roast has got to come with a plethora of accoutrements. I started the meal with cornmeal crusted fried green tomatoes and long zucchini sticks, then served a Fire and Ice salad with watermelon, tomatillo, pickled jalapeno and smoked chili d’arbol vinaigrette. For the mains I served a smoked potato salad, an heirloom tomato-corn-dragon lingerie been succotash with hot bacon vinaigrette & smoked padron peppers, and ranchero cattle beans with pickled vegetables. And cheddar scallion cornbread to soak up all the juices and corn tortillas.
Finger lickin’ good!
If you are seriously interested in renting Jeremiah’s spit or having the Jay & Suzie Trexler (pictured below) raise a pig for your event please contact me and I will put you in touch with the powers that be. Only serious inquisitions will be tolerated. The rest will be thrown out with the slop!
For more pictures from our pig roast please check out http://found-images.smugmug.com/Tanitas-Creek-Half-Moon-Bay We were blessed with a professional photographer, Jay Jackson, as one of our guests who captured our day, our guests, and our food in beautiful ways. Thank you Jay! Still blown away by your pictures….
Pig Roast Sides: