I’m going to try roasting a pig Memorial Day weekend, and will be buying a cooker. I set out to buy a large charcoal cooker with an electric rotisserie, but I’ve discovered another kind of cooker (La Caja China box).
Does anyone have any practical experience with either of these cookers? Is the La Caja China box any good? (It’s cheaper!)
Do you plan to roast the pig whole, or smoke one or two sides? A whole pig can be roasted on a spit over an open fire, but it does take a while. The pig provider may lend or rent you an electrically driven spit. Any smoker will do the job for you, but it has to be large, small vertical smokers won’t do the job well. I just looked up La Caja roasters, they don’t cost that much which makes me wonder a little about the durability of what you get, but the online reviews are good. Good luck with your roast, make sure to plan out where you’ll cut up that roasted pig later and plan on plenty of sides to go along with all that meat. Also expect the aroma to bring more guests than you planned on.
You can rent the roasters, call around to the rental places.
Doper Memorial Day Pig Pickin’!
Please post details of location and time.
Moving this to Cafe Society.
The Caja China roasters work very well.
Unless you have SOLID plans to use it half a dozen times this year, I wouldn’t buy a pit. They’re big and messy. A rental provider will deliver one cleaned and possibly with charcoal. Next day, they pick it up dirty and you go about your year giant pig roaster-free till next Memorial Day. The rental ones are probably nicer than what you’re thinking of spending, too.
If you’re only going to do a shoulder or something, that can be done in a typical grill (with tricks to keep the heat low and cooking time long, tricks I do not know.)
If you’re going to be doing much more than that, you’ll need a lot of guests, and as mentioned above, you’re better off renting.
Of course, the best option is a hole in the ground lined with rocks! This is especially good at the beach. Beware that rocks pulled from the water can burst.
I’ve been told to use rounded rocks, like big river pebbles or cobblestones (not pavers, actual cobblestones are spherical or egg shaped). The idea is that water permeable rocks will break apart before they take that rounded shape. It’s worked out for me so far.
And that’s another way to cook a whole pig. Heat rocks for 3 hours or more in a charcoal fire, then stuff the carcass full of those rocks, wrap the whole sucker in aluminum foil and bury it. It’s not smoked, but I’ve heard the meat will come out wonderfully tender and juicy. No personal experience though, I’ve never done that with anything bigger than a chicken.
Rarely do I find anything but rounded rocks in the water (in Lake Huron, in my case). They can still burst, so the trick is to build a big fire and let it burn a long time and don’t sit there for long periods with your face 3 feet away. With a new load of rocks from the water, I’ll just burn for 6 hours or more, before beginning preparations for cooking. You probably want to burn that long anyway, possibly longer, but I’ve only done seafood broils, not whole pigs or anything like that.
I’m still hunting around for a rental. The trouble I’m encountering is I can’t find anyone local to rent from, and the places that have the roasters available are all over $300 for delivery/pickup (and I don’t want to spend half of Saturday & half of Sunday humping a rental grill all over New England. So, if I’m going to spend over $450 for the grill, I’d rather just buy one.
I went to a pig roast, and the guy just built a homemade fire pit in his yard. The pig was split, put on some sort of rebar mesh setup, and roasted over the fire. There was some sort of cover that I don’t remember.
The pit was kind of like the picture in this Chowhound thread. (Scroll down to porker’s post with picture.)
It was good fun, but I’m glad that I was not in charge of figuring out how to do it.
Around here, we use cinder blocks, rebar, and a piece of tin roofing. Couple that with a burn barrel and you’re good to go.
We used to, at least. I haven’t done it that way in a while.
I bought a grill/rotisserie today.