Where do you get a whole pig?
Butcher shops and some grocery stores can special order a pig with advance notice. Depending on your location, you may be able to order directly from a local farmer or from a wholesale meat packer. Ideally, these arrangements should be made two weeks before the party.
Make sure to order a dressed pig. “Dressed” means that the hog comes with its eyelids cut off, organs and hair removed and belly split open. Also, determine if the hog will be defrosted. Otherwise, you will have to defrost it yourself in a large walk-in cooler or in a very clean bathtub filled with ice water. That can take up to a week.
Alternatively if you are local to us in the Midlands, you can take out our hog roast hire service, where we can supply a whole hog with the oven ready for your special occasion.
What size should the pig be?
A simple rule of thumb is to order one pound of carcass weight per person. A 70 pound pig is enough to feed 70 people. After shrinkage during cooking, trimming and removing bone and skin, a 70 pound pig yields approximately 35 pounds of edible meat. Due to the drinking and additional snacking that occurs at parties, people rarely eat more than a half pound of meat.
How much help do you need?
Make sure you have at least two strong people to help you with tasks such as transporting the hog from the butcher, seasoning it, lifting the carcass in and out of the oven and cutting the cooked roast. Whole pigs are very heavy.
What special equipment do you need?
At The Roasting Pig, we provide all the equipment you need in order to cook your own hog roast, some further information is below about hog roasting oven options.
Renting a special hog-roasting oven called a “Chinese Box,” “La Caja China” or a “Cajun Microwave” is the easiest way to cook a hog. This huge aluminum-lined rectangular plywood box seals heat in to preserve the meat’s moisture and juices, much like a Dutch oven. The lid holds charcoal. When lit, the charcoal fire radiates heat downwards from the top. The butterflied hog, resting on a grate within, gets cooked quickly and comes out tender and juicy.
How do I cook the hog?
Prior to cooking, season the cavity without piercing the skin. Lay the hog on its back. Inject shoulder, tenderloins and hams with one gallon of salt brine. Next, rub the cavity with cooking oil and dust with desired seasoning such as kosher salt, dried rosemary and black pepper.
Insert the hog, skin-side down, into the oven heated to about 225-250 °F. Add more charcoal during cooking, as needed. Depending on size, the hog will take between 4 to 6 hours to cook. Flip pig over an hour before done. Exposure to direct heat makes the skin nice and crispy.
Let the hog rest away from heat for a half an hour before cutting.
Serve with barbecue sauce, rolls and other favourite sides.
If you are local to The Roasting Pig in Leicester or close by in the Midlands in such areas as Nottingham or Derby then don’t worry, we can prepare and cook the food as well as serving, whatever the occasion you have in mind.