Suckling pig is one of the most renowned culinary traditions and the centerpiece of our most important celebrations in Sardinia. On my island, we roast meats on a spit and it is often the men’s job much like barbequing in America. The men surround the fire to talk, laugh and drink wine while the women prepare the antipasto, pasta, risotto and desserts inside. I have so many memories of my uncles, brothers, father and cousins cooking lamb, wild boar or goat for a celebration. But the most traditional and widespread way to cook suckling pig in Sardinia, is underground. First, you dig a hole and light a fire in it to heat the earth and stones beneath. Then remove the hot coals, put in the suckling pig wrapped in the sweet perfume of myrtle branches and cover with the coals. Finally refill the hole and wait four hours to dig it up and savor the meat. If you have a shovel, a place to dig, can build a fire, and have access to a whole
suckling pig, you can use this method, too. If you can find pieces of suckling pig with skin on try this similar recipe in your oven.
Porkeddu kin Murta
1 large bunch myrtle, about 3 to 4branches
3 pounds suckling pig, skin on and bones in
6 garlic cloves, cracked and halved
2 to 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil,plus more for coating
2 pounds rock salt
1 tablespoon sea salt
Place some of the myrtle leaves in the bottom of a baking dish. Place the suckling pig, skin side down, on top of the myrtle leaves. Top
with the garlic and more myrtle leaves. Drizzle with olive oil, cover, and refrigerate overnight (at least
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Place rock salt in the bottom of a large roasting pan. Place myrtle leaves and garlic on top of the rock salt. Lay the suckling pig skin side up on the myrtle leaves and sprinkle with the sea salt. Tuck remaining myrtle leaves on top and around the suckling pig. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 3 hours.
Remove roasting pan from oven and turn broiler on. Uncover suckling pig and remove myrtle leaves. Coat skin with additional olive oil and place under broiler for 3 minutes to give the suckling pig color and crispness.