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.
A hog/pig, often around 80-120 pounds dressed weight, is split in half and spread onto a large charcoal or propane grill. The styles of grills used are as varied as the methods of producing them, some being homemade while others are custom made.
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." The cooking process is communal and usually done by men; the host is helped by friends or family. 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. The meat is then either chopped or pulled or is picked off the roasted pig by the guests.
In the Philippines, the pig is typically stuffed with spices, placed on a bamboo spit, and roasted over hot coals.
In Puerto Rico, pig roast is prepared in adobo mojado (wet seasoning) containing crushed garlic, black pepper, salt, orégano brujo, olive oil, and wine vinegar.
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