My husband decided that he wanted to roast a whole pig. I don't know why. He ordered the special "Caja China" - or Cuban roasting box - online. Then he ordered a "suckling" pig from a local butcher shop. For some reason, I thought a "suckling" pig would be about 15 pounds and 24 inches long, like the piglets I had seen on farms when I was young. This bad boy was 53 pounds and about 4 feet long! He barely fit into the box.
The pig was already dressed (i.e. gutted and castrated) when we bought it from the butcher. We had to press it between the grates and hook them together to flatten out the pig. I believe this had something to do with ensuring that it cooked at an even rate.
Then the pig was placed inside the box and a pan-like top was put on, followed by a grate. Charcoal was added on top. We started getting everything ready around 4:30 pm and the cooking actually began at approximately 5:00 pm.
(We started out in the back yard, but had to move to the front of the house because of the wind.)
We had to scrape off the ash about once an hour, and rake the remaining coals and fresh charcoal to make sure it was spread out evenly. We had to add approximately 10 pounds of charcoal every hour. (We used Kingsford.)
Slits had to be cut into the skin to prevent it from busting open toward the end of the cooking process.
Approximately 1:00 am: After about 8 hours, the pig turned out very crispy and "fall-off-the-bone" tender.
EEEEEEEEK! This is the stuff of nightmares!!