Suckling pig

Suckling pig
A suckling pig prior to being roasted for consumption at an American tailgate party

A suckling pig (or sucking pig[1]) is a piglet fed on its mother's milk (i.e., a piglet which is still a "suckling"[2]). In culinary, a suckling pig is slaughtered between the ages of two and six weeks. It is traditionally cooked whole, often roasted, in various cuisines. It is usually prepared for special occasions and gatherings.

The meat from suckling pig is pale and tender and the cooked skin is crisp and can be used for pork rinds. The texture of the meat can be somewhat gelatinous due to the amount of collagen in a young pig.



There are many ancient recipes for suckling pig from Roman and Chinese cuisine. Since the pig is one of the first animals domesticated by human beings for slaughter, many references to pigs are found in human culture. The suckling pig, specifically, appears in early texts such as the sixth-century Salic law. As an example of a law governing the punishment for theft, Title 2, article 1, is, in Latin, Si quis porcellum lactantem furaverit, et ei fuerit adprobatum (malb. chrane calcium hoc est) CXX dinarios qui faciunt solidos III culpabilis iudicetur. "If someone has stolen a suckling pig and this is proven against him, the guilty party will be sentenced to 120 denarii which adds up to three solidus." The words "chrane calcium" are written in Frankish; "calcium" (or "galza" in other manuscripts) is the gloss for "suckling pig"; porcellum lactantem.[3] These glosses in Frankish, the so-called Malberg-Glossen, are considered the earliest attested words in Old Dutch.[4]

Regional dishes

There are various preparations for suckling pig in Western and Asian cuisines.

Spanish-speaking countries: Lechón

Lechón is a pork dish in several regions of the world, most specifically Spain and its former colonial possessions throughout the world. The word lechón originated from the Spanish term leche (milk); thus lechón refers to a suckling pig that is roasted. Lechón is a popular cuisine in Spain, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, other Spanish-speaking nations in Latin America and considered as the national dish of the Philippines, where it is called litson in Filipino.[5] The dish features a whole roasted piglet cooked over charcoal.

In most regions, lechón is prepared throughout the year for any special occasion, during festivals, and the holidays. After seasoning, the piglet is cooked by skewering the entire animal, entrails removed, on a large stick and cooking it in a pit filled with charcoal. The piglet is placed over the charcoal, and the stick or rod it is attached to is turned in a rotisserie action.


Balinese cooking has a type of suckling pig called Guling Celeng.


Spanferkel, German cuisine

The European cuisines of Romania, Portugal, Spain, Germany, Croatia,[6] and Georgia[7] favor it highly as well. It also accompanies goose as the traditional Christmas feast of families in Russia and Serbia.

Suckling pig is known in German cuisine as Spanferkel. It can be roasted in the oven[8] or grilled, and is often served at festive occasions such as Oktoberfest.[9]

United States

The suckling pig is still used in Cajun cuisine in the southern U.S., where the Cochon de Lait festival is held annually in the small town of Mansura, Louisiana. During this festival, as its name implies, suckling pigs are roasted. Other uses for the suckling pig, throughout the USA, include slow roasting in the oven or (as in a Hawaiian-style pig roast) in a pit. The latter remains popular in the cuisine of the Southern United States.

See also


  1. ^ "Sucking pig," Oxford English Dictionary (Oxford University Press), 1989,, retrieved 2009-10-08 
  2. ^ Oxford English Dictionary (Oxford University Press), 1989,, retrieved 2009-10-08 
  3. ^ Gorlé, Frits; John Gilissen (1989). Historische inleiding tot het recht, Volume 1. Kluwer. p. 166. ISBN 9789063216542. 
  4. ^ Ruth Schmidt-Wiegand, "Die Malbergischen Glossen, eine frühe Überlieferung germanischer Rechtsprache," in Beck, Heinrich (1989). Germanische Rest- und Trümmersprachen; Volume 3 of Ergänzungsbände zum Reallexikon der germanischen Altertumskunde. Walter de Gruyter. ISBN 9783110119480. 
  5. ^ UP Diksiyonaryong Filipino
  6. ^ Langenfeld, Annemarie (2009-09-20). "Spanferkel und Pizzen heiß begehrt". Der Westen. Retrieved 2009-10-08. 
  7. ^ Dadiani, Niko. "Gochi (Roast Suckling Pig)". About Georgia. Retrieved 2009-10-08. 
  8. ^ Scheibler, Sophie Wilhelmine (1866). Allgemeines deutsches kochbuch für alle stände, oder gründliche anweisung alle arten speisen und backwerke auf die wohlfeilste und schmackhafteste art zuzubereiten: Ein unentbehrliches handbuch für angehende hausmütter, haushälterinnen und köchinnen. C.F. Amelang. pp. 157–58. 
  9. ^ Dittrich, Michael (2009-10-07). "Oktoberfest mit Spanferkel" (in German). Stimberg Zeitung. Retrieved 2009-10-08. 

External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

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