The tradition of roasting a pig goes back centuries, maybe even further. There are a number of different ways to roast pork, which can vary depending on where in the world you are. Here are some areas famed for their hog roasts:
Miami (and other areas with large Cuban, Puerto Rican, Honduran or Caribbean populations)
In areas with a big Cuban, Puerto Rican, Honduran or Caribbean population, such as Miami, it is common for pig roasts to be held on Christmas Eve. Family and friends attend the event. However, in somewhere like Hawaii, a roast is normally held on memorial day.
Lechon Asado, a roasted suckling pig, is a national dish of Puerto Rico and is typically served with arroz con gandules, a combination of rice, pigeon peas and pork.
Pig roasts are held all year round in Puerto Rica, but there are considerably more of them as part of Christmas and New Year celebrations.
Referred to as Lechon Baboy, roasted pig in the Philippines is traditionally prepared for celebrations at Christmas, but it is not uncommon to also see them at birthday parties, weddings, debuts and family reunions.
Indonesians refer to a pig roast as Babi Guling, Babi Panggang or Babi Baker. It is rare to find a pig roast in Indonesia as the majority of the country are practising Muslims; however, there are some areas with a smaller muslim populations, such as Hindu Bali and Christian Batak lands in North Sumatra, Minahasa people of North Sulawesi and Toraja in South Sulawesi.
Called Babi Guling in Bali, roast pig is typically served with lawar, a mixture of vegetables, coconut and minced meat mixed together with rich herbs and spices, and steamed rice. It is a very popular dish in Balinese restaurants and warungs.
The traditions of Batak are that roast pigs are given as a prerequisite for a wedding offering to the brides family.
Both pigs and yams are roasted in Papua, in heated stones that fill a hole that has been dug in the ground and covered with leaves. This method of cooking is known as Baker Batu — burning the stone — and it is seen as an important cultural and social event amongst the residents of the country.
In China, particularly in Southern China, a pig roast is commonly known as a Siu Yuk and is generally purchased for special family events, the openings of new businesses or as an offering for a ritualistic spiritual event.
An example of the latter would be an offering of one of several whole roasted pigs to the Jade Emperor in celebration of a Chinese film opening. The pig is sacrificed in a bid to ward off evil spirits and in return the prayer of the film becoming success are to be answered.
A common garnish in China is a circular slice of pineapple and cherry, to make the dish look more appealing, and the pig can sometimes be placed in a red box, for good luck.
A roast pig in Spain is known as a suckling pig, or a Lechon Asado. It is becoming more popular to see hog roasts in Spain, especially in southern Spain, due to the growing expatriate communities.
The tradition of pig roasting in the United Kingdom is a centrepiece at a variety of occasions, mainly parties and celebrations. These events tend to be held at an outdoor venue and a hog roast is a staple meal at most show events.
It is tradition to either roast the pig on a spit, regularly turning the pig under a flame, or to place it in a large oven in a roasting pan. It is a common occurrence to roast pig that weigh more than 200lb.
Usually, the pig is roast in cider and bay leaves, as well as having salt rubbed into its scored skin to create crackling.
Many companies around the UK offer hog roast services for hire. Smoke ‘N’ Spice is one such company, offering pork that can be cooked in variety of traditional ways, including methods native to America, Jamaica, Italy, Mexico, Brazil and of course, Britain.