Nothing is more manly than a roaring fire in the fireplace, unless you are cooking a hunk of wild game on said roaring fire. The temperature dropped to a brutal 39 degrees here on the Texas coast, and it reminded me of one of my favorite methods of cooking. The following has its origin in the medieval French countryside. Any 4-6 pound hunk of meat will do, so don't feel limited to just using wild pork. If you do use a rather lean cut of meat, do plan on larding it.
Prep Time: 6-10 hours
Ingredients: Use any herbs and spices you like, a large hunk of meat, pork fat if a lean roast, and lots of extra virgin olive oil.
1. Lard your 4-6 pound roast if necessary. This is basically poking holes through the meat and stuffing with fat. I do this to my venison roasts and other lean meats. Most pork and lamb won't require this step.
2. Purchase some butcher twine and netting and stuff your roast. Coat in olive oil and season.
3. There are a few ways you can spin your meat in front of the fireplace. The easiest, but most invasive, is to put a strong nail into your mantle. You may have a nail already for hanging Christmas stockings, but you want to make sure its strong enough to hold your meat. Falling meat is a catastrophe. I have a portable metal grill with a swinging hand I place in front of the fireplace and hang my string from the handle. I've also seen tripods set up like cowboys use to cook a pot of beans over the fire. The longer your string is, the less often you must twist your roast. Be sure to place a metal bowl beneath the roast to catch the drippings and olive oil baste. I baste about every 30 minutes and oil the twine to keep it from drying out and breaking.
4. Cooking time depends on your meat, fire, and taste. Bear and wild pig needs to be done, whereas lamb and venison of course is better medium rare to medium.
5. Let it rest 20 minutes at least. This is where I fail so often, but it really should be done. Be strong, ignore the guests rumbling. Slap hands. Do what it takes, trust me.
We don't get much cold weather here in Southeast Texas, but when we do I love cooking on the fireplace. Have you cooked anything on the fireplace?
I've got some videos of the process here: http://wp.me/p3bCKM-98