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Homemade Roaster

Garth Brown |

Over the weekend of the 4th Normandy and I hosted a camping party. Normandy was in the Peace Corps in Niger (west Africa) a decade ago and decided to hold a get-together for all the other former volunteers she knew from her time there, well, all those who could make the trip to our farm. It was great fun to host the event such as it was - all the guests were virtually self-sufficient and cleaned up after themselves.

One of the the highlights of the weekend was roasting our first pig. Garth was kind enough to take charge of the actual roasting so that I would be free to do other things as needed during the day. I almost rented a roasting device, but then Garth stumbled upon this while reading up on the process. Since we had almost all the materials on hand in various farm material stockpiles it was far less expensive to build my own pit. The pig was supposedly the "right" size for the pit described in the link, so we built it accordingly. However, when the time came to put the pig in, it only barely, barely fit. I think on the low calorie hay/whey diet my homegrown pig must have had a bigger frame and less fat than a "normal" 80 pound pig. If it had been a bit more rotund it would have gone in nicely.

I made a couple of modifications - I put the rebar layer at the top of the third course of ciderblocks rather than the fourth. This was a fortuitous accident because the pig would definitely not have fit at all. I didn't make a plywood/foil heat shield. I had an old piece of aluminum roofing in my scrap and cut a shield out of that and then suspended it just below the rebar so the pig would not sit directly on the hot, flat metal. I also couldn't find any uncoated fence so I used remesh instead. It was plenty strong enough for an 80 lb hog.

Garth started the fire at about 4:30 am. The pig went in at 6, and the meat was ready by 3 pm. It was delicious. I just ate my last chunk of left-over pulled pork on top of salad for dinner tonight.


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