Rotisserie Suckling Pig Flavour Tips!?

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by chefyanick, Jun 30, 2010.

  1. chefyanick

    chefyanick

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    Hello Everyone!

    I just purchased a 35 lb Suckling Pig. I have a custom built rotisserie w/ electric motor, and I need tips!

    First things first... Wood... or store bought charcoal.

    I plan on using a brine for my pig for about 2 days. Inside the pig I will be stuffing with various ingredients and sewing shut during cooking. Lastly I will prepare a basting sauce.

    I have come to you fine chefs and cooks for advice on flavoring!

    Please let me know your ideas for brine, stuffing, and basting sauce.

    Thanks very kindly!

    -Yanick
     
  2. sticky

    sticky

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    I always wanted to try something I saw on Anthony Bourdin's No Reservations.  He was in South East Asia and the people cooking were hand turning a whole pig over a wood pit.  It was stuffed with garlic, lemon grass, galangal, etc.  And then basted with coconut milk like every 30min.  I have yet to try this but I always wanted to.  The result was crispy almost candied skin and most flavorful meat.  You could still do the brine (maybe incorporate fish sauce and palm sugar for the SE asian flavor).  And defineatly use wood for the fire.  That's what I would do anyways..
     
  3. duckfat

    duckfat

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    35 pounds is a bit large for a "suckling" pig. I run into the same trouble here as it's just not cost effective for farmers to sell them any smaller. I can get 25 pounders if I convince them I will still pay their price but I just haven't found a source for smaller ones locally. Finding one with the skin on is even harder. 

    As far as wood or charcoal......BOTH!

    I use Royal Oak lump charcoal that I pick up at Wally World. It's about $6.50 for ten pounds this year. For basting I like a good old Carolina Vinegar with a bit of sugar, Salt and red peppers that I let steep and then allow to set for at least a day in advance. 

    Hope it turns out well!
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2010
  4. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    We've been meaning to spit roast a baby pig this summer, will probably do it in September when the weather is tolerable.  But we do spit roast a lamb every year with much success.  If I were doing a pig I'd follow a similar procedure and stuff it with quartered lemons, whole garlic cloves, and lots of fresh thyme - season the inside liberally.  I would also make slits in the legs and stuff with garlic.  For a baste I would use a vinegraitte made with olive oil, lemon, dijon, and thyme, salt and pepper.  The simpler the better.

    My husband is in charge of the fire.  He uses royal oak charcoal.  You start off with a little bit of charcoal near the front and back end leaving the middle unheated for now.  He has a chimney near by to light the charcoal when he needs to add.  I spend the year collecting bits and pieces of wood that taste good.  I collect oregano and thyme stems, rosemary stems, and grape stems and throw them on to the fire periodically.  They have a wonderful aroma.

    I am not a fan of brining, have never liked the taste of brined meat.
     
  5. nicko

    nicko Founder of Cheftalk.com Staff Member

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    Charcoal all the way man. You don't kneed to brine but I have always thought it would be a neat experiment to see if that made any difference. Let me know if it yields a more tender pig.

    The most important thing is that you secure the spine to the spit properly. If you do not do this then as the pig cooks the meat will shrink and it will flop around. This will ruin your spit bar and motor. See photo below to see how to secure it properly. Basically a u bolt will do. 

    I would not stuff the belly you will greatly increase the cooking time and as a result the outside meat will get over cooked. Remember 1 hour per 10 pounds and your good.

    Don't use wire to secure the feet. You can use butchers twine which will work just fine but I actually use heavy duty plastic twist ties now (they work great and no one eats the feat anyway).

    To test your fire hold your hand above the coals and count to five. If you can't count to five then it is too hot (or is it three?).

    Here are photos of my pig roast:

    http://www.cheftalk.com/gallery/album/view/id/13/user_id/7889

    [​IMG]Submit
     
  6. chefyanick

    chefyanick

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    Wow!

    That U-Bolt idea is fantastic! I will do the potatoes just like yours underneath the pig.

    Did you add them Raw?

    Since I have never roasted one before I plan on using an instant meat thermometer in the thigh without touching the bone. Is going just by look safe?

    As far as stuffing, it is purely for flavoring. So far i have apples and garlic and onion in mind, with rosemary and thyme.

    For the brine, I saw on food networks "The Best Thing I ever Ate : Meat-Fest " A place in Florida brined there pig for 2 days, then oven roasted it. ( not all the flavoring listed) Looked Great! Not too sure if I should create a simple brine, or an extravagant one.

    How far above the coals should the pig be?

    Thanks for the pictures!

    Tons of help.
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2010
  7. nicko

    nicko Founder of Cheftalk.com Staff Member

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    I par-boiled the potatoes. Put them in cold water, brought it up to a boil and pulled them off the fire and let them site for 30 minutes. I tossed them with olive oil, lemon, garlic (how Greek of me), onions, salt pepper.

    Try the brine that sounds really excellent. I want to try it also it just requires a ton of space to do that.

    You definitely want to use an instant read thermometer to check the temp. 
     
  8. chefyanick

    chefyanick

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    Anyone think this would be a bad basting sauce?

    1 quart of apple cider vinegar

    garlic

    1 whole dried red chilli

    and a bunch of tied up rosemary

    let sit for a week or two

    baste with this during the last half of cooking every 30 min
     
  9. nicko

    nicko Founder of Cheftalk.com Staff Member

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    ChefYanick,

    Sounds sour to me. You actually don't have to baste a pig much since there is so much fat. I would cut the vinegar with a little olive oil
     
  10. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    I don't know how the brine will affeft the texture of the meat.  The purpose of spit roasting is that you cook it low and slow until the meat falls apart.  It's plenty fatty, it's not like pork chops that may dry out.  Testing with a thermometer is always a good idea but also make sure that the meat pulls back away from the joints.  That means it's cooked also. 

    You always begin by placing the spit on the top hook the farthest away from the fire.  Every few hours lower the spit closer to the fire until it ends up on the bottom hook in the last hour.  Low and slow is the name of the game.

    Your basting sauce sounds great.  I would add some kind of oil to it as well though.
     
  11. nicko

    nicko Founder of Cheftalk.com Staff Member

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    That was my concern as well with the brining. I really believe that if you brine the pig for 2 days then you need to dry it out in the fridge for 2-3 days as well. It is similar to brining a chicken or turkey and let it dry after the brine so the skin crisps up.

    I wanted to try it more of an experiment to see the end product. There is no way I would try that first time with friends at a party. 
     
  12. maryb

    maryb

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    My basic mop is 50/50 olive oil cider vinegar. You can add other flavors to this base.
     
  13. chefyanick

    chefyanick

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    E.V.O.O. it is

    who else hates Rachel Ray?

    haha

    My goal for a brine is to jack up the flavor. I'm not worried about tenderness.

    So far my mind is shouting apples. Pork and apples go hand in hand.

    So why not apple juice (or apple cider?) cut with water and  some salt. I want the apple to leave its mark on every piece of that pig.  I thought of the cider vinegar, but was not sure about leaving a pig in acid overnight. 2 days in a brine may interfere with the texture of the pig. What about only 24 hours?

    After the brine I would hose off. Then use like a whole roll of bounty to dry that piggy up.

    Why 2-3 days in a fridge? Sure some of the excess moisture would leak out... but the cooking promotes that too. I typically just use a bunch of paper towel after a good rinse.
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2010
  14. chefyanick

    chefyanick

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    Is there any other way of infusing apples into the piggy? Maybe I should just raise a pig with nothing but apples. Slap a nipple on an apple and feed it myself.
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2010
  15. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    Inject

    BDL
     
  16. chefyanick

    chefyanick

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    I am at a cross if I should use a stick of cinnamon in the basting sauce...

    Yes apples go with cinnamon, but on a pig???
     
  17. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    Whenever I try something new I always make it as simply as possible so that I can get a real account of what went wrong or right during the process and to get the most basic flavor.  I remember when I first tried making duck breast I cooked it with salt and pepper and served it with steamed green beans.  Since then I've experimented with fruits, honeys, spices, and adventurous side dishes one notch up at a time.  I really would hate to see a suckling pig attended by friends and family who will then be disappointed that it tastes like apple pie.  But to each his own.  Cinnamon, really?
     
  18. duckfat

    duckfat

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    I guess I'm the odd man out because I would never baste with oil. There's already plenty of fat in the pig. The last thing I want is more oil dripping in my fire.  I would skip the rosemary. Herbs can turn bitter in a heartbeat. I also don't want any strong flavors. Just mild pork with a light smoke and some twang on the skin. I forgot to mention that I do mix in wood chunks (apple or cherry)  with my charcoal. I like the garlic idea as long as the cloves are left whole to infuse the sauce but IMO you need to balance that sour with at least some sugar. I don't think you are going to need to baste that often.
     
  19. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    Don't overcomplicate with too much mopping.  A great deal of the pleasure of a whole pig is the cracklings -- yet you seem intent on making the  skin soggy. 

    Brining is not the same thing as marinating. The purpose of brining, which includes lots of salt, is to keep the meat moist -- which isn't usually much of an issue with a whole pig, even a small one.  I think you may mean marinating. 

    Marinating for flavor isn't as efficient as injecting, and has other problems with a piece as large as a whole pig.  The answer is injection.

    If you want rosemary -- get a LOT, soak it, and throw some on the fire occasonally.  You can do the same with whole heads of garlic.  You won't actually get that much smoke penetration, but your backyard will smell GREAT.

    Finally, get the past hardwood lump charcoal you can afford and that's reasonably available in your area (charcoal tends to be local).  The Royal Oak sold at Wal-Mart is fine, but not great compared to -- say -- Lazzeri Mesquite.  Mesquite is an especially good choice for an open pit because it brings so much more taste than most other charcoals.

    If you like, you can mix every twenty pound bag of charcoal with about five pounds of hardwood chunks -- preferably pecan, hickory, oak or a fruitwood like cherry, pear or a citrus.  Grape cuttings are also very good.  If you bury the chunks in the fire so your chunks or cuttings won't just flame up, it actually will get some smoke into the meat. 

    You actually could use an all hardwood fire if you like, but you'll have to start with fairly large pieces (fireplace logs at a minimum), burn them down to coals in a separate pit, and transfer them to your rotisserie's pit on an as needed basis.  Obviously, it's a major pain.  Worth it?  If you have the space, the help, the tools and the extra pit, yes.  For 92.7% of us, no.

    Rethink your mop.  You don't really need to mop a whole pig on a rotisserie.  It won't penetrate the skin, and only interfere with the crisping process. 

    One thing you may not have thought of is what do with the pig once it's cooked.  Cut and clean a piece of 2"x12" plank and have it standing by so you can pull the spit from the pig.  Meanwhile, make sure there's a large enough space at your buffet table for the plank.  When the pig is done, and the spit removed, dress the plank and pig with garnish, and move the whole shebang to the serving table.  If you don't want to use a plank, fine.  Just make sure you know what you're going to do, who's going to help you do it, and whether you need tools and gloves ready.

    The highest hurdle in your case is obviously a tendency to over-do.  Keep it simple.  Don't overcomplicate.  Inject, don't marinate.  Enjoy yourself.

    Good luck,

    BDL
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2010
  20. maryb

    maryb

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    I only mop the ribs when I am cooking pork. Shoulders I pretty much ignore other than flipping every so often. Mustard slather, rub, put on to cook and no peeking. If you are using a covered rotisserie you add time to the cook every time you open the door.