Pig Roast: A Global Tradition

As summer is fast approaching I wanted to talk a little bit about a very fun but large undertaking in the culinary world- the pig roast. Roasting an entire pig for a large crowd is very exciting and can be lots of fun. In fact, pig roasts have been a way of celebrating many different events all over the world for centuries now. Below I take a look at some different cultures and how they celebrate using a pig roast.  If you are interested in holding your own pig roast you can follow this link to find out how to roast a whole hog. In this post I am going to highlight the history of the pig roast!

Pig roasting is a symbol of celebrations across the globe in many different countries. From Hawaii, to Puerto Rico, Cuba, the UK, and the Philippines and now in Other USA states and Canada pig roasts are a fun way to get people together and have a great meal.  A pig roast is the perfect way to connect age-old celebratory traditions with modern-day parties. Here are just a few examples of how important the pig roast is in some cultures:

In Hawaii they have a special method of cooking their pigs in a pit which is a tradition in their Polynesian culture.  What differentiates luaus from other parties is the use of colorful flowers, fresh fruit, colorful Aloha attire, island music and dancing, and a feast that traditionally consists of roast pork, rice, fresh fruit, sweet potatoes and of course those famous Hawaiian punches! This is a very popular theme for pig roasts today in Canada and the USA.

In Cuba and Puerto Rico pig roasting has become the central event and the main course in holiday parties including Christmas and New Years.  Pig roasts signify the time for rekindling of ties among families as they celebrate these special occasions.  Cuban cuisine is not complete without roasting pigs during these festive celebrations. The hogs are marinated in sour orange juice, garlic, and salt. While in Puerto Rico pig roast is considered a national dish.

In the Philippines, pig roast is also called “lechon.”  The cooked pig is served with an apple in its mouth as an adornment.  “Lechon” is served with specially-made gravy, sweet but with a bit of spice.  The most coveted part in a “lechon” is the “skin.”  The “lechon” skin is crispy and succulent.  “Lechon” is prevalent at all holiday parties including Christmas and New Years as well as other celebrations like 25th and Golden wedding anniversaries and 50th Birthdays. ,

Pig roasts are commonly found in United Kingdom outdoor “show events.”   In the UK, a pig roast is referred to as a “hog roast.”  Unlike the norm here in Canada, roasting pigs of over 200 lbs are common in the UK (In Canada 80lb hogs are more commonly used).  The hog is rubbed with salt, bay leaves, and cider and cooked on a spit or in a large oven. The British regard hog roasts as staples of their festivities and many different festivals.

These are just a few examples of pig or hog roasts from around the world. Even though each culture may do things a little differently, they can all agree on one thing – the pork is delicious!


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