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Anyone who has traveled to Costa Rica will be able to list off a few of Costa Rica’s favourite dishes: gallo pinto, casado, and ceviche will undoubtedly make the list. But when it comes to a festive celebration, be it a birthday celebration, New Year’s Eve, or Christmas gathering, or even a wedding, the Costa Rican meal of choice is a succulent pig roast.

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There is nothing more eye opening and arresting than observing the pig roast process from start to finish! And that’s exactly what we did during our time in Costa Rica. Our pig came from a pig farm, run by a local family in a small town of Brasilito, near Playa Flamingo. We selected the pig from a barn and a few hours later it was chopped up and prepared for cooking.

Pig barn in Brasilito, Costa Rica
Pig barn in Brasilito, Costa Rica
Mama pig with her babies inside the barn
Mama pig with her babies inside the barn in Brasilito
Pig roast in Costa Rica
The butchers are draining blood from the pig before they start cleaning it and cutting it up for our pig roast
Pig Roast in Costa Rica
Cleaning the pig
Pig Roast in Costa Rica
Skinning of the pig. The pig was then taken to the table and sliced into chunks suitable to roasting on the grill

The skin was separated from the body and sent to another local to be made into chicharrones. The other parts were cooked over hot coals in a Caja China Style roasting box, set up above ground out of concrete blocks and steel mesh. The cooking process took over 6 hours. The women worked on the marinade, while the  men took turns looking after the roast, flipping the meat over and making sure the dogs and other creatures didn’t get close to the roast.

Pig Roast in Costa Rica
Meat is cut up and ready to be cooked
Pig roast in Costa Rica
Max, the head chef in our outdoor pig roast

The meat was divine, juicy and soft with a light charcoal flavour, so tender it was practically falling off the bones!

Pig roast in Costa Rica
Delicious meat perfectly chargrilled and ready to be plated

Watching the pig go from the barn to the dinner plate was an incredibly humbling reminder of how our food gets to the table. It makes you think twice about throwing away left overs and certainly made me appreciate the meal that much more!


Cultural Close-ups is a series of photographs and stories from around the world that go beyond the pretty sights and famous attractions. If you’d like to contribute a photo and a short story to Cultural Close-Ups, please email your submission to oksana@drinkteatravel.com

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