A Wessex Saddleback piglet, lovingly free ranged by its breeder to a weight of, say, 8kg, is a cute little blighter. But sadly, it also happens to be delicious. Sadly for the piglet, that is.... The real joy of this dish is the fact that, once you have your piglet, little else needs to be done. Fire up a barbecue to around 105 degrees celcius/220 fahrenheit, massage your piglet in oil, season with salt and pepper, toss a dozen cloves of garlic, and sliced unpeeled ginger into the cavity and position on the grill.
I like to start off in a long foil tray, positions spine up and placed into the barbecue (a Primo XL is great). Add a few chunks of hickory. Drop the lid. It's hard to predict exactly how long it will take to cook because barbecues vary, but start taking readings with your probe thermometer from about 3 hours, by checking the thickest part of the shoulder. You want an internal temperature of 70 degrees celcius/160 fahrenheit.
Keep an eye on the ears and tail and cover with foil if they appear in danger of burning. Also, baste with pan juices as the pig is roasting to discourage the skin splitting and opening up.
For a final burst of cooking to crisp up and darken that delicate skin, increase the temperature in the Primo to 200 degrees celcius/390 fahrenheit and cook for another 30 minutes, basting well, or until that skin is crisp. To raise the temperature in the Primo open all hatches fully. This will drive up the temperature, but don't expect it to happen within a minute.
Remove the piglet from the oven and rest for at least 30 minutes, ideally longer. To serve, tear or cut the crisp skin into serving pieces and tear off chunks of the tender flesh to go with it.
Eat it anyway you like. My favourite involves acquiring some small tortillas and tossing them onto the grill briefly. Apply some hoisin sauce and a slab or pork crackle, accompanied with sliced cucumber and spring onions. .
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