Picture of How to Roast a Pig
Having a pig roast is hands down one of my favorite things to do.  There are few other edible, legal party activities that put everyone in a good mood and garner as much excitement as serving moist delicious roasted pork to a large group of friends does.  If you've never roasted a pig before for a party or special occasion, and are not a vegetarian or vegan, you've got to read this Instructable and try it. 

This pig roasting Instructable chronicles the entire process of having a pig roast, and extends far beyond the process of strictly roasting  a pig.  "Having a pig roast" is a bit like "having a baby" - there's a lot besides the pig/baby to think about.  As a very gross estimate, roasting a pig takes approximately one day of prep, and one day of actual roasting. 

To be clear - I am no expert on pig roasting, but then again, few are.  I am simply passionate about the subject and have done it a number of times.  I have welded my own spits out of steel and also rented motorized spits from party rental supply stores.  I have roasted one pig all by itself, two pigs together, two pigs with a bunch of chickens and some multi-headed ducks with chickens.  I have learned a lot from each experience and I hope to share some of that info with you now in this Instructable.  

**This Instructable is based on a couple different pig roasts that I've been lucky enough to organize or asked to be a part of over the years.  I thought I'd share a bunch of different approaches on how to roast a pig, since there really is no "right way" and the more information we share about roasting pigs, the tastier the meat will be.  As a result, I am sorry if the images jump around a bit through the different methods.**


try not to use resinous woods (pine,oak, etc.) they leave soot on the food.

Well, what wood good?
shea.joy.910 months ago

I'd like to do it with the head off. I don't want to look at a face. Yeah, I know, call me a wimp. Would also help get the weight down. Has anyone done that? Any trouble getting it to stay on the spit?

Head off, skip u.no Offense
This man knows his stuff most important advice he gives is buy a young pig , smaller size the better. Doing one this weekend thx alot for refreshing my memory.
So share

Do you know anyone who makes the two level staggered spit racks with multiple spits (6-12) and a 'bicycle chain' drive with a single electric motor or gas engine to drive it?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Looks great, I can almost taste it from here! Just like to recommend one thing Invite your friends over to help set it up the night before the cooking so that you can be well under way by the day of. My friends and I would make it a "Men's Night" the night before. We would dig the whole and stoke the fire, set the pig(glazed, seasoned, stuffed, and start the tall tales) granted it was 150 lb pig and a side of beef  for the families of about 240 military unit members, but these are things you remember when you get old and say you have not lived until.... And your are right man has always gathered around a fire and made some pretty good friends around a decent meal. Thank you for sharing. Gives me an idea for a small pig and 2 bushel of blue crabs with all the sides.
nalatnoma2 years ago
Awesome instructable-thanks for the info
How do u enter a contest
woodNfish2 years ago
Good post, it looks like you had quite a great party, and isn't that what good food and friends are all about? As for vegans - hey, more for me! Being vegan is unhealthy anyway. We are omnivores for a reason.

One thing though, while your invitations are as creative as your food, I would not like a fork stuck in my doorjamb, or my paneling, or anywhere else unless it is my mouth when the fork is full of delicious roast pig.
mmladenovic2 years ago
Sori for bad english. Best basting is beer. Just shake the botle and spray over the pig. Do it in every 30 min. Simple and delicious
togo19192 years ago
We had an 11-year-old guest who cried when she saw the head at our last roast. Otherwise it was a great Party!
I'm from San Leandro, can I come join you and get a hands-on tutorial? I'll even bring potato salad.
dselestial2 years ago
What a fabulous posting! I seldom read entire instructibles but this time I did and I was drooling the whole time! You did a great job in your attention to detail, pictures and humor! I loved it! Good job!
Beemer0072 years ago
This works good for little pigs but if you do a whole, market pig (220 lbs). You really need to rap them in "chicken wire" or they fall apart.
Phiske2 years ago
Here's the last "pig" roast I went to. But these are of the rodent variety. I much prefer the traditional pig roast like you did. I know some complain about his cute little face (the pig, not yours) in the pics. But...it's a delicious little face. Oh, that's guinea pig in the pic. I live in Ecuador where they raise them in their houses for special occasions. Not very tasty.
coffee roasting 101.jpg
borealcat2 years ago
oh piggy!!!! his eye and face - why am i looking at this!?!? this is no different to me than roasting a dog!
though it's really a good instructable, objectively speaking...
ps. this is NOT like having a baby! except maybe from the pig's point of view, spears up the crotch sounds about right!
danzo3212 years ago
Except for vegans, vegetarians - and observant Jews and Muslims!
james.m.k2 years ago
> "Having a pig roast" is a bit like "having a baby"
Yes, well... Here's hoping you never confuse the two! ;)

By the way, if you need any voulenteers for the logical follow-up instructable; "How to eat a roast pig", keep me in mind! 8-D
abaneyone2 years ago
I'm impressed! Looks a lot like the way the cook it in the Philippines. I'm hungry now : )


firefly682 years ago
Wow, seems like you spent almost as much time on this 'ible as you did roasting the pig! Excellent job all the way around.
perryw92022 years ago
This is great. I've cooked a number of these and even had then we prepared so they were fully cooked overnight and then taken them to a football game for tailgating. The best was cooking a lamb in a similar style overnight at the Rose Parade. if you haven't tried this.. you should.
8steve882 years ago
studleylee - "Make mes hungry! Would this work on politicians?"

No, they are always spouting hot air, besides politicians are full of poison!

Makes me hungry for pork.
Brings back great memories of wicked party's, great friends and great pigs!
Remember, It takes a lot of beer to roast a pig.
medicman2 years ago
Wow. I'm actually vegan, but this is one awesome party that I would love to be at. I'd just focus more on the cooking of the pig and the eating of the stuffing and of course the drinking of the beer.
You sir, know how to live.
gamow2 years ago
chuckyd2 years ago
I think there is no bad way to cook a whole pig. I have had them open pit like yours, buried like in the islands, a wood fired brick oven, and a stainless steel cooker. The different methods yield different favors, and they are all good. However, I have come to like the wood oven or the SS cookers a great deal, because they seem to have more of the smokey flavor.

Regardless of the method used, the details are pretty much the same.

One note of caution, though. If you want a really fresh pig you will be buying it by the pound on the hoof. Just talk with your abbatoir to get the number of servings close.
Pattymouth2 years ago
OMGosh! This is amazing! We lived in New Zealand for a year & they did magic things with pigs, too, but they had to dig a massive hole, cover the pig with wet paper or cloths & surround the whole thing with hot river rocks then bury it again - a day-long messy job. I can't imagine how many neighbors want to come by to 'visit' when this baby is roasting. In fact, uh, what's your address? ;~}
studleylee2 years ago
Make mes hungry! Would this work on politicians?
Kinnishian2 years ago
Super inspiring. Goal: Do this within 3 years.
Kinnishian2 years ago
Super inspiring. Goal: Do this within 3 years.
gmgj2 years ago
rcalzadilla2 years ago
Man, that looks like a great party!
Roasting a pig on a spit is not easy, I know from experience, you guys are pros.
Here in Miami, Florida you can get whole pigs for around $1.50/lb during the holidays and not much more on any day. In the Cuban-American culture one must have, at least, one roasted pork every year and the preparation and roasting is as important as the eating of it.
Thanks for sharing.
dillahay2 years ago
You could send this to Mother earth news also & post it there too. Great job. If I have time I'll build this kind of pit. It's nice to have everything in one place.
Outstanding Instructable! Your use of materials at hand to "Git r dun" ( tarps, cinder blocks, bricks, roofing hammer to split wood, glass patio tables, etc.) is fantastic! Thanks also for the tips on operating a spit; you gave me a few ideas for when I make mine.

Kudos for the fork-vitation; I'm stealing that idea!
ilpug2 years ago
Food! I really am hungry now.

Also, what is that guy in the picture doing splitting wood with the wrong kind of axe and in sandals? eek.
noahw (author)  ilpug2 years ago
My friend is an experienced wood splitter. The small hatchet is all we had on hand on the time, we were college students, in a city. I will agree with you however that the sandals are probably not the best idea. Luckily, his toes lived to tell the story.
ilpug noahw2 years ago
Oh, I know the college students in a city thing, all is forgiven!
ringai2 years ago
This is an awesome instructable. I spent many, many years in the Navy. Of all the places I visited, the Philippines is my all time favourite (Hong Kong is #2 (it's expensive)). To celebrate every deployment, by group would have a party complete with a whole roast pig or two, and about a million pounds of pansit ;-)

If you are looking for a pig to roast, my advice is to hunt down a Philippine/Asian food market. Many will have local sources for pigs as it is a favourite party dish.

Man.... I can't wait until spring! Seeing this makes me hunger for some nice crispy pork skin and rice!
platdujour2 years ago
Awesome job as always.
Thrasym2 years ago
Love the forks in the walls through the invitations. Wish I had a yard to do this type of thing, sadly, I'd never get it finished on my apartment balcony before the fire department showed up and ruined my fun. I'll just have to pressure my friends/family with the room to do a pig roast into letting me rent a roaster for the next celebration we have.
M.C. Langer2 years ago
WOW!!! I love roasted pig!! In Colombia, one of our dishes is "La Lechona". It's a whole baked pig filled with the pig shredded meat, rice and peas. Thanks for sharing!
girlandcat2 years ago
William Golding's "Lord of the Flies" has a lot to say about human nature and why we all like playing with the disembodied heads of other animals . . .

In all seriousness though, this was a great Instructable, and is being bookmarked for when I have my own place and can cook the flesh of dead animals however I see fit.
Poor pig didnt know what was coming!! Nice instructable!
franklinrod2 years ago
Wow! You make it look easy! Epic!
tireswing2 years ago
You have done justice to a fine bit of cooking. I'm certain you make many people happy. I especially like your advice regarding 'so have a drink, don't stress, work fast and dig in'. That is a fine mantra for so many cooking tasks. I especially like the invitations; forks can be purchased very cheaply at a local Goodwill/resale shop. Carry on the fine work, please.
wilgubeast2 years ago
Great documentation, wonderful enthusiasm, and the surprised eyes of the pig on the spit is morbidly hilarious.