This recipe appears in:The Food Lab Redux: 7 Pork Dishes for the Holidays The Food Lab: How to Roast a Whole Suckling Pig
Note: You can order suckling pigs from your local butcher, or from online resources such as McReynolds Farms. Plan on a pound and a half of weight per person. You can feel free to substitute the garlic and ginger with any aromatics of your choice such as herbs, other vegetables, or fruit. Your pig can be removed from the oven and left at room temperature tented with foil for up to two hours after step two and before proceeding with step three if you need to do so for timing purposes.
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- 1 whole suckling pig, about 20 pounds (see note)
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 20 whole cloves garlic
- 1 six-inch piece of fresh ginger, cut into 1/2-inch slivers
Preheat oven to 300°F. Season pig inside and out with plenty of salt and pepper. Fill cavity with garlic and ginger. If pig fits on a single rimmed baking sheet or roasting pan, place him on the baking sheet back-up and transfer to the oven. If pig is too large, remove a rack from the oven and place on your range. Overlap two rimmed backin sheets so that they fit on the oven rack and line the whole thing with foil. Transfer the pig to the overlapped baking sheets then lift the whole oven rack and return to the oven so that the pig is in the center.
Roast until an instand read thermometer inserted into the deepest part of the shoulder blade registers at least 160°F, about 4 hours. If ears or tail begin to burn, cover with foil and continue roasting.
Increase oven temperature to 500°F and cook until skin is crisp all over, about 30 minutes longer. Remove pig from oven, tent with foil, and allow to rest for 30 minutes. Serve by tearing skin into serving-sized pieces and removing flesh with your fingers and piling it onto a serving platter.