Today we take a trip to Spain as we recreate a famous and traditional Spanish dish: the Segovian Roasted Suckling Pig, also known as “Cochinillo Asado”, although this recipe is usually done in an oven, I’ve decided to do it on a grill! So you might wonder, what is a Suckling Pig? Well, it’s basically a piglet that has been slaughtered within its first two to six weeks of being born and usually weighs under ten pounds. The “suckling” part comes from the fact that these pigs have only been fed their mother’s milk.
This traditional dish is one of the best legacies left behind by the Roman Empire when it took over Hispanic lands. Back in the days, the Suckling Pig was a delicacy that was only eaten by the higher class, but eventually became a dish that was available to almost anyone. Nowadays, it is not easy to find Suckling Pigs, but the dish is kept very much alive in many towns and regions, Segovia being one of the most popular. The traditional recipe calls for little seasoning and a long cooking time in ovens, allowing the meat to be tender, and the skin to be nice and crispy. To show how tender the meat is, Spanish restaurants that specialize in this dish usually cut the pig with the edge of a dull plate, now that is a show stopper!
Due to its very specific way of breeding, this type of pig is quite challenging to source but our friends at Meat n’ Bone were able to provide me with one, and you can try it too as they ship nationwide. Now let’s get to cooking, I’m so excited my mouth is watering already!
- Season the Suckling Pig with the seasoning mix, make sure to season it well on both sides.
- When you have the pig skin-side up, take a knife and pierce the skin to help it become nice and crispy.
- On a Spanish cazuela or a roasting pan, put the potatoes and add enough water to fill ¼ of the pan.
- Place the pig on top of the cazuela or roasting pan.
- Smoke the Suckling Pig for about 3 hours in a temperature of 300° F.
- After the 3 hours, raise the heat to 425°F to crisp the skin - be careful and keep an eye on it as it can get burned quickly.
- Serve and enjoy!
Tender meat that just falls right out of the bone…
I couldn’t help myself from trying the crispy skin first, it breaks so easily and once I start chewing it you can just hear that amazing crunch sound that just makes you want to eat more and more! Unlike bigger and adult pigs, the skin does not have a big layer of fat which really helps the crispiness and gives it a lighter bite.
My excitement then takes me to try the meat, and just… WOW! I’m blown away by how tender, creamy and moist it is, the flavor is a bit sweet but unlike anything I’ve tasted. The roasted potatoes cooked in the pig’s fat were also incredible, I can’t believe something so simple like a potato could have such an explosive flavor.
I cannot recommend the Suckling Pig enough, it is something everyone should try at least once. I am so excited to one day cook a Suckling Pig for my family and friends, and have them taste what is one of my favorite dishes so far.
Let me know in the comments if you have ever tried this delicacy or if I have motivated you to give it a try.