How to Safely Do a Backyard Pig Roast

It's the ultimate end-of-summer DIY project

Pig on a Spit
iStockphoto/Thinkstock
Sure, it's a lot of work, but just think of all that crisp, crackly skin.

There's more than one way to roast a pig. In fact, there are at least three.

Once upon a time, Maxim magazine (yes, that Maxim) called upon Dr. BBQ, otherwise known as Ray Lampe, and two of his barbecue buddies to help out with a shoot. Only, this shoot involved roasting a pig.

Click here to see the How to Safely Do a Backyard Pig Roast Slideshow

The folks from Maxim were very demanding. They didn't want to roast just one pig; they wanted to roast three, each one a different way. One was to be cooked in a pit, one was to be cooked on a spit, and one was to be smoked, Dr. BBQ's favorite method. They met with varying levels of success — here is a neat summary of what they discovered about the pros and cons of each method.

I'd like my piggy... Pros Pitfalls
Cooked in a pit • None • You'll have to dig a pit in the ground.
• It needs to be a lot bigger than you think.
• You'll need a whole bunch of wood.
• You'll have to spend most of the day building a fire, until you have a pile of burnt embers about 10 inches high.
• You'll have to find banana leaves to cover the pig and about 100 cinder blocks to surround the pit.
• You'll need to find rocks to throw on top and weigh it all down.
• If you use the wrong type of rocks, they will explode.
• Neighbors will think you are burying a dead body.
• You'll have to put all the dirt back in when you're done.
Cooked on a spit

• It's picturesque.

• You can rent a spit pretty easily.

• Heat-control can be an issue.
• The pig will shrink a little as it cooks, meaning skewer placement is crucial; otherwise, they'll loosen up and the pig will fall off. Sure, you laugh now, but…
Smokin'

• If you butterfly the pig, this method results in the most consistent and even cooking.

• You can cook the pig faster than on a spit without drying it up.

• It's hard to find a smoker big enough to accommodate a whole pig.

• It's not quite what people picture when they think of a pig roast.

So which method would we go with? Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and we — we'd take the one in the middle.

Cue the groans, cheers, jeers, and sighs. Hey, we can't please everyone. Why the spit? Well, because we think it's what most people picture when they think of a pig roast dinner at some trendy restaurant. So, the smoker will have to wait for another day.

And don't even think about the pit, because we'll have to say you're on your own on that one — although, if you really, really insist on it, please be sure to dial 811 (a free service) before you dig. There could be a gas or other utility pipeline lurking underneath your backyard, and the last thing you want to do is strike it; across the country, every three minutes, someone accidentally strikes an underground pipeline, say the folks at Travelers Insurance.

Anyway, without further ado, here's How to Safely Do a Backyard Pig Roast. It's as easy as 1, 2, 3… 15.

Will Budiaman is the Recipe Editor at The Daily Meal. Follow him on Twitter @WillBudiaman.


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1 Comments

casa-giardino's picture

We enjoy pig roast (crisp, crackly skin) all winter long
http://casa-giardino.blogspot.com/2011/01/porchetta.html

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