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asimenia 12-20-2010 01:30 PM

ok - bit of a wuss but need to cook pig minus head
I have no problems cooking a whole lamb on the spit inc head - but piggies are soooo cute (think babe)

Problems - we don't have a thermometer - we have a wood burning oven which has a 40cm (width) opening - we have ordered a 7kilo piglet for Christmas
I wanted a turkey but Greeks can't understand the need for this bird - hence piggy!
So questions
1. if the inside of the oven is white hot - when do we add babe? should we remove the coals/wood?
2. Is it best to light a fire Christmas eve and leave it to cool and then add babe to cook through the night covered? - would I lose crunchy skin doing that?

and I don't want the head on! Butcher has grudgingly agreed to cut it off but is well p'eed with me! I can't - the kids won't eat if they see this head!

I await your replies and hopefully help - I have a feeling I will be putting babe in the normal oven if I don't feel confident enough to use the wood oven - re rarely use it.

dmun 12-20-2010 06:34 PM

Re: ok - bit of a wuss but need to cook pig minus head
I'd put the pork in at about 400f degrees, with the fire out of the oven. That's a big roast and you don't want it raw in the center.

As far as firing the night before, I do that for winter roasts, but it's COLD here in the winter, and the oven gets used less. You probably don't have to do this.

It's a bit of a trick to do this without an ordinary oven thermometer. I fire the oven early in the morning, maybe 7am, for a late afternoon holiday dinner. By nine or nine thirty I stop feeding the fire and around 11 I rake out the coals. About an hour later, I put the door on the oven with the thermometer inside, and put the roast in when it gets down to 400 degrees. You'd have to guess the temperature, based on experience. I'd cook a big roast for about three hours or so, with any side dishes going in in the last hour. My smallish oven is down to about 325 by the end. If your roast gets too brown too fast, you can cover it with foil to prevent excessive top browning.

An ordinary meat thermometer will help you to tell when it's safely cooked inside.

GianniFocaccia 12-20-2010 07:49 PM

Re: ok - bit of a wuss but need to cook pig minus head
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I'm with Dmun - you don't want to undercook pork. Without knowing your overall oven dimensions, especially the brick mass (dome/floor thickness) and overall insulation, it is hard to say how much heat you will draw out of the oven. Pigs cook best at the magical 225-280F 'low and slow' temperature, which takes them through the all-too-important collagen breakdown phase slowly. At these lower temperatures the fat in the meat renders out slowly, keeping the meat moist and flavorful. You may want to try loading your 15lb piglet into a 325F oven and keep a small amount of charcoal burning in a corner. Slow-cooked pigs have a large margin for error and don't penalize you too much if you overcook them. You don't want to cook them at too high a heat for they tend to dry out.

The Super Bowl pig below (100lbs) was cooked at 228F for nine hours in a CMU block stand (sheet aluminum cover) "oven" fired with oak coals at the corners. The end result was moist and tender smokey-sweet goodness.


asimenia 12-20-2010 09:15 PM

Re: ok - bit of a wuss but need to cook pig minus head
Maybe I should stick to what I know and use the large BBQ rotisserie that we use for the lamb every year? Think that's a better idea?

asimenia 12-20-2010 09:17 PM

Re: ok - bit of a wuss but need to cook pig minus head
We plan to eat about 2pm - that's why I suggested we cook the pig very slowly in the oven overnight - we once made pizzas and then shoved a piece of pork with celery in and left it all night (it must have been about 2kilos) covered and it was very tasty

GianniFocaccia 12-20-2010 10:05 PM

Re: ok - bit of a wuss but need to cook pig minus head
Maybe you could do both. 'Par-bake' the pig in the oven for an hour or two and finish it up on the BBQ.

asimenia 12-20-2010 11:13 PM

Re: ok - bit of a wuss but need to cook pig minus head
That wouldn't be possible as it's either in the oven or on the spit - I will have too much to do Christmas morning - so it's either left to cook in the oven (fingers crossed over night) or rotating with motor on the spit. We always do a whole lamb on the spit every Easter so I assuming the pig won't be much different apart from the basting. I going out to see if I can get a slightly bigger roasting pot than I already have (18x32cm) to fit the fairly small opening (22cm x 41cm) Butcher seems to think I'll have no problems if I use the Greek style cooking pot either ceramic or other.

asimenia 12-24-2010 01:00 AM

Re: ok - bit of a wuss but need to cook pig minus head
Decided I'm going to cook piggy in the oven outside and just keep fingers crossed- we've been lighting fires since yesterday as hubby found a damp spot due to torrential rain we had. That rain got everywhere! I will post step by step photos to either a happy ending or a disastrous one - anyhow I still have two chickens put aside for emergencies! We bought a large roasting pot that fits my 7kilo pig in -
will place it in the oven before we go to sleep (after midnight - when santa's been) and wait and see what surprise or upset awaits us in the morning!

asimenia 12-24-2010 09:18 PM

the finished result
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Merry Christmas everyone!
The pig went in at 11pm - we last added wood about 5pm - I woke up early (6.30am - which was not easy to do after drinking a bottle of wine last night!) not to see if Santa had been but to see if piggy had cooked.
And here is the finished result - I have have a meat thermometer with helpful little pictures on and the needle went straight to pig and stayed there!

bris-pizza-oven 12-26-2010 12:11 PM

Re: ok - bit of a wuss but need to cook pig minus head
looks great how was the end result???

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