So, you want a Pig Roast?

Willowgrove Hill Whole Hog

Willowgrove Hill Whole Hog @ 185 pounds. Praying Pig

There are some things that just scream BBQ. One is the traditional pig roast. While it is the highlight event of the summer, getting the job done is not exactly like ordering pizza. This is a long drawn out process. You need to ask yourself, “is it worth it?” Or do you get it catered, which may cost quite a pretty penny? Or do you step up to the plate and take a swing at cooking a whole hog for the  pig roast of the year? If you’re up to the challenge, the next question becomes, how are you going to cook it. From burying it in the ground, pig boxes, or smokers, there is more than one way to get this party off the ground.

Team Canada BBQ is all about using wood fire cookers, as I’ve said about a thousand times, no one ever says it was “the best propane BBQ we ever had” . So assuming you know a guy, that knows a guy, that can  get your hands on a grill that will fit a pig, you have to decide on a style to cook it. Do you cook it butterfly style; cutting the pig down the center to lay the it flat in the cooker with the meat facing down? Belly up; which is similar to the butter fly but with the meat facing upwards. Cooking the pig in the praying or running position has the pig on all fours, face up. Lastly, the really ultra-cool rotisserie pig can’t be beat for a show. But renting a pig roaster is quite costly.

Rubs, injections, spritz and mops are some of the techniques we use to keep our pigs moist and flavourful.  We use aluminum foil to cover the faster cooking parts of the pig, or you can stuff the pig with sausages, corn and potatoes for the whole meal deal. Whatever style, expect a hour per ten pounds at 250 (f) or an internal temperature of 195(f) in the ham. Think an average of 16 hours

Once you’ve reached the desired temperature, let your pig rest. It can rest for up to an hour holding on to some serious heat. You can go ahead and hack some delightful swine apart, gorging on it like a caveman while standing around the gains of a long and prosperous cook, (yes we have done that) or you can pull the pig and serve as pulled pork to the finer and more genteel guests (not as much fun). Season your pork with a vinegar sauce and then top with your favorite BBQ sauce, like the 1st place World Championship Spicy Whiskey Maple BBQ Sauce made by Team Canada BBQ (yes shameless self-promotion). If you want to show off you BBQ knowledge pulled pork is always served on a bun with extra sauce and slaw on top.

So now you’re well-fed it comes to cleanup, and do this quickly; a pig carcass will attract loads of critters and smells and that will intensify in the summer heat. Check which day garbage day is, if you’re a long way out you might want to think of an alternative. So catering your next pig roast might not seem to be such a bad idea does it.

Mike is the reining Canadian Whole Hog Champion and has never been defeated in Canada. He has competed at the Memphis in May World Championship Cooking Contest in Whole Hog and received his best score of 5th place in 2012.  

Mike Callaghan
Mike Callaghan is the Team Canada BBQ Director, a Pitmaster on his own team The Black Pig BBQ Mike provided his leadership, skills and experience for the team and their international program

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