Roast suckling pig

Roast suckling pig

By
From
Meat
Serves
8
Photographer
Dean Cambray

In countries all around the world, a suckling pig is considered an incredible treat for seriously special occasions. The meat is delicately flavoured and as soft as butter; the crackling is thin and crisp, like shards of toffee.

Traditionally, baby piglets were sold by farmers while still very young, so as to avoid the cost of raising them to maturity; after all, sows generally produce very large litters. In these days of mass production, though, baby piglets are less readily available. In fact you will definitely need to order your piglet from a specialist pork butcher. I buy mine from a free-range pig farmer in western Victoria, where I know the animals are reared in the very best conditions. True suckling pigs range in weight from around 4–8 kg and may have been slaughtered from several days old up to four weeks or so of age.

Another thing to bear in mind if you want to cook this dish at home is that you need to have an oven large enough to contain the whole piglet. Either that, or you’ll need to have facilities for roasting your piglet on a spit over an oven fire.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
1 suckling piglet, (approx. 4 kg)
2 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1 bunch sage
1 bunch thyme
1 bunch rosemary
1/4 cup olive oil

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 220ºC.
  2. Wrap the ears and the tail of the piglet with aluminium foil to stop them burning. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the salt and all the pepper in the cavity of the piglet and stuff in the bunches of herbs. Rub the oil all over the piglet and sprinkle with the remaining salt. Place the piglet on a rack inside a large roasting tin, with the belly facing down.
  3. Roast for 20 minutes. The skin will puff up and become crisp. Remove the piglet from the oven and lower the oven temperature to 175ºC. After 5 minutes, once the oven has cooled a little, return the piglet to the oven and cook for a further hour. If you are using a meat thermometer, insert it into the shoulder or near the pelvis bone (the thickest parts). The meat is cooked when the internal core temperature reaches 72ºC.
  4. Transfer the cooked piglet to a hot dish and leave it to rest for 30 minutes in a warm spot. It is traditional to present and carve the roast piglet at the table, surrounded by its garnishes.
Tags:
Meat
Adrian
Richardson
La
Luna
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