From time to time we see whole hogs posted for sale in farmer's online stores (via Barn2Door). Dude, right? We couldn't resist using it as an excuse to geek out on 'how to cook a whole hog'... which naturally made us think big summer bash.
We have a hunch whole hog parties are the next big trend, and we wanted you to be equipped to throw your own. There will be noshing and prattle, the smell of charcoal and bacon, deep laughter and swirling music - and hopefully tanks of beer, artisan cocktails and big Bordeauxs. Why not host the party everyone will talk about for months? Maybe even years.
We've got your back.
A Beginners Guide to Hosting a Hog Roast:
1) Save the date. Call your pals, spread the word, and count those RSVP's. Once you’ve landed on a headcount, you’ll know how large of a pig to splurge on. (Tip: a 50 LB pig should satiate 30 or so guests.)
2) Locate your local, trusted farmer and select a suckling of your choice. (We can help with that.) For example right now on Barn2Door, Hogstead Farms is offering whole BBQ roasting pigs, ideally sized for most roasters, spits, smokers and pits.
3) Do some research. There are innumerable ways to roast a pig. Depending on time, budget and location, you’ll want to pick the appropriate cooking method for the project. Here are a few popular methods:
The Buried Pig
Wherein a deep, brick-lined pit is dug, and a large fire is burned. (Potentially iffy for those roasting whole hogs in the city). Once the fire is distinguished, the pig is lowered, the hole is covered and sealed, and the meat is cooked via residual heat.
The Caja China
Potentially on the pricier side, but possibly worth it given the “no ditch digging” component. These pre-made, wooden boxes are available for rent (or purchase), and promise to lessen cleanup and better control any meat-cooking heat.
The Cinder-Block BBQ
Built via cinder blocks, this DIY-structure contains a sheet of expanded metal or grates that hold the pig a few inches above any coals. As this is quite the project in and of itself, we’ve gathered a few tried-and-true tutorials for your reference. (Note: Start this process at least one day before the roast).
4) Prep the pig. Hogstead Farms pigs come skin-on, cleaned and butterflied; this cuts down on any pre-roast prep time. You can ask most farmers to do the same.
To prep the pig, here is what you’ll need:
- 1 pig, gutted and cleaned
- Kosher salt
- A box cutter
- Rubber / latex gloves
- Ice and cooler
Once you get your pig, it’s go time. Rinse it off (gloves come in handy here), and carefully score the surface with a box cutter in large crisscross diagonals. Make sure these cuts are surface level—not cutting any deeper than the pig’s skin. (The younger your pig, the easier it will be to cut through.) From here, douse the animal in a generous amount of salt, and place in a cooler overnight. We pictured it too: the pig in your tub on ice.
5) Cook the pig. This depends on which roasting method you opted to go with, so be sure to have a solid understanding of fire-lighting methods, proper safety procedures and temperature-control techniques. Once your pig roast is well underway, the most important element is regulating and ensuring a consistent temperature.
6) Feast like royalty. You did it! Welcome to Hog Heaven. Your pig is delish, your pals are pleased—nothing left to do but sit back with a plate piled high, crack a celebratory cold one and pat yourself on the back.