I roasted a suckling pig last weekend, for a friend's 21st birthday party. It was superb. I'm going to give the recipe I used and give some general advice on the subject of roasting a suckling pig.

Suckling pig is not the easiest thing in the world to obtain, but any good butchers should sell it. I got mine from Hester's, a truly excellent butchers in Vauxhall. Ask around well in advance of when you will need it, as they will have to order it. Expect to pay £4 a pound. It's not cheap, but let's face it, you're serving this to show off, so who cares?

Be aware that a whole pig is a slightly gruesome thing to serve and prepare. If you're the kind of person who usually buys chicken breasts rather than whole chickens, this probably isn't for you. And don't invite any veggies; even if they're usually fine with other people eating meat, they may take offence.

Preparing and cooking the whole thing will take up to nine hours. For this reason, it's not appropriate to serve as lunch, and you will need to get started reasonably early even to serve it for 7pm. You can fit a 20lb pig in a normal sized oven... just. It will be squashed against the sides, which is not ideal, but nor is it really problematic. For a larger pig (suckling pigs go up to about 30 lbs) you will need a big oven. Serve it with dumplings or baked potatoes, apple sauce, and salad.

Ingredients Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 200C, and take the pig out of the 'fridge
  2. Put the quartered onions, sage, and crushed garlic into a blender, and mince finely.
  3. Mix the onions with the breadcrumbs, pork, eggs, salt and pepper in a large bowl, until homogeneous.
  4. The pig will come with a large incision in the belly, from which the guts will have been removed. Remove the lungs, heart, kidney, and liver from the pig, if your butcher hasn't already done so. Fill the cavity with the stuffing.
  5. With a sharp knife, punch a dozen holes down each side of the incision, then stitch it up with the twine. Tie the front and back trotters together seperately. Put the apple in the pig's mouth
  6. If it's going to be a tight squeeze in your oven, put foil on the sides of the pig, or make sure the inside of your oven is spotlessly clean. Put the pig on a very large roasting tray (a (non wireframe) oven shelf will do) and put it in the oven.
  7. After half an hour, turn the heat down to 180C, and cover the top of the pig with foil.
  8. Cook for a total of 20 minutes per pound (about 7 hours)
  9. Remove from the oven, and leave to rest for half an hour before serving.

Carving the roast pig should be easy, as it will be very tender. Most of the meat is around the upper portions of the legs. There's little on the ribs, it's mostly cartilage. This amount should just about serve 20 people, although not with huge portions. The stuffing is particularly yummy with apple sauce.