Roast suckling pig is a celebratory dish for many cultures, German included. Long ago and far away, people would roast baby pigs in their homes on a regular basis; now we think of it as something we need to go to a restaurant for. NOT TRUE!! This dish is incredibly easy, can be done in your home oven in just a few hours, and is a showstopper if I ever saw one. Procure a baby (suckling) pig from your local butcher. This might take a little doing on your part, depending on where you live, but I promise you, it is worth the trouble. I live in an old school Greek neighborhood, so they are hanging in every butcher window every day, but check at your local farmer's market or butcher. You really want to hold out for a SMALL pig. They are tender and cooking time is far less than a teenage 30-pound one.
Recipe courtesy of Tamara Reynolds
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Oven Roasted Suckling Pig, German Style
Total:
5 hr
Prep:
25 min
Inactive:
20 min
Cook:
4 hr 15 min
Yield:
10 to 15 servings
Level:
Intermediate
Total:
5 hr
Prep:
25 min
Inactive:
20 min
Cook:
4 hr 15 min
Yield:
10 to 15 servings
Level:
Intermediate

Ingredients

  • One 13 to 18-pound suckling pig
  • 2 cups kosher salt
  • Black pepper
  • 1/2 cup fennel seed
  • 1/2 cup fresh marjoram
  • 4 onions, quartered
  • 3 heads garlic, cloves peeled and separated
  • 2 apples, halved
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 1 bunch fresh thyme
  • 1 to 2 cups olive oil
  • 2 cups white wine or water

Directions

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. 

Wash your pretty little baby inside and out and dry with paper towels. Arrange your pig in a roasting pan (a hotel pan works best, but anything you have that will hold the pig is fine, as long as it has sides at least 2 inches high). Rub the cavity with 1 cup of the salt, some pepper, 1/4 cup of the fennel seed and 1/4 cup of the marjoram, and then stuff with the onions, garlic, apples, lemon and thyme. 

If you are really ambitious, you can sew the stomach cavity closed, but you don't have to. 

Combine the remaining fennel, marjoram, salt, pepper and the olive oil and rub it all over the outside of the pig. Have your friend or partner (you aren't doing this alone, are you!?) pour the water or wine over your hands to wash off the remaining oil and spices and let it run into the pan. Cover the ears with tin foil.

Roast 15 minutes, and then pull the heat down to 325 degrees F and roast 3 hours 30 minutes to 4 hours, turning on the hour for even roasting. Tent the pig with foil and let it rest 20 minutes before carving.

Carve and serve, crispy skin and all. Watch your guests' eyes slowly glaze over in pure love and delight.

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