Roast suckling pig
1 3kg suckling pig
This is the king of all Sardinian dishes and probably the most spectacular and also the tastiest. There are two ways to approach the cooking of suckling pig depending on the means of cooking that you have at your disposal. However whichever cooking process you opt for the preparation of the suckling pig is the same.
Remove all of the interiors from the pig (heart, lungs, liver e.t.c) and then clean and dry the meat. You must now rub lots of salt all over the skin and inside the cavity making sure that the suckling pig is well seasoned.
This is the traditional way, over a real fire. This method takes a certain amount of patience and skill but if you can get the hang of it will produce a meal that you will not forget in a hurry. The idea is that you don’t cook the meat over hot coals like you would on a barbeque but over actual flames instead.
The suckling pig should be placed on a skewer and then roasted about half a metre away from the flames whilst being turned continually (it’s best if you have one of those motorized spits that turns at an even pace) The pig is cooked when you can stick a skewer through the meat and no liquid comes out.
Although it is more spectacular to cook a whole pig on the spit it is both easier and you can achieve a better ‘cottura’ (cooking) of the pig if you cut it in half..
To do this cut the pig in half lengthways and then in half the other way so you are left with one half of the head and one half of the hind legs.
Now when you skewer the meat turn the hind part of the animal back to front so the tail of the pig is pointing towards the head. With the meat skewered in this fashion you will be sure to achieve an even cooking.
Obviously not everyone has an open fire in which they can roast a suckling pig but do not despair you can still achieve good results with a conventional oven. One of the first things you need to bare in mind is the size of your oven.
Before you buy your suckling pig make sure it will fit! It doesn’t matter if you have to curl it up a little bit but it must not touch the sides of the oven.
Pre heat the oven to about 160°C and cook the suckling pig for about three hours or until completely golden and you can stick a skewer in the meat and no liquid runs free. Whilst cooking I recommend that you baste the pig with some lard as this will help with the colouring of the animal.
It is worth noting that suckling pig is one of the few meats that does not lose any flavour if frozen due to it’s metabolic structure so if you have a large enough freezer you can purchase the meat in advance put it in the freezer and keep it for a special occasion remembering to dry the meat thoroughly before cooking it.