Step 5: Preparing the Pig

In order to speed the process of roasting, you need to butterfly the pig. Butterflying means that you cut the backbone from pelvis to skull, to allow the pig to lay flat. This is really not as hard as it sounds.

At an absolute minimum, you need a cheap, heavy chef's knife, and a standard hammer and a Bone Saw. A proper bone saw is preferred, but any hand saw would work.

Step 1 - Start at the tail end of the pig, with the pig on it's back. Using the saw, cut open the front of the pelvis and encourage (by force) the hind quarters to lay flat. You should see the back of the pelvis, and the start of the backbone.

Step 2 - Move to the head, and use the saw to cut open the breastbone; start the cut on the tail end, and cut up to the head. The rib cage should open slightly.

Step 3 - Go back to the tail, use the bone saw to start cutting the backbone near the pelvis, once you have a cut started, switch to the knife.

Place you knife horizontally along the backbone, and pound the back of the knife with the hammer a few times. The vertebrae are surprisingly soft, and the blade should cut right through. Repeat this process several times, each time cutting through 3-4 vertebrae. The pig should start to lay flat. Make sure that you don't cut beyond the vertebrae - it's easy to cut too far and come out the top of the pig. This will make an unsightly hole.

When you reach the back of the head, you have a choice to make. The pig will lie flatter and cook better if you cut the back of the skull in half with your saw. It's possible that this last step might be too much for some people. If so, skip it, but your pig won't cook quite as evenly.

Once the pig is butterflied, cover the interior with kosher or rock salt and your rub of choice, and place into the pig rack. I don't have a favorite rub recipe, so I just use Tony Chachere's rub, available at your supermarket. If you have a marinade injector, this is a good time to juice up the pig with your marinade of choice.

If you want to butterfly the pig the night before the roast, simply rack the pig, and fill the bottom of the roaster with ice. Unless you live somewhere really warm, that should keep it cool until the roast.
<p>I have cooked lots of pigs this way. I just fold the butterflied pig in a piece of climb proof horse fencing. The strong tight wire fencing is perfect for holding the pig together as the meat starts to slip from the bone. Just lay this fencing envelope over whatever firebox works. Even a hole in the ground with a couple pieces of rebar to hold the pig a suitable height from the coals. I started out with the pig on a spit routine but the butterfly method is, in my opinion, much, much better. Faster, more even cooking and better distribution of marinades and sauces. </p>
A meal fit for a Norseman. You have made your ancestors proud
You've got my vote.
i saw on youtube that youcan ust hang it on somehting and then use a flamethrower on it but not a good idea assumingthat not many people have a flame thrower just lying around
Fantastic pig roasting overview, easily the best I've seen online! Laying out all the tools and ingredients like that really helps!<br><br>Whole pigs, pork shoulders, briskets, ribs, turkeys, salmon, you name it, it&rsquo;s all great in a Caja China. <br><br>Again, great article, thanks!<br><br>- Perry<br><br>Perry P. Perkins<br>Author<br>&ldquo;La Caja China Cooking&rdquo;<br>&quot;La Caja China World&quot;<br>burninloveblog.com
Nice post to be found here. You may also find caja china style pig roaster recipe ideas &amp; instructions at <a href="http://www.shoplatintouch.com/articles.html">www.shoplatintouch.com/articles.html</a> Happy Roasting :-)
That was a great instructable and now you have me planning on building one. I live a bit further south then you, Texas, and i am wondering about insulation. Do you have any insulation other then the air gap? Our high for today is 109 degrees so I dont see us losing to much heat to the outside air but it seems to me that some fiberglass insulation would at least make it stay hot with less fuel meaning less wood splitting for me. Thanks again and please make an instructable for your next one.<br>
Does anyone have an instructabel on how to build one of these? I have looked all over the net for plans, with little success. It would be helpful to have a materials list and the exact dimensions and so forth and so on. Thanks. <br> This is a really cool instructable. I can't wait to try it. I'm thinking of cooking a hog or two like this for my wedding party.
I had intended to create an instructable for mine, but I'm not 100% satisfied with it, and it ended up being far more expensive to construct than what I felt was appropriate for instructables.<br><br>In general, there are two types:<br><br>The first is a more &quot;down south&quot; style, which uses no internal metal. (with the exception of the lid/firebox of course) These are often made of cypress wood, and tend to burn up after a few uses. <br><br>The second is a more upscale version which is lined in stainless steel or aluminum to reflect heat and preserve the wooden box.<br><br>There used to be a fellow selling a cdrom of plans on ebay, you might want to start there. Also try one of these search terms. &quot;Cajun Microwave&quot; &quot;La Caja China&quot; &quot;Coonass Microwave&quot;<br><br>Finally, the roaster shown in this instructable is made from an inner layer of aluminum sheet, a layer of cement board, a 1.75&quot; air gap, and an outer layer of 3/4&quot; plywood. It is indestructable, but very very heavy. I plan to rebuild using just the aluminum and plywood. When I do that, I will try to post an instructable.
Actually, pigs have hair, not fur. A small technical difference but worthy of mention. Additionally, they're scalded and scraped rather than shaved as a general rule. Scald and scrap is faster, cleaner, more sanitary and gives a better result.<br><br>I second the idea of buy your pigs direct from the farm, preferably a pastured farm.
Very nice! I like the idea of splitting it and getting it all smokey and tastey and DONE rather than some that seem like there is a chance of it not getting done. Well done!! I'm more of a fan of good tasting pork rather than meat that just tastes like BBQ sauce. So I'll definitely try yours over others! Now I want to see the Instructable on how to make the Cajun Microwave!!
&nbsp;I agree with you on the sauce thing. I see sauce as a way to cover up a bad taste. Marinade however is different.
I would like to know where one could get a whole pig? I'm a city boy so all I know is the grocery store. :0(
&nbsp;&nbsp; I see UR a pro member i.e. you support what we love! &nbsp;I live in a rural area of Maryland &amp; have friends that raise &amp; butcher and I enjoyed it in a younger day. &nbsp;So, here's link that supposed to be local to you; mcreynoldsfarms.com/pig_roast.html
Thanks!<br /> <br /> I contacted them and got one on order for my 45th birthday party! I can't wait!
It really depends, but most grocery store butcher shops would probably be able to help you. It never hurts to ask the guy behind the counter if he can order a roasting hog for you. Failing that, look for butcher shops in the phone book and call around. Not everybody has access to a local farm, but most butchers should be able to get you a whole pig. Good luck!
&nbsp;I used your instructions today to cook a 45lb pig. Turned out great. I injected it with Creole Butter and seasoned the cavity pretty heavily. Cooked it for about 5.5 hours between 250 and 300, flipped it at 150 like you suggested and the skin turned out wonderful. The only issue we ran into is the roaster I was using (borrowingt)&nbsp;started burning on one side and we had to douse that part of the wood with water. I think it's a design flaw in that roaster, so I'll have to find some different plans when I build one of my own.<br /> <br /> Thanks from a Alabama boy learning to roast a pig from a guy in Alaska :)<br />
Where did you find the pig, as Pig (Or at least certain types) aren't common in America.
I love your "Roaster" Do you, or have you ever had your butcher inject the hog with Bhrine. That is how we do our "Whole hog"
in my part of the world pig goes to the spit
That's the interesting thing about pig roasts, that so much regional variation exists. It seems to me that spit roasting only works in warm regions. I have used my roaster in the winter, with snow on the ground, and it worked great. I believe there are at least two other instructables demonstrating spit roasting of a pig, so I think that's well covered.
very god picture and very god to eat
I spent a good year and a half in Iraq and let me tell ya, these first 2 pics bring back some bad memories. BUT, I think about the BBQ amazingness and all is well. Good job sir, well done!
Oh, that looks so good. The pork chops I'm making tonight suddenly pale in comparison!
That looks good!
A whole pig has hair, guts, etc. This is a butched pig (joke!). Now seriously, it's a sin to remove the skin before roasting the pig: it's very tasty. Also, if some part of the skin is burned (charred?), the loss is not so great. I think that 4-5 hours should be sufficient to roast a small-medium piglet (8-12 Kg or 16-26 pounds). Good instructable!
I am avoiding giving roasting times as variations in the roaster, pig etc could result in undercooked pig if the time recommendation is followed too closely. That said, you are correct, about the 4-5 hours for small pigs. Last Thanksgiving I cooked a 25 pound turkey in about 2 hours in the roaster. As for the skin removal, I don't recall what the reasoning was, other than some "expert" had said it was important. We never did it again. Thanks for commenting!

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