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Pig Roast at G’s BBQ

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.

Pig Roast at G's BBQ
Roasted pig with green papaya slaw, mac and goat cheese and pickled red onions

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.

The Marketplace
67 Constant Spring Road
Kingston 10
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.

Jerk-Roasted Suckling Pig
Serves 12

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  1. 1 suckling pig, dressed and well cleaned
  2. Vegetable oil for coating
  3. Salt and freshly ground black pepper for sprinkling
For the Jerk Paste
  1. 4 onions, finely chopped
  2. 2 cups finely chopped scallions
  3. 4 tablespoons dried thyme leaves
  4. 1/4 cup salt
  5. 2 tablespoons ground Jamaican pimento (allspice)
  6. 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  7. 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  8. 4 Scotch bonnet or habanero peppers, seeded
  9. 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  10. 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  11. 4-6 cloves garlic
For the Stuffing
  1. 2 or 3 white potatoes, cooked and mashed
  2. 2 or 3 sweet potatoes, cooked and mashed
  3. 2-3 tablespoons butter
  1. Preheat the oven to 350'F or 180' C.
  2. In a food processor, puree all the paste ingredients to make a paste.
  3. Rub the inside of the pig with the paste, reserving approximately one tablespoon to mix with the stuffing.
  4. Rub the outside of the pig with oil, salt and pepper.
  5. In a large bowl, combine the potatoes, sweet potatoes, butter and remaining one tablespoon jerk paste.
  6. Stir until well blended.
  7. Loosely pack the stuffing inside the pig and close the opening with skewers, or sew together with kitchen twine.
  8. Draw the legs back and tie with twine.
  9. Stuff the mouth with a piece of aluminum foil to keep it open as it roasts.
  10. Place the pig on a rack in a large roasting pan.
  11. 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.
  12. Remove the pig from the oven and place on a heated platter.
  13. Remove the foil from the mouth and replace it with an apple.
  14. Let the pig rest at room temperature for 10-15 minutes before carving.
Adapted from Jerk Barbecue from Jamaica
Adapted from Jerk Barbecue from Jamaica

A version of this post has appeared in JamaicanEats.

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Crackling Pig Roast

Crackling Pig Roast. The words evoke images of celebration, of good times and cheer. So as my sister was reading the announcement in the local paper, I was making plans to be there. I was so intrigued by the idea of a pig roast and the menu that Chef Gari Ferguson had created that I almost showed up a week early!

The Menu –

Whole Smoked Crackling Roast Pig
Green Papaya Slaw
Pickled Red Onions
Hard Dough Rolls with Honey Butter
Smoked Sweet Potato
Mac & Goat Cheese
BBQ Onions
Tangy Tamarind Glaze
Coconut and Lemongrass Sauce
Mango Scotch Bonnet Sauce

On the evening of, we were among the first to arrive. People started trickling in in twos and threes and before long, all the tables were full. Then I watched as the pig was brought in and carefully laid on the table, four young men doing the honors.

Whole Crackling Roast
Crackling Roast Pig
Crackling Roast Pig, ready for eating
Crackling Roast Pig

Chef Gari presiding over the crackling roast pig.

I selected green papaya slaw, hard dough rolls with honey butter, and mac and goat cheese. Contrary to the name, the green papaya wasn’t green. It was those orange-looking strips peeking out below the pork.

Crackling roast, mac and cheese
Crackling Pig Roast

The pig was tender and succulent, and so tasty that I went back for seconds — it was, after all, all-you-can-eat.

Crackling Pig Roast with mac and cheese, roll and onions
Crackling Pig Roast

Another view of my plate. That’s the glazed onions in front, mac and cheese in the background.

G’s BBQ had its second crackling pig roast this week but I wasn’t able to go. It’s now planning to make it a monthly event so if you like pork and are in the Kingston area during the next month, be sure to check them out.

The Marketplace
67 Constant Spring Road
Kingston 10
Mondays-Saturdays, 12 noon to 10:30 p.m.
Check G’s for the current price.

This is my submission to this week’s Budget Travelers Sandbox Travel Photo Thursday series. Be sure to check out other photo and story entries on their website.