cookSmoked Suckling pig

"Suckling pig is a real special-occasion dish," says Alistair Wise, "and not a bad substitute for cooking a pig in a pit. We cooked ours in a wood-fired oven with a few chunks of hickory slowly smoking on the side, which imparts a beautiful flavour to the meat and pan juices. You can replicate this at home using chips in a pan in the oven, although they won't smoke very long. Injecting the pig with apple juice helps keep the meat juicy, and the mop sauce cuts through the rich pig fat." From:

7.5 kg suckling pig
300 ml fresh apple juice
300 gm hickory and mesquite wood chips

Mop sauce
500 ml (2 cups) apple cider vinegar
2 Spanish onions, coarsely chopped
5 long red chillies, thinly sliced
50 gm sea salt flakes
Spice rub
145 gm (½ cup) coarse sea salt
6 fresh bay leaves
1 tsp fennel seeds
5 whole Tasmanian pepperberries, or whole black peppercorns.

For mop sauce, combine all ingredients in a bowl and set aside for at least 2 hours for flavours to develop.

For spice rub, crush ingredients with a mortar and pestle until finely ground, then set aside.

Score skin of pig with a sharp knife or Stanley knife along the length of the body. Fill a syringe with apple juice and inject into the pig where the flesh is thickest. Rub salt evenly into the cavity and skin of pig and place in a large roasting tray.

Preheat oven to 220C. Heat woodchips in a small cast-iron pan over high heat until beginning to smoke, then place pan on bottom shelf of oven. Place pig on middle shelf, roast for 30 minutes, then reduce heat to 160C and roast, basting pig occasionally with mop sauce, until meat is falling from the bone (3-3¼ hours). Serve hot with turnip slaw, Alistair’s barbecue sauce, chow-chow and lardy flatbreads.

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