I’d been hearing about pig roasts for months following my return to Jamaica in 2011 and wanted to go to one. I even went to a fund-raising event because I heard that they would have a pig roast. As luck would have it though, the year I went, the organization did not do the roast. I was disappointed.
The practice of roasting a whole pig, usually a young pig between two and six weeks old, or suckling, has been around for centuries. Pig roasts are popular in several countries for large gatherings such as weddings and parties. The pigs are typically slow roasted on a spit over a wood fire, but a large oven can work as well.
Just when I’d given up on ever going to one, the pig roast gods smiled. My sister D, alerted me that G’s BBQ on Constant Spring Road in Kingston had announced one.
It was hard to keep my excitement in check as I counted down the days to the roast. When it finally arrived, our party of seven was among the first to take our reserved seats at the restaurant.
As soon as the roasted pig arrived, Chef Gari began carving it then served us table by table. Several mouth-watering sides and sauces accompanied Chef Gari’s Whole Smoked Crackling Roast Pig, including Green Papaya Slaw, Pickled Red Onions, Hard Dough Rolls with Honey Butter, Smoked Sweet Potato, Mac & Goat Cheese, BBQ Onions, and Tangy Tamarind Glaze, Coconut and Lemon grass Sauce and Mango Scotch Bonnet Sauce.
I had the green papaya slaw, hard dough rolls with honey butter, and mac and goat cheese. Succulent on the inside, crispy on the outside, the pork harmonized perfectly with the medley of flavors. The orange-looking strips that look like fries are the papaya slaw.
Chef Gari is well-known around Kingston for his barbecue but his Whole Smoked Crackling Roast Pig had me going back for seconds, despite the promise I made to myself not to pig out.
G’s BBQ still does pig roasts, so if you’re in Kingston, be sure to check them out.
67 Constant Spring Road
Mondays-Saturdays, 12 noon to 10:30 p.m.
Here’s a recipe for Jerk-Roasted Suckling Pig from one of my favorite cookbooks, Jerk Barbecue from Jamaica by Helen Willinsky.
- 1 suckling pig, dressed and well cleaned
- Vegetable oil for coating
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper for sprinkling
- 4 onions, finely chopped
- 2 cups finely chopped scallions
- 4 tablespoons dried thyme leaves
- 1/4 cup salt
- 2 tablespoons ground Jamaican pimento (allspice)
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 4 Scotch bonnet or habanero peppers, seeded
- 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 4-6 cloves garlic
- 2 or 3 white potatoes, cooked and mashed
- 2 or 3 sweet potatoes, cooked and mashed
- 2-3 tablespoons butter
- Preheat the oven to 350'F or 180' C.
- In a food processor, puree all the paste ingredients to make a paste.
- Rub the inside of the pig with the paste, reserving approximately one tablespoon to mix with the stuffing.
- Rub the outside of the pig with oil, salt and pepper.
- In a large bowl, combine the potatoes, sweet potatoes, butter and remaining one tablespoon jerk paste.
- Stir until well blended.
- Loosely pack the stuffing inside the pig and close the opening with skewers, or sew together with kitchen twine.
- Draw the legs back and tie with twine.
- Stuff the mouth with a piece of aluminum foil to keep it open as it roasts.
- Place the pig on a rack in a large roasting pan.
- Roast for 2 to 2 1/2 hours (15 minutes per pound) or until done. An instant read thermometer inserted in the thigh will register 165'F and the juices will run clear when you pierce the thigh with a fork or the tip of a knife.
- Remove the pig from the oven and place on a heated platter.
- Remove the foil from the mouth and replace it with an apple.
- Let the pig rest at room temperature for 10-15 minutes before carving.
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