Roasting a pig in your backyard is easier than you might think. There are a few good local sources for buying a whole pig: At Hemlock Hill Farm in Cortlandt Manor, you’ll pay about $2.49 per pound plus a $30 butcher fee (though the larger the pig, the higher the fee). The farm sells pigs on Thursdays and Saturdays, and you must order at least a day in advance so they can have it ready. (For an extra $20, they will also marinade the pig for you.) At John Boy’s Farm in Pound Ridge, you can purchase a 40- to 120-pound pig for $4.50 per pound; orders must be placed two weeks in advance.
How much hog do you need? The folks at Hemlock Hill estimate that a roasted pig feeds about one-third of its weight. So a 100-pound pig would feed about 30-40 people. Or, figure on needing about 1 to 1.5 pounds per person. And unless you happen to own your own spit, plan on renting equipment for roasting. Alperson Party Rentals in Elmsford rents a rotating spit for about $125 for the day. You’ll also need charcoal or wood, which costs about $12 per bag.
Opinions range about how best to season the pig, but salt is the common denominator. Simply rubbing salt generously on the pig inside and out is one easy way to do it. Or, you can marinate it in a garlic, beer, and heavy salt (about one pound of kosher salt) marinade, says John Ubaldo, owner of John Boy’s Farm.
Once you’re ready to roast, timing is essential, says Ubaldo. “Start early in the day, and be patient. There is no rush,” he explains. Expect to roast the pig for about 6-8 hours, tending to it every 30 minutes or so just to make sure the coals are still hot and your hog is not becoming overcooked. It’s a lazy process, fit for a nice, lazy summer day.
But if you want to discard our advice and cheat (we won’t tell) you can order a whole roasted pig from Wild Westchester BBQ in Armonk for $500. The company also offers a pig roast on site for $2,000 that serves 75 people.
Alperson Party Rentals, Elmsford (914) 592-8300; www.alpersonpartyrentals.com
Hemlock Hill Farm, Cortlandt Manor (914) 737-2810; www.hemlockhillfarm.com
John Boy’s Farm, Pound Ridge (914) 646-4263
Wild Westchester BBQ, Armonk (914) 273-4995; www.wildwestchesterbbq.com