Everyone knows about roast suckling pig, a delicious meal consisting of a pig not even weaned from its mother cooked to perfection, with crispy skin and tender, yet moist meat. But, there is a day to celebrate this delectable meal and that day is called Roast Suckling Pig Day!
History of Roast Suckling Pig Day
Nobody knows who founded Roast Suckling Pig Day, but whoever they were, they chose a good meal to have a day for. For those of us who do not know what a suckling pig is, here is the basic definition for it; A suckling pig is a piglet fed on its mother’s milk. In culinary contexts, a suckling pig is slaughtered between the ages of two and six weeks. It is traditionally cooked whole, often roasted, in various cuisines.
It is usually prepared for special occasions and gatherings. The meat from suckling pig is pale and tender and the cooked skin is crisp and can be used for pork rinds The texture of the meat can be somewhat gelatinous due to the amount of collagen in a young pig. There are many ancient recipes for suckling pig from Roman and Chinese cuisine. Since the pig has been one of the first animals domesticated by humanity for slaughter, many references to pigs are found in human culture. The suckling pig, specifically, appears in early texts such as the sixth-century Salic law.
How to celebrate Roast Suckling Pig Day
To celebrate this day, all we really have to do is follow the recipe above, make the pig for the whole family and invite a few friends over as well, serve it up as soon as it is done and eat as a group. There isn’t a better way to celebrate this day than to have the meal it was named after, and since it is close to that time of year, why not have a bit of eggnog with the meal?
Here’s what Roast Suckling Pig consists of, along with a recipe.
- One (Twelve to Eighteen Pound) whole suckling pig
- Fifteen quarts of water
- Six and a half cups of kosher salt
- Four and a half cups of granulated sugar
- A half cup of vegetable oil, for basting
Here are the instructions on how to cook the Suckling Pig
- Rinse pig in cold water and set aside. Line a 32-gallon garbage bag with 2 more 32-gallon garbage bags. Place water, salt, and sugar in the tripled-up garbage bags and stir to dissolve, taking care not to puncture the bags. Place pig in the bags, remove excess air, and tie tightly. Place in a 15-quart container in the refrigerator and brine 12 to 24 hours, turning once.
- Heat the oven to 250°F and arrange a rack on the lowest level. Remove the pig from the brine and pat dry with paper towels; discard brine. Lay the pig on its side and stuff the interior with 15 to 20 large (20-inch-long) pieces of lightly crumpled aluminum foil until it’s filled out. (This will prevent caving during roasting.)
- Transfer the pig to a baking sheet fitted with a roasting rack. Arrange it stomach down with the back legs tucked underneath and pointing forward, and the front legs tucked underneath and toward its sides. (You may need to add more foil if it is not sitting properly.) Prop up the head with foil or a large ramekin to keep the back aligned. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and place in the oven.
- Roast the pig, rotating once, until it reaches 130°F, about 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Remove the foil, baste with oil, and increase the oven temp to 400°F.
- Roast, basting every 15 minutes with oil and rotating once more, until the internal temperature reaches 160°F, about 45 minutes to 1 hour more. (If the ears or snout become too brown, cover with foil.) Remove from the oven and let rest 20 minutes before carving.