Need ideas on how to do a pig roast

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Hovey Hollow, Aug 27, 2005.

  1. Hovey Hollow

    Hovey Hollow formerly hovey1716

    Messages:
    913
    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2005
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    We are having a party at our house in about three weeks and had the idea of doing a pig roast. I need ideas on how to go about doing this. Should I try to find one at a butcher shop, or on the hoof? If on the hoof, how hard is it to process ourselves? We were thinking about a smallish pig---maybe 60-80 lbs.
    Or would it be better to get a full size pig and have half of it processed for the freezer? I saw feeder pigs in the paper for $35 and butcher hogs for $150. Would a 40# feeder pig feed 20-30+ people? $150 is too much to spend for just the party, but if I can also stock the freezer that might not be a bad price. How much does processing usually cost?
    Also, anyone have any ideas on the best way to roast a pig. A pit? A smoker? Cinderblock oven?
    Am I just over my head and need to come up with another idea? I like the idea of going with a homesteading theme. Whole, unproccessed foods. Green beans, roast corn, baked potatoes. This is kind of our housewarming party. (Even though we've been here 8 months.)
    Anyway, thanks in advance for any ideas!!!
     
  2. billyj

    billyj Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    222
    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2005
    Location:
    Central Louisiana
    You can start here, the only thing I suggest doing different is letting the wood burn down to coals, have the second fire going so that when you need addition heat, shovel them to the fire under the pig. This can be fun but requires a lot of time, can't rush it. It's easier to control the heat using coals.

    http://www.gumbopages.com/food/cochon-de-lait.html
     

  3. MaryNY

    MaryNY Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    915
    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2004
    Location:
    New York
    I'm sitting here with a cookbook in front of me that has at least four different ways to roast a pig (all of which say use an oven - lol).

    Yes, I think doing it this way may be a bit more of a project than you would like. If for no other reason than the fact that you would be so busy running around fiddling with the pig that you wouldn't be able to enjoy your own party.

    I had roast suckling pig at a Hawaiian-themed wedding once, and it was done by a "professional". He went around to different events in the area. Well, I can tell you that even a "professional" can mess up the flavor of an entire pig. This one was "smokey" and not nice wood-flavored smoke. It tasted like they used the lumber leftover from doing some flooring. Yuck.

    You could check in your area and see if there are any folks who are known for their pig roasts and check out what they charge, etc. Just be sure to taste the results of their roasting before you line them up for your own event.

    What about bbqing a bunch of half chickens on some of those "half barrel" setups they use for church bbqs? You could probably keep the green beans warm on a corner of the chicken cooking grill, and maybe even roast the corn (or steam it in a pot on top), and potatoes in there if you wrap them in aluminum foil.

    You might want to consider using all the blue agate ware cold-pack canners and pots and basins you can lay your hands on for "serving" dishes. Also, potato and macaroni salad would be good, if you decide not to try to deal with the baked potatoes (it's hard to know exactly what's going on inside that many potatoes all at once). Also baked beans is a good idea and can be heated inside and kept warm on the grill. What about some nice sliced tomatoes and cucumbers, or some cole slaw, for an additional touch of "country"? Also a small pan of melted butter on the grill for the corn and potatoes would be good, too. Good luck! (Oh, and are we all invited, this sounds so great!! lol)

    MaryNY
     
  4. shawnee

    shawnee Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    234
    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2004
    Location:
    Ks.
    Have a neighbor who has experience with this? I think that is a great idea for a party; daughter is graduating this spring and I have been working this idea over with my husband. We have some folks with a portable BBQer that do an unbelievable BBQ. I've thought of talking to them and letting them handle this but parsimonius hubby scowls. I don't want the work/worry and want experienced folks on my side; not a good time to mess around while going thru the big moment. Good luck; I'm gonna haunt this thread!
     
  5. bill not in oh

    bill not in oh Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,869
    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2004
    Location:
    Earth
    I did one for our church last January (BRRRR). Worked out great. I had grown the pig, so I knew it was raised right. Rented the rotisserie/smoker from my processor who had aged the porker for about 2 weeks for us and stuck it on the spit for me. His wife is in the pig roast business an told me she would charge about $180 to provied the smoker and someone to cook a pig that we furnished. I started the fire about 6 AM and took the perfectly cooked pig off at 6 PM (this pig was 165 lbs on the hoof and we cooked it with everything intact (they eviscerate the body cavity and remove the brain. We fed about 120 folks (about 90 adults/30 kids under 12) and had a ton (actually about 20 lbs of pulled pork) left over. I took about 5 lbs for myself which I froze and we ate this past spring - it was yummy... A lot of work, but everyone enjoyed the event and the church netted out about $1200
     
  6. Cabin Fever

    Cabin Fever Life NRA Member since 1976 Supporter

    Messages:
    15,369
    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    Location:
    Between Crosslake and Emily Minnesota
    Since this is your first time, I'd suggest purchasing four whole pork loins and slowly cooking them on two Weber style grills or a rental BBQ on wheels.
     
  7. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

    Messages:
    6,844
    Joined:
    May 11, 2002
    What Cabin Fever said. I have actively participated (as in chief cook) at 12-15 pig roasts, from open coal pit to covered BBQ brickette or propane wagons. Start small.
     
  8. djuhnke

    djuhnke Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    195
    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2004
    Location:
    Indiana
    I kinda like this way:

    http://cuban-christmas.com/pigroast.html

    its abit more messing around. I have a 7 foot pig roaster with motor and spit which works nice but its abit or work (think 6-12 hours of adding coals every 30 minutes). This 4th of July I did a 90lb pig in 5 hours (I expected it to take 9-12 hour) but because of a major flareup (think very crispy skin) it was done in 5.5 hours.

    Figure 2 lbs per person for the size of pig. I fed 50 adults with a 95lb pig with 1 large pan left over. If its less than 30 people I would get a few crock pots and cook abunch of pork shoulders (5-9 lbs a piece depending on crock pot size) in them. That way they cook up nice and flavorful (you can even marinade them for more flavor overnight) and you can have a variety of them (some like sweet BBQ, some spicy hot BBQ, etc). Don't be afraid to step out and be bold. Worst case if nervous, go with pork shoulder in corck pot and dump a bunch of favorite BBQ sauce, shred and enjoy.

    Dan
     
  9. Cornhusker

    Cornhusker Unapologetically me Supporter

    Messages:
    16,281
    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2003
    The way we do it is get enough pork roasts to feed the bunch.
    A whole pig around a hundred pounds will work, but it's a lot more work.
    When we used a whole pig, we killed it, skinned and gutted it, then boned it, that way we had several big hunks of meat to work with.
    Whichever way you go is fine.
    We have a pit about 2 1/2 ft deep, and maybe 3 ft X 3 ft, You can make it bigger if you want to.
    We lined the bottom with brick and build a fire in the hole. I usually try to make a bed of coals 5" to a foot deep. Let the fire burn down to coals, it takes quite a bit of wood, and can take a couple hours to get it burned down to the right amount of coals.
    Marinate or flavor your meat with whatever you like.
    Wrap your pork in either Aluminum foil or wet burlap. (Foil is much neater)
    Place the wrapped meat directly on the coals.
    I have a piece of tin i put on top of the meat, but you can shovel dirt right on top too.
    After putting the tin on, I cover the hole with dirt, the more the better, ldon't leave any way for air to get into the coals.
    Oh, and I try to time it so the meat goes in the hole about 24 hours before you need it,
    Come back the next day and dig it up. It'll be hot and tender.
    You can throw in some potatoes, corn, anything in with it, just make sure it's wrapped.
    If it rains, throw something over the pit to shed water. I found out the hard way it'll run in the hole and cool the coals too much.
     
  10. Hovey Hollow

    Hovey Hollow formerly hovey1716

    Messages:
    913
    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2005
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    I think I've found a 75# pig. We don't have a gun, so I'm going to have the butcher do the deed and prepare it, if it doesn't cost too much. I'm going to call the processor today.
    Still haven't decided if we are going to do a pit or build a ciderblock oven, both methods look good. People are getting excited about the party. I think it's going to be alot of fun.
     
  11. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

    Messages:
    6,844
    Joined:
    May 11, 2002
    If you do the pit or oven system you will need to suspend the hog. A problem is the pole slipping inside the carcass. I would recommend something like a length of black iron water pipe. In the middle put in several 3/8" holes horizonally and vertically spaced perhaps 12" apart. When you put on the hog put 3/8" rods through the hog (think two Xs), then sew up, including around the ends of the rods sticking out of the carcass. Wrapping with chicken wire will also help hold everything together. On the end of the pipe also weld on an X for a handle. To hold it in one spot you can use some type of rope or chain system to a ground anchor.

    E-mail me at scharabo@aol.com and I'll send you a photo of what the top ends of the uprights might look like for a pit.
     
  12. bill not in oh

    bill not in oh Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,869
    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2004
    Location:
    Earth

    If you do a pit, traditionally it will be lined on the bottom with rocks to hold the heat from the fire - DO NOT use river rocks for this lining (or any rocks that have been sitting in water for any length of time) as they can explode quite violently....
     
  13. Hovey Hollow

    Hovey Hollow formerly hovey1716

    Messages:
    913
    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2005
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    I have some bricks we can line it with. Thanks for the tip!
     
  14. TnTnTn

    TnTnTn Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    253
    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2004
    Location:
    Cannon Co. TN
    The link for the Cuban Christmas pig roast is excellent. My fil is Cuban and he cooks a pig once or twice a year in the described manner. He uses two panels of hog fence to surround the pig, wires them together, and flips the roasting pig periodically. He uses hardwood coals from a fire he keeps going near the cooker and uses a shovel to move the coals into the cooker. For cooker walls he has used sheet aluminum or concrete blocks.

    Your one problem might be getting the mojo sauce. It is a highly recommended seasoning. Have fun and enjoy. TnTnTn
     
  15. Hovey Hollow

    Hovey Hollow formerly hovey1716

    Messages:
    913
    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2005
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    I see mojo in the grocery stores around here alot. We have a large hispanic population. I am really leaning towards the cuban website. I found a friend that has a lot of cinderblocks so it looks like we are probably going to go with those instructions. Thanks for the tips about the hog panels, I have some of those laying around.
     
  16. cowgirlone

    cowgirlone Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,382
    Joined:
    May 9, 2002
    Location:
    colorado
    Sometimes we use a cinderblock pit for small ones (75lb and under)

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Put the hot coals under the hams and shoulders. The ribs cook fast and do not need direct heat. Also if they start getting too dark, you can wrap them in foil. I like to baste the pig while cooking and turn it over every 2 hours.
    I add fresh coals every 30 minutes and I do not use already lit coals........I just add 10 or so chunks of charcoal to the top of the hot ones, ( it works for me! lol)
    If you want to, you can add another layer of cinder blocks and cover the whole thing with a sheet of tin.
     
  17. cowgirlone

    cowgirlone Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,382
    Joined:
    May 9, 2002
    Location:
    colorado
    Here's how we cook the large ones underground. Dig the hole, burn enough wood to make a 6 to 8 inch bed of hot coals. Place a sheet of tin on the hot coals. Place the wrapped/seasoned hog on the sheet of tin. Cover the whole thing with another larger sheet of tin and bury with dirt.
    Make sure you wrap the hog with chicken wire so you can get it out of the hole with out problems. The meat is tender and HOT. lol
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  18. Hovey Hollow

    Hovey Hollow formerly hovey1716

    Messages:
    913
    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2005
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    Thank you so much for the pictures........
    The pig we are getting is 75# now, but I just read that a pig can gain from 2.5-4# per day.........so I may have to use the method for the larger pig because we have to keep him for 2 weeks before the party. Butcher will take him in on Tuesday for pickup on Friday. Says he doesn't age pork, esp. a young one.
     
  19. heather

    heather Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,780
    Joined:
    May 13, 2002
    Location:
    western PA
    Wow - great photos!!!

    We've done several pig roasts -

    Borrowed a roaster (the type that hangs the pig over an open fire) from a friend & bought a pig from a butcher -

    It took all day, but was worth the wait - everyone around here LOVES a pig roast!

    HAVE FUN!
     
  20. cowgirlone

    cowgirlone Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,382
    Joined:
    May 9, 2002
    Location:
    colorado
    Thanks Heather!
    I have more pictures, but I didn't want to take up too much room here. lol
    We also have a large horizontal cooker with an offset firebox. It is big enough to do a pretty large hog if I remove the head and feet.
    The underground method is the easiest, you just go to bed and dig it up the next day.
    The cinder block and horizontal cooker are fun to hang around and watch, makes the party last all day. :D

    Hovey, whichever method you decide to do, take pictures for us! :)