Want to impress your dinner guests and perhaps trick them into thinking you're some sort of feudal-era nobleman? Try getting an entire damn pig and roasting it in your backyard. When your guests arrive, we suggest you wait for them to notice the pig and then say, "Oh that? That's just the whole flippin' pig I'm roasting. Not a big deal." But before you bask in the glory of your achievement, you'll have to put in plenty of time... like more than a day. Totally worth it though. Here's how you roast a pig without a fancy rotisserie.
One pig (duh): You're going to need to contact a specialty meat provider. In Bend, try Pono Farm and Fine Meats, but you don't want to call the morning of your party because retail shops can't sell a whole hog and will have to coordinate with a farm to get you set up. You can expect to pay about $3 per pound, which comes out to about $225 for a 75-pound pig.
Fuel Source: You're going to need slow-burning embers, so you can either use a ton of charcoal or start with a wood fire that slowly burns down into embers.
Other items: Chicken wire, plenty of rocks, canvas, shovel, patience, corn stalks (leaves or grass clippings will work, too).
Fire it up:
STEP 1: Dig a big freaking hole in the ground, about two feet deep and five to seven feet in diameter. If you're a renter, you should probably check with your landlord, many of whom tend to frown on massive holes being dug in their yards. Line the pit with rocks and then get that fire roaring. Once you have it down to embers, toss in some more rocks amid the embers.
STEP 2: Prepare your pig. Depending on what sort of cuisine you're planning, you'll need to dress the hog. That means the hog (which should be thawed, by the way) needs to be opened in a butterfly fashion (basically, cut down the chest... kinda gross) and dressed with spices, salts and brines, according to whatever recipe you're following. Also, you can consider marinating the pig for a day or so before it hits the fire.
STEP 3: Using tongs, place the hot rocks from the fire into the cavity of the pig, then tie the front and back legs together. Wrap the pig in chicken wire and then cover the hot embers with corn stalks, leaves or grass clippings. Place the pig atop the corn stalks and cover the whole animal with wet burlap sacks. You'll want to cover the pig with a large piece of canvas to seal in the heat.
STEP 4: For a 75-pound pig, you'll need at least four hours, but if you've got a really huge porker, it could take nearly eight hours. To be safe, make sure the meat temperature is at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit before serving.