Finally, after the pig had been purchased, transported, brined, had a fire built for it, stuffed, mounted, cooked, nearly ruined, cooked, and removed from the fire. What next? Let’s take the meat of the bones. A lot of the butchering can be done by hand. First, peel off the thick skin.
Then use a knife with a small blade to cut the meat off of the bones. I was a little disappointed in the end product. I expected the meat to be more consistent since the pig was so young and had only drank milk. Instead the different cuts of meats like the pork belly (often smoked and cured and used as bacon) was different from the pork shoulder, was different from the loin, which was different from the tenderloin, which was different from the ribs, etc. The rear legs were also different from the rest of the pig. In part because they did not spend as much time on the spit, but I think that a good part of the diffence was due to the different cuts of meat.
Next time I think I will cook the pig longer, letting it get to around 200 degrees instead of just 175. That will get all the meat consistent, and fall-off-the-bone tender. The risk will be that it will literally fall of the bone and into the fire. Maybe we’ll get it to 175 over the spit, and finish it in the oven. We’ll see.
Also, a good strategy for the vulchers who will inevitably swarm your pig carcass while your butchering it: give them some of the bones you’ve already taken the meat off of, and let them pick off of that. It works for dogs, and it works for grabby hungry people.
Ultimately the pile o’ meat looked like this:
I also made a sauce to go with the pork. Ingredients for serving probably 20 (i.e. 8 more people than we had) include:
- 1 stick of butter (1/2 cup) — or substitute 1/2 cup of oil (preferably Extra Virgin Olive Oil, if it’s on hand)
- 1/2 cup of flour
- 1 cup of milk
- 1 cup of white wine
- Several sprigs of thyme
- 1/4 cup of dijon mustard
- Salt and pepper to taste
I started with a bechamel, which is a combination of a rue and milk. Take a half cup of butter (1 stick) and a half a cup of flour, and stir them together with a wire wisk over medium low heat. You can substitute oil if you don’t have butter (which is what we had to do for our sauce). When the flour’s rawness is cooked out, and the rue starts to get a little color (after 3-5 minutes) slowly add a cup of milk in a thin stream, allowing the sauce to become a thick white mixture, with the consistency of frosting. Add salt and pepper to taste. I added a 1/4 cup of dijon mustard, a cup of white wine, and the leftover juice from the lemons that were in the cavity of the pig. A few sprigs of thyme went in as well. I let that cook together on medium for 10-15 minutes, to let the flavors marry, stirring consistently. Add some more salt and pepper to taste. It looked like this while it was cooking:
You can see the thyme in there. I removed it before serving, and also tested to see that the salt and pepper were good. There was way too much for the 12 people we were serving, but I thought better to have too much than too little.
The pig was a hit, but there was plenty of room for improvement. Post VI will be a post-mortem debriefing, as well as a consolidated explanation on how to roast a suckling pig and succeed brilliantly.