How To Attach A Pig To A Rotisserie
Rotisserie Cooking - Whole Pig
Step 1- Marinate the pig
- Olive Oil
Get some olive oil and splash it over the pig and rub it in. The important thing is making sure you cover everything. Once the outside of the pig is covered in oil, you need to add some salt by rubbing it in liberally both on the inside and the outside of the pig. Next you need the pepper. Don’t add as much as the salt, just a nice sprinkling, making sure you get every part of the pig, inside and outside.
Step 2 – Skewer the pig
- Skewer through backend
- Skewer through mouth
For the next part you’re going to skewer the animal. Put the sharp end of the skewer through the back of the animal and feed it through the inside of the animal all the way through to the mouth. You may need to get a screwdriver to pry open the mouth. Once the skewer is all the way through, centre the animal on the rotisserie skewer.
Step 3 – Insert the back brace
- Straddle skewer
- Piece through spine
- Attach plate
- Tighten wing nuts
You can decide whether to use 1 or 2 back braces depending on the size of the pig. Feed the back brace underneath the skewer, pierce the spikes through the top of the animal (make small incisions through the skin to help you pierce it through). The back brace locks in place with the flat plate which sits on the outside of the pig and the 2 wingnuts.
Step 4- Insert the large prongs
- One through hips
- One through cheeks/shoulders
- Tighten with locking bolts
Once the back brace is secure, you need to insert the rotisserie prongs into the front and back of the animal. Slide one rotisserie prong onto the skewer and drive through the rear of the animal (hips). You might need to get a hammer to hammer the prong into the flesh of the pig animal if you encounter bone or you don’t have enough strength to push it through. Once in position, tighten the locking bolt to secure the prong into position. Repeat for the front of the pig by inserting the prong through the cheeks or shoulders of the pig.
Step 5 – Secure the legs
- Leg bracket for hind legs
- Wire for front legs
To secure the hind legs I recommend using a leg bracket. Slide the leg bracket onto the skewer and hook the legs over the “V” in the bracket. This keeps the legs in place and prevents them from cooking too close to the heat.
To secure the front legs to the skewer, wrap steel wire around the legs, through the prongs and around the head of the animal to ensure they stay in place.
Step 6- Stuff it!
- Stuff with fruit, spices or veg
- Stitch up stomach cavity
Once the pig is secure on the rotisserie, you might light to stuff the stomach cavity of the pig to give it extra flavour while cooking. I love the sweet flavour imparted on the pork from apples, garlic and onions, but a lot of people use lemongrass or vegetables. As the pig cooks, the stuffing will begin to breakdown releasing juices and flavours. If you choose to stuff the pig, you’ll need to stitch up the stomach cavity using either needle and thread or some stainless steel wire. Start at one end and continue feeding the wire through until the whole cavity is closed.
Step 7- Correct balancing
- Look for the heavy side
- Attach the counter weight to the skewer
- Adjust counter weight until weight is even
Incorrect balancing of a pig or any meat for that matter is the number one cause of spit roasting blunders. Failure to balance the meat correctly will not only result in uneven cooking, but it will place unnecessary stress on your rotisserie motor and may cause it to break.
When cooking whole animals, there is always going to be a heavier/more dominant side to the animal. That heavier part is going to want to fall down quickly as the meat is turning, placing strain on the gears on your motor. To prevent this from happening, I use a counter-balance weight to make sure the meat is nice and balanced. To test where to put the counter balance weight, firstly let the meat fall to the heavy side when it’s on the spit (but not connected to the motor or with any charcoal lit). With the heavy part facing down, put the counterbalance weight in the opposite direction, tighten it and bring the meat back upright. It should stay there without falling. You may need to adjust the counter-weight position a few times before you get the perfectly balanced.
Check out one of our earlier blog posts for how to balance a whole animal on a spit
Step 8 – Light the charcoal
To light your charcoal, you can do it anyway that works for you but there are 3 ways that I typically light charcoal.
- Using a charcoal starter wand - fastest
- Using a charcoal chimney fire starter - medium
- Using just fire lighters - slowest
We have a ‘How To’ section on our website demonstrating how each of these methods work in more detail.
Whichever method you choose, you will know your charcoal is ready when the coals are white and there’s no more flame.
Once your charcoal is lit and has turned white, it’s time to spread it around the spit. It’s very important you’re using gloves and a small shovel or coal rake when it comes to hot charcoal.
Over time, you will need to add cold charcoal alongside the hot charcoal to ensure an even heat.
Check out our previous blog post how to light charcoal quickly and effortlessly
Step 9 – How high?
- Use the 7 second rule
- Don't put charcoal directly under the meat
Once you’ve got the pig properly attached to the skewer and your charcoal is ready, you can put the skewer on the rotisserie. Unlike gas where you can adjust the flame to adjust the temperature, the main way to adjust the temperature is by adjusting the height the meat sits over the coals. When determining how high you should have the meat as it’s turning, a good rule of thumb is to put your hand just underneath the meat and you should be able to hold it there for about 7 seconds before your hand gets too hot.
It’s also very important to remember that as the spit’s turning, the fats can drip from the highest point so you just need to make sure that the charcoal isn’t directly underneath where the fat is dripping to avoid fire flare ups.
Step 10 – How long?
- Cook until internal temperature is 75 degrees C
The million dollar question. There are a number of variables which determine how long a pig will take to cook on a rotisserie. Size. How hot the charcoal is. How windy it is. How far away the pig is from the coals. Whether the pig was warmed to room temperature or straight out of a cool room. How many kgs the pig is etc. Just remember, cooking on a rotisserie is a long process. Keep a cooking thermometer on hand and monitor the internal temperature of the pit. You’ll know it’s ready when the internal temperature reaches 75 degrees Celsius and the skin is nice and crispy. Check out the video in our learning and support center to learn how to know when your meat is ready