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Jun 19, 2011 06:47 PM

Whole Pigs

Does anyone know where I can get a whole pig at a reasonable price? I'm doing a pig roast and dont want to pay $5/lb the super market wants to charge me. I'm in Howell but I'm willing to travel if the price is right. Any help is appreciated. Thanks.

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  1. We just bought a whole pig from Ramon at Hernandez Beef & Provisions in Elizabeth and paid $1.79 per lb. The pig was 100 lbs before cleaning, netting about 75 lbs. It was excellent. Hernandez is a wholesale distributor but will sell to individuals. Ramon was very friendly and accommodating, loading the pig into our SUV. They require a couple days notice for ordering and are located in an industrial area off Route 1&9, a pain free ride from the NJ Turnpike. Others we checked were between $2.25 and $4.00 per lb, a substantial difference.

    We found two cooking options. First, a company that rented a grill with a spit, big enough for a 75 lb pig. The grill is 2'x5'. We used this grill which had no trouble handling our pig. You need power for the motor that turns the spit. Rental was $100. The spit postions the pig above the charcoals. You will need 75 to 100 lbs of coal to roast the pig for 8 to 9 hours and attain an internal safe temperature of 165 degrees. The key is to place the coals in the corners and perimeter of the grill so as not to char the pig skin. The roasting pig was dramatic, the hit of the luau themed party.

    A Party Pleasing Rentals
    38 W Route 10
    East Hanover, NJ

    The other option was purchasing a China Grill (La Caja Asadora) which sells for $166.00 at a market in North Bergen. These grills and this cooking technique are favored by many Cuban people who are experts at this style of cooking. The China Grill has a 2'x5' pan into which you place the splayed pig. You then place a second pan over the pig containing a perforated grate with handles. The grate allows restocking of coals and the pan provides a method of dumping out the ash from the pan below during coking. The grill prevents flare ups as the heat is above the pig, producing excellent charred skin. You can purchase this grill at Food Basics. You can watch a video for a cooking demonstration and get further cooking instructions from the Miami vendor below that also sells the grill, but charges $195 plus shipping.

    Food Basics
    1425 Kennedy Boulevard at 15th Street
    North Bergen, NJ

    Gook Luck!

    4 Replies
    1. re: MRG58

      Thank you so much for that information! I'm planning on doing a couple of pig roasts this summer and this is perfect. Do you know if Ramon also carries suckling pigs?

      1. re: joonjoon

        I did see several suckling pigs when I was there so I believe he can get them for you.

      2. re: MRG58

        Forgot to include:

        Hernandez Meat and Provisions
        635 Henry St
        Elizabeth, New Jersey 07201

        1. re: MRG58

          I picked up a roasting box from Food Basics yesterday. This is NOT "la caja china" from, but a different brand. Hopefully it will be just as good though. For 159 + tax it's a bargain!

          Next, need a pig!

        2. How about Green Village Packing in New Vernon? They will marinate it and put it on the spit for you.

          1. MRG, Spaetzle, Thanks for the info.

            The last time I did a pig roast, 2 years ago, I built a "pit" with some cinder block and concrete reenforcing wire. I got the plans from the 3 guys from miami website. The pig turned out awsome and I can adjust the size of the pit to the size of the pig.

            Also thanks for the heads up on the caja china in North Bergen. I've been looking for one and didnt want to spend a fortune. I happen to be a firefighter in the area and now exactly where food basics is and will hopefully be picking one up this week.

            1 Reply
            1. re: magicjeep

              I spoke with Willie, the Manager of the Food Basics store. He advsied the grill was $195.00, but was $165.00 including sales tax resulting from a special they were having. You might want to call to ensure you get the lower price. BTW the grills are located to the far right of the checkout counter. I think you will need about 70 lbs of coal.

            2. Wow this post hit me at just the right time! I am having a pig roast on July 9th and called around today for pricing. Nothing near that $1.79 per pound price. I already rented the large grill you speak of. I plan on brining the pig inside large plastic bags in a 55 gallon garbage pail. My neighbors growing up were from Puerto Rico and had pig roasts all the time. I will be using her herb and spice mix in the slits I make on the pig. Thanks for the tip on where to buy, Ill call there tomorrow.

              7 Replies
              1. re: foodislove1958

                foodislove, if you get a chance, and you dont mind, could you let me know what they charge you.

                1. re: magicjeep

                  hey magic...well we had the pork extravaganza this past weekend. I did get the whole hog from the Hernandez Brothers. It was 100 lbs and I was charged $1.99 per pound. Interesting place..just not sure if it was "worth" my trip. I rented the grill from Grillbillies in Garwood. It cost $150 for 4 days. The "grillbilly" guys were very very accomodating and are serious about their pork. They told me they use a slaughter house in Warren for their whole animals. The grill was flare ups...slow steady heat for 9 hours and the pig was done. You start by lighting just the far side of the charcoal on the left and the right (we used 100 lbs of charcoal) and it slowly burns into the middle creating a slow even heat. We stuffed the cavity with chorizo, applewood smoked bacon , whole onions, other aromatics and herbs. We used a mop of garlic and pickle juice with saffron and fresh oregano. Nice thing was when the pig was done we were able to stoke up the grill higher and roast about 100 chicken pieces in about 30 fire! All in all a great way to feed alot of people.

                  1. re: foodislove1958

                    Nice looking pig. How did the skin turn out on the smoker??

                    3 weeks until mine goes on the pit. I'm looking at about 150lb'er, the invite list keeps getting bigger.

                    1. re: magicjeep

                      The skin crackled like glass. Make sure you mop at least every hour. I wouldnt describe this as a smoker. More of a roaster with the option of smoke. I did not use any wood and got a mild smoke flavor which I prefer. I would caution you on your pig size. I had 100 people and everyone loved the pork..and I had alot left over. At least 20 lbs or more so solid pork. A 150 lb hog would most likely feed 150 or more. I did offer chicken and hot dogs as well. If you do decide to go with the 150 order now. Most of the shops have to special order one that size. Good luck and hope you get nice weather! One other tip...if you stuff the pig...I got dropped ceiling wire at Home Depot. Was great to sew up the cavity and wrap the legs tight. Its stainless steel and food friendly.

                      1. re: foodislove1958

                        Did my pig yesterday, came out great. I went to Godek's Farm in Marlboro, I got a 200lb (live weight probably around 155 dressed) for $1.30/lb. It was a big pig and I definitly wouldnt go any bigger that big again just because it was a little difficult to handle. We had hamburgers and hot dogs but they were mainly for the kids at the party. I also kept my sides simple, mac n' cheese, vinegar cole slaw, potato salad and apple pie beans. My brother and I started the pig at 12:30am, let him cook for 14 hours, pulled him off at 2:30pm and started eating around 4pm. The meat just fell apart and was still juicy and the skin, like you said, cracked like glass. As far as leftovers, I bought a package of to-go boxes from Sam's and let everyone take some home with them. I ended up with about a full tray of pork.

                        1. re: magicjeep

                          I forgot, I also got all the entrails and planned on making sausage (liverwurst & blood sausage). Unfortunately things got a little hectic and they got left out on a table over night so I had to pitch'em in the trash.

                          1. re: magicjeep

                            I got the endtrails and made sausage also. Here's my facebook photo album with some pictures in case you're interested!


              2. MRG, I picked up a caja asadora last sunday at Food Basics. It was the last one they had and it was missing a piece, no big deal I made a new one, so they knocked a few dollars off. Thanks for the heads up on them.

                Also I found a pig farm in Manalapan, Godek's farms, they have pigs $1.70 a pound, live weight, and if you you order over 150#'s its $1.25/lb and they need 1 week lead time. The good thing is they are about 20 minutes from home.

                3 Replies
                1. re: magicjeep

                  Magicjeep, I did exactly what you did. Picked up a Caja from Food Basics and a pig from Godek's. That place is just plain fantastic isn't it? I got a small pig - around 50 lbs for my first try. They charge more for small pigs so mine was a little over 2 bucks a lb. I also asked for all the innards and blood to be wrapped up and I'm going to attempt sausage making. What are you doing with your pig in terms of prep/service?

                  1. re: magicjeep

                    Hey MJ, did your Caja come with a rack for the pig? Mine's missing the pig holding this:

                    Not sure how I'm supposed to roast the pig without the flipping contraption. Oh well.

                    1. re: joonjoon

                      Mine is missing one of the bent sheet metal that holds the charcoal rack on top. Heres a site that sells parts for the caja china:


                      If you dont want to spend the $55 +shipping, you might be able to use some concrete reenforcement wire sheets from Home Depot/Lowes. Thats what I use for the pit I have. I attached a picture to show you what I'm talking about. You could get the sheets and cut (wire snips/angle grinder) them down to fit inside the box and than twist a few small pieces of wire to hold it closed. The only thing is you have to steel wool/brillo the rust off the wire.

                      As far as seaoning, I usually I just sea salt the pig and put it on the coals. I was thinking about asking for the "guts" and try making something with them, not that I think anyone would eat them except me. I have a suasage making book somewhere around here if you need some recipes.

                      Good luck with the pig & sausage. Let me know how it turns out.