In may last post I shared that I was a bit nervous (ok, straight up scared) about roasting a pig for friends and Family!  We share lots of bounty off the farm, but this is the first time undertaking such a large cooking effort.

New Year’s day did indeed start in the dark, and it was very cold (mid twenties).

Pre-dawn Fires

Pre-dawn Fires

It did not start smoothly – it tool took a few tries to get the beast fastened to the spit well enough. We both thought it a good idea to add some spice and cut up apples to the cavity and stitch it back up. I am not sure if this is a good or bad idea.  It may have cooked faster if the cavity was left open, and the goods on the inside discolored the inside of the ribs.  Still good and yummy but not the most attractive.

It did not come with any means of securing the feet, and the beast has a balance point so that each time the the beast turned, at the top of the cycle it would flop and twist slightly over the tipping point to climb back up the other side of the loop.  This means one side cooked faster than the other, but we took care of that in the end by manually stalling the cooler side for longer each cycle for about 40 minutes.  It was a bit creepy too, since the two ends did not turn in unison. My husbands solution for floppy ears also a bit creepy, but very functional and likely better than burned ears and eyeballs (that could have been icky!).  We kept the campfire roaring and took coals from it to the cooking fire as needed to keep the internal temp climbing.  Having a meat thermometer is critical.

Once the hide split and it was a self basting roast.  I added my biggest dutch oven to the center of the coal pile to act a s a basin to catch the drippings and those were used to baste the whole thing.  The best way to season a cast iron pot – high heat and pure lard!  That dutch oven is now nonstick in the extreme.

open fire cookin'

Company arrived mid day and after a couple our hours socializing around a campfire it was time to feast!  All agree it is delicious and everyone takes some home.  This was my first chance to try cooked skin, and I do not like it.  One of our guests has been to many a pig roast and he made the comment that this hog had a thicker hide than the others he has cooked.  I am going to give that credit to the heritage breed – hardy pigs these are.  I also feel better about pour butchery method to skin them first.

With the warmest temp of the day hitting the low forties no one wanted to stay past dark, even with a roaring campfire. No blaming my guests on that note.  I call this a major success, but will admit that I am not looking forward to doing it again anytime soon.  It is a ton of work, and hosting in general can be a bit stressful.  I will say this is a very efficient way to feed a large group of people, and it is indeed delicious!

Even the dogs got to enjoy a bit.

Down Dog

Down Dog