Last month, Mary and I hosted a special event at the house – a Luau-style pig roast. About a year ago I was asking my friend Tim (Dr. Tim, he’s my partner in crime for things like the Mad Scientist Cocktails party) what he thought about putting on a pig roast. The conversation went something like this:
Me: So, I have an idea of something we can do – what do you think about doing a pig roast?
Tim: You mean like the pig on a spit over a fire, cause I’ve done that a few times.
Me: No, I mean like you see in Hawaii. We dig a hole and bury the pig and cook it that way.
Tim: Ooohhh…(gears turning in his head)…you know it’s pretty hard to do it that way, right?
Me: I know. We don’t do these things because they’re easy!
…and with that, we set off a quest to roast a pig “Hawaiian luau” style by digging a hole, throwing the pig in to bury it and come back the next day.
Roasting a pig in the ground requires a lot of time. Not like 2-3 or 5-6 hours…but 14-16 hours. Think of it as turning the ground into a giant slow cooking crock pot for your pig. The pig roast party happened on a Saturday at 3pm, which means that Friday night we were beginning the process of cooking the pig. In a nutshell it goes like this: you dig a hole, line it with some stone, then build a huge fire and let it burn to a mound of hot coals. You then take your prepared pig (seasoned and wrapped to protect it) and toss it into the coal bed and bury it with coals, then proceed to bury everything with dirt and then wait until the next day to dig it up and, if all goes well, have a lot of great pork for the 40 people who came to the party. Tim, myself and our friend Ryan started Friday night around 7pm getting everything ready.
For our pig roast, I ordered a 65 pound pig. My uncle, who I happened to have over with his tractor to help with pulling out some old landscaping (another story coming soon), dug the hole. I fortunately also happened to have a still standing but long since dead maple tree – a perfect amount of good firewood (we just had to cut it down.) To prepare our pig, we used the banana leaves and burlap method, but there are others depending on how you want to pig to come out. When you use our method, the pig is effectively steamed inside of the burlap – I have heard\seen alternatives (that I think we may try next year) where the pig is left more exposed to bake it more instead.
The end result was, in a word, spectacular – the pork was amazing, and the food everyone brought to share was excellent with it. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves on the process we followed. (Many thanks to Jonathan Cohen for taking the unveiling shots):