Monday, January 17, 2011

Whole Roasted Pig - Our Christmas Tradition


Every year on January 6 we roast a whole pig for Christmas.  This is my husbands families tradition everything from the way it is prepared, to the way it is cooked is based on tradition.  I've always been curious as to where all their traditions originated from.  Most of the older family members are gone and most you ask these days, don't have much of an explanation, other than it's tradition. So who am I to mess with tradition, so a pig we roast!  Or I should say my husband roasts it; this is all his job one I happily let him do.  I'm much more of the open a package of meat and roast it type! I even gave him a photo assignment to get me some photos.  

He goes with his family and cousins to pick out the pigs two days prior to roasting.  Each family gets their own pig to cook.  They use a local farmer that also butchers the pig.  Make sure your butcher prepares it for rotisserie or you will be doing a whole bunch of sewing.  This is Long Ranch in Manteca California.  The pigs are stored in oversized coolers on ice until cooking. 


You just go in and find one that suits your needs, they are purchased by weight.  We have gotten an 80 pounder or so the last few years and that is the perfect amount for us.  You only get maybe 40 pounds of actual edible meat when it's all said and done.


My nephews all help with getting the pigs ready for cooking, it's something they look forward to. First the pig gets put on a pole, then he gets seasoned, salt, coarse pepper, garlic powder and pork rub all work good. He gets sewn back up and the legs get tied to a cross brace.  Then his nose gets nailed to the pole so he won't slip while turning (I know, ouch!).  


The whole pig is wrapped in chicken wire in order to keep it from coming loose during cooking.


Then they are placed on rotisseries and lots of Kingsford charcoal is heated up.  Make sure to cook them over low heat or they will burn on the outside and not be cooked on the inside.  They will need 10-12 hours to fully cook.  Use a meat thermometer and make sure they are 160 degrees internal temperature. (Inserted deep in the thigh or shoulder).  


Then the sides and top are covered, this produces an oven effect.  All that is left is a whole lotta turning going on.

Invite all your family and friends over, because you will have lots to share.  Although don't be surprised when it disappears right before you eyes.  There is no way to even compare it to a pork roast you pick up at the market.  I know just where to go first, the stringy belly meat that's covered in black pepper, yum!  Then I shred a bunch of the meat to use in the tamales I make. We basically have an open house to family and friends.  I usually don't have much leftover, but if I do, I just shred the meat and place it in a freezer bag and put it in the freezer for later in the year.


These are two of my nieces who told me, "Auntie we don't eat pigs we only eat unicorns"!  Good thing I always have other things to eat.

Enjoy,

Gina

24 comments:

  1. I was anxious to read your post about the pig roasting. Many years ago, we had a friend show roasted a pig in the summer in the backyard.He invited us and oh what fun that was! You are creating great memories.

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  2. And I only eat roast pigs - never unicorns. I have gone to pig roasts - which were so delectable. And I would never mess with tradition!

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  3. Now this is an event!!! it has been so long since I went to a pig roast...that suculent pork...sigh
    thanks for sharing this wonderful event with us!!
    Dennis

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  4. I want some!!! Looks delicious! Your nieces are too cute haha!

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  5. Gina, I would love to taste this. A lot of work but I bet its so worth it!

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  6. How wonderful that you get to eat this every year. I can just imagine the aroma wafting throughout the neighborhood. Roast pig is also the no.1 food for celebrations in the Philippines where I come from. Unfortunately, I haven't had this in a while as I don't live there anymore.

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  7. We roast an entire pig for Christmas and for weddings - everybody fights for a piece of meat with the crunchy skin.
    For Easter, we roast a whole lamb in the backyard. Our neighbors flock to our house on that day because it's an interesting and a somewhat unusual event.

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  8. Kate, we make them for weddings too! I need to get to your house for Easter!

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  9. Wow Gina what a feast! My husband has always told me that whole roasted pig is the best tasting meat, but I've never tried it. Your nieces are so cute and I wonder what unicorn taste like, hehe. Your tamales blow mine away! I bet everything tasted finger liking good:)

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  10. I went to a pig roast once when I was a kid, but they did it the Hawaiian way and put it in the ground. That being said, I think this is awesome and I'm sure the taste was fabulous.. man I love pork :) ha

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  11. I've been waiting for this post - your first photo is awesome! I absolutely love learning about religious and cultural food traditions - sadly, my family didn't have many, so maybe that's why. Roast pig is the best, but I've only been to Hawaiian ones where the pig is roasted in the ground.

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  12. I have been anxiously awaiting your post about the pig roast. One thing I miss about my NC roots are the pig pickin's. You just can't beat the flavor you get cooking that pig all day!You're the first Californian I've heard of who does it any way other than in the ground, Hawaiian style.

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  13. I see I'm not alone in having been waiting this post for a long time. I have to admit....i feel a bit sad for that cute pig (come on, aren't pig cute?!). No, I'm so not a vegetarian but I like to see the final result without having to go through the middle steps myself. I would have let your husband do the dirty job too...I would love to eat the pig now!

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  14. Smile. Your nieces made me laugh out loud. What an amazing tradition...I don't know if I've ever seen the process behind this before, so your post was extremely interesting to read! I can only imagine how succulent each bite of pork tasted. Thank you for sharing this with us, my dear!

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  15. Gina_ Your nieces are so cute! We went to a neighborhood pig roast last year, and the meat is so good, and before you know it, the meat is gone. You have to eat fast:)

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  16. Traditions are so wonderful for kids...and this is quite a tradition :) Your nieces are just adorable!

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  17. your nieces are so cute Gina :)))
    how was the unicorn? :)))) can't stop laughing :)))

    have a wonderful week Gina

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  18. Traditions are such a beautiful thing! I was excited to see your post. I have had a whole roasted pig before but never did it myself. Love your enthusiasm and ambition!!!

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  19. I can honestly say, I've never roasted a pig or a unicorn. But, I'm willing to try either ;)

    Do you have a simple recipe to post for Thursday? We'd love you to link up with our Recipe Blog Hop at The Executive Mom.

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  20. Gina, I'm so far behind on comments, but I've actually been waiting to read this one!! Saw your blurb on Facebook the other day and have had it on my mind.
    I'm so glad all turned out well for your dinner! Your husband did an awesome job on the pics, looks like you have a photo helper!
    Love the pics of the girls too... I'm looking forward to your unicorn post!! =)

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  21. Wow, this looks so impressive! Where is the rotisserie pit? I think it'd be impressive with just one pig, with a bunch of pigs roasting, it's just mind boggling! :)

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  22. I know how that taste...awesome!
    My dad'd traditions is the same..I grow up on roasted pigs..and we would eat them on January 7th
    How awesome that you shared this!

    And almost forgot..I have blog award for you..stop by when you find time!

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  23. Mouth watering! I wouldn't be able to go see the pig "before," that's for sure. I've done a pig, but with the flip-it-over method, not the rotisserie. It just needed the hummingbird cake to make it a pig pickin' :)

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  24. Very interesting tradition. I'm Chinese and we love roasted suckling pigs! Usually whole ones are served for celebrations. :) As much as I love roasted pigs, I've never done that at home though. It sure sounds like fun!

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