Pig Roasting 101

The air is crisp, the sun is out, and it's the perfect time of year to spend your day roasting a whole pig. So light the fire and invite your friends over for an orgy of carnivorous debauchery. You'll need about 50 concrete cinder blocks, heavy-duty aluminum foil, 25 pounds of charcoal, lighter fluid, four aluminum poles, chain-link mesh, eight flat iron poles, heavy-gauge wire, and, of course, a pig.

Build the pit

Arrange the concrete blocks in a rectangle with the walls stacked two blocks high over a concrete slab or bare soil. The pit should be sixteen inches deep and twelve inches longer than the pig. After you've stacked the first two layers of blocks, line the pit's cavity with two layers of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Fold the edges of the foil over the concrete block walls and stack a third layer on top. (Fig. 1)

Build the grate

Cut four aluminum poles to size so that when they're laid lengthwise on the pit they extend one foot past the edges. Cut two sections of aluminum mesh so they accommodate the pig with a little room to spare when it's laid on the roaster. Interweave four flat metal bars through a sheet of aluminum mesh, and then secure the bars and mesh to the two poles using heavy-gauge wire. Viola! A pig holder. (Fig. 2)

Start the fire

Pile about twenty-five pounds of charcoal in the center of the roaster, douse with lighter fluid, and torch it. Let the coals burn until they're white hot, then separate them into four groups. Push each individual pile into a different corner of the roaster bottom. (Fig. 3)

Roast the pig

Lay the pig belly side up on one half of the aluminum mesh holder, and then cover with the other one. Secure both sections together with heavy-gauge wire and lay the pig over the pit. Cook for thirty minutes, and then baste and turn. The carcass will require frequent basting and turning to prevent charring. An average-size suckling pig (fifty-five to eighty pounds) will take four to six hours to cook.  (Fig. 4)

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