Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Pig Pickin'

The Pig:

Mogul of appetite,
lord of misrule,
the king who must die.
- John Thorne, Serious Pig

So... I roasted my first pig. This is pretty much how I did it:
Eat a lot of pig, then consider to yourself, "Hey, could I do this?"
I, personally, like to know what I'm getting into when these things occur, so I did some research.
You may want to wing it.

I consulted a couple of reliable sources in the matter:

Then I ordered a 20 lb piglet from a local butcher, Henry's Market.
It's the new Waterford location of the Bennington VT mainstay.

I had a couple of days to kill, so I cooked up a couple-a-three tasty vinegar-based mopping sauces:
  • Sweet
  • Hot
  • Mustard
(One for each of the Carolinas)
Pig day arrived and here's what I brought home:
So it wouldn't be lonely, I found a friend.

They took a nice 15 hour bath together:
  • A couple of gallons of brine at 20-1, H20 to NaCl
  • A dozen cloves of garlic, smashed
  • A lemon
  • Handful of ground black pepper
  • Handful of ground chipotle peppers
  • Handful of brown sugar

After rinsing a couple of times, the chicken was stuffed with the scavenged remains of the brine and some sausage. Then all that was stuffed into the pig.

A little surgery to keep everything in place.

A nod to tradition.

(That's some pig!)

And into the oven...
I estimated about 4 hours based on weight, but ended up leaving it in 4.5 to allow for the stuffing.

This was the turn, at about 2 hours. Browning starting to kick in, and the skin is really tightening up!

And then it set for about an hour. (There was some considerable pressure from the assembled masses to dig in right away, but I held firm.)

We passed the time filming commercials.

Finally, the pig makes it to the table.

Various sides: slaw, potatoes (salt and salad), pickles, olives, peppers, sauces, buns, tortillas, and guacamole.

Carving commenced and prime cuts were given a place of honor on the table.

Some more meatball surgery to get to the good stuffed parts.

So... that was my first pig, and I'm sticking to it.



Unknown said...

I can't believe I just looked at all the pics. I won't sleep tonight.

Frank said...

Yeah, but how'd it taste?

Anonymous said...


Quite the endeavor.

llcwine said...

I'm so jealous....would have loved to try it...did you get to taste the cheeks? Are they as tasty as beef cheeks? How much did little Mr Piggy cost from Henry's? If I do try it...I may do it low and slow on the Weber charcoal...or halfway in the oven and finish over charcoal.

llcwine said...

I forgot to ask before, why stuff the piglet with the chicken? and how did the chicken taste? If it was to keep it moist and add flavor, could you substitute salt pork or smoked ham hocks/smoked turkey legs?

Sandor said...

Taste? Like swine heaven!

The cheeks were great. I would've hogged them to myself, but there were enough people at the table in the know about 'em, so we ended up dividing out everything so no one was left out: cheek, belly (or "future bacon"), shanks, etc...

All the fun parts (ears, snout, tail, squeal, whatnot) were passed around too, but not everyone partook (the fools!)

Lil' pig was about $4.50 a pound, not bad considering it feed a dozen people.

"why stuff the piglet with the chicken?"

Why not?!? ;)

Just a nod to the turducken or maybe some Elizabethan decadence, with a pig-chicken-pig layering. No specific culinary reason. Chicken came out very moist, but obviously didn't crisp up. Next time, I'll probably just stuff with fruits and/or veggies, plus aromatics. Your salt pork/hocks/legs idea sounds like overkill, so therefore has great merit and should be done!

Albany Jane said...

Dude, that looks awesome in the oven. And if you ever need help polishing one off... just sayin'.

Sandor said...

I must stress, Miss AJ, that this was a "proof of concept pig" and now that I've got it down, I'll need some pro eatin' assistance next time. ;)

Sophia Walker said...

Did you sleep with the pig? You did didn't you???

Sandor said...

We only bathed together!