Wednesday, July 28, 2010
For our annual summer bash, this year we decided that we would try our hand at roasting a whole pig...shouldn't be too difficult right?! After all, humans prepared food this way for centuries prior to us receiving our meat neatly packaged. We went over to Cooper's CSA Farm & Maze and ordered our pig in plenty of time from Steve Cooper, and then eager researched online how best to prepare the little porker. As the saying goes, the best laid plans usually go awry....we had asked for a pig with a finished weight of 35lbs (finished refers to the weight of the animal once it has been butchered and cleaned). Instead we received an animal that weighed 81lbs?!?!? I presume the mix-up was that a whole pig prior to butchering is almost double it's finished weight, so the farmer thought that we wanted a 70lb pig finished (and he thought he was doing us a favour throwing in another 11lbs worth of meat!!!)
Anyway, the plans for a spit were thrown out the window as Greg disappeared into his workshop to weld up a large charcoal BBQ that could handle the whole piggy. A few hours later he emerged with this fantastic looking grill!! A quick call to a chef friend of ours and Greg was splitting the pig and laying it flat. We cooked it low and slow on the skin side for 2/3 of the cooking time, and then 1/3 of the time on the meat side...all-in-all it took 5 hours and tasted fantastic!! Although we created a honey/garlic sauce to go with it, most people just preferred to eat the pork all by itself because it had such great flavour and was moist!
The best part was that at the end of our 3-day epic party, there wasn't much of the pig left (just tail, snout, rib and trotters)...just as well we received such a large hog!
There was one slight hiccup throughout the whole process however...the grill didn't have quite enough charcoal so that when it finally got white, a lot had burnt off. Greg cooked the pig for a while but then decided to add some more. It got so hot that the fat rendered down quickly and pooled under the skin. The skin split when there was a flare-up and we suddenly had 6' flames completely encasing the pig!!! PANIC!!! Luckily our friend Steve was there to help Greg douse the flames and despite some blackening of the skin (sadly no crackling for our guests), no harm was done. Therefore, next time we'll fill the BBQ with more charcoal than we think we need, ensure there's a metal shield below the grill to catch the drippings but still transfer the heat, and we'll rub the meat side with some salt and pepper.
Otherwise I would say it was a pretty successful roast!!!