How to Make a Marinade for a Whole Pig

by Maya Black

Blend juice or wine and add herbs and spices to marinate a whole pig.

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Whole roast pig -- a central feature of the storied luau and traditional Cuban New Year's Day celebrations -- gains much of its flavor from the marinade. As many ways to make a marinade exist as cooks who prepare whole roast pig. Some cooks prefer wine as the marinade's liquid, while others prefer citrus or apple juice; the rest of the ingredients depend on the cook's preference. Make around 8 cups of flavored liquid to marinate an oven-sized pig that weighs between 12 and 20 pounds. Plan to make additional batches of marinade for a larger pig as needed.

Pour 8 ounces of liquid -- juice or wine -- into a pitcher or other container that allows for easy pouring. To use fresh-squeezed citrus juice, you'll need to squeeze as many as 60 pieces of fruit, according to the food website Epicurious. You can substitute store-bought juice to save time.

Peel and mince the cloves of approximately 5 bulbs of garlic to add to the marinating liquid. The taste of garlic mellows as the pig roasts, so you may wish to use more or less garlic, depending on your taste.

Add herbs and spices of your choice to the liquid, to taste. Common herbs and spices used to flavor whole roast pig include oregano, thyme, rosemary and cumin. Because of the amount of liquid being flavored, add around 1 cup of fresh chopped herbs or 1 cup of any dry herb and spice blend you prepare. Then, add sweetener if desired as well as salt and black pepper, or cayenne pepper, to taste. Stir the marinade well.

Place your whole pig in roasting pan or other roasting vessel, stomach-side up. Pour the marinade inside the pig, working it into the shoulder, loins and sides. Turn the pig over -- back-side up -- and pour the remaining marinade over it. Let the pig marinate in the refrigerator overnight, basting it periodically.

Tips

  • For an oversize pig, line a box with an oversize plastic bag and lay the pig inside the bag to marinate it. You may wish to make arrangements with an organization in your community that has a walk-in refrigerator for a place to keep your pig cool overnight.

Photo Credits

  • typhoonski/iStock/Getty Images

About the Author

Maya Black has been covering business, food, travel, cultural topics and decorating since 1992. She has bachelor's degree in art and a master's degree in cultural studies from University of Texas, a culinary arts certificate and a real estate license. Her articles appear in magazines such as Virginia Living and Albemarle.