HowTo: Roast a Pig on a Spit

Roast a Pig on a Spit

Why settle on just pork chops or ribs when you can string up the entire pig? Serious Eats posts an great slide show on roasting a whole pig, from materials to the process to the perfect pig roastin' sauce.


  • PETA members should probably exit this page right about now...

Here we go:

Step 1 Store on ice.

Not immediately ready to roast? Store your dead body on ice, wrapped in a plastic bag, mafia-style.

Step 2 Understand your spit.

"The main thicker beam is inserted through the anus (ew!), along the spine of the pig, and out the mouth. The two-pronged forks are attached once on each side of the pig. The thinner beam is used to keep the pig's feet in place, and the two brackets hold the whole shebang together."

Step 3 Shave your pig and insert the rod.

You've gotta thoroughly shave your pig. Then insert the rod you know which way... "If your pig is especially stiff with rigor mortis, you may need a second person handy to help force the mouth open."

Step 4 Wire the spine.

"To keep the pig more secure, use thick wire to hold the spin in place against the beam. To do so, start by using a sharp knife to make a pair of incisions on either side of the pig's spine, right in the middle of the back. Insert a U-shaped piece of 14 to 16-gauge wire around the beam, and through the holes."

Step 5 Tie him up.

"Pull the ends of the wire up through the skin on the back of the pig. Use one hand (or enlist the help of a friend) to force the pig's spine down against the beam, the start twisting the wires to hold it in place."

Step 6 Twist him.

"Use a pair of pliers to continue twisting the wire until it is as tight as you can get it. The pig should now be held firmly in place around the beam, and should be fairly evenly balanced no matter what angle the beam is rotated to."

Step 7 Ignore the flies!

No matter what you do, your pig will attract flies. Continuously swat or ignore. Up to you.

Step 8 Time to hogtie.

"To finish securing the pig, use more wire to strap its trotters to the secondary support beam. Wrap the wire once in a figure 8 pattern around the ankles, then twice around the perimeter of the whole get up so that the feet are extra secure. You do not want the feet coming loose in the middle of cooking."

Step 9 Fire him up.

"Light the first coals in a charcoal chimney in a separate location, then spread them underneath the pig in a circular pattern. You want the heat concentrated under the hams and the shoulder, the thickest parts of the pig. Avoid placing any coals directly under the belly section, which will drip juices that can catch on fire or smolder if they hit the coals. Rotate your pig, replenishing the coals by adding fresh ones directly on top of the old ones every 30 minutes or so."

Step 10 Let the juices flow.

"About 4 or 5 hours into cooking (depending on the size of your porker), you'll notice a torrent of juices gushing out of various holes in the body. That's ok—there's still plenty more in there left un-gushed. Place a disposable aluminum pan underneath the center of the pig to catch the juices for later use."

Step 11 Pig pustules.

"As the pig approaches it's final half hour (plan on 1.25 hours per 10 pounds of pig), remove the disposable aluminum pan for later use, and add enough coals to form an even layer under the hog (you can build the fire right underneath at this point). Once the fire is nice and hot, the goal is to maximize the amount of blistered and bubbled skin like the photo above. You'll have to fiddle with the pig, stopping its rotation at various points to expose different areas of the skin to the heat."

Step 12 Remove the spit.

"Set up a carving station by lining a picnic table with aluminum foil. Place the pig directly on it, and allow it to rest for at least 20 minutes to allow juices to distribute and so you don't burn your fingers off when it comes time for pickin'. If it's a very cool night out, you'll want to tent it with foil so it doesn't lose too much heat."

Step 13 Start carving and pulling.

"To serve the pig, you'll need a sharp chef's knife, relatively heat-proof fingers (or a good set of silicone gloves), and a willingness to get messy. It's easiest to start from the hams, removing them with a combination of yanking and cutting (they should come away easily), then pulling the meat off of them with my fingers, working all the way up the pig until you get to the head."

Step 14 Add your meat to your pan of juices.

"Remember that aluminum pan of juices? (Step 10). Place your picked meat right back in that pan as you go, tossing them with the juices to add moisture and flavor."

Step 15 Like the crispy bits?

"Any pieces of skin that didn't quite crisp up (in this case that included the cheeks and snout) can be placed on a grill set over the remaining hot coals. They should bubble and crackle in no time. Bear in mind that as soon as they start to pustulate, they are good to go, even if they seem pliable—they will crisp up as they cool."

Step 16 The bones are good, too!

"After all the meat's been picked off, pull out the ribs and other bones for people to gnaw on."

The End.

Great instructions. Click through to Serious Eats for every detail.

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1 Comment

I dont have the stomach for this.

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