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How to Roast a Pig in a Pit

Take your party to the next level with these steps on how to roast a pig in a pit and make a dish fit for feasting.


  • Step 1: Use a laser thermometer to measure the temperature of the rocks inside the fire; when they reach 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit, put on close-toed shoes and heat-resistant gloves and dig a hog-sized hole in the middle of the roasting pit. Soak the outside of the pig-package with water and lower the animal into the opening. Have a hose nearby to extinguish any flames.
  • TIP: Do not use galvanized wire, which can leach into the meat.
  • Step 2: Cover the pig with the displaced rocks and coals, followed by 2 to 3 layers of wet, canvas tarp on top of the ash. Pile insulating soil on top of the canvas, tamping it down often, until no smoke or steam escapes from the pit. Then, wait for about 22 hours, as the pig roasts inside.
  • Step 3: Excavate your roasted pig from the pit, being careful not to let the meat fall out of the package and into the fire. Place it onto a new canvas tarp and carry it to a clean, flat surface. Cut away the chicken wire and burlap and remove the banana leaves to reveal your finely cooked hog. Then, slice it off the bone, and enjoy!
  • FACT: Hernando de Soto first brought pigs to the Western hemisphere in 1539 from Spain.
  • Step 4: Cover the entire pig in 2 to 3 layers of banana leaves, then roll it in a layer of burlap to protect the meat from being scorched by the coals and stones. Tightly wrap the entire package in chicken wire, which keeps the animal together after cooking.
  • TIP: Try not to pierce the skin on the back of the pig.
  • TIP: An 80-pound pig feeds approximately 50 to 60 people.
  • Step 5: A few days before your pig roast, order a whole, cleaned, and butchered hog from a local butcher, farm, or grocery store. Ask them remove all the hair and organs, while leaving the pig's skin, head, ears, tail, and hooves intact.
  • Step 6: A couple of days before you plan to host the pig roast, gather a few friends and dig a pit 3 feet deep, 9 feet long, and 6 feet across. Cover the inside with 2 layers of large rocks, backfilling and tamping down soil into the pit to hold the rocks in place.
  • Step 7: Add 2 layers of dry, seasoned wood to the pit and light them. Once the wood begins to turn to coals, add another layer of rocks; then, have someone steadily add the rest of the wood to create a roasting furnace. Let the wood burn for 6 to 8 hours.
  • Step 8: While the wood burns, pick up your pig from the butcher, lay it on a clean, flat surface and rub the skin down with spices. Then, split the chest and head with a hammer and a large knife and crack the backbone. Splay the pig and stuff the chest cavity with your favorite fruits and veggies.
  • : Check local laws governing open fires and use extreme caution.

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