Roasters

Roaster Inventory:
23 lb @ $150 + $65 process = $215
26 lb @ $150 + $65 process = $215
50 lb @ $6/lb + $65 process = $365
70 lb @ $5/lb = $350 + $65 processing = $415
Struck out are sold or reserved with a deposit.
Delivery: $15 local on route
Thawing of freezer pigs: $10
Butterflying or head removal: $25
Prices is based on hanging weight with head on.
Shipping: Quoted ($100 typical)
Sizes: See Size Table
Catering: See Catering

Frozen can be shipped FedEx upto ~45 lbs.
After that the shipping gets very expensive.
Still doable but expect shipping to cost as
much or more than the pig at larger weights.
ƒ indicates fresh pigs.
All pigs in inventory are otherwise frozen.
Can be held on fresh on reserve for one week.
Prices above include processing as shown.
Farm Fresh: Not Exact Hanging Weights

Pig Price Range (lbs)
Oven Roaster* $6/lb 10……50
Small Roaster* $5/lb 51……80
Medium Roaster $4/lb 81……120
Large Roaster $5/lb†† 121……150
Xtra Large Roaster $6/lb†† 151……up

*
$150 minimum pig price plus processing.
$65 Processing USDA scald & scrape.
††Bigger roasters cost more per pound due to difficult handling.

Fresh pigs picked from the field will not likely be of exact weight. Butcher’s final hanging weight rules and maybe as much as 25% off of requested weight. For exact sizes, pick a pig from the freezer inventory. The reason it says Fresh not shippable is that to ship we must first freeze. You can order a pig from the field to a weight other than those currently in the freezer but we’ll have to freeze it if you need it shipped so that it stays cold and safe.

The size chart further down on this page showing examples of weight to size ratios which you may find helpful in figuring out what weight pig will fit in your roaster.

People typically thaw frozen pigs in a brine for several days prior to cooking. We can start thawing pigs for a $25 fridge charge – this takes three to five days depending on the size of the pig. The resulting pig may still need some thawing in your brine which is the best way to thaw pigs through the final stages. Because meat thaws at 25° and water thaws at 32°F there may be ice on the pig so don’t be surprised by that.

Our special freezer and our superchiller refrigerator (~27°F) are kept super cold for quality. Meat freezes at about 25°F which is lower than pure water due to the salts in the meat. Properly frozen below 10°F meat stores nearly indefinitely. I recommend using a manual defrost chest freezer for long term storage for the best results at home.

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We keep most of our stock out grazing our other asset – our fields. If I pick a fresh pig for you out of the field then the weight is not guaranteed – it is a guess. There is no scale for weighing the pig in the field. The pigs are coming in from all over the mountain. We’re not a factory. I can be quite a bit off since I’m guessing based on the pig’s length. The weight at that point is called live weight which is prior to slaughter and dressing by the butcher. The sale weight is based on the butcher’s final hot hanging weight which is after the pig has been slaughtered, gutted, cleaned and inspected prior to chilling. The dressing process by the butcher, the chilling, aging and the act of actually picking a moving live animal out of the mountain field means it is impossible for me to know ahead of time the final hanging hanging weight of a roaster pig. The butcher’s hanging weight number is stamped on the hog with edible vegetable ink along with the official stamp of inspection and is the final official word on weight.

Note that we do not cook pigs.
We sell them raw ready to cook.

How to Order: Send an email or call to check availability and let us know your event date, the size pig you’re looking for as well and any other details. To reserve your pig send a $100 deposit via paypal to my email address (walterj@sugarmtnfarm.com) or mail a deposit check to:

Sugar Mountain Farm
252 Riddle Pond Road
West Topsham, VT 05086
walterj@sugarmtnfarm.com
Phone is only for order questions and it is not a good way to contact us because if you hit voice mail we may not be able to return your call if we can’t understand your phone number. Email is much better.
See the contact page for how to contact for anything else.
In Vermont 439-6462 noon to 1 pm is best, 6 pm to 7 pm also works.
Do not call after 7 pm as we’re early to bed.
Email is a better choice – we almost never rush.

Freezer and refrigerator pigs are available now. Other pigs from the field take a minimum of three weeks to get into the butcher’s schedule. Ordering a couple of months in advance is wise, especially during the busy roaster season from May through October.


Pig Roast by Bob Williams
Note that we do not cook pigs – we sell them raw ready to cook.

“I ordered a frozen pig from you guys last year. We had a pig roast and it came out AMAZING. Working with you guys was so easy and awesome that we would love to order from you folks again this year.”

-A. Sturges roaster pig buyer over and over since 2011

If you want an exact weight pig, buy from the freezer or refrigerator inventory when they are available. The advantage of these pigs is the weights and thus sizes and costs are known as opposed to when I pick a pig out of the field and guess at the weight. The disadvantage is we do not carry our inventory in the freezer so availability is limited and there is a surcharge for fresh pigs from the refrigerator. The inventory below tends to also change very quickly. Deposits determine reservations and are non-refundable.

Pickup at the farm or get delivery on-route
in Vermont on Wednesdays, Thursdays & Fridays
depending on location and butcher’s schedule.
Shipping is via 2nd Day or ground on a Tuesday or Wednesday.
We have more sizes out in the field on the hoof.
Reserve early for non-freezer orders.

Shipping: If you need the pig shipped, let me know the size you would like and destination zip code so I can get you a shipping quote including the $30 to $45 special insulated box cost. Shipping is very expensive. It has to be 2nd Day. We use FedEx, UPS or USPS depending on location and weather. For a small roaster pig in the 10 to 25 lb range it is typically $80 to $120, for a pig in the 26 to 40 lb range shipping is typically $150 to $250. Shipping is not practical for roasters over 40 lbs.

“Just wanted to let you know that we roasted the pig I got from you
and it came out fantastic! I did nothing to it Au-natural, smoked at 225-250 8 1/2 hours was excellent. Thank you also for the tip on thawing in a brine was fully thawed and very juicy. Thank you for all your help,”

-B. George of Massachusetts

Roaster pigs are available for events. Order a month or more ahead for fresh roasters – It takes a minimum of three weeks to get an order into the butcher’s schedule plus there is processing time. There is also a limited number of slots each week so to guarantee a roaster for your event the earlier you reserve the better especially during the busy late spring, summer and fall seasons. Sometimes we’ll have roasters in the freezer – See the freezer inventory above.

“Hey Walter, I want to tell you how good the pig was this year. Every year people say this was the best year, and I am waiting for the shoe to drop but this was a good one for sure.”

-Peter Ireland, Minneapolis Restauranteur & Chef
Long time annual roaster pig buyer since 2007

Roasting a small pig is a long, slow job. Enjoy the process. Make the cooking an event in and of itself. Roasting a big pig is an even longer, slower process – think: all day. Take your time and enjoy the cooking with friends. I know how to raise pigs but do not consider myself an expert at roasting them. You might try using a Google Search for tips on the various ways people do it. This article and this article may be helpful. If you’re new to it – do a smaller pig the first time to make it easier. If you can have help from someone who’s done it before then so much the better. My understanding is that you’re looking to do a very slow cooking using coals more than flame and hit an internal temperature of just over 145°F to a maximum of 165°F measured in a thick muscle like the ham away from bone. Don’t touch bone with the thermometer as it conducts the heat and gives a false reading.


58 lb + 67 lb Roaster Pig in Big White Cooler (36″x15″x15″ interior)

These photos of pigs in coolers will give you an idea of how large roasters are and what it takes to transport them. These coolers are Igloo Quick & Cool 150 Quart Coolers which have roughly 36″x15″x15″ interior dimensions. The above photo has two roaster pigs, 67 lb and a 58 lb, in the same cooler plus there was room for ice and some additional meat. The 58 lb roaster measured 30″ long nose to tail by 15″ high by 7.5″ wide with the legs folded forward as shown.


90 lb Roaster Pig in Big White Cooler

This 90 lb roaster is up near the maximum capacity of the big Igloo cooler and is larger than most coolers you’ll find at the store. The largest pig we’ve carried in this type of cooler was 118 lbs which gives an idea of what you’ll need for medium sized roaster pigs. For much larger than that people will often double bag them and wrap them in a space blanket or foil-bubble-bubble-foil with ice for the trip home. Consider ahead of time the container you’ll need for brining and storing until you begin roasting.

“We were hoping to get two 20lb pigs for the next pig roast. The pig we got for my father in-laws 70th was 22lbs and was mind blowing.”

-Shalom Z. of Burlington, Vermont

A pig of 60 to 90 lbs cooks in a reasonable time. Remember you want a long slow cook at a low temperature – not fast or hot. I would suggest doing two pigs like this rather than one big 150 or larger pig. The smaller pigs are much easier to manage and cook.


36 lb Roaster Pig in Big White Cooler

This is a 34 lb pig in the same size white cooler. That pig would have fit in a typical medium large cooler and didn’t need the super big cooler. Twenty to 45 lbs is small enough to be easily transported, easily brined and it can be cooked even in a home oven – a big one for the top of that scale. Think of it as being like cooking a large turkey for Thanksgiving or Christmas.

Suckling Oven Roaster. Photo courtesy of Sariann Lehrer of Inn at the Crossroads
Note that we do not cook pigs – we sell them raw ready to cook.

Sucklings refers to a pig that is still nursing or drinking dairy which ours do their entire lives. Thus the term suckling refers to smaller roasters which can be cooked in the oven and is synonymous with oven roaster. Sucklings are as small as you would like down to birth weight which is only a few pounds but there is a minimum charge since we can sell that same piglet as a live weaner – this makes a 10 lb suckling very expensive per pound. Generally a 20 to 49 lb suckling makes a good small roaster and can even be cooked in a home oven much like cooking a turkey. Note that very small pigs don’t have proportionally as much meat as medium as larger pigs so allow more per guest.

Very large roasters take a very long time to cook. I would recommend that you start with a small or medium sized roaster for your first event as it is easier to get right and learn on before attempting a large roaster. Some people do two small or medium sized roasters rather than a large roaster so they cook faster.

“Our pig roasts [with Sugar Mountain Farm roaster pigs] have become such an institution at the Vintage Garage (in large part due to your excellent pigs…) that we are holding 3 this year! One of the things we are working on is starting a school for 2015 doing car restoration classes on a regular basis. That will mean a pig every 3 weeks or so in 2015. We’ll end each week-long class with a pig roast.”

-Pierce Reid, Vintage Garage Long time Sugar Mountain Farm Roaster Pig Buyer

How Large a Pig: How large a pig depends on how many guests you are going to have and what else you’ll be feeding them. Part of it is going to depend on the ages of the people (teens eat a lot for example) and part on what else is being served (e.g., chicken, turkey, beef, etc). The rule of thumb is 1/2 to 1 lb of meat per person for large roaster pigs. For small roaster pigs increase that to 1 to 2 lb per person because small roasters have less meat proportionally although they are much easier to cook – a trade off. For suckling pigs, figure on the upper end of that amount per person as there is not a lot of meat on a suckling. Big pigs have more meat per pound but take longer to cook, thus some people do two small pigs rather than one large one.

Transportation: When transporting your pig you can wrap it in Foil-Bubble-Bubble-Foil (FBBF), a space blanket or the like to help keep heat out. Also pack it in ice, adding more ice as that melts if you’re on a long trip.

Holding: When you get to your destination put it in a clean container for thawing and brining if you will be doing that. A bath tub works well. A very large picnic cooler works if the pig is small enough.

Thawing: All frozen pigs were fast deep frozen from fresh to maintain top quality. They are kept at a very low freezer temperature so allow extra time for thawing. Thawing typically takes three to four days. The meat must be kept cold below 40°F while thawing.

Brining: A good method of thawing is to thaw in a brine with water, salt and your favorite spices. See this article about How to Brine a Ham for ideas on how we do brining. Keep some ice in the brine to act as a temperature indicator. When the ice melts it is time to add more ice. A thermometer is also useful – some even have alarms for when the temperature gets too high. Brining in ice water works whether you’re starting with a frozen pig or a fresh pig. Just keep the temperature below 40°F.


Pig Roast by Chef Cameron Giezendanner
Note that we do not cook pigs – we sell them raw ready to cook.

Catering: We do not have pig roasters available for rent no do we do catering. Many people have done this style and reported excellent results. They are reasonably easy to make in a variety of styles if you’re at all handy. Check the Internet for ideas. If you want someone to do catering for you in Vermont, try:

  • Shawn Beede of Reservoir Restaurant in Waterbury, Vermont; or
  • Jimmy Kalp of Sauce, a restaurant in Stowe, Vermont.

Note that we do not cook pigs.
We sell them raw ready to cook.

Cooking: The key in roasting a pig is to cook it slowly over coals not flame. Slow cooking gives the best results producing mouthwateringly tender, juicy meat. Be aware that larger pigs take a lot longer to cook. If you’ve never done a pig roast before I would suggest having someone with experience help you and perhaps starting with a small pig the first time. When you get your pig, ask about getting some extra back fat to put on the roaster – makes crispin’s too.

If you are looking for a chef to help you let us know and we can put you in contact some who have experience doing pig roasts. If it is your first pig roast and you’re having an event like your wedding I strongly recommend having and experienced friend or chef do the pig roast for you. Focus on your event and let someone else attend to the pig.

You can read How to Roast a Pig with a Rock for the story of how we’ve cooked a pig while traveling for something a little different.

WASHINGTON, May 24, 2011 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is updating its recommendation for safely cooking pork, steaks, roasts, and chops. USDA recommends cooking all whole cuts of meat to 145 °F as measured with a food thermometer placed in the thickest part of the meat, then allowing the meat to rest for three minutes before carving or consuming.
-New USDA guidelines

Fresh vs Frozen: Properly frozen meat is every bit as good as fresh meat. Many of our high end restaurant customers use frozen to produce their delicious dishes. The advantage of frozen is you know what size pig you are getting from the existing inventory and you can get it quickly. The advantage of fresh is that you can order a different size pig but you must order at least one month in advance with a deposit. Realize we can not guarantee we will hit the size exactly on fresh pigs because to do a fresh pig we must go out into the field and guess the pig’s weight, deliver it to the butcher for slaughter and then we find out what the official post slaughter hot hanging weight is from the butcher. My field guess can easily be off by 100%. You pay based on the final hanging weight measured by the butcher.

Delivery: $10 along our regular weekly delivery route typically on Wednesdays or Thursdays along I-91 from Brattleboro to Bradford and typically Thursdays or Fridays along I-89 from Barre to Burlington. Every other week we deliver up to Hardwick, Vermont. Shipping is available on roasters up to about 65 lbs but is very expensive FedEx 2nd Day. On delivery you must be capable of hefting pigs as my wife who makes deliveries can not and will not lift them. Bring extra help if you need for anything over 50 lbs.

How Big is a Roaster? The following list from past roaster pigs gives an idea of how large roaster pigs are of various weights. This can be helpful when planning for what size will fit in your oven, spit, pit or roasting box. This handy chart above also gives you an idea of how big roaster pigs tend to be. This gives a range of sizes from small oven roasters to medium spit roasters.


For Details about portable roasting box see:
How to Roast a Pig with a Rock

Approximate Measures of Real Roasters:
Weight vs Nose-Tail x Height x Width

11 lb 19″x9.5″x4.5″
12 lb 23.5″x8″x4.5″
13 lb 23″x8.5″x5″
17 lb 23″x12″x6.5″
22 lb 25″x9.5″x6.5″
25 lb 23″x13″x6.5″
31 lb 32″x13″x7″
32 lb 29″x14″x7″
34 lb 29″x13″x8″
35 lb 32″x15″x7″
48 lb 34″x14″x9″
64 lb 37″x13″x10″
66 lb 37″x13″x10″
88 lb 38″x14.5″x9.5″

Dimensions are approximate measure nose to tail of pig with hind legs folded forward like in an oven roast. Depending on how the pig happens to be folded, how long it’s snout is, etc the dimensions may vary a little. Note that pastured pigs are not factory molded from plastic pink piggies so they will vary in size and proportions. Add about 50% to the length for fully extended rear legs if doing a spit roast. e.g., A 23″ long pig cooked on the spit with the legs extend might need about 35″ or so of spit length.


††Medium and Large roasters carry a higher price due to difficulty of handling. Be ready to load it with extra people on hand and have an appropriate transport. That is a lot of pork. My wife who does deliveries can not lift medium or large roasters so you’ll need to do the heavy lifting. Big roasters take a long time to cook – figure five to eight minutes per pound depending on the cooking style. Rather than a huge pig I would recommend instead cooking two smaller pigs as they will cook faster and be easier to handle.

All pigs are farmer’s pick from our herds of pastured pigs. If you would like to specify sex (Boar vs Gilt vs Sow), color (Red, White, Blue, Brown, Yellow, Black) or breeding line (Yorkshire/White, Tamworth, Berkshirex, Large Black, Mainline, Blackieline, Redline) there is an additional $50 selection charge. Note that after processing all pigs are ‘white’ – color is not even skin deep. Occasionally we buy pigs from other farmers as well to supplement our pig numbers. If you want a pig from a particular genetic line or of a particular sex please let us know at the time you order. Specific selection limits availability at times which can cause delays in scheduling so please plan ahead.

Prices subject to change without notice. Pigs are live animals and vary. Availability depends on Mother Nature and sows be willing. Life happens. Your mileage will vary.

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22 Responses to Roasters

  1. Magda Jansen van Vuuren says:

    Do you have a recipie for Pig Roast, for the spices?
    Your website is very interisting, I enjoyed it.
    At this stage, the easy part of pigs is raising and feeding them. The challenge is to cut it into pieces and learn to cook and eat pork. I like them more alive. Do you maybe have a recipie book in connection with pork meals?
    Kind Regards
    Magda

    • I don’t at this time have such recipes but our son Will is working on putting something together along these lines so watch this space in the future. See the brining article for what we use to brine hams and bacon. That could be used for a pig roast too.

  2. Scot Morrison says:

    I am interested in doing my first pig roast this fall. If we were to order a pig would you be able to meet half way for delivery? I live in Ipswich. MA so it would be about 1.5 hours for each of us. If not, can you recommend anyone closer to be to buy a pig from?

  3. uncle dave says:

    Lets build an insulated 300 gallon fuel tank Roaster, any ideas ???? I’m ready to build it, if we can come up with the proper materials. I use both charcoal and gas for fuel, but way to much heat is lost in the cooking process. I need this roaster built like a huge home oven. lets get the ideas flowing, and I will build it………. thanks dave

  4. Rob Staples says:

    You hear it said that the hanging weight of a hog can be estimated at 75% of its live weight. What I can’t seem to find anywhere is whether that 75% usually includes the head, trotters, and skin, and if not, what % would be appropriate to use for a carcass that has had these parts removed. Your thoughts on this? Thanks.

    • I find that as a general rule:

      Hanging Weight = 72% Live Weight

      Commercial Cuts = 67% Hanging Weight

      Between the commercial cuts and hanging weight there is the drip loss and evaporative loss during hanging, trim and oddments. Most of that loss between those weights is things like head, trotters, skin and such that many people overlook but are good eating. These low-on-the-hog items and oddments are all edible and good pork.

      based on scald & scrape with head, skin, trotters on.

      You may find the following articles of interest:
      FAQ
      What Good is a Pig
      What is a Half Pig Share

  5. Matt Connors says:

    Hi Walter, thanks as always for your wonderful work.
    Your prices above for roasters, are the weights listed for live or hanging.
    Thanks!

  6. Farmerbob1 says:

    Walter,

    I briefly glanced up and saw the section of your post where you discussed.

    “Weight and Approximate Nose-Tail x Shoulder Height x Shoulder Width”

    All of these numbers looked to be in reasonable ranges, but there were quite a few puzzling numbers. All three measurements failed to track with weight.

    Are these supposed to be averages, or are they measurements from actual pigs? I’m fairly certain they are from example pigs. When I looked down the list and saw a 35 lb pig with a shoulder height taller than a 66 lb pig, it was a bit of a weird moment .

    If someone is trying to decide what size pig they can cook in their oven or grill/smoker, wouldn’t it be best to give a typical range measurement of dimensions per each weight range, rather than individual measurements of example pigs?

    • Those are actual measurements of real pigs. There can be some variance depending on how the pig got folded at the butcher. Piggy Yoga or Origami. There can also be real world variance in actual pigs. We record sizes each week from pigs who go to market and at some point I’ll put together a tally of averages. It will be interesting. Also outlier variation will be interesting.

  7. Adam DeGraff says:

    Have you ever roasted a sucking pig or a small roaster in a big crock pot like this:
    http://www.amazon.com/dp/B002Y4FQYU/ref=psdc_2934463011_t2_B00KNMJ1QO?

  8. Kyle says:

    where do you get the material/bags to freeze a roaster pig in?

  9. Farmerbob1 says:

    Walter, for some reason this page’s sidebar content has a different font size than normal. It’s not a big deal but if it’s an easy fix, you might want to poke it with a stick.

  10. Sidney says:

    I am actually interested in adopting one of your Pigs, not as food, but as a little friend at home! Would love to talk to you about working something out! :)

  11. Stephanie says:

    When it is recommended to have 1-1.5lb pork per person for your party…does that transfer directly to hanging weight?

    • Yes, that is based on hanging weight. Most people don’t eat that much but in hanging weight is also the weight of skin and bones. If you were ordering skin-off, bone-out cuts such Boston Butts to roast then you would go with more like 0.25 lbs to 0.5 lbs per person since there is almost no trim. Figure the higher end of the measures for growing teens and the low end for elderly people. Everyone else falls somewhere in between. It will also depend on what other main dishes you are serving. For example, if you’re doing pork and turkey then adjust downward.

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