A Swine Time-

Kendra and I assisted in helping Elena and Scott do a little  house-warming-party-pig roast for  about 60 guests in the back yard of her new house. None of us ever really roasted a pig so it was great culinary learning event.  We took photos, videos and some notes on the pig party and the cooking process…so  if it happens again, we can surely tell folks that we’re no experts… but we know how to have fun.



“All my royal subjects shall enjoy swine” Queen Elena

Pondering the Pig

The ABC’s of Queen Elena’s Pig Roast

(from Mike Wayne’s perspective)

A. Overall I feel if was a wonderful success for a first time trial.

B. My biggest fear going into the process was the weather, which ended up not being a factor; scorching hot and sunny all day… just the place you want to be- in front of a hot grill.

C. I would estimate there were between 50 – 60 people who attended.

D. The pig was approx. 70 lbs., and I would guess we had 6- 8 lbs. of trimmed meat left over.

E. The crowd in general did not appear to be “big” meat eaters. If you had a lager bunch of guys- rednecks- carnivore type of people, you would probably need about a 80 lbs. pig for 50 – 60 hungry folks

Iced Pig in pool

Elena and Mike begin round one of the pig wrestling. The pig came from Palmetto Creek Farms- Avon Park, Fl http://www.bestpork.us was organically and humanely raised and transported in a kiddie pool full of ice back to St. Pete- See the related Youtube vid by clicking the link below


F. The kiddie tub transport from the farm and the brine process worked fine in the bathroom tub. Except he was hogging the shower for 2 days and a bit messy when we had to drag him out of the tub, through the house and onto the kitchen prep counter.

Pig in a blanket

Pig in a blanket- in the tub he goes… wrapped up

Iced swine

And iced down

Soaking and poking

Soaking and poking


Having too much fun

Elena appears to be having too much fun during the brining process- you can watch her unique technique in action by clicking the Youtube link below


Pig Prep

Prepping and skewering – click the You Tube vid link below for some more graphic details!


G. The brining needle worked perfect- As well as the homemade sewing needle which was a necessity. I’m not sure how we would have sewn the pig up without it- most of what I researched just showed people poking holes in the skin and pushing thru the twine.

H. We used stainless steel wire and attached the wire to the spit thru the spine of the pig in 3 spots. We should have done about 5-6 loops thru the spine because later the pig was sagging on the spit as it turned. After we skewered the pig, we rubbed the inner cavity with a spice rub then stuffed him with a citrus mixture  and sewed him up.

Stuffed pig

Piggy was stuffed with lots of citrus, onions, and spices


We later found out how important it is to make sure the spit- tridents are fully inserted into the bone parts of the head and the rump of the pig- it needs to be very tight to keep it from slipping on a rotating spit





The stitch witch in action can be seen by clicking this Youtube link below


I. I would probably would used thick butchers twine next time. The wire got hot enough in some places to burn thru in some areas of pig while it cooked.

Pig eye view

Ready to go

Haul em out

Kendra & Mike haul this big boy onto the spit- watch the  exciting You Tube video!- click below

Kendra & Mike haul this big boy onto the spit- watch the exciting You Tube video!- click below


J. We used 8 bags of charcoal- and about a bag’s worth of oak chunks randomly added for smoke. After we put him on the spit the pig flopped around too much and we got concerned. We took it off and repositioned the spit tighter on both the front and rear of the pig. Elena called a friend Brandon, and experienced pig cooker- meat smoker- BBQ guy who came by and checked out our procedure and assured us we were doing ok. He stuck around for the day and provided advice, moral support, helped us drink beer and later, eat pig.

Brandon & Pig

BBQ rescue guy Brandon, using his secret mojo hand rituals as he blesses the slowly turning pig

K. Brandon said the fire should stay hot enough to hold your hand over it for about 5- 10 seconds before it became painful. I had a homemade short handle hoe to spread the coals. I believe we did good with the heat but it took us from about 8:30 am until almost 6:45 before we could take it off the spit. Part of the delay is because we took it off twice in the beginning to re-fasten and secure the pig because it was flopping. It would be beneficial to have a grill that had a top roof-type of shield to help hold in the heat. Next time a closed grill with a better spit.

Beni and Kendra

Kendra, having had enough of the pig prepping procedure, takes a break to walk Benni around the block

L. I think that actual cooking time was more like 8 hrs., and the rump part of the pig was still not completely cooked thru when we took it off; it was about at 150 degrees.

Brandon & Mike & pig

Brandon & Mike Give the pig a poke

M. We didn’t have time to let it sit for an hour. Brandon said its necessary to let it sit for a while after you take it off so the juices will soak in. Otherwise the meat will get dry. We had a bunch of hungry folks then so it didn’t have time to dry out.

N. Brandon came up with the mixture to spray on the pig while cooking: ½ cider vinegar and ½ beer. We also brushed the skin with rosemary olive oil during the cooking process


Elena keeps Mr. Pig moist and happy

O. We had a thin finishing sauce to place the cut meat in, which was Brandon’s idea, and a good one.

Finish Sauce

I lost the other part of the recipe but I think we added a little beer in this and let it simmer on the stove for a short while- it was a perfect sauce to lay the cut meant in.

P. The Pig Platter was a necessity and I don’t know how you could really do without it, or at least some kind of big plank. It was helpful in prepping and moving the pig as well as serving it. It was made from tongue and groove pine sections with a short wood edge, and the grooves allowed for grease drainage. And it had rubber feet, which excited some people. It was about 5 ft. long and 30 inches wide. The surface had been oiled down with 3 coats of corn oil.

Pig Platter

I built a pig platter to help in transporting – A handy and necessary accoutrement

Q. The pig needle was made from a ¼ in SS rod, 24 inches long. Heated and hammered flat at one end with an eyelet cut with a dremel tool. The other end ground to a spear point. Cost $4 in material


Pig needle

R. Having the small portable high-speed fan was necessary after we took the pig off the spit and began to carve. It kept the flies off the pig and helped cool it off.

S. The spit that was on the grill was lame and barely held the pig from flopping. Although we hammered the tridents into the both the skull and the rump, the pig still flopped and I thought the motor was going to burn up. Next time I would definitely use a double spit, such as the one in the pictures below that would secure the pig better. Also we had some problem with the way the motor was mounted, as it kept clunking when it rotated- lesson learned is to check out and test the motor a head of time at the rental place.


hog on rotisserie

2x5 Charcoal Rotisserie

T. Other party notes: We bought 6 cases of beer and had about 3 cases too much (if there is such a thing as too much beer) only because of the type of crowd who mostly drank wine. Served a Carolina BBQ sauce and placed it on the tables in Mason jars. It was well received and made for nice little gifts to some of the guests

U. Side dishes –  Elena  demonstrated her culinary skills by making black beans & rice, Mexican slaw, cornbread,  and salted caramel brownies- all  which got rave reviews. I don’t know the quantities made but there seemed to be a fair amount left over.

V. We had small potato buns for sandwiches but a lot of people did not use them.

W.   Rental items: The table and chair quantities seemed to be fine with plenty of eating and sitting space. The large canopy tent  and the portable AC fan were a must because of the heat and sun.

X. One of the big lessons (for me) was that you can’t rush the cooking process, and the need to keep the fire even and not too hot; and if you think it will take 7 hours, it will take about 8-1/2- you need extra cook time and time for pig to cool.

Elena and  Mike give the piggy a poke or two to make sure he's done while Brandon licks his chops in anticapation

Elena and  Mike give the piggy a poke or two to make sure he’s done while Brandon licks his chops in anticipation

Maurice Heidi Brandon

Maurice, Heidi, & Brandon assist in slicing off the finished product

Y. Aside from the fact that we were all rookies in the pig roasting procedure, it cooked up fine, the weather co-operated,  everyone was pleased and I think some were even impressed. Elena and Scott did a splendid job of hosting the event, Brandon came to the rescue and was great help, and it was a wonderful and fun learning experience for all.

Pig Wranglers

Pig Wranglers: Elena, Kendra, Scott

Z. That’s all folks!

mmm yum

One thought on “A Swine Time-

  1. Karen Newman says:

    OMG! We are not doing this at the Florida candaminium or at our house in Ohio. Pulled pork or spareribs are great at Oakwood Smokehouse Grill in Tavares or Mancy’s Shorty’s B-B-Q in Toledo. Just saying…..

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