My friend wants to do this for July 4th this year. Being the foodie in the group I got nominated to research it. I've never done this but know I want something that comes out with nice crisp skin. Not really interested in digging a pit, but if that works we can do it. Also I am familiar with the Cuban box thing they do in Fla. I've gotten comments, possibly from this board that clean out of the thing is not an easy task. Because of this and the fact this will probably be a one time deal, I don't want to invest in one of those boxes. So with all those caveats can someone steer me towards a good primer on roasting a whole small pig? Procuring one is not a problem since we live near the West Side Market here in Cleveland and can get one through them easily.
That is amazing! You can procure a whole small pig? I'm so impressed! I can't offer advice, as I've never done it, but I'll be watching this thread. So, how many people are being fed??
His. Or mine, even. :) Thanks for the plug.
To reply to the OP. Cleaning the pig roaster isn't all that difficult, though some of the pictures I've seen on the web look like folks are setting up their roaster wrong, and not catching most of the fat in the tray. Just let the roaster cool down, and scoop up the congealed fat. Wipe down. And done.
I'd highly recommend the caja china method. The skin is *to die for* done that way.
I bought one of the boxes. I notice they have a new one out now with a drain hole. I am used to cleaning lots of smokers, pits etc, this should be no problem. I can always just take it to the self service car wash.
We are going to do at least four piggys this spring and summer, the first one next month. I am lucky to have a great local pig provider that works with the butcher to give me the size I want and completely ready to go on the cookers.
Going to be a fun summer, Pinot and Pork - a perfect combination.
I once attended a wedding where a 50# plus pig was roasted on a open homemade spit rotisserie, with a split 55 gal. drum firebox under it, set up in the backyard. I remember the groom, who did the pig and had a friend come over to maintain the cooking during the wedding ceremony, mentioning that it was a bit of an effort but well worth the result. I had to agree, as the porker was great.
Can't give you any more detail than that, it was some years ago and I don't remember the details, but maybe just food for thought.
The only time I've done it was with a friend for his sister's wedding. We used a bunch of aluminum as siding, basically making a large rectangular box. A cut up 50 gallon drum served as a lid, and we essentially slow roasted it - low temp (225-250ish), lots of smoke, basting occasionally with a vinegar/sugar/salt/spice mixture. Turned out amazing. The pig was about 60 lbs and took (I don't remember exactly) maybe 15 hours.
The physics were pretty simple - you want low, constant heat that is not too direct, smoke, controlled movement of said smoke across the pig, a bit of liquid, and even cooking in one way or another. The real catch was that he used a motorized spit - I don't know how to get one of these cheaply, and I'm not confident that it would have turned out well without one. His cost a few hundred bucks.
Wish I was more familiar with other methods so I could help you out more.