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Whole roast cooked suckling pig in Boston area

j
jeneff Jun 11, 2012 01:40 PM

Hello, all--
I live in Arlington and am looking to buy a whole suckling pig already COOKED for a party I am having. I do not need side dishes or anyone serving it up, just 2 pigs about 20# each. Any thoughts?

  1. j
    jeneff Jun 21, 2012 06:31 AM

    Thanks to everyone for your ideas. I ended up ordering 2 pigs from the Midwest Grill for tomorrow's party. They were reasonably priced, the chef is great to work with, and I will get pre-cooked pigs from a professional for my trouble. I'll try to follow up with news on how they came out. I had trouble with the language barrier ordering from the Chinatown places, I'm sure if I could have gone in person to order it would have been fine.

    11 Replies
    1. re: jeneff
      c
      calisson Jun 22, 2012 02:23 PM

      I am eager to hear how they were. My husband has a birthday coming up and we are thinking about this as a possible item.

      1. re: calisson
        j
        jeneff Jun 25, 2012 05:35 PM

        They were excellent-- tender, falling off the bone, good flavor. I am considering making it an annual event! My husband (whose birthday celebration this was) says it's the best version of fresh pork (as opposed to cured) he's ever had.

        1. re: jeneff
          barleywino Jun 25, 2012 05:49 PM

          Was the skin soft, chewy or crispy?

          1. re: jeneff
            c
            CambridgeFoodie Jun 25, 2012 06:07 PM

            Would it be possible to provide a ball park price on the cost of the pigs - I too am now very intrigued.

            Thank you!

            1. re: CambridgeFoodie
              j
              jeneff Jun 26, 2012 06:09 AM

              The skin was soft, so you didn't get those great cracklins you do with other preparations; I tossed the skin (maybe I could have kept it and crisped it myself?). The pigs were $160 each (could have been anywhere from 18-24#); this price includes the pig, the cooking of it, and a side dish of your choice from the restaurant.

              1. re: jeneff
                barleywino Jun 26, 2012 06:24 AM

                if you like crackling skin, try the chinatown places sometime

                1. re: jeneff
                  itaunas Jun 26, 2012 06:47 AM

                  jeneff glad Midwest worked out for your party and for future reference you could ask if they will do "leitao a pururuca" for crisp skin. Normally in that case the skin is heated right before serving, so they may not be willing to do it or could be concerned about transport (what is on the bottom won't remain crisp). It is possible to crisp it yourself -- the fat will already be rendered, so you want to heat it quickly (eg frying or under a salamander/broiler).

                  1. re: itaunas
                    j
                    jeneff Jun 26, 2012 05:37 PM

                    It's possible that, given the transport time and gap from when we got it to when we ate it, without cooking it ourselves we may not have been able to get the crisp skin version, but I will keep the "leitao a pururuca" in mind! On a less hot weekend, I would have been willing to put it in our oven. But, really, it was great as it was. By the way, I worked with the chef named Nei on this order.

                    1. re: jeneff
                      g
                      galka Jun 28, 2012 03:10 AM

                      Do you mind explaining the logistics? Did you go and get it or do they deliver? Were the pigs cold when you brought them home? Did you reheat and if yes, how? Was it easy to cut into portions? What did you serve it with? It sounds so great but I am a little intimidated just thinking of the logistics. Thanks in advance!

                      1. re: galka
                        itaunas Jun 29, 2012 07:12 AM

                        BTW, as a rough guideline US home ovens can fit around one 18-19lb pig without modification so keep that in mind for reheating purposes. Really a 15-16lb pig is a better fit (for roasting). If you have a pro-style range you might be able to fit a roasting pig over 20lbs and there are other workarounds (removing the head, or roasting a pig in two halves), but if you order 2 24lb pigs they won't easily fit in most ovens for reheating even one at a time.

                        1. re: galka
                          j
                          jeneff Jul 1, 2012 11:37 AM

                          My husband picked them up and they each fit in one of those aluminum roasting pans often used for turkeys, so they were easy to handle and transport. They were warm-- I called 1 hour before we arrived at the restaurant to tell them we were on our way. They put foil over them to retain the heat. I did not reheat them, as it was hot out, warm was good enough for me. For side dishes, I served a selection of antipasto (olives, bread, cheese, smoked meats; I made marinated Italian vegetables and roasted pepper strips the day before, both very easy); I made an orzo salad (very easy, served cold, my own recipe-- no vinegar! Happy to share if you're interested, it's become a warm-weather staple for us); pasta with pesto for the kids; mixed green salad; watermelon, and dessert. I would have added corn if it were seasonal. It worked really well, was extremely manageable and no-hassle for 25 people. If I did it again, I would include good rolls and such to make sandwiches out of the pork-- the pulled pork angle was a good one.

          2. e
            eatntell Jun 12, 2012 10:32 AM

            In my book, HK Eatery has the best bbq in Chinatown. Not only can you order whole roast pigs, but also whole roast geese.

            In some Chinese weddings, a roast pig can play a big role (the bride's virginity), as described in this article. And that's why places like HK Eatery offer them.

            http://foodfella.com/Writing%20Pages/...

            "Sucking pigs have been wedding fare since at least as far back as the Middle Ages, when ‘pigge ffarced’ was de rigeur at seriously grand banquets. As part of Chinese wedding custom, sucking pig is considered to represent the bride’s purity, perhaps more because of its rosy colour than anything else. Traditional practices vary between dialect groups. For example, for some, a sucking pig is included in the dowry sent by the groom’s family to the bride’s house, a few days before the actual wedding; it may be cut up, the bride’s family keeping some and sending the rest back to the groom’s house. For others, the groom presents a sucking pig to the bride’s family shortly after the wedding night, as a token to confirm that his beloved was indeed only his beloved. The added connotations of red as the colour of good fortune, and pork as signifying abundance – roast pork is often used as an offering to the gods in other household rituals – only serve to enrich the context. Modern Chinese couples and families, it almost goes without saying, largely ignore the symbolic side of the sucking pig, and simply enjoy it for its own sake."

            Perhaps why "Modern Chinese couples and families" "ignore the symbolic side of the sucking pig" is because virgin brides are in short supply.

            1. whs Jun 11, 2012 05:53 PM

              Citizen Pub does a roast pig dinner - not sure if it's available for take-out.

              1. kobuta Jun 11, 2012 05:48 PM

                If you're going to Chinatown, you may want to clarify if you really want a roast suckling pig or a roast pig. Suckling pig of course is much smaller, and also more expensive, as it's tender meat and crispy skin is a delicacy. You will not typically find these hanging in the Chinese BBQ restaurant windows. These are usually reserved for special occasions.

                A roast pig on the other hand, will still be pricey, but you get much more meat with it. I assume you also have a couple of folks who will help you get 40lbs of roast pig back to Arlington.

                1. v
                  villadeste92 Jun 11, 2012 05:03 PM

                  Great Barbeque, at 15 Hudson St Chinatown will roast a whole pig for you.

                  1. itaunas Jun 11, 2012 01:51 PM

                    You could order them from Qic-Pic or Hong Kong in Chinatown.

                    If you want a Brazilian option, I know that Midwest Grill in Cambridge has done it on a catering basis (in the case customer provided pig) and I was led to believe it was over charcoal but that is a question to ask. You would also want to ask about seasoning and try to talk directly to the owner on-site (Gilmar, who has another partner). Acougue Brasil (Brazilian Butcher) on Middlesex Ave in Medford offer cooked pigs as an option -- you should talk to the owner/manager to make communication easier. CIA and Company in Everett also did this in the past (baked in a pizza oven, I believe) -- this is the former owners of Bahia Grill in Somerville, but I don't know if they still do and how well they speak English.

                    1. 9
                      9lives Jun 11, 2012 01:48 PM

                      I'd check out Chinatown. A group of us had a whole pig at Hong Kong Eatery some years back. Vinh Sun or any of the bbq meat places should be able to take care of you. Obviously give them a few days notice.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: 9lives
                        j
                        jeneff Jun 11, 2012 01:52 PM

                        Thank you-- it looks like that's a good option. I thought I might be missing something slightly easier to get to from where I am, but I can certainly do this. Thanks!

                        1. re: jeneff
                          itaunas Jun 11, 2012 01:56 PM

                          If you make a trip to Chinatown, you can probably find a suckling pig hanging, but if you want to be certain so as not to disappoint your guests ordering in advance is suggested. Also most are smaller, whereas I would call 20lb a roasting pig. The Brazilian options I mentioned would order the pig and they are distributed frozen, so need 24 hours at least for defrosting and if you try it at the last minute you won't be lucky.

                          There are also a number of restaurants which offer it on a weekly basis -- Citizen Public House, Posto in Somerville. You can find threads on this, but I don't know about catering prices... certainly pricier. BBQ houses I can't advise you on, but worth calling around if that is what you want (Blue Ribbon, M&M, East Coast Grill, Redbones, Larry J's, Blackstrap, Firebox) -- you may not have many to pick between so try their BBQ before committing.

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