I am in the conservation field and hogs are one thing I love to cook and have ready access to around central Texas, so every year I cook for a banquet for cub scouts and their families of roughly 150 people, this year I broke in my new SH44 by putting it to the test against 4 - 100lb (live weight) wild hogs, and I can only credit all the information I got from this site for how easy it went and the responses I got from the families.
One thing I wanted to hit on about hogs, being that I work with wild animals daily I have a bit of background on the topic of zoonotic diseases (those carried by animals which can infect humans and vice verse) I have noted many comments about freezing wild hogs and fish before cooking, and freezing will indeed kill off many parasites, it isn't proven to kill all organisms which can be transmitted or passed on to humans though. Cooking with heat to 160 degrees is the current USDA recommended practice for wild hog, it used to be 170 degrees and honestly I take no chances and go higher just a bit for my and those I serve safety, being pulled pork I take it to 205 by plan anyway. I'm very interested in cold smoking and doing some hams etc, and currently being new to cold smoking I have a lot more research on best practice for that path. I kill, butcher and cook hogs over a three day period, and as long as your cooking to safe temps, I know of no reason health and safety wise to be concerned about any disease issues that would require freezing first. Do I freeze the tenderloins and other meats that I keep for myself for later use..... you bet and do so sub zero Fahrenheit of about -3.
So on to the results of this weekend.
First quests arrived Wed morning and I began butchering Thursday at noon, day in the pen lets them relax and calm the adrenalin down a bit from being trapped.
I brine them in a sea salt, sugar and some of my rub mix over night, or up to a few days depending on butchering day.and
First load went on 7am Fri, loins, and all smaller cuts, for between 4-8 hours depending on thickness, pulled and panned in
an inch of apple cider in the over to keep, sprayed over the next day every few hours with more cider.
I make up my own rub using Fiesta brand pinto bean seasoning, sea salt and a bit of herb garlic mix.
Relax and wait a while
Ribs up next, another 5 hours at 225.
Last and largest load, 15 whole legs, the grates were showing signs of weight.
Put on at 10pm and took off at noon Sat, pulled it apart at 3pm and it was served up
to the masses with pleasure at 6pm. Always love the wild hog leery, who come back
over and over for refills of only the meat.
Thermal mass played hell with getting up to 225 again, burners on full still took hours.
Didn't think of taking more pictures, was a bit worn out by the end, the meat looks a bit dry after sitting ,
but we dump it all in a huge bowl and mix in all those juices from the bottom before serving and it was
dripping with juice
Thanks for everyone who posts on here, so many ideas and great information that I know
I have a long way ahead on all the new things to try and techniques to learn to get the most
from my smoker and the food it can deliver.