Cochinillo: Spain’s Roast Suckling Pig


Roasted suckling pig is considered the standard cultural-gastronomic heritage of the Segovian people. Cochinillo is a Spanish dish consisting of a roasted suckling pig with succulent meat, tender & crispy skin and a skinny layer of fat. 

The meat of the heart is so tender that it practically falls apart when cooked properly. The dish is served throughout Spain and it is prevalent in the region of Castilla. The pigs should not be heavier than five kilograms or older than three weeks & they are traditionally roasted in oversized open-faced brick ovens. One suckling pig can easily feed a party of four and it is usually ordered in restaurants for birthdays and other festive events.

Cochinillo Asado

Cochinillo asado is a weeks-old piglet cooked whole in a clay dish over an oak wood fire. The delicacy of Spain has emerged through literary history, from Cervantes to Hemingway. This dish is legendary as it is Ernest Hemingway’s favorite restaurant in Madrid.

It is a delicacy native to this meseta swept by the wind, central plateau of Spain, too dry for livestock or most agriculture. Instead, a pig a few weeks old that eats only his mother’s milk, no solid food, is roasted whole – head, hooves & everything – in a clay dish on an oak fire.

Piglets are traditionally prepared and served whole to be cut at the table. However, the innards are removed. These pigs usually weigh less than 20 pounds and fit easily inside a large oven. These are also roasted over spit-fires and are traditionally prepared and served whole to be cut at the table.

How is Roast Suckling Pig Made?

The best method to cook suckling pig is to start low-and-slow—at 275°F to 300°F. Then, roast the pig until it is cooked to at least 160°F. This should take about four hours for a 20-pound pig, plus or minus if the pig is more giant or shorter.

At this point, your skin will be relatively pale, and you should be able to tear it with your fingers quickly enough if you try, but it will still be soft. To crisp it up, you want to blast the meat at max high temperature—500°F is good.

These are also roasted on spit-fires and are famous for open barbecues. Apart from being served as a solid meal, sucking pig is sometimes an ingredient in stews, soup, and casseroles. When used as an ingredient in more sophisticated products, the cochinillo is first cooked separately, sliced or chopped as necessary, and then added to the plate.

Roast Suckling Pig

Cochinillo Segovia

Cochinillo Segovia is a typical dish served in most Segovia homes. Segovia suckling pig, or cochinillo de Segovia, is a local Spanish dish with tender meat and served using a flat plate. It’s found only in Segovia, Spain at Mesón de Cándido.

There are good reasons why roasted pork from Segovia has become a legend. Chefs utilize their skills, competing every year to be the best in cooking meat that melts in the mouth. Presidents, writers and actors have tried to try out that culinary miracle. 

The old city of Segovia is located in the center of Spain, in the Autonomous Community of Castile and Leon. The center is packed together on the rocky cliff delimited by the confluence of the Eresma and Clamores rivers.

Segovia is a world heritage city with unique sites worth seeing. However, once you get to Segovia, you will find the city offers a lot more. An old Jewish neighborhood, exquisite homes, exceptional views and a green belt perfect for a pleasant walk in the sun.

What Is the History Behind Roast Suckling Pig?

They call it suckling pig in Louisiana, lechón in South America, maiale in Italy, or spanferkel in Germany. Roasted suckling pigs are incomparably moist, tender & delicate, bursting with fresh, sticky juices.

Overcooking the meat of the suckling pig is practically impossible. Buy yourself one of those pigs and you’re 99.8% guaranteed a luscious centerpiece, more than can be said of almost any other animal.
Or you can have it at Socarrat. The chefs at our Spanish restaurant in NYC have perfected the cochinillo roasting process and can bring it to your plate. Either way, you’ll enjoy this delicacy.

About us

Socarrat is a Spanish restaurant since 2008 offering a wide variety of tapas, paella, sangria and an extensive selection of wines with three locations in the heart of Manhattan.


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