To roast is to cook by the direct heat of the fire, as on a spit or before a high bed of coals. Baking is performed in an oven, pit, or closed vessel. No kitchen range can compete with an open fire for roasting.
Build a rather large fire of split hardwood (softwoods are useless) against a high backlog or wall of rocks which will reflect the heat forward. Sear the outside of the roast (not a bird or fish) in clear flames until outer layer of albumen is coagulated. Then skewer thin slices of pork to upper end; hang roast before fire and close to it by a stout wet cord; turn frequently; catch drippings in pan or green-bark trough, and baste with them. This is better than roasting on a spit over the fire, because the heat can be better regulated, the meat turned and held in position more easily, the roast is not smoked, and the drippings are utilized.
Just before the meat is done, baste it and sprinkle with flour, then brown it near the fire, and make gravy as directed on page 62. '
A whole side of venison can be roasted by planting two stout forked stakes before the fire, a stub of each stake being thrust through a slit cut between the ribs and under the backbone. The forward part of the saddle is the best roasting piece. Trim off flanky parts and ends of ribs, and split backbone lengthwise so that the whole will hang flat. To roast a shoulder, peel it from the side, cut off leg at knee, gash thickest part of flesh, press bits of pork into them, and skewer some slices to upper part.
When roasting a large joint, a turkey, or anything else that will require more than an hour of steady heat, do not depend upon adding wood from time to time, unless you have a good supply of sound, dry hardwood sticks of stove-wood size. If green wood or large sticks must be used, build a bonfire of them at one side of your cooking-fire, and shovel coals from it as required. It will not do to check the cooking-fire.
When in a hurry, cut a 1^ or 2 inch portion from the saddle or other tender part, break up the fiber by pounding, unless the animal was young, and divide the meat into several small fragments. Impale one of these on a sharpened stick, salt and pepper it, plunge it for a moment into a clear bright flame, then toast it slowly over the embers. Salt, in this case, is glazed on the surface and cannot draw the juice. While eating one bit, toast another.
Pin thin slices of pork or bacon over the roast. Put a little water in the bake-pan, lay the meat in, and set the baker before the fire. Baste occasionally. When the front is done, reverse the pan. Make gravy from the drippings.
To barbecue is to roast an animal whole, and baste it frequently with a special dressing, for which the following recipe is borrowed from Frank Bates:
One pint of vinegar, half a can of tomatoes, two tea-spoonfuls of red pepper (chopped pepper-pods are better), a teaspoonful of black pepper, same of salt, two tablespoonfuls of butter. Simmer together till it is completely amalgamated. Have a bit of clean cloth or sponge tied on the end of a stick, and keep the meat well basted with the dressing as long as it is on the fire.