I served Suckling Pig as one of my series of 2016 Christmas Feasts and is available for private hire events for 6+ people – price on request.
“The third time someone calls you a donkey… might wanna think about buying a saddle.”
When the first person told me when they’d had suckling pig, it was so tender that it was literally carved with a dinner plate, I didn’t even understand how that could work.
The second time somebody told me they’d had suckling pig carved by a dinner plate, I thought it sounded like a gimmicky idea dreamed up in a Spanish tourist trap.
The third time, I bought the saddle.
Yes, suckling pig really is so tender that a 12 inch dinner plate will go through it like a hot knife through butter. The crackling – golden, crispy and puffed, is the best you have ever tasted.
It almost feels like cheating, given how much I devote myself to the technique of most of the dishes I write up, to blog about suckling pig. It might literally the easiest thing I have cooked all year. Nevertheless…
- 1 suckling pig (see below for sourcing and sizing)
- Maldon sea salt
- Sunflower oil
- 1 small apple (optional)
Score your pig all over with a clean stanley knife blade at 0.5cm intervals. Salt the skin generously, rubbing the salt into the score marks like you’re giving it an exfoliating scrub.
Then, as Fergus Henderson recommends: “Sit the pig on an oven tray in a sphinx-like manner, then rub some oil onto it as if it is Ambre Solaire on a good friend’s back.” Cover the ears and tail with some tinfoil to prevent burning.
My pig looks pretty silly with his little ear defenders on. But to be fair, it’s not the worst thing that’s gonna happen to him today
Put the pig into a hot oven (210C) for about 40-60mins (or until the crackling comes up), then turn down to 140C and continue to roast until the pig is tender enough that it offers no resistance to carving.
Remove from the oven and allow to rest, lightly covered, in a warm place for 15-30 mins before serving. If you’re putting an apple in its mouth, do so now.
If you’re looking to buy suckling pig, you can preorder them from any good butcher if you give them plenty of notice. Or you can do as I did and order from sucklingpigsonline.co.uk (yes really) – who deliver their pigs frozen next day (allow 2-3 days to defrost in the fridge). Their website has a good sizing guide – make sure you get one that will fit in your oven.