Cooking a whole pig at camp.

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tedmagnum

Tenderfoot
Nov 19, 2006
50
0
41
Wirral
Im very priviledged to have a very large wooded back garden of about 1/2 acre so every year I host "TEDSTOCK"

Basially a BBQ and beer fest with a roaring bonfire and camp out etc.

This year im planning to cook a whole pig on a spit over the fire. I have no idea to go about this though and will have to make a spit somehow (not hard i guess)

Someone suggeted making a firebox but im a little cluesless about ourdoor cooking at the moment.

Can anyway tell about experiences and best methods for cooking a whole pig (100lb) using only a large camp fire.
 

harlequin

Full Member
Aug 8, 2004
157
2
56
UK
I haven't tried to do this myself but in the River Cottage series Hugh Fearlessly Eats It All has done this a few times. In his River Cottage Meat book he goes in to great detail on how to make a spit roasting frame.
His biggest problem was trying to balance the spit in different locations. What I mean by that is the spit will want to turn so that the heaviest part is at the bottom. That's ok, but if that part is already cooked and you want to rotate it away from the coals you have to find some way of locking the spit in position.
Have to get your thinking cap on for this one!

Harly :)
 

Ogri the trog

Mod
Mod
Apr 29, 2005
7,180
66
57
Mid Wales UK
Its going to take some doing, thats for sure.
I had a hog roast for a birthday a few years ago - it took a local butcher (who organised the whole thing) seven hours in a gas oven. So I recon you're looking at at least that long over embers in the open air. I just had a small fire going to keep the thing warm ;)
Have a chat with some of your local butchers to see if they have any contacts for cooking it and delivering it to you in a ready-to-serve state.

ATB

Ogri the trog
 

tedmagnum

Tenderfoot
Nov 19, 2006
50
0
41
Wirral
harlequin said:
I haven't tried to do this myself but in the River Cottage series Hugh Fearlessly Eats It All has done this a few times. In his River Cottage Meat book he goes in to great detail on how to make a spit roasting frame.
His biggest problem was trying to balance the spit in different locations. What I mean by that is the spit will want to turn so that the heaviest part is at the bottom. That's ok, but if that part is already cooked and you want to rotate it away from the coals you have to find some way of locking the spit in position.
Have to get your thinking cap on for this one!

Harly :)

River cottage ? is that a book ?
 

anthonyyy

Settler
Mar 5, 2005
655
6
ireland
Ive spit rasted goat but not pig. A problem you might find with pig is that there is so much fat it might drip into the coals. You are talking about a long time and a hell of a lot of turning of the spit so you will need robust equipment and strong arms (unless you go for an electric spit)
 

Chopper

Native
Sep 24, 2003
1,325
6
56
Kent.
I have no idea how you do it, but I bet there would be a long que from here to help you eat it. :)
 

harlequin

Full Member
Aug 8, 2004
157
2
56
UK
River Cottage is a television series, but there are books on every series. The book that goes into detail about this is the River Cottage Meat book.
 
anthonyyy said:
Ive spit rasted goat but not pig. A problem you might find with pig is that there is so much fat it might drip into the coals. You are talking about a long time and a hell of a lot of turning of the spit so you will need robust equipment and strong arms (unless you go for an electric spit)

generally you want a long fire of hard wood and build up a good set of embers which you rake apart so the animal isnt directly over but the heat comes from both sides takes many hours last one i helpped with years ago was a lamb now that was nice :D

there are normally guys who you can hire who turn up with a gas job like a small trailer which has covers
 

bambodoggy

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Nov 10, 2004
3,062
50
46
Surrey
www.stumpandgrind.co.uk
Some friends and I did one last Jan for our aniversary....it worked fine. Used charcoal on the fire to keep it even and the spit I got was meant for a bbq and came with a battery powered rotator. To hold it up we hammered two U top metal pickets into the ground and bob's your uncle:

Ashdown034.jpg


29janashdown035.jpg


Cheers,

Bam. :D
 

Willowbark

Tenderfoot
Sep 4, 2005
84
2
Stroud, Gloucestershire
I've helped spit roast wild boar and sheep a few times. Idealy you have a couple of spikes going through the animal at the shoulders and haunches. These go through the main spit at right angles, to stop the spit turning in the animal, rather than the whole thing going round.
It helps if you build a wall (eg logs or bricks) at the back of the fire to reflect the heat back on to the meat. Keep turning all the time, not turning once and leaving for ten minutes and turning again. It seems like a lot of work, but really makes a huge difference to how it cooks. It means that the heat is constantly transfering through into the meat, but no one spot is over the fire long enough to burn the outside. It helps the spit turners if you rig some king of shield for them to sit behind, so that they don't cook before the meats ready!!
We found that the thin meat over the ribs can get very dry by the time the thicker bits cook. To combat this, we soaked a couple of large loaves in cider and tucked them into the body cavity. This kept the meat moist and flavoured it beautifully. Try and find something to use as a drip tray to catch dripping fat. This can then be used to baste themeat and help produce a nice crispy skin.

It's hard graft, but well worth doing properly.
 

Klenchblaize

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Nov 25, 2005
2,593
127
63
Greensand Ridge
Oh how this brings back certain memories! The year 1960 something and the occasion a summer fair hosted by the Roundtable. Their answer to the problem of how to get the pig evenly roasted (a bl—dy great one at that) was never in question with their access to cheap and, it must be acknowledged, willing labour. Having then marched the local cub troop from Lodge Lane down to the Croydon end of Purley we set to in hourly shifts turning an old Morris Minor steering wheel, welded to the spit, and from mid morning through to darkness. The only payment being enough pork to ensure we all arrived back at school just in time to throw up on the dormitory floor! This of course had nothing at all to do with the ale we managed to sneak from beer tent when nobody was looking!

So, in summery payment consisted of:

a. Singed eyebrows and glowing cheeks
b. Aching arms
c. Stomach cramps
d. Swimming head
e. Numb bottom from six enthusiastic strokes from our Head Master’s willow cane

The same happened for the next 3 years with the only change being the amount of alcohol consumed!

Cheers
 

tedmagnum

Tenderfoot
Nov 19, 2006
50
0
41
Wirral
Cheers guys..

Iv done some researching now and theres good instuctions in Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's book.

We are going to make some stands from PA speaker stands or maybe a timber A-frame.

2x U-shape brackets on top of the stands.

8 foot Octaganal bar with 2 Cross shaped Tyre Irons welded on (or perhaps steam wheels). This allows the octaganal bar to be lifted and rotated in 8 equal rotations. (7 hours is too long to be hand turning)

Just rotate the bar every 15 mins. We've decided on a 50 lb pig now as 100 will take all day.

Im going to buy some cheap breeze blocks to build a firepit and line the bottom with paving slabs and then rake the coals into the sides.

We are going to have a practice with a small lamb in the spring :)

Thanks again
 

AJB

Native
Oct 2, 2004
1,821
8
54
Lancashire
harlequin said:
His biggest problem was trying to balance the spit in different locations. What I mean by that is the spit will want to turn so that the heaviest part is at the bottom. That's ok, but if that part is already cooked and you want to rotate it away from the coals you have to find some way of locking the spit in position.
Have to get your thinking cap on for this one!

Harly :)

I’ve been thinking about this one…

If you let the pig rotate on the bar so it settles due to gravity, but make sure the cranking handle is in its top dead centre position. Then wire the pig in place so it can no longer revolve on the bar. Then place counter balance weights (dumbbell weights) on the crank until it drags the centre of gravity of the whole thing back in line with the bar itself.

That would do it – I think!

AJB
 

tedmagnum

Tenderfoot
Nov 19, 2006
50
0
41
Wirral
AJB said:
I’ve been thinking about this one…

If you let the pig rotate on the bar so it settles due to gravity, but make sure the cranking handle is in its top dead centre position. Then wire the pig in place so it can no longer revolve on the bar. Then place counter balance weights (dumbbell weights) on the crank until it drags the centre of gravity of the whole thing back in line with the bar itself.

That would do it – I think!

AJB

This is why im using a octaganal bar locked in brackets at each side (like a nut in a spanner)

The spit will have holes drilled though at 1 foot intervals where 3 spikes will be cross-membered through to hold the beast in position. 1 spike must got through the rib cage (to stop it rotating) and the others are for support.

I didnt like the idea of wiring it on too much as it runs the risk of cutting through the flesh where all the cooking juices and moisture will be lost.
 

AJB

Native
Oct 2, 2004
1,821
8
54
Lancashire
Yep, the point I was making was about counterbalancing the off set weight of the pig - like balancing a wheel.

AJB
 

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