Roast Suckling Pig Tacos with Tomatillo–Avocado Salsa

Juicy roast suckling pig paired with a sweet corn salad is an inspired combination from chefs Jimmy Bradley and Bill McDaniel, of New York City's The Red Cat.

Roast Suckling Pig Tacos with Tomatillo–Avocado Salsa
Juicy roast suckling pig paired with a sweet corn salad is an inspired combination from chefs Jimmy Bradley and Bill McDaniel, of New York City's The Red Cat.
Yield: serves 12-15

For the Suckling Pig

  • 1 (18-lb. or smaller) suckling pig, split and butterflied
  • 5 white onions, large dice
  • 1 large head celery, large dice
  • 6 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 12 bunch thyme, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup garlic cloves, smashed
  • 6 cups apple juice
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Tacos

  • 1 medium white onion, peeled and quartered, plus 1/2 white onion, sliced
  • 14 tomatillos, peeled and rinsed
  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 12 bunch cilantro, plus more
  • 1 jalapeño, halved and seeded, plus 1 jalapeño, julienned
  • 6 bunches watercress
  • 14 cup shaved radishes
  • Lemon juice and olive oil, to taste
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Flour tortillas, to serve
  • Grilled Corn Salad, for serving

Instructions

  1. For the suckling pig: Pre-heat oven to 325°. Fill bottom of a large roasting pan with all the vegetables, garlic, and thyme. Season the pig on the flesh side. Place the pig, skin side up, on the vegetables. Pour apple juice and chicken stock over the pig and season liberally with kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper. Cook in oven for approximately 5 hours or until the meat easily pulls from the bone.
  2. Remove from oven; gently remove pig from the roasting pan and let cool on a large pan or cooling rack. When cool enough to handle, begin pulling all the meat from the carcass. Save the skin for other preparations and set meat aside. You can discard juices, or use to cook something else, like beans.
  3. For the tomatillo salsa: Small-dice 6 tomatillos and reserve. Small-dice 12 of 1 avocado and reserve. Add remaining tomatilos, remaining avocado, quartered onion, 12 bunch cilantro, halved jalapeño, and 14 cup water to a blender and purée. Season with salt and pepper. Pour into bowl and add the reserved tomatillos and avocado; mix. Reserve cold.
  4. In a separate bowl, toss watercress with radishes, lemon juice and olive oil. Reserve.
  5. For the tacos: Sauté sliced onion and julienned jalapeños in olive oil until transparent. Add approximately 3 cups shredded pig. Sauté with salt and pepper until meat starts to caramelize, then sprinkle with chopped cilantro. Fill tortillas with meat and tomatillo salsa, top with watercress salad. Repeat process until desired number of tacos are made; serve with grilled corn salad.