How to carve a suckling pig?
CHOW's currently running a feature on serving whole roast suckling pig. About time, I enthuse! I love the idea! I'd love to do a kahlua-style pit roast porl on the California beach with friends. (If only I could find some agreeable people to meet me on the beach for a feast....)
The only problem is, if I were to serve this, I have no idea how to carve it. Do I need a bone saw, multiple knives, tongs, meat forks, etc? I imagine I do, but I'm willing to be corrected.
I'm not sure where to even start cutting on Mr. Porky.
Anyone have any advice, warnings?
Slice along both sides close to the spine, from the shoulder, beginning with 2cm cut, and travel with a sharp, wide 8-10 cm blade through the hips. Both tenderloins, or "backstraps" should loosen in single pieces. The hips should be removed with a fork; there are a couple strata of sinewy, paper-thin matter that you want to scrape away from, not cut into. The shoulders are much more complicated, and deserving of a separate topic.
That first site ain't a suckling pig, but rather a deboned, stuffed, rolled pork product. It may be a great item, but it is not a 'buy a piggy at the market, bring it home, roast it, and carve it up' suckling pig.
The second site is a true piglet, roasted until well done (tender) and served up.
If the butcher does it, I'm assuming he'd chop it up before you brought it home. You now lost the drama of an entire suckling pig...
Nopal, you kill me! I think you had the same comment when I once mentioned pasta being 'el dante' haha!
I've made suckling pig in the oven (42lbs) as well as a few in a homemade pit (120-140lbs). Different techniques for sure.
If you are going for the oven roaster, make sure you choose one small enough. The 42 pounder BARELY made it into my oven. I had to turn his head and tuck in his hind legs and hold him there with twine.
Still, this piglet was small. 'Carving' seemed silly, since you don't get much of a chop, or slice of leg.
As you see from the Segovia resto, the chef gives an entire leg as a portion - he ain't doing any carving.
Bone saws? Naw. Multiple knives? Maybe. Cook it well and it will want to fall apart and the bones can be removed easily.
Big or small, I'd suggest a pig picking, where you set it out, make a few cuts (seperate the legs, cut along the spine, etc) and let the guests pick what they want. A few might be squeamish, but there will be plenty of others to put the pork on the plate for them.
Maybe like this