Build a Homemade Pig Roaster

This portable homemade pig roaster was assembled almost entirely from recycled parts.


| May/June 1981



069 homemade pig roaster 1 portable barbecue

The barbecue "pit" is portable.

CAROLE WATKINS

When the summertime rolls around in Groveport, Ohio, folks start to think about holding pig roasts. At the same time, my father, Earl Watkins, takes his recycled, homemade pig roaster out of storage. That device, along with Dad's culinary talents, is much in demand at picnics for his own family and friends as well as at reunions, bachelor parties, church socials and more.

Salvage Savvy

A few years ago my father used the more customary "pit" method for cooking barbecue. But despite the fact that he placed pieces of scrap tin over the hole's top, Dad felt he was losing too much heat and using too much fuel when preparing his roasts in that manner.

To solve the problem, he found an old 300-gallon gas tank, cut the cylinder in half horizontally and fastened the two pieces together with pipe hinges. For a spit, Dad rescued the shaft from a retired combine and salvaged the machine's 12" pulley as well. This is hooked up with a drive belt to the gearbox and motor from an ancient Maytag wringer washer and automatically rotates the spit while the meat is roasting. A belt-tightener and a shaft for the gearbox were also scavenged from a broken-down lawn mower.

Going Whole Hog!

Obtaining a hog for my family's hog roasts is never a problem, since my brothers, Doug and Dave, raise them, so the cooker has been tested on pigs of all sizes, from 50 to 300 pounds, live weight. And the portable "pit" has worked even better than its creator anticipated. A full-sized porker, he says, can be prepared in seven hours, using only 40 to 50 pounds of charcoal, which is placed on an expanded metal screen at the bottom of the cooker. (The "invention" also does a fine job of roasting beef, chickens, and venison. A perforated metal grill, laid over the coals, holds the smaller cookables.)

For best results, Dad always skins his pigs before he barbecues them, and—about two hours prior to chow time—uses a soft bristled, wooden-handled car-washing brush (he says paintbrushes don't work as well) to begin basting the meat with my mom's homemade barbecue sauce.

This savory mix, which keeps the pig moist, tender, and scrumptiously tasty, consists of 64 ounces of ketchup, 24 ounces of chili sauce, 2/3 cup of prepared mustard, 2 tablespoons of dried mustard, 3 cups of firmly packed brown sugar (or, if you'd prefer, you can substitute 1 1/2 cups of honey), 4 tablespoons of freshly ground coarse black pepper, 3 cups of wine vinegar, 2 cups of lemon juice, 1 bottle of thick steak sauce, a few shakes of Tabasco sauce, 1/2 cup of Worcestershire sauce, 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, 4 tablespoons of salad oil, 2 cans (24 ounces) of beer, and 2 small buds of minced or pressed garlic.

Mike O'Brien_1
8/15/2009 7:16:11 AM

I want to thank you for writing this article! This was my inspiration back in '81 when it came out - and I have built (3) roasters over the years. I have also used Mom's Special sauce and have found none better! Over the years, I have make one minor substitution to the sauce - I don't add the oil and I do add 1/4C of frozen orange juice concentrate - this is My Whole Hog Sauce. Thanks Mike O'Brien Ypsilanti, MI






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