Going Whole Hog
Recipe by: Derrick Riches @ About dot com
So the army's coming over for dinner and you need to come up with
something to feed them. How about cooking up a whole hog. It'll serve
a good 40-50 people so it's a great choice for that church social or
the family reunion.
The first thing you'll need is a place to do the cooking. You can run
out and spend $1000 or so on a good high quality smoker or you can put
one together in the backyard. Depending on how industrious you are you
could buy some plans or you could rig one up.
One way of building a pig cooker is to get some 8 inch stone blocks a
few metal rods and a wire screen. Build a rectangle with the blocks so
it's inside measurements are about 42\" wide 50\" long and 18\" deep.
Set the metal rods on top of the blocks to support the hog and place
the wire screen over the rods. Then you can place the hog right on top
and let it cook.
Once you know how and where you are going to cook the hog you need to
get the pig. Try a skinned and trimmed carcass of about 60 to 100
pounds. You want it to be lean to that you don't start any grease
fires. The carcass should be butterflied so you can lay it out
relatively flat. To get a whole hog call around to some local butchers
and see if they can help you out. If you can refrigerator a whole hog
get it a day in advance and season it up with a good rub then let if
sit for a good day. If you don't have a place to store it then get
everything ready so you can get the hog on the fire as soon as you get
home. Season it as you cook.
Now your ready to build a fire. If you are using charcoal briquettes
you need about 60 pounds you can also use hard wood logs burned down
to coals. If you have a fancy professional smoker, follow the
instructions on building a fire. If you are using a backyard pit I
suggest building a fire ring next to the pit so you can build up the
fire there and then move the coals to the pit. You'll want to keep
adding coals to the pit throughout the day. Start with about 20 pounds
of coals. Load them all along the bottom of the pit with more coals on
the ends under the hams and the shoulders so the hog will cook evenly.
The plan is to cook the hog for about 10 hours. Start in the morning.
Build up the heat throughout the day and watch the hog temperature
carefully. Use a good meat thermometer placed deep into one of the
hams. When you hit about 170 degrees (no less) the hog is done. Cook
skin side up for 4-8 hours and then flip. Cook an additional 1-2 hours
and turn again. Finish up skin side up. Make up a good mop and baste
the hog about every hour or so. Apply whatever sauce you want at the
Watch the fire and the hog carefully. Invite a lot of good friends
over and you'll have yourself a good old pig pickin'.
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