For those who like to eat – and to cook – nothing says “serious party” like a suckling pig. Any gathering with a whole pig at the center becomes the day’s event, and will be remembered and talked about fondly.
After all the prep work and the lighting of the coals comes the roasting, with the smell of pork rising up like an offering, and the skin slowing becoming a bronzed and lacquered shell. A small crowd gathered around the fire, anticipating the tasty results. Ample supply of libations. This is a primal ritual that captivates us, across cultures and through the ages.
Picking a Pig
Our fresh suckling pigs are ideal for entertaining a crowd. Be sure to select the correct size suckling or roasting pig – one that fits your cooking method: grill, oven, rotisserie or roasting box – and the size of your party. You should allow for 1½ pounds of pig per person. For instance, a 20 pound pig will serve 13-14 people.
Useful to keep in mind: suckling pigs that weigh less than 20 pounds generally fit in the average kitchen oven. Which means you can serve up a small, whole pig for a dinner party or family feast, no spit required. Any pig larger than 20 pounds needs a spacious grill or smoker to accommodate it.
Cooking a Suckling Pig
You can go old school and dig a pit, line it with coals and light it up. But some prefer to use their smokers for a more controlled cooking experience, and flavorful results.
Another popular method is to use a roasting box. La Caja China is our choice. Based on the Cuban style of roasting, this specialized implement not only roasts up to 100 pounds of meat, but does it in 4 hours! The secret is that the coals are laid out on the closed lid, which radiates heat throughout the metal-lined box. This is a no-fuss way to roast a whole pig, and we highly recommend it. You end up with incredibly moist meat and crackly skin, which is the entire goal of the project. Evenly cooked pork in half the time? We’re there.
The investment in the roasting box will pay off if you make pig roasting an annual tradition. And you can roast other things: try whole chickens, racks of ribs, brisket, pork shoulder, or even a clam bake.
If you roast a D’Artagnan suckling pig, be sure to take some photos! Tag us @dartagnanfoods on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram so we can see the results.