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Aug 13, 2010 03:22 PM

Pig Roast Help!

I'm having a pig roast next weekend and have a few questions. Since this is my first time I'm thinking of doing it headless and boneless (80 lbs whole so maybe around 45 lbs precook weight). Brine it for 24 hrs then attach it to the rotisserie and let it go.

1. Should I use all lump charcoal or some wood mixed in? Approx. how much charcoal - 120 lbs? What is the best way to start this.

2. Cooking time I'm guessing will be 8 hrs? So If I start at 10 am we can eat for 6-7 pm.

3. How to build the fire? Charcoal/wood around the edge with water in the middle.

4. Since it will be boneless should I just use copper wire to attach the entire pig to the spit. No need for spine clips etc.?

As of now that's all I can think of. Really looking forward to doing this.

Thanks guys!

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  1. What's the point of doing a pig roast if you're removing the best parts? Why not just do a pork loin or a whole fresh ham (ask the butcher to remove the bone) if you want boneless? IMO, removing the bones from the whole pig is a waste, not to mention, the flavor of the pig will be better roasted on the bone. Also, there is plenty good meat left on the head...

    Here are a few resources to get you started:


    3 Replies
    1. re: Cherylptw

      CheryI......... l Agree If you cook it boneless you run the risk of the carcass falling apart as it approaches doneness. The asthetics are lessened by removing the head. Also you will pay a premium for a whole hog vs. a few shoulders and hind legs, so I would not waste the $$$ on a whole hog.. Unless it is a backyard raised pig; then the cost is already in it no matter how you prepare it.

      1. re: Cherylptw

        I like the bone thing myself, but in Italy you often see porchetta (Italian style boneless) and it is very flavorful.

        1. re: itryalot

          ITRY..True but these are boned out by professional butchers and use a specific spit designed for the Porchetta, they are stuffed with herbs, garlic, etc., etc. then the cavity is sewn up and roasted. There are companies that only roast and sell whole Porchetti and they are "Brand names" of this delicacy.

      2. A pig roast is a whole pig with bones and head. Boneless is for chicken breasts and other gentle things. You are roasting a beast, man, do it right. Don't just skewer pork chunks.

        2 Replies
          1. re: Veggo

            I have to agree, not only from a structural integrity standpoint, but also because meat cooked on the bone had way more flavor than meat not cooked on the bone.


            Perry P. Perkins
            “La Caja China Cooking”
            "La Caja China World"

          2. What kind of cooking rig do you have that has a rotisserie for 45 pounds of meat? I have roasted 200+ pound pigs before and I've cooked whole pork shoulders before, but never on a rotisserie. That sounds interesting. I am curious as to what kind of meat you're using. Is it a whole pig that you intend to bone out? That seems like a lot of unnecessary work to me, depending on how you're doing the cooking.

            1 Reply
            1. re: John E.

              Maybe it is better to start out small....Like a pork loin??????

            2. Thanks for all the answers guys.

              I actually have no problem leaving the bones in. Maybe that is the way to go about this.

              Secondly, I can't leave the head on as the grill I'm renting is 2'x5' and won't fit the pig. So not much to do there.

              John E: I rented a rotisserie from a local party supply store in my area (Calgary, AB). It is a charcoal base with a spit that hold up to 100 lbs.

              So with that if I am to remove the head and say the bottom portion of the feet how long shopuld this beast take. Will I need spine clips or just truss the whole pig to the spit? The spit I'm renting can support the weight of the pig so I was just trying to replicate what I had had in Italy which was a bonless whole pig that was roasted. It was an ENTIRE pig sans the head and bones but left intact.

              12 Replies
              1. re: Gondi Stylez

                Check the pigs length before you operate on it. an 80 piggy should be about 4 feet long, depending on the breed, age, etc.
                Is it 80lbs live or dressed?

                1. re: ospreycove

                  ospreycove: It is 80lbs dressed

                  What if I remove partial bones? Should I remove the leg and shoulder bones and leave the ribcage and spinal column intact? Just to facilitate ease of cooking..

                  1. re: Gondi Stylez

                    So, 80lbs spit ready is a good sized hog; if it is in fact too long for the spit I guess removing the head is better than taking off the rear legs, too much meat on the hams. I would leave as much of the skeletal frame as possible, to reduce meat falling off

                    1. re: ospreycove

                      Fair enough. So that being said how long should this take? 10-12 hrs? Also, how would I go about trussing this thing. I'd like to brine it first. Any tips?

                      1. re: Gondi Stylez

                        Minimum should be at least 8 hours depending on how the coals are arranged, etc. probe the rear legs with a knife and look for clear juices, or use a long shaft meat thermometer to check doneness. Truss with baling wire or heavy twine to snug the spine to the spit. Season the cavity with salt pepper and what other herbs/garlic, etc. you want. A trick is to smear a heavy coating of yellow mustard all over the pig before roasting. This seems to seal the juices in the meat and crisps the skin nicely. Any mustard flavor seems to disappear during roasting. Brining, to infuse flavor is also helpful, but a little unwieldy. I have seen an Apple cider mix used and it was also tasty.

                        Good luck!!!!!!

                        1. re: ospreycove

                          I was planning on putting the coals around the edge and keeping it around 250'. I have a meat thermometer to check for the temperature but some sources say 165 and others 190?

                          I would think that if the ham and shoulder are at 170' it is good to go. Or am I off base?

                            1. re: Gondi Stylez

                              It'll be done at 165F, but it won't be pullable until it hits 190F (and stays there for a bit).

                              1. re: ricepad

                                How much charcoal will I need? Indirect but closed spit bbq. ~100 lbs? I'm using a mixture of lump charcoal, Dragon's Breath (burns longer) and Maple Leaf (beech, maple and yellow birch). I was thinking 60# DB and 40# ML.

                                Time to cook the pig for 190-200F 10-12hrs at 250? Or is that too long? I want to be ready to eat for 6. So I'd raher play it safe.

                                How often should I baste? Leave pig for 3 hrs then start basting every 45 mins? I'm using Olive oil, herbs and lemon.

                                Thanks for all the help so far!!

                                1. re: Gondi Stylez

                                  I think 10-12 hours is probably a good estimate, but if I were you, I'd err on the longer side, for a couple of reasons. First, once it hits 190-200F, it'll stay there for quite a bit, while the collagen melts and breaks down, lubricating the meat. The temp won't start to climb again until most of the collagen is gone, but this temperature plateau may be an hour or more, giving you some leeway. Second, after you've taken it off the fire, it'll retain heat for a LONG time, providing you even more leeway. So...if you start at 6 AM and it hits 190F at 4 PM, you're golden. Just stop feeding the fire and monitor the meat temps. If it starts to climb beyond 200F, take it off and cover it. By 5:30 PM, you should take it off anyway, to let it rest before pulling.

                                  1. re: ricepad

                                    The pig can stay on the spit for a couple hours after the coals die down and the meat will still be hot.

                                2. re: ricepad

                                  and when there is a lot of connective tissue to break down you want it pullable. Problem with the whole animal is that some primals are better at lower temps and some with higher. You might loose the delight of a rare loin for the succullent texture of the shoulder, breast and shanks when cooked to the point that they fall apart. Oh yeah!

                  2. google Caja China - best method I know of....