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How to Cook a Baby Pig

By Viola Horne
Cooking a baby pig over an open fire imparts flavor and prevents the meat from drying out.

The meat of a baby pig, sometimes called a suckling pig due to its young age and primary diet of mother’s milk, is tender and succulent. Most suckling pigs weigh between 9 and 20 lbs., although some weigh more. While some chefs recommend roasting smaller pigs in a large oven, a pig rotisserie over an open fire pit can be an entertaining way to cook the pig using low, indirect heat at home.

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Tenderize and flavor your piglet by brining it in a salt-water solution for at least 24 hours. You can add spices or other ingredients, such as apple juice, lemons, oranges or cloves, to the solution for unique flavor.

Dig a 4-foot-by-3-foot pit. Place two rows of bricks along the length of the pit, about 12 inches apart. Fill in the center with sand to catch the drippings.

Arrange about 30 lbs. of charcoal on top of the brick and light. Place an oven thermometer on an upturned brick near the pig to monitor fire temperature.

Coat the piglet with olive oil and mount it on the spit. Truss it tightly to the spit with wire so it does not wiggle while being turned.

Place the spit on the rotisserie and cook until the internal meat temperature reaches 145 F, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Add more hot coal about every 30 minutes.

Things You Will Need

  • 15 lb. suckling pig
  • Brining solution
  • Shovel
  • Pig rotisserie
  • Wire
  • Sand
  • Brick
  • 40 lbs. charcoal
  • Fireproof bucket
  • Olive oil
  • Oven thermometer
  • Meat thermometer

Tip

Because of the thickness of the ham and shoulder areas, heap more coal under those areas to ensure your piglet cooks all the way through. Less charcoal is needed in the loin area.

Basting your piglet often with oil helps prevent moisture loss.

Keep a pile of lit charcoal in a large fireproof container to add to the pit to ensure the fire maintains sufficient heat. Fire should remain between 225 and 250 F.

Warning

As your piglet cooks, the meat will shrink. Continue tightening the trussing wire to prevent the pig from slipping on the rotisserie.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service recommends you cook all pork to a minimum internal temperature of 145 F to prevent food-borne illnesses. Use a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the pig to check for doneness.

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About the Author

When not working in her family-owned food and bar business, Viola Horne can almost always be found with a cookbook in one hand and a whisk in the other. Horne never tires of entertaining family and friends with both comfort food and unusual delicacies such as garlic cheese smashed potatoes and banana bacon pancakes.

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