Advice for pig pickin'

Discussion in 'Pork' started by kaywhyelly, Jul 12, 2013.

  1. kaywhyelly

    kaywhyelly Newbie

    Hi all,

      Joined not too long ago, it's been fun reading/seeing all the great stuff on this site.  Now, I was hoping to get some advice regarding a whole hog pig pickin'.

      Next Saturday, a couple of friends and I will be having a pig pickin' and it will be the first that I've helped orchestrate and actually cook myself.  I've helped before in the past with smoking butts/whole pigs, but never done all the major planning/construction/cooking/etc.  

      So, here's the deal.  We ordered a 75-80 lb. pig that will be ready next Thursday.  We are constructing the pit ourselves modifying the pit schematics from the book "Holy Smoke."

    Here's the text from the book describing the pit build and the blueprints:

    We might make a few changes here and there depending on what we can find.  

    Items we'll be using (not including the actual Pit build):

    2 chimney-type charcoal starters

    60 lbs of charcoal

    Soaked hardwood chunks (still working out how much we'll need)

    Oven thermometer

    Meat thermometer

    Shovel for adding/moving charcoal

    Heavy duty aluminum foil

    The sauce is gonna be pretty simple, a recipe one of my friends lent to me (just your typical, simple Eastern NC BBQ sauce - cider vinegar, crushed red pepper, salt, etc.) 

    We're planning on 12 hours for total time start to finish.  Any advice for a first timer?  Any help would be greatly appreciated, thanks!
  2. Every pig pickin I ever went to the meat was done when it was done.  We simply waited, and drank, and mopped, and drank, and tested, and drank, and mopped, and drank...etc all night long.  In other words, don't over plan it, let the good times roll and eat when the pig is done = ~ 200* in the ham/shoulder.  I'll bet 12 hours is a good planning number but I would not be surprised if it was done later.  HAVE FUN!
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2013
  3. pgsmoker64

    pgsmoker64 Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Sounds like you've done whole hog before.  

    My only suggestion is to make sure the meat is at a safe temperature before allowing any "picking"!

    165-170 IT for the most part.  You won't have a lot of temp control over a bed of hot coals, but turning the pig helps keep the cooking even.  Butterfly it and put it between some chicken wire to make flipping easier.

    Good luck and have fun!  Enjoy!

  4. boykjo

    boykjo Sausage maker Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Pull or pick when the shoulder reaches 200 to 210. 190 will be a hard pull
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2013
  5. I wouldn't soak the wood chunks either. It will make steam before smoke. Dry they only make smoke.
  6. kaywhyelly

    kaywhyelly Newbie

    Yeah, we're budgeting for 12 hours, but it'll probably end up 14 and we're planning for that accordingly.  Thanks for the advice!
  7. kaywhyelly

    kaywhyelly Newbie

    I've helped out on cooking whole hog before (mopping, turning, picking), but never done the construction or logistics before, so this is new territory for me.  I'll keep in mind to turn the pig to keep it even.  We're having the butcher butterfly it for us and we're picking up chicken wire on Wednesday (got the idea from seeing a Q-view on here a couple weeks back).  Thank you for the advice, Bill!
  8. kaywhyelly

    kaywhyelly Newbie

    Duly noted, thank you!

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