Cooking Up A Hog Roast: Your Definitive Checklist
Roasting up an entire hog is an impressive and effective way to serve a crowd. An average-sized pig – which is about 50 kilos – will feed 100 people without any side dishes, making a hog roast the optimal dish for catering to a crowd. The super-rich and full flavours of a hog roast make it a hit among groups of all sorts, and no matter where you host your gathering, the smell can’t be beaten.
If you want to tackle roasting a whole hog but don’t know where to begin, take a minute to read through our checklist.
Sourcing Your Hog
When it comes to where you get your hog from, you’ll want to forget about big franchises and instead consider these options:
- Your local pig farmer
- Ethnic markets
- Online pig farmers
- Your local butcher, who may know other butchers that carry hogs if they do not
You may also want to look into making sure your hog is free-range, as they tend to be higher quality in terms of taste. Plus, it may be a lot easier on the mind to know that your hog had a pleasant life before it came to an end.
Equipment You Need
Unless you’re enthusiastic about setting up a fire pit and roasting your hog on a spit, you’ll want to invest in a hog roasting machine. It’s highly unlikely that you have one yourself, so you’ll want to look into hiring a hog roast machine to use for the day of your roast. Aside from the machine itself, you’ll need:
- The propane to power the machine
- A Stanley knife
- A thermometer
- Warm water
- Lots of salt
- Aluminium foil
Preparing the Meat
Once you’ve finally got the hog on hand, you’ll need to take the following steps to prepare it for a proper roasting:
- Place the pig on a table, belly-down, and remove all ropes and restraints it came in.
- Score the pig with your Stanley knife. Scoring allows the heat to better reach through the skin and down to the bones, so the whole hog cooks evenly.
- If you’re inclined, you can stuff the belly of the pig, but make sure you sew it back up well before you start cooking.
- Cover the insides and outer edges of the hog-roasting machine with aluminum foil and place the hog inside, belly-down, centered well. Cover the ears in foil if you want to prevent burning, but this option is entirely up to you.
- Pour a jug’s worth of warm water over every part of the hog.
- Rub approximately five handfuls of salt into every area of the hog.
Once you finish preparing the hog, close the machine, connect the gas tank, and fire the machine up. The length of time it will take for your pig to cook varies on the size. A hog of about 50 kilos can take about six hours to cook, while a hog of 75 kilos can take upwards of nine hours. Cooking time will decrease on hot summer days and increase on cold winter days as well, so you’ll need to pay attention.
Check on your hog about every hour. If you hire a proper hog-roasting machine, it should have a glass window that lets you make sure your pig isn’t burning. When the cooking time comes to an end, check the temperature of the hog with your thermometer. If it doesn’t read above 75 degrees celsius, let your hog cook for half an hour more and check again.
After cooking finishes, you’re ready to carve it up. You can serve it as is or with side dishes like salad and potatoes to serve even more people. Serving your hog roast in the form of rolls can also double the amount of people that you’re able to serve and still let you serve side dishes too.
With adequate preparation, cooking, and serving, everyone eats well and goes home happy. Whether you’re hosting an outdoor barbecue or holding an extravagant party, a hog roast is a sure-fire way to please a crowd.