Roast Suckling Pig

This image courtesy of Tom Eckerle

Serves8 to 10

Cooking Methodroasting


Total Timehalf-day

Recipe Coursemain course


Taste and Textureherby, meaty


  • 1 suckling pig (14 to 16 pounds)
  • Salt and freshly milled pepper
  • 6 tart apples, quartered
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 2 lemons, halved
  • Vegetable oil
  • Wild flowers or fresh herbs, for serving
  • Field greens, for serving


  1. Preheat the oven to 450° F.

  2. Remove the liver, kidneys, heart, and other organs from the cavity of the pig and thoroughly scrub the pig. Towel dry thoroughly, inside and out. Salt and pepper the cavity, and stuff it with apples, herbs, and lemon halves. Sew the cavity shut with a larding needle or close it with skewers and string.

  3. Place the pig in a large roasting pan in a sitting position with its back legs folded until its rump and its front legs forward. Brace the mouth open with a 2-inch ball of foil. Cover the ears with foil to protect them from burning. If the pig is too large for the roasting pan, surround the pan with a double thickness of heavy-duty foil. Roast the pig for 30 minutes.

  4. Brush on vegetable oil to coat the skin, and reduce the temperature to 350° F. Roast for 30 minutes and baste again.

  5. Continue roasting for 2½ hours more, basting every 30 minutes with the pan juices. Insert a meat thermometer into the fleshiest part of the thigh. When the internal temperature reaches 185° F., the pig is roasted. Remove the pig from the oven and let it rest for 30 minutes.

  6. Transfer the pig to a serving board or platter and remove the foil. Fill the mouth with wild flowers or fresh herbs, and surround the roast with more flowers or herbs.

  7. Meanwhile, skim off as much fat as possible from the pan juices and pour the liquid into a small saucepan. Cook the juice until heated through and reserve ¾ cup to pour over the field greens. Serve the remaining juices with the roast.


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