Serving a suckling pig is a really impressive event for a celebration meal and will easily feed at least ten people. Make sure you measure your oven and your largest baking tray before ordering. All our piglets are from British native breeds, such as Gloucester Old Spot, Saddleback, Oxford Sandy Black and Berkshire and raised on our own farm.
What size should I buy?
Anything within our available range of 8 to 16 Kg will give you a tender and flavoursome result.
If you allow 500g per person or 750g if it’s a very special occasion with lots of big appetites, this should be plenty. So let’s say an 8 kg suckling pig will feed 10 -12 people.
Other than this, you will need to consider the size of your oven and roasting dish. Ideally you want the pig to sit with it’s back facing upwards rather than on it’s side, as this will give you a much better and larger crisped area. If you’re worried about the size, we can cut the pig into two halves for you, or you could do this yourself with a sharp knife and a clean hacksaw.
Keeping your pig fresh
Your pig will be delivered in a temperature controlled box within 24 hours of leaving us. It is important to keep the meat refrigerated, so you will need to make sure you have enough space in your fridge or a suitable container with ice packs in it.
Preparing for cooking
When you’re ready to cook your pig remove it from the refrigerator and hour or so before and keep in a cool place.
Add a generous amount of salt around the outside of the animal and inside the cavity. The quality of our suckling pigs means that you don’t need much more than this.
If you feel a little more adventurous you might want to add pepper and some aromatic herbs or other flavourings such as garlic, ginger or lemon inside the cavity. Because of the age and the tenderness of the meat these flavours will tend to be easily taken up.
If you’re roasting without any form of stuffing to fill the cavity you might want to try this technique to stop the pig mis-shaping during roasting. Lay the pig on its side and stuff the cavity with large pieces of cooking foil crumpled up into loose balls.
If your pig will fit with it’s back facing up on a single roasting tin, then this is perfect. Arrange it stomach down with the back legs tucked underneath and pointing forward. Tuck the front legs underneath and toward its sides. Prop up the head with foil or an oven proof dish to keep the back straight. If your space is not enough, you may want to curl the animal up.
Opinions differ on the best way to roast a suckling pig, as you would imagine.
You can be sure that whichever way you choose, you will have great tasting succulent pork as the end result. What most people really want is a crispy skin.
One method of achieving this is to start with a low temperature of around 150C and roast your pig until it has an internal temperature of 70C, measured in the thickest part of the shoulder or thigh. In an 8 – 10Kg suckling pig this should be around 3-4 hours. At this stage turn up your oven to around 250C for around half an hour, to crisp up the skin. Keep an eye on things as you don’t want to burn the ears or snout and spoil the effect for your guests. If these parts start to brown too much, cover them with some foil.
If your timing is a little out an you achieve the right temperature before you’re ready, there’s no harm in resting the pig covered loosely in foil for up to a couple of hours before putting in for the final crisping.
As with all roasts you should allow your pig to rest for at least 30 minutes with a loose covering of foil before serving.
This part is entirely up to you and the type of event you’re hosting. If it’s relaxed and friends around a table, you might just want to put the roasting tin in the centre of the table and let people dive in. For a more formal gathering or if there are those who are less than enthusiastic about eating animals, it might be better to present the dish and then retire back to the kitchen to carve it.
If you’re dining in a traditional manner in your stately home, you might favour Mrs Beeton’s approach to presentation and carving. This involves cutting the pig into two halves with half of the head at either end of a large platter.