Pig Roasting In Cuba At New Year’s

By BobbyRica | December 28, 2011


One of the highlights of spending New Year’s at Cuba is the whole ritual of preparing roasted pig. This has been a longstanding tradition that spans centuries. Pig roasts are a time for rekindling ties with family members as they celebrate these special occasions. Cuban cuisine after all is not complete without roasting pigs during these celebrations.

The pig is covered with banana leaves and cooked over a coal fire in a pit dug in the backyard. The pig is marinated in garlic, sour orange juice, and sea salt before it’s placed in a roasting box made out of concrete blocks and steel mesh. The roasting process can be a whole day affair which starts at the break of dawn as the pig is freshly slaughtered and prepared for roasting. The cooking itself lasts six to eight hours. It is arduous and may require more than one hand to make it perfect. So naturally, cooking the pig in Cuba is a family affair, oftentimes extending to the in laws and uncles. Tending to it is nonstop. That’s why drinks and some dancing is done to entertain the grillers and the guests.

Out of all the fuss, what results is warm unctuous crispy almost-delicate skin with soft luscious pork meat that can be slathered with spicy vinegar (or A1 Steak Sauce). The cooks (mostly male family members and relatives) know that the pork is done when the meat is fall-off-the-bone tender. The meat is chopped or pulled or picked off by the guests. In my friend’s household, roasted pork is served with black beans and plantains. I wash it all down with Cerveza Cubana – Bucanero.

The videos reveal the whole process of roasting pigs during New Year’s Eve. It might horrify some, but I’m sure you will smack your lips when you see the end result.

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