10 Things to Avoid When Roasting a Pig Over Charcoal

10 Things to Avoid When Roasting a Pig Over Charcoal

Roasting a whole pig over an open fire is a time-honoured tradition in many cultures around the world. It's a festive occasion that brings people together and provides a delicious meal. However, roasting a pig is also a delicate process that requires careful attention to detail. Here are 10 things to avoid when roasting a pig over a charcoal or wood fire to ensure a successful and tasty outcome.

  1. Choosing the wrong pig: When selecting a pig to roast, it's essential to choose the right size and weight. A pig that's too small won't provide enough meat, while a pig that's too large will be difficult to handle and cook properly. We typically advise that you allocate roughly 0.5 pounds of cooked meat per guest whom you intend to serve! Remember, the younger and smaller the pig, the less meat there will be (even though it might be more succulent). For an in depth explanation, click here
  2. Not cleaning the pig properly: Before roasting, it's important to clean the pig thoroughly, inside and out, to remove any dirt or debris that may be present. When you get your pig from your butcher it will likely come prepared to put on your spit, however, it is always a good practice to give your pig another once-over before you do the final seasoning and cooking.
  3. Not seasoning the pig adequately: To achieve maximum flavour, it's essential to season the pig well, both inside and out. Be sure to use plenty of salt, pepper, and other spices as desired. Here at PigOut we typically use Kosher Salt, a thickly ground black pepper, and Italiano seasoning. (If you are using a BBQ rub, try to use one that doesn’t contain high amounts of sugars as they may begin to burn due to high temperatures). Click here for a recipe on how you can season pork.
  4. Not securing the pig properly: To ensure even cooking and prevent the pig from falling apart during the roasting process, it's essential to secure it properly on the spit. All our machines will come with the clamps you will need to ensure your pig is properly attached to your spit pole. If you ever have any problems though we are just a call or email away and are happy to help!
  5. Not monitoring the temperature: Roasting a pig requires precise temperature control. Be sure to monitor the temperature throughout the cooking process to ensure even cooking and avoid overcooking or undercooking. In comparison to cooking over propane, charcoal or wood fires tend to vary more in terms of temperature. Try your best to maintain a relatively stable temperature throughout the cooking process.
  6. Not using the right equipment: Roasting a pig requires specialized equipment, including a spit, a roasting box, or a barbecue pit. Be sure to use the right equipment for the job to ensure a successful outcome. In terms of cooking over wood or charcoal, our Ultimate Charcoal Rotisserie is an excellent option to help you roast the perfect pig. You can even pair it with the Firebox and Wind Guards to help maintain a more stable cooking temp.
  7. Not giving the pig enough time to cook: Roasting a pig over an open flame is a slow process that requires patience. Be sure to allow enough time for the pig to cook properly, usually several hours. On our Propane Roaster, it typically cooks about 20 pounds per hour, but over charcoal or an open flame, you should expect it to take roughly 10 pounds per hour. So, a 100-pound pig could take roughly 10 hours to cook over an open fire. Of course though, this also varies depending on the environment you are cooking in, if it is a cold and windy day, this could take longer.
  8. Not using enough charcoal or wood: To achieve the perfect smoky flavour, it's essential to use enough charcoal or wood during the cooking process. The key here is to ensure that your heat source is properly distributed and that the temperature is maintained at a consistent level. For larger pigs, you will typically want to build your fire a little bit larger based around the hips and shoulders of the pig as they are the thickest parts.
  9. Not basting the pig regularly: Basting the pig with a flavourful liquid during the cooking process will help to keep it moist and prevent it from drying out. Using a spit rotisserie, like our Ultimate Charcoal Rotisserie, you won’t need to worry about this, as during the cook your pig’s fat will render down and baste itself. However, if you cook a pig over grills or in a roasting box, you will want to make sure you are actively monitoring and basting your roast to keep it from drying out and to help the crackling process.
  10. Not resting the pig before carving: After the pig is finished cooking, it's essential to let it rest for at least 30 minutes before carving. This will allow the juices to redistribute and ensure a juicy and flavorful final product. Think of it like when you cook a nice steak or any other form of roast, it is always a good practice to let it sit before carving and serving.

In conclusion, roasting a pig is a relatively complex and delicate process that requires careful attention to detail. By avoiding these 10 common mistakes, you'll be well on your way to a successful and delicious pig roast. One final recommendation is to ensure that you enjoy the process, and don’t be afraid to “PigOut” after all the hard work and dedication! Happy Roasting!

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