This year’s annual hog roast was held on an unseasonably sunny but chilly November day in Calderdale.
This is our third hog roast and we do seem to be building a fair amount of knowledge around the minutae of roasting a full pig in the open air. It’s a complex job: the temperature has to be taken in to account: too cold and it dramatically affects the cooking time, the wind and its direction can affect the heat from the fire – it’s fraught with difficulties.
The fire was lit at 6am and the pig started off at 7am. Then follows an all day cook with the pig ready to eat at around 7pm. Careful monitoring is required and constant turning is critical unless you want a pig that’s half cooked.
And then there’s the careful handling of the crackling – the ideal scenario is beautifully cooked pork on the inside and fabulously crispy crackling on the outer. I think we pretty much manage to do a good job here and this year we constructed a makeshift foil jacket for our porker to shield the thin back pork from the intense heat that’s needed to finish the pork off.
This year’s beast was a big one – 56 kilos to be precise and this brought its own challenges. That’s a lot of pork to cook through right to the middle and we’ve discovered that meat thermometers are pretty useless in this situation. It’s all about intuition and it’s a lot easier than you think when you spend an entire day cooking a pig. That and a few strategically placed skewers to see if the juice is running clear.
There’s a fair amount of pressure if 90 folk are rocking up a for a few roast pork sandwiches but the Troffers team were up to the task thankfully and we’re already planning next year with our cooking rig refurbishment (Rig 2.1) and plans to cook goat, lamb or even beef. Watch this space.
I wouldn’t go as far as to say that we know what we’re doing, but we’re certainly getting there!