Roast Suckling Pig

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


    as a Main Course.

Appears in

Chinese Technique

By Ken Hom

Published 1981

  • About


  • 1 suckling pig, 10 lbs., prepared as above
  • ½ cup coarse (kosher) salt
  • ¼ cup five-spice powder
  • 2 tablespoons roasted and crushed Sichuan peppercorns
  • 2 tablespoons fennel seed



  1. Sprinkle the salt over the inside of the pig, rubbing it into the meat well so that it penetrates.

  2. Mix the spices, sprinkle them over the inside of the pig, and rub them in well.

  3. Hang the pig on a meat hook in a cool place. Direct a fan at the pig to dry it thoroughly. This can be done overnight.

  4. Set the pig on a rack in a large roasting pan, skin side up. Roast it at 450 degrees for 30 minutes, until the skin begins to brown. Then turn down the oven to 350 degrees for 1½ hours, or until a meat thermometer in the thickest part of the breast registers 170 degrees. For larger pigs, continue roasting at 350 degrees until the thermometer in the breast reaches 170 degrees.

  5. Cut the rear legs off at the hip. At this point they probably won’t quite be cooked through and so are in need of further cooking.

  6. First cut the bottom half of the legs off and set them aside, as they will overcook. Return the thigh meat to the oven and continue to roast it while you cut up the rest of the pig.

  7. Cut off the head.

  8. Split the body down the middle, along the spine.

  9. Cut the body lengthwise into long strips about 2 inches wide.

  10. Cut the strips crosswise into 1-inch segments. The skin and seasonings will crumble somewhat, but try to keep the skin attached to the meat.

  11. Rearrange the pieces, including the thighs, which should now be done, to re-form the pig. Serve it with pancakes, scallions, and hoisin sauce, as for Peking Duck.

  • Suggested Beverage: Zinfandel, Pinot Noir, or Burgundy