How to roast a whole pig
Hog Roasting: Prepare, Cook and Serve
- 1x chilled pig between 25-85kg head on weight
- A clean hog roast machine complete with tray for hog roasting pig and support bars
- A suitable food safe bench or table, preferably stainless steel top.
- Personal protective equipment, PPE, hat, red apron, gloves, butchers coat or overalls (white)
- 1x Red handled knife
- 1x Waste bin with liner
- Hot soapy water and clean cloths
- Tool box
In the hog tray there is a sum plug, when you cook a pig in a hog roast tray you will be surprised at the amount of fat which can be produced. This of course varies from pig to pig and generally better pigs will produce less fat. The sum plug is included to give you the option to drain the fat. When cooking the fat can get extremely hot and this can make serving difficult. However some customers will like the idea of the pig cooked in its juices. Therefore a judgment needs to be made, however what some of our customer do is place a metal pan underneath the hog tray to collect the fat then when serving they can add a little fat to moisten the pig but not so much that it makes serving difficult.
Removing of head is optional but recommended as it saves a lot of hassle and can often but some customers off. Place the pig on the bench with head to open end. If pig still has head, remove it by cutting all round the base of head with sharp knife then grip head firmly and give sharp twist to snap neck. Head should then pull off. If head does not twist freely re-cut and try again. Throw head away.
Take top front leg and cut around knee joint, Twist and snap off leg (if leg does not twist off easily then cut and repeat)
Trim belly fat
Take top back leg and bend at knee joint forward. Cut in behind the knee joint this will make knee joint floppy. Now cut round the knee joint and twist and remove. If it does not twist off easily then cut and repeat. Repeat for other rear leg.
Place the prepared pig in the centre of the tray. This is very important as if the pig leans to one side this could affect cooking times or even burn on side of the pig because it is too close to the burner
Follow section on scoring the pig then add water and plenty of salt to produce the crackling.
Place the pig into the base of the machine. Again is it is very important that the tray is completely central.
Put the lid onto the machine
Turn on the machine onto a high flame for the first 30mins to seal the pig and to produce good crackling.
The remained of the cooking time should be done on the medium flame. If you want to cook the pig for longer use the override system to get the flame burner as low as you like.
Once the pig has reached serving temperature, Turn off gas burners and use oven gloves and plenty of cloths to remove the lid from the machine.
The hog tray can then be raised up to the serving position using the support bars.
Jointing the Pig
How you set about jointing the pig will depend on the type of job and speed of serving required. When serving a set amount of people usually at a private event where there will be an immediate queue of people looking to eat, you will need to joint half the pig onto the base tray in one go. This will allow you to serve everyone quickly whilst still maintaining the visual aspects of a pig on a spit. During a slower serve where the numbers and rate of customers is unpredictable usually when selling to the general public it is best to joint the pig one section at a time on to the base tray. It is important to remember that once you remove the crackling from any part of the pig it will start to lose temperature. One 50kg pig will feed 100 people onto plates or make 160 – 200 pork sandwiches.
It is important to note that you should never try to carve directly off the pig as this can be extremely difficult, will look unprofessional and you will lose a lot of portions. When jointing and carving the pig you can turn the burners back on a low flame to warm up the carving tray and keep the meat warm for longer.
Remove crackling from the appropriate areas using a robust pair of scissors and holding the crackling with food standard tongues.
Starting from the rear end of the pig by cutting the un- scored area of the crackling so as to create and remove long even strips.
Quick serve – you will need to remove all the crackling from one side of the pig working from the central scoring line down the back. This is done on your side so that the customer still sees the untouched pig.
Slow serve – you will only remove crackling from the rear quarter.
These should be the perfect size for cutting into pieces and serving on a platter with the crispy side up.
Take the knife and fork, insert fork into the front of the rear leg and then cut from the bottom of the rear leg close to the bone up the leg and following the bone up. Once you hit the hipbone turn with it and out of the joint. From beginning to end this is done in an L shaped motion.
Place the fork in the rear of the back leg and cut from the top of the leg down following the bone and removing the front face of the hind quarter
Place the fork in the rear of the back leg and cut from the bottom of the leg along and up the leg in an L shaped motion to remove the remainder of the hindquarter.
You will need to do a little tidy up of remaining meat still in the cut area.
Stick a fork in top of the hindquarter and cut from the rear following the line of bone cutting from the back and working forward on the top of the hind quarter until the knife comes up along the hip bone and out.
Cut in front of the hipbone through to the spine then cut from the hipbone from the spine to the centre. Cut under the loin and along the backbone to the centre. You should now be able to remove a neat cylindrical piece of loin.
Insert fork in to rear of front leg and cut up from the bottom the leg to the shoulder blade and out in an L shaped motion
Insert fork into the middle of the front leg and cut behind the shoulder blade through to the front of the pig removing the whole shoulder blade as one piece
Insert fork into centre of shoulder and cut along the backbone to the front of the pig. Cut under the shoulderto the front of the pig. This should now leave the shoulder free, if not repeat the above stages.
You will now need to tidy up these areas cutting off the remaining meat. You are now ready to begin carving.
Carving the Pig
On a quick serve do not be rushed into starting carving until you have fully joined half of the pig. It might seem like a good idea but you will end up being slower and appear un professional and disorganized
Go round to the customer side of the pig and rotate it so that it appears to the customer that the pig is still whole and looks tidy and organised.
Place the wooden bottomed yellow carving board on to the base tray and start carving one joint at a time as required for service.
Customers should see their portion freshly carved. You can achieve this quickly and smoothly because of your preparation
When you start to run out of your joints of meat, start jointing and carving the customer side working in sections as required to maintain the visual centre piece as long as possible.