Jean-Georges Vongerichten followed the spit-roasting instructions on; here's our streamlined version.

June 2008


Credit: © Lucy Schaeffer


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • On a nonflammable surface, such as brick, cement or gravel, build a 6-by-2-foot hardwood log or charcoal fire.

  • Rig a 20-pound suckling pig onto a spit fitted with a spit fork to grip the rear haunches. Using a heavy-duty trussing needle and twine, tie the pig to the spit behind the head and close to the tail. Stuff the belly with 10 crushed garlic cloves, 5 rosemary sprigs and 5 thyme sprigs. Using a small trussing needle and twine, sew the belly shut. Brush the pig with olive oil.

  • Mount the spit on its tripods so that the spit stands 1 foot off the ground, just to the side of a long edge of the fire. Lay two disposable aluminum roasting pans or two sheets of heavy-duty foil under the pig to catch the drippings. Turn on the spit.

  • Set an oven thermometer on an upturned cinder block close to the pig. The ambient temperature should stay between 225 and 250. Add a layer of fresh coals every 30 minutes, as needed; although you will likely use 20 pounds of coals, it's a good idea to keep up to 60 pounds on hand. Roast the pig for about 2 hours, or until a meat thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the shoulder and rear haunch registers 145.

  • Remove the spit from the heat and let the pig rest for 30 minutes. Transfer the pig to a large work surface lined with heavy-duty foil. Untie the pig from the spit. Discard the twine, peel off the skin, carve the meat, sprinkle with fleur de sel or sea salt and serve.