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First Whole Hog EVER!

Discussion in 'Roll Call' started by bigpig88, Oct 11, 2010.

  1.  I'm doing our first hog this saturday and using the link below as a guide.  That said it mentions to put coals around the carcas as well as in the bottom.  Obviously the bottom I get but is the placement of the briqetts near the carcas necessary and do they mean up top?  Secondly Do you guys reccomend putting the rub on the night before or the morning of?  And lastly what is the best way to store the pig overnight?  We don't have a fridge and are going to use ice to keep it cool  can we damage the meat in any way if it freezes?  Any suggestions on these would be great I just don't want to f this up.  It's not cheap but no other way to test my BBQ skills that this...LOL.  Thanks! 


  2. Our Pit[​IMG]
  3. meateater

    meateater Legendary Pitmaster SMF Premier Member

  4. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    Bye the looks of that smoker I think that he has aready seen Cowgirls Blog. But if not that a really good idea. I have never done a whole hog except at Jerry's gathering and it was a small pig maybe 40lbs.
  5. Dutch

    Dutch Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead OTBS Member OTBS Admin SMF Premier Member

    How big of a hog are you doing? Judging from the pit size I'm guessing 70-80 pounds?  I seen small whole hogs packed in ice in a 100 quart cooler for the trip home from the butchers and for overnight storage.  Years ago my neighbor out of desperation placed his small whole hog in the bathtub packed in ice and just about got shot by his missus. He wanted to borrow my 100 quart chest but my boys wouldn't let him use it and for whatever reason, they didn't want/think to call me on my cell.
  6. Pack it in a kiddie pool if you've got one, if not I lined a big cardboard box w/ some rigid foam insulation, a bit of plywood and 7mill plastic and it worked great. What ever you use I recommend that you wrap it plastic or some some blankets (that you never intend to use again)  for insulation, what is the avg temp there at night?  Also. if your going to keep it on ice overnight  it will be tough to do the rub the night before since the ice will melt and wash it off.

    Banking the coals around the pig is to prevent flare ups and a possible grease fire I would assume. I am sure you will get enough info from the folks on here to avoid any major issues.

    Good luck
  7. You got it 75lbs.  We built this using plans on another site...Should I season the night before or the morning of?
  8. Temp at night is going to be in the low 60's.  I'm thinking about going with a cooler to store.  I just dont want the pig to freeze over night and have to thaw in the early morning.  Thoughts?
  9. Yeah read that pretty good im specifically wondering if I need to put coals around the carcas and how.   I have a stretcher thats gonna go over the top of the grate to hold the pig but I dont want ash to get on the meat.  
  10. If this is the basic design that you are using I would just follow the picture on the upper left (top view) and put coals in the four corners of the pit. Also depending on what you use for a lid I would fashion some sort of hole for a thermometer to keep an eye on cooking temp. As long as it stays around 225-250, you’re doing well. This way all the grease drips harmlessly to the ground. If you were to have a grease fire in a set up like this it would be dangerous to say the least. Last summer a friend of mine set his pig on fire in the cooker we use (modified 275 gal heating oil drum, see my pictures) there were flames 7-8 feet out of the drum. Not to worry though it still came out great!

  11. Dutch

    Dutch Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead OTBS Member OTBS Admin SMF Premier Member

    tshine has charcoal in each corner. Jeanie (Cowgirl) has two charcoal fires in her pit-one under the shoulders and the other under the hams.

     Jeanie also adds 10-15 unlit briquettes to each end every 1 1/2 - 2 hours.  Halfway thru the cooking time, she flips the hog over and cooks to in internal temp of 180°.

    You can apply the rub before or you can do what some of us do on our pork smokes~rub the night before-wrap in plastic place in the fridge and the next morning, remove from the fridge, remove the plastic and add anouther dusting of rub.
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2010
  12. cowgirl

    cowgirl Legendary Pitmaster OTBS Member

    Thanks Dutch. [​IMG]

    I place the heat at both ends.. you just don't want it under the pig.. the rib section cooks fast without the addition of hot coals underneath. In fact you might have to cover them with foil half way through to keep them from overcooking. You can also cover the mid section with bacon to keep the meat from drying out.

    The juice from the pig dripping can cause a fire so keep drip pans or channel juice away from your heat source by using foil.

    You can season and inject the night before.. If packed in ice the dry rub will need to be re applied (due to the ice melting)

    I like to inject the hams and shoulders and also use a dry rub. I rub the pig with oil, then sprinkle with the dry rub... I also use a mop about every hour. I like to use cider vinegar, onion, jalapenos, garlic and red pepper flakes... The pig needs to sit for at least 30 minutes after cooking.. just like resting a hunk of pork. The juices redistribute.

    I use a large plastic sheep watering trough to marinade and ice mine overnight.  A bathtub will work fine. lol  Place ice on the bottom...set the pig on the ice then cover the whole pig with bags of ice.

    IT takes a lot of ice. lol

    If the pig is under 100lbs I line a barrel with plastic, put the pig in butt first, then fill the barrel with ice water... It works great right after the pig is butchered... it chills the meat fast.[​IMG]

    The main thing to do is plan on extra time.. don't get in a hurry, it's easy to add too many hot coals at one time (thinking it's not cooking fast enough), You just want to keep the temperature steady and slow.
  13. Thanks Cowgirl...I guess I'm in the presence of greatness.  I just dont want to ruin the pig.  We're doing a 75lb pig.  How often do you baste it during cooking?  The plans Tshine posted above are what we used.  Thinking of going 9 hours at 250-275 then putting foil over the loins.  and ribs so they dont cook too fast. 

    The plans we have dont call for rotating the pig.  Says to salt the back side skin with rub and salt...should I use foil?  How often do you add cols and what is your reccomendation for controlling the heat.  I'm thinking if it needs heat we open the dampers on the bottom to give oxygen to the coals....if it gets too hot we leave it closed. 

    Thanks I appreciate your advice. 
  14. cowgirl

    cowgirl Legendary Pitmaster OTBS Member

    Ha... definately not in the presence of greatness... I raise pigs and have cooked a plethora of piggies in various ways. [​IMG]

    You are correct on the time and temp AND foiling the loins and rib section. You can even place bacon on the back loin to keep it from cooking too fast.

    I take it the pig will be butterflied to lay flat?

    I like to start the pig belly side up then turn it over half way through..

    You can salt and rub the pig, I prefer to inject and then brush the pig with oil and season with dry rub.

    Inject the hams and shoulders with an apple juice/soy/brown sugar mixture.

    You don't need to foil the meat unless it's cooking too fast..

    On my block pit I add 10 to 15 coals each hour or hour and 1/2. Outside air temperature will determine how hot your smoker is going to run too... I've cooked when the snow was flying and it took a LOT longer than I wished. lol

    Most block pits aren't air tight so there is no need to add air intake at the bottom. If yours is cooking too low, or coals are going out... do open it up a bit.

    The biggest problem I've heard from people is they get in a hurry and think it's not going to cook fast enough.. they add too many hot coals.  It's best to keep a steady lower temperature.

    Think of the pig as 4 nice sized hunks of pork shoulder (and ham)..... season them like you always do. Use your favorite rubs and injections... Concentrate on bringing the hams and shoulders up to temperature and cover the mid section to keep it from overcooking.

    They are easy.. the more of them you do the easier they are.  I think just the "not knowing" what to expect makes people shy away from trying it.

    They do benefit from resting before cutting into... just like any smoked meat.

    Oh yeah.... don't let people peek..  the more they peek at the pig cooking, the longer it's gonna take. [​IMG]

    If you mop every hour, they can peek then.

    I do like to mop with a mixture of cider vinegar, water, jalapenos, onions, garlic, salt , pepper and red pepper flakes...   Just use your favorite mop.

    Good luck with it and let me know if I didn't answer what you wanted to know... feel free to shoot me a message too!
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2011
  15. We did it...pig came out FANTASTIC.  Used your injection recipe and used Amazingribs.com "hog dust" to rub.  It really was awesome thanks for the advice it really helped. I'll send a pic when I get one uploaded.
  16. cowgirl

    cowgirl Legendary Pitmaster OTBS Member

     Glad to hear it came out well!! Thanks for letting me know. :)   The next one will be a breeze... [​IMG][​IMG]