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Mrs Beeton Roast Suckling Pig


This is an original Mrs. Beeton recipe taken from her famous book, Beeton’s Book of Household Management.  Both the quantities and text have been reproduced as originally published, with the exception of a little reformatting of the ingredient list to make it easier to follow. 

Conversion chart

1oz = 25g

1lb = 450g

1 gill =  140ml/4½ fl.oz.

1 teacup = 240ml/8fl.oz.

1 pint = 600ml/20fl.oz.

1 quart = 960ml/32fl.oz.

Go to: -   Other Mrs Beeton Recipes  |  History of Mrs. Beeton



Pig, 6 oz. of bread crumbs,

16 sage-leaves,

pepper and salt to taste,

a piece of butter the size of an egg,

salad oil or butter to baste with,

about 1/2 pint of gravy,

1 tablespoonful of lemon-juice.

Mode.—A sucking-pig, to be eaten in perfection, should not be more than three weeks old, and should be dressed the same day that it is killed. After preparing the pig for cooking, as in the preceding recipe, stuff it with finely-grated bread crumbs, minced sage, pepper, salt, and a piece of butter the size of an egg, all of which should be well mixed together, and put into the body of the pig. Sew up the slit neatly, and truss the legs back, to allow the inside to be roasted, and the under part to be crisp. Put the pig down to a bright clear fire, not too near, and let it lay till thoroughly dry; then have ready some butter tied up in a piece of thin cloth, and rub the pig with this in every part. Keep it well rubbed with the butter the whole of the time it is roasting, and do not allow the crackling to become blistered or burnt. When half-done, hang a pig-iron before the middle part (if this is not obtainable, use a flat iron), to prevent its being scorched and dried up before the ends are done. Before it is taken from the fire, cut off the head, and part that and the body down the middle. Chop the brains and mix them with the stuffing; add 1/2 pint of good gravy, a tablespoonful of lemon-juice, and the gravy that flowed from the pig; put a little of this on the dish with the pig, and the remainder send to table in a tureen. Place the pig back to back in the dish, with one half of the head on each side, and one of the ears at each end, and send it to table as hot as possible. Instead of butter, many cooks take salad oil for basting, which makes the crackling crisp; and as this is one of the principal things to be considered, perhaps it is desirable to use it; but be particular that it is very pure, or it will impart an unpleasant flavour to the meat. The brains and stuffing may be stirred into a tureen of melted butter instead of gravy, when the latter is not liked. Apple sauce and the old-fashioned currant sauce are not yet quite obsolete as an accompaniment to roast pig.

Time.—1–1/2 to 2 hours for a small pig.
Average cost, 5s. to 6s.
Sufficient for 9 or 10 persons.
Seasonable from September to February.



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Main equipment required to make this recipe


Measuring Jug


Wooden or Plastic Spoon


Make Ahead/Freeze

Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days

Not suitable for freezing


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