aSuckling Pig

Has a strong sweet apple flavor so if you prefer a more mellow flavor use less apple cider, and/or sugar.


A suckling pig
Olive oil
Additional pork fat (optional)
Several additional apples, onions and sage leaves, chopped coarsely
Salt and pepper
Additional apple cider for basting
A bottle of rosé or rich white wine, more if needed

For the Brine (make as many batches as needed to cover your suckling pig):
8 cups apple cider
7 cups water
1 cup coarse sea salt
1 cup packed brown sugar
6 tbsp coarsely ground black pepper
4 tsp dried rubbed sage
2 tsp ground cinnamon
Large onion, cut up
Apples pieces
Dash of ground cayenne pepper

1. Brining the Pig
Prepare the brine solution 1 – 2 days before cooking. Stir thoroughly to make sure all the salt and sugar are completely dissolved. Make enough to completely cover your suckling pig in a large pot or other container.
Leave the brining pig in a cool place for 24 hours or more.
On the day of cooking, remove the pig from the brine and pat dry with towels.
2. Preparing the Pig for Cooking
Make several superficial slits in the skin, not through the skin completely to prevent the skin from rupturing as it cooks. Make one long slit down the back and several diagonal slits on each side. None of the slits should touch any other.
Rub the pig with olive oil on all its surfaces.
Truss the suckling pig to your rotisserie spit.
Fill the body cavities with coarsely chopped apples, onions and sage leaves seasoned with salt and pepper. Close the body cavity securely with twine.
3. Preparing the Basting Liquid
If cooking in an oven, the pig's own fat will collect in the roasting pan and, combined with the wine and apple cider, makes a good basting liquid.
However, when roasting over an open fire or charcoal the fat falls into the fire and cannot easily be collected. Instead, if you are able to get extra pork fat from your butcher, this can be rendered in a pan and then combined with warm wine and cider to create a suitable basting mixture.
If no fat is available, olive oil and/or melted butter mixed with the warmed-up wine and cider can substitute. Keep this mixture warm, near boiling.
4. Preparing the Fire
Check that the temperature at the level that the roast suckling pig will be is around 150 to 175 degrees Celsius above your fire pit. A meat thermometer or grill thermometer is good for doing this. At higher temperatures the pig will cook faster but not as well.
5. Cooking the Pig
Place the spit on your rotisserie over the fire pit and begin cooking.
After about 30 minutes or so, begin basting liberally with the pork fat and wine mixture. Baste every 10 to 20 minutes. Over time this will help develop a rich, glazed appearance to the skin.
Continue cooking in this manner, basting regularly and occasionally tending the fire to maintain even and constant heat. The cooking time will depend on the heat of your fire pit as well as the size of your roast suckling pig.
Check the internal temperature of the pig occasionally with a meat thermometer and cook until it reaches 60 to 75 degrees Celsius.
Remove your spit from your rotisserie and set the roast suckling pig aside to rest for about 30 minutes.
Then place in a large platter and remove all the trussing twine and the spit.
6. Carving the Pig
First remove the shoulder and hind-legs at the joints. These pieces then can be sliced to serve.
Next make a cut down the middle of the back, down the spine. Carefully cut from the shoulder cut, hugging the bone of the ribs and spine, down to where the hams were removed. This large piece will include the rack and loin cuts as well as the pork belly. It can be sliced crossways to serve.
The meat between the ribs can also be freed and the stuffing can be scooped out.