This post is paid advertising by Martin’s Roast a Pig.
By Jeff Falk
The act of roasting pork on a spit over a fire out of doors is primitive in nature. It’s also very traditional, festive, endearing and of course, delicious.
Martin’s Roast a Pig didn’t invent the concept, or even perfect it. But it has taken pig roasting to the next level.
Headquartered in South Lebanon Township, Martin’s Roast a Pig is a family-oriented, family-owned business operated by John and Miriam Stoltzfus. It exists to provide a unique dining experience for any gathering or celebration, large or small.
So much more than a typical caterer, Martin’s Roast a Pig has stayed true to the concept of the old-fashioned pig roast.
“You can have the most awesome party, but people are always going to talk about the food,” said Stoltzfus. “They’re going to remember the food. We want to be able to help our customers pull that off. If we’re set up and grilling, it pulls people together
“The secret is really in the slow-cook process,” continued Stoltzfus. “It’s the rotisserie and the flavor of the pork. When we pull meat off the pig, we pull it from the shoulder, the ham and the loins – each end of the pig and the middle. The flavor of the pork comes from putting the different cuts together. That’s what makes a pig roast very unique. There are different flavors within the pig.”
Martin’s Roast a Pig offers three distinct services and options. Clients can choose from having a cook prepare their pork on-site, having the prepared product delivered to their gathering or roasting the pig themselves.
Martin’s Roast a Pig’s motto is “Pig Roast Your Way”.
Typically, a 70-pound hog can feed up to 30 guests, while a 240-pound pig can accommodate up to parties of 200. The pork can be marinated or pre-rubbed with six different spices, upon request. Rubs, each of which feature more than 14 ingredients, can be purchased as an optional item.
Martin’s Roast-a-Pig also offers a wide variety of side dishes, everything from macaroni and cheese to potato filling, from baked beans to desserts, from pasta salad to creamed green beans.
“Personally, my favorite thing is being on-site, cooking and creating personal relationships with clients,” said Stoltzfus, 56. “I enjoy the interaction. I try to help our customers. A lot of our clients do their own cooking, and we give them tips and general instructions. I want to be able to reach out and make a difference in people’s lives, and make a connection.
“I’m going to say that my favorite side is the mac and cheese,” added Stoltzfus. “It’s just very good, and it’s consistent. The challenge in the food industry is keeping your products consistent. When you get it, you expect it to be the same.”
The services Martin’s Roast a Pig provide are ideal for birthday parties, graduation parties, weddings, golf outings, family reunions, anniversaries, and fund raisers – any type of event where food is an essential element for creating the perfect atmosphere. Martin’s Roast a Pig, which has received more than 30 five-star reviews, serves customers within a 150-mile radius of Lebanon, PA.
That consistency in products and services creates satisfied customers who keep coming back for more.
“If you get people together, it can be a pig roast,” said Stoltzfus. “The process of cooking a pig really depends on the grill you’re using. With a grated grill, you put the charcoal in, light it and wait for all the chemicals to burn off. When the ashes are white, you put the pig on. You wait a couple of hours for the grill to settle down, and then you can set it and let it. But you have to constantly baby-sit a rotisserie grill.
“Grated grills are used for bigger pigs, and smaller pigs we usually put on a rotisserie grill,” Stoltzfus continued. “Rotisserie meats are always the best. There’s nothing like it. Cooking times are different because pig sizes are different. You might have to put one on at 1 a.m. on a Saturday to be ready for an 11 a.m. event.”
Martin’s Roast a Pig was founded by Terry Sheetz in 1965. In May of 2020, Stoltzfus purchased the business from David Martin, who had operated it over the prior 12 years.
“I always wanted to be in the food industry,” said Stoltzfus. “We used to have a stand at the Lebanon Farmers’ Market when it was on Ninth Street, selling deli salads and desserts. I found out through the grapevine that David wanted to sell it, so we bought it, then COVID-19 hit.
“At this point, I think we’re still learning about the business,” Stoltzfus added. “As far as the end product goes, it’s like grilling. With that part of the process, it’s not that different. The learning curve, I think, is very short. The challenges we face are with scheduling, having orders on top of orders.”
Stoltzfus purchased the business about two months into the Coronavirus pandemic. While it may not have been as adversely affected as some businesses, COVID-19 has not allowed Martin’s Roast a Pig to reach its full potential.
From February to May of 2021, about 25 customers had already scheduled pig roasts through Martin’s Roast a Pig, an average of about one or two per weekend, with many orders booked for the summer and fall.
“Last year, orders were down about 30 percent,” said Stoltzfus. “I think people just weren’t sure, but now they’re tired of being cooped up and they’re starting to hold events. Kind of like, ‘Hey, let’s have a pig roast’.
“In places like the Caribbean Islands, they’ve been roasting pigs for who knows how long,” continued Stoltzfus. “But it matters how you do it. They’d set up concrete blocks, make a fireplace, put a pig on a spit and put it over the fire. I would say that roasting a pig goes as far back as the history of mankind.”
It would seem that the success of Martin’s Roast a Pig moving forward will revolve around the business’ ability to fine-tune and tweak its existing products and services, and to better manage the logistics involved. It really comes down to building upon a solid foundation that’s been in existence for more than 55 years.
“My personal goal would be to grow the business, so it becomes big enough to do on more of a full-time basis,” said Stoltzfus. “It would be to get our per-order revenue to a point where we can add products and add services. But I love to grill. I love to meet people. We also want to make sure we can maintain what we’re doing. The biggest thing is the pleasure of creating food. Food is meant to be created, not just made.
“I think there are a lot of people who don’t realize Martin’s Roast a Pig is here,” concluded Stoltzfus. “I think it’s important for anyone who’s had our services in the past to know that the ownership has changed. One of the things we want to do is keep adding services so we can make sure our customer’s party is a successful event.”
Because there’s absolutely nothing like a good pig roast.
For additional information about Martin’s Roast a Pig, or to book an event please visit www.martinsroastapig.com, or call 717-383-8139.