Recipe By Tom Nicolson
Published Nov 13th
Prep 1h Cook 7h Additional 12h Ready In 20h
Servings 1 suckling pig Calories 601.6

Annatto oil is made from annatto seed, a pungent Caribbean spice that imparts an orange color to the roast pig.

Recipe Ingredients

  • 2 cups vegetable oil
  • 1 cup achiote (annatto) seeds
  • 24 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 3 tablespoons dried oregano
  • ¾ cup salt
  • ½ cup sour orange juice
  • 1 whole (25 pound) suckling pig, dressed
  • 16 cloves chopped garlic
  • 16 peppercorns
  • 12 fresh jalapeno pepper, seeded
  • 2 cups extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1 cup lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • cheesecloth

Cooking Directions

  1. 1 Annatto Oil: In a small saucepan, heat oil over low heat. Stir in annatto seeds, and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cool, and strain it before use, removing the seeds.
  2. 2 In a large mortar, crush 24 cloves garlic with oregano and 3/4 cup salt. Stir in the sour orange juice. Set aside.
  3. 3 Make deep cuts in the pig on the neck, just under the lower jaw, on the loin, legs, shoulders, and ribs. Rub the seasoned orange juice into the cuts, as well as all over the skin, and in the cavity of the pig. Cover the pig with cheesecloth, and refrigerate overnight.
  4. 4 Build an open charcoal fire over a bed of stones. Hot coals may need to be added during the long cooking period. Place a post with a Y shape on either end of the fire.
  5. 5 Pass a smooth pole with no bark through the body of the pig. Tie the front legs tightly around the pole. Do the same with the hind legs, stretching them as far as possible. Resting the ends of the pole on the Y posts, place the pig over hot coals. Rotate the pole constantly and slowly in order to cook the pig evenly, and baste it frequently with the annatto oil. Roast the pig for about seven hours, or until a thermometer stuck into the thickest part of the thigh reaches 145 degrees F (63 degrees C). Carve.
  6. 6 Meanwhile, prepare the garlic sauce by first crushing the remaining 16 cloves garlic, the 16 peppercorns, and the fresh chilies in a mortar. Transfer mixture to a small bowl. Stir in olive oil, vinegar, lime juice, and 2 tablespoons salt. Serve with carved meat.

Nutrition Facts

  • Calories 601.6
  • Carbohydrate 3.5 g
  • Cholesterol 82.9 mg
  • Fat 57.9 g
  • Fiber 1.1 g
  • Protein 16.1 g
  • Saturated Fat 16.7 g
  • Sodium 338.8 mg
  • Sugar 0.5 g


  1. Similar to the Filipino lechon de leche... requires time to cook... but it's worth it!

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