Joyful Noise Home-N-Stead

Where superior meat choices really are black and white!

Cuban Roasted Whole Hog

butterflied and racked
hot coals - timing begins

hot coals - timing begins

scoring skin after flipping

scoring skin after flipping

ready to serve!

ready to serve!

The Cuban roasting box, or 'Cuban Microwave', has become a favorite method to cook large amounts of meat relatively quickly. One hundred pounds of meat can be ready in as little as 4 hours.
For comparison, a 100# live weight pig (70# dressed) takes 8-10 hrs on a spit, 16-20 hrs over slow coals, or 12 - 16 hrs roasted in the ground Hawaiian style.

Traditional Cuban recipes call to make a highly seasoned marinade and injection to give flavor and moistness to the cooked pig. This is necessary for standard commercial-style pigs that are relatively young at 100#.

The lines of AGH that I raise reach 100# between 12-17 months. They have
well-developed marbling and have roasted beautifully with absolutely no marinades or injections, coming out succulent and flavorful.

There are several brands of 'Cuban Microwaves': La Caja China and La Caja Asadora being more reasonably priced.

How to roast an American Guinea Hog, Joyful Noise-Style!:

Choose that hog that has been giving you the most trouble. As long as it is nicely conditioned (not overly) it will give you the most pleasure to roast and eat.

I prefer to slaughter by the scald and scrape method, leaving the skin intact. Skinning the hog will not give you the same results.

'Butterfly" the carcass after chilling, splitting the spine and skull so that the carcass will lay relatively flat. I use my meat cleaver and bone saw. A clean hatchet and hammer will also serve very well.

Place in rack, securing with s-hooks, and follow the instructions of the roaster you choose to use.

MUST: allow carcass to come to room temp before starting the cooking process.

The La Caja Asadora roaster that I use (purchased used, by the way) consists of a metal-lined wooden box, a metal drip pan that sits inside of the box, the metal lid that sits atop the box, creating a decent seal, and the charcoal grate that sits inside of the lid.

Once the carcass has been butterflied, racked, and is at room temp (70^ F), place rib side up in the box, on top of the drip pan.
I generously sprinkle granulated garlic, coarse Sea or Himalayan salt, and coarse black pepper all over.

Place the lid on the cooker, then the charcoal grate, and 16# of non-self lighting charcoal in two equal piles- one toward each end. Note: Once you have put on the lid and started the charcoal - NO PEAKING!
Light charcoal and allow to burn 20-30 min until gray.
Spread lightly, but still keep larger amounts toward each end (over hams and shoulders).

At this point start counting your cooking time. It is highly recommended to keep a written chart of your times instead of depending on memory to remember all steps.
From Cook Start Time:
@ 1 Hour --- add 7# fresh charcoal spread over all coals. (do NOT light first).
@ 2 Hours --- again add 7 # fresh charcoal.
@ 2 1/2 Hours ---Lift grate and shake gently, set onto non-flammable surface. Use shovel or metal dust pan to carefully remove ash. Do not open cooker.
Replace grate, add 7# charcoal.
@ 3 Hours --- Lift off lid with grate and set on non-flammable surface. Using racks, turn pig over so that skin side is up. Score skin with sharp knife ( this allows moisture and fat to render out and the skin to crisp). Replace lid, do not add any more charcoal.

Let cook 30 more minutes. At this time, lift one corner of the lid to check skin crispiness. Repeat every 10 minutes until skin is crispy to your liking.

Once done, remove lid to safe non-flammable location (I put mine across the handles of the cooker), lift the pig out and set across the cooker. Allow to rest 30 minutes.
Set onto large cutting surface, remove rack, and debone and cut up the meat.
I find that a cleaver is best suited for cutting through the crispy skin and meat (pulling bones out first, of course.)

Time to enjoy!!

Don't forget to clean your cooker while still warm....makes for much easier cleaning and it will be ready for your next hog roast!

Becky Mahoney, published in the newsletter of the American Guinea Hog Association, Summer 2017 edition.