Raúl Musibay: Roasting a pig (or hog as they say in the south) is the traditional way to celebrate Noche Buena, or Christmas Eve.
Jorge Castillo: The Three Guys from Miami have been roasting hogs in the United States for more than 25 years.
Glenn Lindgren: Raúl is the true master of the pig roast! He learned the art of roasting hogs from his father and father-in-law in Cuba.
Raúl Musibay: This is the way we have been roasting pigs in Cuba for generations!
The Three Guys From Miami selecting a fat Iowa pig "on the hoof" in 1984. And no, we didn't select one of these sows.
Glenn Lindgren: Finding a suitable pig or hog is surprisingly easy.
Jorge Castillo: You'd be amazed at how many hogs are hiding in our midst.
Glenn Lindgren: Like at your local butcher. We're talking about an independent butcher where they actually cut the meat and package it for sale.
Raúl Musibay: The average butcher has had this request before, so don't be shy. Step up to the counter!
Glenn Lindgren: Buying a pig is one of the few times in life when you don't have to worry about color, model, or brand name.
Jorge Castillo: You just need to have a pretty good idea of what size hog you want.
Raúl Musibay: The best pigs are about 60-120 pounds, cleaned and prepared for cooking what they call the butchered weight.
Glenn Lindgren: We've also cooked smaller pigs and they can be quite tasty.
Jorge Castillo: Any hog larger than 140 pounds (drressed weight) is a disaster in the making! It's just TOO BIG to cook and handle properly. Try flipping a 140 pound hog and you'll know what we're talking about. If we need to feed a huge crowd, we don't get a giant hog -- we get two smaller hogs and cook them simultaneously using two roasting set-ups.
Glenn Lindgren: An 80-pound pig easily feeds 50 to 60 people. However, we love to have plenty of leftovers, so we always make way too much.
Jorge Castillo: Another good place to find a hog is from someone who raises them, namely your local neighborhood farmer.
Raúl Musibay: If you live near a farming area, contact the local agriculture agency to see which farmers sell hogs directly to the public.
Jorge Castillo: Then get in touch with one of the farmers on the list and tell him (or her) that you need q whole hog. Many farmers can butcher the meat themselves or they may have an arrangement with a butcher to do so.
Raúl Musibay: No farms near you? Many grocery stores can also arrange to deliver a whole pig to you. Talk to the person in charge of the meat department and see what they say.
Glenn Lindgren: Have the farmer or butcher clean the hog.
Jorge Castillo: And we're not talking about a good soaking in the bathtub.
Raúl Musibay: Tell them to leave on the head, feet, tail and ears. Also make sure that all of the hair is removed from the skin.
Glenn Lindgren: Some whole pigs are shipped and handled frozen even at the butcher shop. A good butcher will thaw the hog out for you the day before you're scheduled to pick it up.
Jorge Castillo: We pick up the pig the day before we plan to eat it because we to marinate it overnight.
Glenn Lindgren: If your hog arrives frozen, don't freak out! It will probably arrive in a huge plastic bag stuffed into a huge cardboard box looking something like that bargain casket we bought several years ago for Uncle Victor...
Jorge Castillo: ... nobody liked Uncle Victor very much!
Glenn Lindgren: We thaw the hog out in the backyard by filling the plastic bag with a garden hose and cold tap water.
Jorge Castillo: We leave the water running so that it covers the pig and runs out over the sides. We have thawed even large pigs in a few hours using this method.
Jorge Castillo: We make sure that we defrost the hog without letting it get warm. This is especially important on a hot day, so we keep the thawing pig in a shady place.
Raúl Musibay: The pig should be defrosted, but remain well chilled throughout the process.
This account describes the methods we have used to cook hogs and pigs and the devices we have built solely for our own personal use. If you should decide to build your own pig roaster, understand that these are not complete instructions. The Three Guys From Miami cannot and do not guarantee or warranty anything that you may assemble yourself based wholly or in part on anything described in this account. Your skills and abilities may vary from ours, and there is no way that we can ensure that your "do-it-yourself" project will work as intended.
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