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Pit Roasted Pig
MyCookbook Recipe Database
MyCookbook Member: Mailady700
Recipe Category: Pork
Recipe Preparation Level: difficult
Serving Size : 120 Preparation Time :18:00
Categories : Main Dishes
Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
1 100 pound pig -- dressed weight
2 quarts water
1/2 cup salt
1 teaspoon ground red pepper
2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
1 cup vinegar
1 meat thermometer
200 lbs. hickory wood - and/or charcoal
1 bed springs
4 metal garbage can lids
1 iron pot or bucket
1 large spoon
Directions: First, locate a pig. About three weeks ahead, call a local butcher or supermarket to place the order. The whole hog is festive and decorative, but fresh hams or pork shoulders cook more efficiently. They are also more economical than ribs. Have the butcher remove the head and knuckles, and saw pig's backbone to lay spread-eagle while roasting.
In the meantime, dig the pit on solid ground. It should be about 12-16 inches deep, 3.5 feet wide and 5 feet long. Slope and taper the pit on either end.
Fill the pit with one or two bushels of oak or hickory twigs. Burn down to Make a second fire near one end of the pit. This will supply the coals to cook the meat during the night and day long roasting time. Spread them conservatively as needed for a slow fire under the meat. If using charcoal start the fire with the good stuff you can use the cheap brands later on.
Lay iron rods, bunk bed springs or heavy hog wire mesh over the pit to support the pig. Lay the whole pig on this rack, spread-eagled, meat side down.
Toast the pig with you're favorite libation. Wish him good luck and thank him for what he is about to do for you.
Make heavy brine with the remaining edible ingredients. Turn and baste meat during cooking. Roast slowly 12- 18 hours, or until internal temp. reads 170 degrees F.
Optional: Barbecue sauce is added after pig is cooked. It will burn if applied during roasting. The brine permeates and seasons the roasting meat.
Traditionally, the cooks continue to toast the pig during the entire cooking process. Beer is a favorite libation.
If you add too many coals, the dripping grease will catch fire and flare up. Smother these flames with the back of the shovel.After the pig is properly blessed and cooking, cover with four clean, metal garbage can lids or metal roofing sheet. This retains the heat during the early morning hours, but it's loose enough to let smoke circulate slowly and
season the meat.
The last 8-10 hours of cooking, turn pig over, skin side down. This will render the fat out of the skin while cooking. As the fat accumulates around the ribs and shoulders, collect it with the large spoon. Save it in the iron pot. It congeals into lard.
Cook slowly to retain moisture and prevent burning.
Tip: After the long night, when you turn the pig, pick off little bits and pieces of pork. These make a great breakfast with hot coffee. When the pig is done, (170 Degrees F internal in the shoulder) take it over to the table and lay it on cardboard. Start carving. This part usually draws quite a crowd. Three or four people can easily carve the pig at the same time. It is important that the head chef carve the hindquarters of the pig. If you are careful and quiet about it, you can remove the loins intact. Be sure to set those aside for your helpers. They will appreciate it. Plan ahead for a way of disposing of the stripped carcass. Public parks may not be amenable to having it left in their dumpsters (or in your garage if the party's at your house).
Tip: if using charcoal, soak some hickory (or mesquite) chips in water and add to coals occasionally Serve with breads/buns and all kinds of barbecue sauces, corn on the cob, potato salad, baked beans, bread and butter pickles, ice cold beer, and homemade ice cream.
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