Every year a group of lads head out bush trying to find the coldest place to camp and do a bit of 4wd’ing. This year we decided to do a whole pig on the spit. Needless to say I was excited about this project.
In the preceding weeks we were getting email and video updates from Ironpaw on the spit building and testing.
Adjustable Legs to raise pig above heat.
Getting the Speed right.
Spit Roast almost done!
We pre-ordered the pig from Carey Brothers Butchers in Warwick, about 15mins from where we were camping. All up it cost around $200- @$8.80/kg.
I asked the butcher why the whole pig was $8.80/kg yet their website mentions they sold half pigs all butchered up nicely for $6.80/kg. We were told that they don’t normally have young whole pigs in stock and that it had to be specially ordered in by one of their brokers.
We arrived at The Springs 4wd park on Fri lunchtime, set up camp and then began salting the pig. I made a rub of mustard, garlic and ginger powders mixed with salt. This was rubbed all throughout the inside of the carcass. The outside was kept simple with a hefty rubbing of salt. We then wrapped the pig up in the plastic sleeve it came in and then a second layer of plastic sleeve with two bags of ice in between the layers (That way if the ice melted it would not waterlog the pig). This was all them rolled up in a tarp for storage overnight. We weren’t too concerned about the temp as we were expecting it to be well below 4°C overnight.
We then focused on getting the fires going. One ludicrously large one for our general warmth and a secondary one to cook the pig on the next day. You would think that dragging two whole trees as well as dozen or so large 6″ thick branches to feed the firepit would suffice but this is Brass Monkey and pretty much all was consumed come morning.
I woke up at 6:30am hung over, freezing and cursing my inadequate warm bedding. I finally warmed up enough to put on my boots and get to the fire. Fortunately both were still going. The ice around the pig was still frozen (Big high-five for no botulism!) and the dogs hadn’t found a way into it. Ironpaw started assembling the rotisserie and we started working out how to position the pig while we got the others to do a few missions into the bush to get more wood and stoke up the fire.
Ironpaw and I then spent ages trussing up the pig using his custom S&M pig bondage shackles. They worked a treat as that piggy wasn’t going anywhere.
Cooktime : 1 Hour
We’ve only just started but there was a slight tinge to the skin which means that the heat is slowly cooking the pig. There were concerns that the strong winds would make this a raw pig come dinner time so a bit of rigging to throw up a windbreak using a Nissan Patrol, silver tarp, tent poles and anything heavy that could hold it down. It did the job just fine.
Cooktime : 2 Hours
The cooking process is working and the skin had started to take on a nice golden hue.
You can sort of see the U-Bolt that holds the flatbar onto the spit. We pushed the flatbar through the ribs of the pig then held it tightly in place using the U-Bolt.
Pig Stirrups holding the rear legs away from the fire. They were a bitch to get on but worth the effort in piggy stability and peace of mind.
Disaster strikes ! Well not really. As the rotisserie was doing its thing, it slowly settled in the dirt and the spit and supporting brackets and adjustable legs became slightly misaligned and as a result stopped turning. We should have pulled it away from the fire but instead we decided to get everything aligned in situ. As you can see one section basically got a hammering from the flames. Fortunately it didn’t get burnt and bitter and was perfectly fine even by the end of the night. It was just a different type of crackly crunch.
Random Bush mechanics
Ironpaw tore apart his right front CV joint while doing a bit of wheeling the night before. Fortunately he just happened to have a spare with him. As you do! So while the piglet was cooking he did a quick trip into Warwick to grab some grease and then got down to business replacing the broken CV.
Cooktime : 2.5 Hours
into the cooking process and the flesh is slowly separating from the bone. The fats and juices are finally dripping down onto the coals and creating a delicious heady porcine aroma.
Our firepit started a bit too short and so the skin on the rump is still very uncooked. Adjustments are required.
I had to take this pic mainly because as the pig cooked, blood and mucous oozed out of it’s snout and dripped into the fire. I was fine with this until our resident “Bottle of Tequila for Breakfast” crew member walked up, swiped his finger across the goop and scooped it into his mouth stating, “I’ll eat all of this pig”!
Now I’m okay with the blood bit but Swine Snot I am not so down with. Each to their own.
This was “Bottle of Tequila for Breakfast” guy about an hour later. [Name witheld :o]
Cooktime : 3.5 Hours
We’ve made a few adjustments to the fire hoping to sort out the lack of heat near the rear end.
There’s heaps of fat being rendered under the skin and guys are coming up and trying to steal ‘snacks’ of crackling. You will notice the ears are long gone.
Cooktime : 6 Hours
Into cooking and you can see the piggy is starting to resemble what it’s going to be when eating time has arrived. The tail end isn’t quite there yet but a couple of hours of roasting is still to be had. I’m confident that we won’t be doing a midnight dinner now.
Cooktime : 8 Hours
The pig meat is pretty much done. At this point several wireless and laser meat thermometers made their debut for the night and we were getting nice readings of just over 75°C
I highly recommend having a couple of good digital thermometers so you can stab them into different parts of your piggy to check for done-ness.
Cooktime : 9 Hours
Well is was around 7pm that we finally removed the pig off the fire and onto a metal table. It was easier to keep it on the spit for handling. Also the night chill had taken over and I wanted to get this onto plates before we had cold pork. So it was immediate battlestations and in between between using kitchen shears to cut off large sheets of crackling (Which was ridiculously awesome by the way) and trying not to cut people’s hands as they tore soft juicy melt in your mouth porky goodness, well there wasn’t really any chance for me to get any pics.
This porcine sacrifice was well and truly demolished. Everyone loved it.
If had a nice big warm kitchen bench at my disposal I would have spent the time and torn off all the left over bits of meat that remained on the carcass. There was still a fair bit of meat in the head although smart campers had already reached in behind the skin and pulled out a lot of the tender head flesh.