The Caterers Corner
Whole Pig Caterers Corner: Whole Pig
By Annmarie (Annmarie) on Wednesday, October 20, 2004 - 04:30 pm: Edit

I'm catering an event and one of the meats requested is suckling pig. How many pounds should the pig weigh to feed 100 people? There will also be a chicken and a beef offering.

The butcher is charging me for the whole pig by the pound, freshly killed and cleaned. I'm sure I need to allow additional weight for the parts that will be discarded.

Any suggestions?

By Chefgibz0 (Chefgibz0) on Wednesday, October 20, 2004 - 05:20 pm: Edit

Is there a specific flavoring request....i.e. BBQ, or Montreal seasoning or such??

By Jonesg (Jonesg) on Thursday, October 21, 2004 - 03:54 am: Edit

We are doing the same menu fri nite, pig chick and sirloin strip.

We are giving them a 50lb pig, its 80 people but many won't eat the pig,
we pay $2 lb and figga 1 lb per person.
We have 2 carving stations so we can control the portions a bit.

If you want pig for 100, you best get 2 at 50lbs each. If you can find a pig farmer you'll get better prices, I don't know if its legal but I would ask around anyway, buying from the butcher sounds too retail.

Suckling pig is the baby pig and thats too small for 100, you'd need a lot of them !, we brine overnite, it comes out very juicy and tender with a slow (8hr) roast).

Try this link .

By Annmarie (Annmarie) on Thursday, October 21, 2004 - 11:29 am: Edit

Thanks, I'll check out the site.

The price I got from the butcher was $1.70/lb killed and cleaned. I think that's sounds pretty decent.

By Eddiez (Eddiez) on Thursday, October 21, 2004 - 12:52 pm: Edit

I specialize in pig roasts in the Northern NJ area. I typically do 100lb pigs, which covers about 80-85 people pretty well. This assumes that other items will be served. If I was gonna feed 100 people, I might augment the meat with another 20lbs (raw) of pork shoulders/Butts, just to be sure.

My estimation *used to be* a pound of raw pig per person, but once in a while, you get a very fatty pig which has a low edible yeild. So rather than dissapoint, I go a little large. The leftovers ALWAYS get used up.

By Cheftim (Cheftim) on Thursday, October 21, 2004 - 03:13 pm: Edit

Sometimes I can't get a large enough pig so I will roast of pork butt shoulder even cushion meat and place it strategically under the pig, in the cavity and I carve that. Nobody knows the difference.

By Eddiez (Eddiez) on Thursday, October 21, 2004 - 04:01 pm: Edit

I Augment many of my whole pig roasts with a case of pork shoulders/butts. A case is usually five 6-7lbers. It's helpful because I can pull them a little bit earlier than the pig, carve 'em, and get 'em panned up BEFORE the Pig Needs it's garnish/presentation/handling/carving session. In some cases, having that meat all panned up, hot and served, helps take the rush and stress out of the serving line.

I also fit a few beer can chickens onto the grill with the pig. Usually 6 3lb birds. I also get these out of the way before the pig/presentation/carving session.

You're right, very few people can taste the difference between the shoulders and whole pig. I don't go out of my way to hide it. But sometimes I mix it together. By the time I sauce it up, it all looks the same.

By Cheftim (Cheftim) on Thursday, October 21, 2004 - 04:39 pm: Edit

For Clarification I do the above on a carving station.

By Jonesg (Jonesg) on Friday, October 29, 2004 - 11:55 am: Edit

We did as you guys suggested , we roasted a couple of pork butts with the pig.

The pig had next to no meat, it was a waste so we pretended to carve while we served the pre-cut butt meat.

Turns out we had plenty of meat, the roasted sirloin was popular though, came out nice and rare from end to end.

By Chefspike (Chefspike) on Saturday, October 30, 2004 - 12:20 am: Edit

pig has next to no meat?
so it takes a lot of pigs to produce the pork that you see in the food stores?

theres a joke in there somewhere.
and no...i'm not taking about ex's

By Jonesg (Jonesg) on Saturday, October 30, 2004 - 03:59 am: Edit

A 46lb pig doesn't produce much for the ham mkt, its too young.

Ours should have had more meat on it for sure.

By Cheftim (Cheftim) on Saturday, October 30, 2004 - 01:30 pm: Edit

Whole roast pig is a cultural thing. It's not just the carved meat but the crackling, the ribs, even the ears and tail people want.

I recently roasted three thirty pounders for about fifty of my resident students, kids most from pacific rim countries. Ended up with nothing but the bones and heads. The bones when into the stock pot and we made tacos for the family meal from the heads.

By Eddiez (Eddiez) on Monday, November 01, 2004 - 09:55 am: Edit

Yeah, when you get down to pigs of <50lbs, there's really not much meat on them. They seem to be all "Head and Hooves". Then, if the pig turns out to be particularly fatty, it seems like more ends up in the garbage can than in serving pans.

The last 50lber I did, barely covered 30 people, and they served a ton of other foods. I just squeeked by on that one. Had the 50 people that were planned for actually materialized, I woulda been totally screwed.

I used to plan 1lb of Raw Pig per person, but for the smaller pigs, that equation fails. I'm now planning 1.5lb of raw pig per person for smaller pigs.. For larger pigs (~100lbs), I plan about 1.25lbs of raw pig per person.

By Foodpump (Foodpump) on Tuesday, November 02, 2004 - 09:42 am: Edit

The last roast pig I did was a nightmare. It was an add-on for a summer bbq/wedding. Rented a big charcoal "pig roaster" complete with motor and spit. Everything went fine untill the last hour, when I wanted to lower the spit closer to the coals to get the crackly skin. I couldn't, the spit height was fixed! I ended up cutting the pig up in 1/4's and toasting them on the bbq. What a nightmare...

By Eddiez (Eddiez) on Tuesday, November 02, 2004 - 01:48 pm: Edit

I hear horror stories all the time about disaster pig roasts. (Job Security to a Pig Roaster guy) :-)

Occasionally I get hired by people who tried it themselves and say "Never Again"!. It's funny that when I negotiate with them, they stress the importance of the "pig done time", over and over and over again: "Now are you ABSOLUTELY SURE it will be done at 4pm!??, because LAST year, we were up till 3am yada yada yada...."

Typically, the problem is the gross underestimation of the roast times involved with using commonly available open pit rental units. They may have gathered some roasting time estimates, but failed to understand that enclosed roasters cook far quicker than the standard rental open bed pits. But that's not always the case.

In one instance, the pig they bought far exceeeded the length of the open pit. So they had to hack the head off to shorten it (which got nailed to a tree, with a hat, glasses, corn cob pipe, and a sign under it that said "Welcome to My Roast").

Some other horror stories involved the lack of proper support equipment, particularly for rainouts. And typically when host realize they'd rather actually talk to their guests instead of being stuck in "Foodservice Mode".

Anyway, my main point is Familiarity with the apparatus is really important. After some of my own horror stories, I finally bought my own roaster, which has allowed me to master the operations of the unit, and ultimately be more professional.

By Steve9389 (Steve9389) on Wednesday, November 03, 2004 - 10:51 pm: Edit

When I was in culinary school, the school was putting on a barbecue for the students, with the chefs doing the cooking -- including a suckling pig on a spit.

The barbecue was schedule to start at noon on a Sunday, when I was doing one of my required shifts as a server in the school cafe. I looked out the window at 10:45 to find one of the chefs lighting the coals, with the intention of putting the pig on at 11 and cooking it for one hour.

Needless to say, by 11:15 they were hacking the pig into pieces and roasting it in various convections around the school.

By Cvincolorado (Cvincolorado) on Thursday, November 04, 2004 - 12:42 am: Edit

A few years back when I was working for a catering company in Aspen we were doing a pig roast for a very rich thoroughbred horse farm in New Castle, CO. The reception itself was setup in the horse barn(this was a nice barn where they would show perspective buyers around, but still a horse barn with lots of flies). They had thier helpers dig a pit the night before and it was lit in the morning and the pigs went in. About an hour before service the pit was opened and it was noticed that the coals had never gotten lit properly. the pigs were raw. We set up a prep table in the barn and began hacking these pigs into sections so we could cook them quicker. Well the flies caught on to what was going on and they were everywhere. I mean everywhere. All over the meat. All over our arms. All these ranchers were watching us and the flies didn't even phase them. Dinner was served a few hours late, after lots of extra whiskey for the guests. The buffet line had flies buzzing all around it and some of the ranchers even joked about whether they wanted thier meat with or without flies.

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