Slow-Roasted Leg of Suckling Pig

An unexpected find of a large piece of meat at half price the day before the best-before date and an hour before end of business day, a little help from Google and online friends as to what to do with it, and a day to play led to an amazing meal of tender, juicy meat under flavourful crispy skin with a veggieful sauce and enough of everything for a second meal (which is a miracle in itself around here). Since I came up nearly empty-handed searching for English-language and gluten-free, paleo-friendly ways to prepare a joint of suckling pig, here's an almost wordless tutorial on what I did and what came out.

Start well ahead - allow 6 to 8 hours
Preheat oven

Oil a covered pan large enough for your meat.
I also laid a sliced onion under the meat
I forgot, but you really should brine your pork
for 12 to 24 hours for flavour and best nutrition

Unpack and wash 2kg bone-in
piglet leg in cold running water

...and pat dry on all sides

Assemble a spice rub

Rub down with fat of choice (FOC) followed by the
spice rub. This is messy

Prep your sauce veg. (Not shown: celery)

How to clean leeks. Great job for junior helpers!

With 2 to 3 hours cook time remaining, start veg with FOC
until starting to soften, then add garlic, 4 cloves and 250mL stock

Add veg to meat and distribute evenly. Alternatively,
simmer in the pot until well and truly cooked and
add to meat juices as indicated before glazing.

The house now smells like dinner and you're tired of waiting. So don't
Switch to broil and kick the heat up high

Remove veg and liquid, and glaze meat with honey water
or maple syrup. Score skin. Return to oven on and upper rack

Remove cloves from veg and blend into sauce.
Season as desired (but ours was fine as is)

Watch it like a hawk, as the sugars will go from deliciously
golden to burnt in moments, but longer = better cracklings

Bones will slide out. Carve along crackling
score lines, serve with veg, and dine well.
Add dessert. Be happy :)


  1. oh that looks SO good! could definitely do with a bit of crispy crackling!

    and good link to the effects of brining on pork. I've read a lot about the supposed dangers of eating pork, but just can't bring myself to fully accept and understand it because it's eaten by so many traditional cultures! My mum's choice of bones for stock in fact, and one of our most commonly eaten source of meat back home.

    1. Without taking the time to dig up a solid source for you (sorry, suppertime!) I'd wager that the vast majority of the "dangers" of pork are specific to badly raised or highly processed meats. Hogs raised on pasture and scraps produce a very different meat than those depressed things squeezed into small pens in stinking barns and fed unidentifiable meal before being turned into sodium-soaked salami or (shudder) pressed into McRibs.

    2. ...and I really need to give your pork belly another go! It looked beautiful but I hadn't sourced the meat well or used it quickly and my husband was so concerned that we didn't eat it :( There's a photo here:

    3. Just caught this reply! Apparently, a lot of health fanatics out there claim that it's all sorts of pork, pastured or not, that we should be avoiding. But I really don't think that makes sense, seeing as how it's one of the favourite meats of not just my culture, but of many others, the Italians and their famously healthy mediterranean diet too!

    4. I just came across this article that I thought might add to the discussion. That bloger also points out the looong history of pork as a staple food, and provides examples of both traditional preparation and the differences to modern pork:

  2. Pork is the most popular meat by far here in Spain where every bit (and I mean EVERY bit) is eaten.

    No fancy pre-cooking prep - it is just bunged in the oven.