We all know how popular a roasted whole pig is. It could make a simple gathering into something special. Prepare it, add a few side dishes and rice and you’re all set! But how do you choose the size of the whole pig? It’s expensive so here are some tips to help you choose the perfect size pig:
In choosing the perfect pig size for your party, we can follow the general rule of thumb which is 40-50% meat produced from the raw butchered weight. For example a 50lb pig gives you 20-25lb cooked meat and most probably will feed around 50 people. Consider setting a 1lb raw pig weight per person for a mixed group, for heavy eaters, allot at least 1.5lb each.
Cooking using a pig roasting box like La Caja China gets a better yield compared to cooking over direct heat as you may lose more of the belly meat.
You also need to consider the breed in choosing your pig. When considering Berkshire pigs, note that they have a higher fat content so you may need a bigger pig as the fat will melt away as it cooks.
Younger pigs have juicier and tastier meat compared to older ones hence less time and charcoal is needed for cooking. If you have an older pig, ensure that slow cooking is done so the heat could thoroughly penetrate into the deepest areas of the pig. In cooking pigs of any size, the temperature should reach 72deg before serving. If cooking your pig over charcoal, allow at least 1 hour for every 10lb of uncooked meat.
If you want to buy a cheaper pig, choose the ones over 100lb in weight. Remember though that bigger pigs need more cooking time and smaller ones only need at least 3 hours in rotisserie boxes.
For whole pigs, shop around first to get a good price and order in advance as most butchers do not have whole pigs for retail.