Indonesian style roast pig (babi guling), from start to finish. Entire pigs slow roasted for hours until tender, fall off the bone, perfection. For Part 2: Indonesia, a pig roast is called babi guling, babi panggang or babi bakar; however it is rarely found in Indonesia, except in non-Muslim majority provinces, such as Hindu Bali and Christian Batak lands in North Sumatra, Minahasa people of North Sulawesi, Toraja in South Sulawesi, Papua, and also among Chinese Indonesians. In Bali, babi guling usually served with lawar and steamed rice; it is a popular dish in Balinese restaurants and warungs. In Batak people’s tradition, babi guling is a prerequisite in wedding offerings for the bride’s family. In Papua, pigs and yams are roasted in heated stones placed in a hole dug in the ground and covered with leaves; this cooking method is called bakar batu (burning the stone), and it is an important cultural and social event among Papuan people.
In various Chinese communities (especially in Southern China), a pig roast known as siu yuk is purchased for the sake of special family affairs, business openings, or as a ritualistic spiritual offering. For example, a tradition is to offer one or several whole roast pigs to the Jade Emperor to celebrate a Chinese film’s opening with a roast pig; the pig is sacrificed to ward off evils in return to pray for the film’s success. One garnish used to make the dish look more appealing is a circular slice of pineapple and cherry and is often placed in a red box for luck.
A pig roast or hog roast is an event or gathering which involves the barbecuing of a whole hog. Pig roasts in the mainland Deep South of the United States are often referred to as a pig pickin’, although roasts are also a common occurrence in Puerto Rico and Cuba as well as the non-mainland US state of Hawaii (a luau), with roasts being done in the mainland states by descendants of other areas. A Pig roast is traditional meal in Serbia and Montenegro, often prepared for celebration events and family fests, and it can be usually find on the menu of traditional taverns and bars – kafana.
The tradition of the pig roast goes back millennia and is found in many cultures. There are numerous ways to roast pork, including open fire rotisserie style roasting, and “caja china” style box grilling. Many families traditionally have a pig roast for Thanksgiving or Christmas. In Miami and other areas with large Cuban, Puerto Rican, Honduran or other Caribbean populations pig roasts are often held on Christmas Eve by families and friends whereas families from Hawaii often hold a roast on memorial day.
Pig roast (lechon asado) is a part of Puerto Rico’s national dish and is usually served with arroz con gandules. In Puerto Rico, pig roasts occur year round, but happen in greater frequency as part of New Year’s Eve celebrations and especially Christmas. In the Dominican Republic, “puerco a la puya” is a traditional part of the Christmas Eve meal.
In the Philippines, the roasted pig is referred to as lechon baboy. It is traditionally prepared for Christmas celebrations but is also commonplace at birthday parties, weddings, debuts, and family reunions.
In the UK, the tradition of pig roasting, which is more commonly known in the UK as a Hog Roast, is popular on many occasions, particularly parties and celebrations.
In Spain, the locals call this a suckling pig or a “lechon asado”. Hog roasts are becoming more popular across Spain and more so in Southern Spain due to the ex-pat community .
In a Hawaii-style pig roast, a large pit is typically dug into the ground and lined with banana leaves, as lava rocks are heated over an open flame until they are very hot. The heated rocks are placed into the pit, and a seasoned pig is placed inside and covered with additional banana leaves, which serve as insulation and for flavor.
In an American Cuban-style pig roast, the “caja china” is the most commercially popular method by which to roast a whole pig. In its more traditional form, a roasting box is commonly fashioned above ground out of concrete blocks and steel mesh. Another popular method is to use a pig roasting box, the oldest and best known brand of which is “La Caja China.” It usually takes four to eight hours to cook the pig completely; the pig is often started “meat-side” down, and then is flipped one time once the hog has stopped dripping rendered fat. When the cooking is complete, the meat should ideally be tender to the point of falling off of the bone.