Nothing beats a hog roast but you may have trouble catering for the feast whilst trying to socialise. The best Hog roasts hires are the picture of a feast; Asterix of Gaul’s adventures would always end in a banquet under the stars with his tribe and the tribal element of eating a hog roast has not died. But, whilst Asterix’s tribe had many people who were available to prepare and cook the hog we, in the modern day do not. When planning a hog roast most people get really excited but as soon as they dig a little deeper, they get despondent asking questions like where are we going to get a pig, how do we get it home and how long do we have to cook it for?
Well this article is going to try to answer some of those questions. Firstly, there are lots of places to buy a pig. There are many free range and also organic pig farmers which is important when you think that you’re going to eat the beast fairly soon after it has been slaughtered. Intensively farmed swine do not make the best hog roasts. A small pig farmer will take far more interest in you as he will have a passion for his work and will want to share his knowledge so why not ask him how to roast a hog because although you may have a good idea of how to roast it, he may have a few tips that you hadn’t thought of. You also might like to try going to your local, high street butcher, once again he will have to order it and this may take upwards of a month.
Next, how do you get it home and where do you store it? There will be blood so don’t forget some protective coverings for your car boot and also remember to wear some old clothes. You may want to bring a friend to help carry the hog, as they can be very heavy. As for storing it- it’ll need to be somewhere cool and inside, maybe in a pantry, a larder or in the garage.
You’ve got the beast home and now you have to cook it. Firstly, you must decide whether you’re going to use charcoal, wood or gas. Wood is best because it will add a great flavour to the meat but you’ll have to choose the type of wood to use and also make sure that you have enough. Apple or cherry wood is lovely to burn under a hog but almost any wood will be fine except pine and yew as these tend to give an acrid flavour to the meat. Charcoal will also infuse the meat with a lovely flavour and is easier to manage than wood. The easiest of all is to get a fully integrated gas spit roast for you hog. These can be hired and delivered and are fairly controllable. Make sure that when you book it you know how big the hog is going to be as the gas barbeque comes in different sizes and you wouldn’t want a BBQ that’s too small for your hog, or a hog that looks too small on your BBQ.
Now you’re almost ready to get the beast on the pole. The pole should be at least seven feet long and one inch in diameter and should rest on the supports at about two feet above the heat. You also need fixing skewers to stop the pig from slipping as it is rotated. So, lay the pig on a table, stuffed and sown up and pass the pole from the back end of the animal to the mouth. Make sure that there’s an equal amount of pole at both ends. You might like to light the fire about now.
A good stuffing for a hog roast is apricots, nuts, sour cherries and apples mixed with breadcrumbs and sausage meat. Once mixed, stuff the belly of the pig with the stuffing and sew it up using a blanket stitch and baste the beast with an oily vinaigrette (tip- make sure that the stitching is always wet with the baste as otherwise it’ll burn and you’ll lose your stuffing).
Is the fire good and hot, has it been burning for at least an hour? Good, now, with a friend lift the pig on a spit over to the supports either side of the fire or into the gas BBQ and start rotating the beast over the heat. Turn the spit every 5-10 minutes. Now you just have to wait for it to cook- between six and eight hours. Test whether the meat is cooked by inserting a knife into the leg and look for the juices to run clear. If they do, get a couple of friends to help lift the hog off the support and onto a table then all of you together carve and serve up so that all your guests receive hot meat and stuffing. Now that the sun is setting you and your tribe can make like Asterix and his gang at another great banquet.
If all this Hog Roasting seems a little too much work then why not get the professionals in? Lisa Parks is a foodie from the South West of England. Her passion is for eco-friendly, seasonal, ethically sourced produce. She loves visiting the farms where practices are non-intensive yet still profitable- and she wants to tell the world!
She specialises in all things local and is passionate about organic, seasonal produce, Farmers’ markets and spreading the word that food doesn’t have to be from exotic climes to be fantastic.