In Puerto Rico the roast pork on a spit or on the grill is the King of our Christmas table, tradition that takes us on a trip to the past when families and neighborhoods came together in courtyard feasts roasting entire pigs on the spit and enjoying the juicy roasted pork in middle of carols to celebrate Christmas. The flavor of a fine roasted pig consists of the combination of the slightly smoked meat, juicy and tasty, and the bronzed and crunchy skin (“cuerito”) supplemented with garlic, oregano, salt, pepper, annatto oil and other spices. In this book you will learn step by step secrets for cooking this delicious roasted pork that for so many years has maintained its popularity.
On a Spit On the Grill
The piglet on a spit is a traditional delight in the months of December and January, but not everyone has the time to venture into the preparation of this exquisite dish at home. Seeing a roasted pig for the first time is impressive. Butchers prepare pigs of 90 to 120 pounds making a longitudinal cut that starts from the hind legs up to the front legs; they leave the rest of the body intact, the head, the tail and the legs. But they also make some cuts in the flesh for seasoning. A 100 pound pig feeds approximately 50 people. The pig is cleaned, peeled and mounted on a spit. Traditionally this rod was made of wood but then people began to use steel because it is stronger. The flavor of a good roasted turkey consists of the combination of the slightly smoked, juicy and tasty meat, and the bronzed crunchy skin, also known as the famous “cuerito”, supplemented with garlic, oregano, salt, pepper, annatto oil, and other spices. The meat is slowly roasted on coal by spinning it for about 6-8 hours.
The following details should be taken into consideration in order to prepare a good roasted piglet:
– You must make the request to your butcher with 4 weeks in advance.
– Buy the seasoning ingredients a week in advance.
– If you are planning to cook your piglet on a spit, you must build a rustic cinder block pit.
– Two days before the roast, you must prepare the seasoning.
– You must pick up the pig from the butcher 24 hours before and season it.
– Begin to roast your pork 8-10 hours prior to consuming time.
When placing your order to the butcher, let him know that you want the whole hog, cleaned and without guts, and to leave the tail, the ears and legs; with a clean cut through the center and up to the neck, leaving the head intact if you are going to cook it on a spit. To cook on the grill, ask him to also, with the use of an electric saw, to cut the head in half following the cut through the center of the body. You can pick it up early the day you are going to season it so you won’t have to worry about storage.