Pig Pickin 2013

We’ve (I?) wanted to roast a full pig for a while now. So, we finally took the plunge and went for it. And for novices, the one thing we learned is that everyone—seriously, everyone—has an opinion about this process. Here is a recap of the less told stories.

Step 1: The Pit: 3x5x3. Find energetic teenager who will do the work for you. Thank you Jacob.

Step 2: Get rocks about the size of your head. They say lava rocks are the best. We got cobble rocks. Yes, they do explode occasionally when they are in the fire, but they work just fine.

How many? Not many actually, but we got ¼ yard. We’ll use the left overs for some kind of yard thing.

Step 3: Pig prep the day before. Must have the marinade party.

Step 4: Day of the roast, start fire to make 1 foot of hot coals. Starting fire about 4 – 5 am will get you there by 8am.

Note: Fire is a bit challenging to start at bottom of pit since the air is thin. Be patient.

Step 5: Prep pig. With choice of herbs and spices.

Step 6: Be ready with prep area: chicken wire on bottom, then wet burlap, then banna leaves, then pig and then roll up like a tortilla.

NOTE: Double layer the leaves/burlap on side that will be on coals/hot rocks

Loop wire on edges of pig packet so that you can pull out pig easily.

Thermometer: good idea, but not really needed. Cook it long and low.

Rocks in the cavity? Not needed for small pig.

Step 7: Wait 8 ish hours. Meanwhile, enjoy the day.

Possible ideas: Take nap. Color your daughter’s hair purple. Get ice for drinks. Pull weeds. Etc.

About 8 hours later: Remove dirt and pull out the pig package.

Step 8: Pick and eat.

Step 9: Oh, and drink.

Recap and Summary for the next Lewis and Clarks:

Pig – order 1-2 weeks out

Butchers matter.

Shop around for price and partnership.

We used: http://fischermeatsnw.com/

Great service.

Pig size

Anything under 40 pounds is same price. 40 pounds was plenty for 20 people and good place to start for first time.


Size of head rocks or lava rock.

We got ¼ yard coble rock. http://pacifictopsoils.com/


¼ cord, seriously dry wood

Good kindling. Get this ready day before. Try not to chop wood at 4 am.


Lowes / Home Depot in garden supply

Soak in water overnight. Smells like a barn.

Banana leaves

Uwajimaya in freezer section

We used 6. Get 12 so that you can pack it heavier between coals and pig.

Note: Have Chinese friend wash the leaves for you night before during marinade party.


Used variation of this



Salt with 5 spice

Friends & Family

Best part.


So as the day ended, one of our friends remarked: check one off of the bucket list.

I agree. On to the next adventure.




One comment

  1. Nicely chronicled. Felt like I was there. Lot of work. But satisfying. Did you think of the WHS friend who moved to NC? Love, Mom

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