You know, if my dad were still alive, he would be in his glory to be right in the midst of a pig roast. My dad was ahead of his time. Over 35 years ago, before it was fashionable, my dad made his own spit. We would have the relatives over and have a “turn”. We would always have boneless pork roasts and boneless beef roasts. Dad was always the chef. It was always cooked to perfection. I know my dad would have loved a pig roast; However, I don’t think my mom would have allowed a pig turning around in circles in her backyard.
A lot of you would like to try your hand at a pig roast, but you don’t know where to start. I contacted some of the “seasoned” pig roasters in our area and came up with some tips for you.
Paul King, who has probably been roasting pigs in the Akron area longer than anyone else, gave me some great advice. He said know your roaster. He said the roasters you rent are all different. Some are propane. Some are charcoal. After using many rented roasters, Paul designed and built his own roaster. He said he can cook a 150 pound pig in 6 hours in his roaster. He always using a temperature guage to make sure the meat is done. He said if you are cooking over an open pit you have to allow 18 to 20 hours for the pig to cook. He said if you are burying it underground and cooking it, you have to allow 24 hours for the pig to cook. Paul said for 150 people you should figure about 1 pound per person. He does not like to cook a pig over 150 pounds. He said if your party is bigger than that, then you need to get a second pig.
Mark DiFeo, of Catering by Mark DiFeo, said the size of the pig for a pig roast will depend on what other meat you are going to serve. He said he generally figures a pound of meat per person.
Steve, one of our customers, was in our store on Saturday. He picked up a 58 pound pig that we had seasoned. He was doing a pig roast for the very first time. He called me today to share his results. On Saturday morning at 5:30 a.m. he lit 10 pounds of charcoal. At 8:30 a.m. he added another 10 pounds to the pile. At 9:00 a.m. he put the pig on the spit. He rented a “coffin charcoal cooker”. He said the temperature inside the cooker was 200 to 225 degrees while the pig was cooking. He said he never opened the lid until 10:30 a.m. He checked the pig every hour and a half. At 3:30 p.m. the temperature of the pig was 165 degrees. He said it was the best pig he ever had. He said everyone commented on how good it was. He said he will definately cook another pig.
I talked to Rodney Stackhouse, Jr., Jr’s Smokehouse, (330)573-4002. He was a wealth of information. Rodney has build several cookers, and smokers. He said he usually uses 5) 20 pound bags of charcoal and wood when he cooks a pig. He lines both sides of the cooker with charcoal and wood. He starts with 20 pounds of charcoal and adds to it. He lets it burn and get some coals going before he starts cooking the pig. He doesn’t put the fire under the pig. He lines the sides of the cooker with the charcoal. He puts most of the heat under the shoulders and the butt. He doesn’t like to cook a pig over 130 pounds. He said if you need additional meat, he suggests a beef brisket or pork butts. He also likes to stuff chickens inside the pig when it is roasting. He likes to cook his low and slow. The temperature on his cooker is 250 degrees to 300 degrees while the pig is cooking. He said a 100 pound pig will take 8 to 10 hours to cook. He said you need to do a temp on the meat. He said either the front shoulder or the ham is the thickest part. He cooks it until the digital thermometer registers 170 degrees. Rodney said for 100 people you should do a 120 pound pig. Rodney said he takes “Michael’s Special Seasoning”, adds a little brown sugar and cayenne pepper, to make a rub. He said the brown sugar carmelizes and gives you a crispy outer crust. Sounds delicious, Rodney!
Well, now you have it, I hope this is helpful to you if you decide to venture into the realm of pig roasts this summer.
Until next time…From our Butcher Block to your Table.