Tiburón -Shark- Žralok

Tiburón -Shark- Žralok: Writing Cooking Traveling

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

How to Slow-Roast and Carve a Whole Pig

When roasting a whole pig on a spit, the first step is to organize a family party. Any party constituting less than 15 people with the same last name is not considered a family party, its considered Saturday or the night you all go watch the boxing match. A real family party happens no more often than once a year, ideally at someone's farm. If you do not have a farm, a large beach property near where your grandparents grew up will also do. Otherwise, you'll have to go to Florida and then you won't be able to roast the pig properly.

The second step is to acquire the pig. If you are at the farm, then this should be part of the package, if you are not, then there are farms that will sell you a whole pig. Make sure it is slaughtered, gutted, and cleaned when you pick it up. You will then use your family's particular adobo recipe-- this usually include garlic, ajíes, salt, pepper, onion-- and rub it all over the pig the night before the party so that the flavors penetrate the skin and muscles.

Early the next morning, while the coals are smoldering, whoever you hired to make the pig for you while you supervise and take samples of the skin as the crisps up will insert a large pole through the pig's mouth and out its backside. The legs will be trussed up against the side of its body with wire. If the body is split open, this technique is called "Caja China" or Chinese Box, which helps it cook faster, ideal for when you have fifty people and one afternoon.

For the next six hours, the pig will be slow cooked and smoked over the coals inside a well of sorts, while being spun around and around. The kids will take samples of the skin and then when its closer to being cooked through, adults will come sample some of the meat. The meat will be slightly salty and peppery and very juicy, almost like pulled pork but with a sturdier texture. Expect fat to marble the meat in some places or to come attached to the skin for a nice mix of chewy and crispy.

When ready, the pig will be transported onto a large table and untrussed. The pole will be gently removed and set aside and the machete action begins. The idea is to cut up the pieces of pork in small enough bits that people can just pick them up with their fingers and eat them without needing a plate.

By the time the pig has been served, you will also be serving whatever chicken dish you've prepared for those strange non-pork eaters, two types of rice, and the gandules (pigeon peas)-- because nothing says special occasion like gandules. Top it off with vegetables nobody will eat and some mostly tasteless bread rolls which usually get thrown out with one bite missing. Of course, by the time this meal is served everyone will already have had two meals' worth of fried empanadillas, sorullitos (corn fritters), seven layer dip, sandwichitos de mezcla, chips, cheese, and other fried things.

But nothing opens up the stomach like all the different types of drinks people will bring. Several bottles of rum and vodka (for the diabetics) will be worked through, as well as the different pitorros (from what I can tell its just rum infused with juice and pieces of fruits, all I know its they're frigging delicious), wine and if its a fancy party, cheap champagne or Spanish Cava.

And no party would be complete without some monstrous homemade dessert. Some people will dance, some will give speeches, many will take home leftover pig and rice and cake, everyone will take pictures, and we'll schedule another party in six months, which is island time translates into between one and two years. But until then, this one was awesome.

1 comment:

  1. nice writeup thanks! I'm starting to plan a whole hog spit roast for a buddy who's coming home to the states.