As the weather takes a chilly turn, thoughts drift to crackling fires, warm fuzzy blankets and hot chocolate designed to hit that sweet spot deep in your belly. Everybody has their favourite type of Christmassy, wintery meal that they love to get stuck into, and while hot soup is a popular meal for most festive gatherings, sometimes people prefer something a little meatier. A full on winter hog roast can be the perfect addition to your Christmas do, however unless you’re already a professional chef it can be a bit tricky to set up. We have a look at some great DIY tips on the perfect winter Hog Roast.
Image: Kenniford Farm
Buy a Kit, don’t Make Your Own
There are a wide variety of DIY hog roasting kits available online or available to hire from professional companies, and they can get quite expensive. However they provide all the proper materials for a hog roast and will be able to ‘take the heat’ for a longer period of time than a home-made spit. Go with what the professionals recommend, particularly if you are entertaining guests!
Taking it to the Market
The perfect hog roast isn’t just a pig slapped on a spit for 6 hours until it is cooked. A lot of work goes into preparing the pig before it has been slaughtered, choosing your perfect pig, seasoning the roast and taking care of it while it cooks. Your local farmer’s market or butcher shop will be able to provide you with fresh meat that they themselves have sourced, giving you more information as to the size and the condition of the pig. You can also pick up some great roasting herbs and spices which will give your hog that extra kick when you finally bite into the meat. It may take a little more time and effort, but it will be worth it!
Keep to Your Time
There is normally a 30-45 minute time period where the pork is perfectly cooked, so although this is a fairly wide window for the experienced it is still important to keep checking the time so that you don’t over or undercook the pig. Make sure to give yourself plenty of time to cook your hog, as depending on the size of the pig certain hogs take up to 8 hours to fully cook through! Get yourself a temperature probe and check up on it regularly, as although an overcooked hog can be a disaster and undercooked hog can be even more dangerous as it could lead to food poisoning.
It is also important to bear in mind that because of the cold weather, if you are planning on roasting your hog outside (which you will unless you have a rather large conservatory) it may need a bit longer than the required time to properly cook. Take the weather and climate of the day into account when planning your roast time, and make sure the hog is properly covered in the unfortunate event of rain.
Eyes on the Prize
Hog Roasting is not an easy affair! It takes time to roast the perfect pig and even then you have to keep an eye on it to check that the pig is cooking evenly and isn’t burning. It is a fine line between burning the skin (which is needed to make the delicious pork crackling) and actually getting the heat into the meat so that it cooks properly.
At the end of the day, you’ve worked hard to create the perfect hog roast to share with your family and you should get a piece of the pie, so to speak. Make sure to stay diligent during the preparing and the cooking process and once the hog is off the spit and served up and ready to eat, now you can have your golden moment. Also, if you’re the head chef you can always try to squirrel away a few extra pieces of crackling for later!
From Mike James, Content Editor @ www.stylemarquee.co.uk