Barbecue Season Suckling Pig Sensation

The barbecue season is just about on top of us here in Ireland. It is that brief window where Gender Neutral Adult Figure Nature (Mother Nature to the less sensitive amongst you) strings three or four days together like pearls on a necklace of summer sunshine. Not that I have any issues with Father Nature wearing pearls. But, I digress. When we get the few days of tepid sunshine leaking through the damaged ozone layer above the Emerald Isle, we immediately strip to the waist and fire up the barbecue.

Normally culinary incompetent males dress in aprons festooned with slogans like “My Sausage is on Fire” or “King of the Grill” and venture forth amongst the dandelions armed with tongs, spatulas, fish slices and battery operated rotisserie devices that never work when you need them.

This is barbecue season and this is where real men step out of the shadows and try to shine. Dinner will be late. Before there is any afterglow, be it from the glory of the cooking or the combined heat of the sun and the glow of the grill, there is work to be done.

As temperatures rise above “three sweaters and a beanie”, any man, woman or child with an ounce of foresight will go to the garden shed, unlock the door (of course you keep the shed locked) and wheel out the barbecue. Once the cover is removed and placed in its space on the shed shelf, grilling can commence.

Ignore the above paragraph. You will more usefully spend your “shed time” digging out the strimmer. You will need it to cut back the grass and climbing ivy that has grown up around your forgotten barbecue over the winter months. When you try to open it, the hinges creak as the rust crumbles away. You seem to recognise that layer of fur that has grown on the grill bars. It’s the festered remains of the duck you cooked last year, just before you resolved to clean and store the grill for the winter.

Prepare the dish well away from the clouds of smoke and dust from the grill cleaning operation.

While your other half curses their way through cleaning the grill, prepare the dish, mercifully brief in ingredients. To generously feed three people, you will need:

  • 1 suckling pig rack
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 5cm/2″ piece of ginger root
  • Tablespoon of olive oil
  • Heaped teaspoon of sea salt
  • Teaspoon of black pepper

The instructions are really simple. Put some slashes in the skin of the rack to facilitate marination and cutting when cooked. Pour the oil over the meat.

A lovely bit of light in the garden at this time of year.

Add the remaining ingredients (garlic, ginger, salt and pepper) and rub int the meat. Leave it to stand in the fridge for at least an hour or better still, overnight. However, given the unpredictable nature of summer weather in Ireland, overnight is probably not going to happen.

Yes, that is a lot of garlic and ginger. Be brave.

Heat your now clean grill to very hot. Place a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the meat, avoiding any bones. Add the pork to the barbecue in a place that will avoid flare-ups. Close the lid and leave it there, untouched, for fifteen minutes.

Turn down the heat and turn the joint over (That is not barbecue speak for “Wreck the place”, just turn the meat upside down.). Leave it there while the skin crisps up. It’s hard to do this without getting a bit of blackening. Don’t worry about that.

Starting to look pretty tasty now.

Prepare some vegetables (Bok Choi was my choice) and some rice or pasta (Jasmin rice was my choice) while the meat finishes cooking. This will take about ten minutes cooking time and ten minutes resting time. I used the thermometer and took the meat off at 60ºC/140ºF. Some might find this a bit light on the cooking. I am cooking fine, rare breed, free range pork and have never had an issue with this temperature. However, if you are cooking some dodgeball stuff bought from a supermarket because it was a bargain, you are on your own.

Resting time definition: Resting Time is the ten to twenty minutes where you lose your temper with a close relative or two for their attempting to pick at the crackling on the pork. Don’t go soft on me. They deserve everything they get.

Carve the pork into double rib chops and serve to the relatives who are still talking to you.

There was no room on the plate for the rice.

When you have finished sucking on the bones, remember to clean down the barbecue and store it away. I really don’t know why I am typing this, we both know what you will do….

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Latest comments
  • That looks delicious – fantastic crackling!

  • Last year our BBQ season was like every weekend for 4 months, but this year we have only been out once so far. The ‘fur’ is a common problem — I encounter this sometimes when I want to use the oven at another person’s place. The rack of suckling pig looks great.

  • Tis clear you’re not an Ocker. Round here, the barbie never gets put away at all, and the trick is to burn off the residue of what you’ve just cooked by cranking up the heat, which reduces all the drippy bits to charcoal. But I’ll forgive you the 20 minutes of watery sunshine summer for the sake of that highly delicious-looking bit of piglet!

      • Yes, I can quite see that that would put a bit of a damper on things. Ours is under a covered deck to keep the sun off…

  • That’s a lovely section of pork you’ve got there and you’ve treated it well. That crackling looks mighty inviting and those chops look juicy and mighty tasty. Now I’m off to look for one of those aprons.

  • Hope you gave your other half a bit of your crackling in thanks for de-fuzzing your grill. (Wow, that sentence could easily be misinterpreted — or not. 😉 )

    What a beautiful piece of piglet!

  • Well, Kate got in first and said all things true and appropriate again ! Last week of autumn and daytime temperatures have finally come off the 26-29 C level and only 14 mm of rain for the whole of May in my area south of Sydney – water restrictions grade 1 coming in over the weekend ! Of course the barbie is on over the weekend, trying valiantly to avoid the sun 🙂 ! Even here, some 1500 kms S of Kate the barbies ‘naturally’ are used almost all year . . . Love the lean quality of your meat and the fact you use ginger . . . wish I was there to share . . .

  • *huge evening laugh* Can’t speak for the lady but methinks the both of us TRULY may know and talk about summer, well, better than you . . and, don’t tempt me too much as a weekend in Dublin (oh, what that would end up as . . . 🙂 !) might prove utterly too much temptation when I get to Europe . . . barbeque , , , ?

  • I laugh in the face of Mother Nature and start grilling in March. I’ve grilled as the snow has fallen. I can’t do too deep in winter as the grill can’t get hot enough but once it starts hovering round freezing I’m good to go! This meal would be wonderful to try.

  • Steve and I always say we are probably the only Americans without a grill. This is making me reconsider that decision!

  • Beautiful. My husband will only grill with charcoal, although Stefan pointed out that they’re actually charcoal briquettes. But still provide better flavor than a gas grill, in my opinion. The bok choi is a great choice – one that I probably wouldn’t have though of!

  • Those little succulent pork ribs look great. Even though it is really grilling season all year round here in Florida, I can totally relate to your story and yes, I’ve had fuzzy grill grates too. As I matter of fact I gave my grill a complete cleaning earlier this week. When living in New Hampshire and summering in Maine, I never knew what to expect when we rolled out the grill from our shed when we returned to Maine for the summer. We had a chipmunk that had stored acorns in the grill one year. Thankfully it wasn’t his home…just his storage shed.

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