How to Roast a Pig on a Spit

Roasting a whole pig on a spit is a time-honored tradition for many celebrations and large gatherings. The process requires careful preparation, cooking skill and some specialized equipment, but the end result is a centerpiece main course that feeds a crowd. Follow these steps for how to roast a pig on a spit.

Gather Necessary Supplies

To properly roast a pig, you need:

  • A pig spit roaster (available for rent or purchase)
  • A whole dressed suckling pig weighing 50-60 lbs
  • Apple wood or hickory wood for fuel
  • Basting brush
  • Aluminum foil
  • Butcher twine
  • Meat thermometer
  • Carving knife and fork
  • Serving platters

Prepare the Pig

To prepare the pig for roasting:

  • Remove internal organs and glands if they are still intact.
  • Rinse the pig thoroughly inside and out. Pat dry.
  • Truss legs and hooves together with twine.
  • Insert an apple or potato in pig’s mouth to hold it open for presentation.
  • Coat exterior with olive oil, salt and pepper.
  • Stuff cavity with onions, apples, garlic and fresh herbs.

Set Up the Roaster

Set up the motorized roaster spit according to manufacturer instructions. These tips will help:

  • Place roaster so smoke won’t blow directly at guests.
  • Load spit rod through pig along the backbone.
  • Center pig on spit and tighten prongs into flesh securely.
  • Insert drip pan underneath to collect juices.
  • Start fire with kindling and gradually add wood for even heating.

Roast the Pig

Once the spit is steadily rotating over the fire, roasting can begin. Follow these tips:

  • Keep spit turning at 5-10 rpm throughout cooking.
  • Maintain fire to sustain heat around 250°F.
  • Baste pig every 20-30 minutes with stock and drippings.
  • Add apple wood or hickory chips to fire for smoke flavor.
  • Cover ears and snout with foil to prevent over browning.
  • Roast until meat thermometer reads 170°F internally.

Let Pig Rest Before Serving

When the pig has reached ideal internal temperature, follow these final steps:

  • Remove it from the spit and let rest 15-30 minutes.
  • Take out stuffing and reserve for serving.
  • Arrange pig on large platter or butcher block.
  • Surround with garnishes like apple wedges, fresh herbs and corn husks.
  • Allow guests to self-carve portions at the table.

Roasting the pig will take approximately 6-8 hours for ideal doneness and crispy skin. Now let’s look at some common questions about spit roasting pigs.

FAQs About Roast Pig on a Spit

How long does it take to roast a pig on a spit?

  • Plan for 6-8 hours of roasting time for a 50-60 lb pig to reach 170°F internal temperature. The exact time will vary based on your fire heat.

What is the best size pig for spit roasting?

  • A suckling pig of 50-60 lbs is ideal. It will fit most spits and the meat is tender. Larger pigs take much longer.

How far from the fire should the pig be?

  • For even cooking, the pig should rotate about 18-24 inches from the hottest part of the fire. Adjust spit height as needed.

How often do I baste the pig?

  • Basting every 20-30 minutes provides good moisture and color. Use a mop brush and mixture of stock and pan drippings.

What wood is best for smoking the pig?

  • Fruit woods like apple and cherry provide excellent flavor. Hickory and mesquite also impart hearty smoke taste.

Tips for a Perfect Roast Pig

Roasting a whole pig on a spit is impressive but requires some skill. Follow these tips for best results:

  • Pick a young, tender pig – Older pigs have tougher meat. Stick to a suckling pig under 60 lbs.
  • Secure to the spit tightly – Use prongs and ties to keep pig centered and balanced while rotating.
  • Turn slowly and steadily – Rotating at 5-10 rpm ensures even cooking all around.
  • Control your fire – Use hardwood lump charcoal and regulate air flow to maintain 250°F.
  • Baste frequently – Basting provides moisture and color. Mop pig every 20-30 minutes.
  • Let rest before carving – Allowing the meat to rest makes carving easier and more tender.
  • Have plenty of garnishes – Surround the platter with fresh herbs, flowers, fruits and veggies.

With the right preparation and equipment, roasting a pig on a spit makes for unforgettable feasts and celebrations. The smell alone will wow guests! Follow these tips for moist, beautifully-browned pork that feeds a hungry crowd.


Roasting a whole pig on a spit takes time and work, but delivers a stunning centerpiece for special event feasting. With the right tools, preparation, fire management and basting, you can achieve crackling skin, succulent meat and incredible smoke flavor. Your guests will be blown away when you go whole hog with a spit-roasted pig! I hope these tips give you confidence to take on this live-fire cooking challenge. Let the feast begin!

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