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fresh whole hog NC style (sorta) in the great white north


Smoking Fanatic
Joined Dec 14, 2007
Well, I can finally say I have done a solo whole hog cook. I just had to leave the great capital of whole hog cooking (
) to do it.

I've participated in quite a few all night pig cooks, but always considered myself the assistant, not the head cook for the night. That's the way it goes when you grow up with veteran pig cookers.

On to the story........

My wife's cousin got married over the weekend in the big city of Dilworth, Minnesota. Course, we went to the wedding. We get there and her uncle tells us his son asked him to cook a pig (the uncle moved from NC as a kid), and he agreed. Turns out, he had assited on them before as well, but never done solo, plus getting everything else for the wedding was killing him and he had to be doing other things.

My wife promply volunteers me to help out. So, off we go to get the grill.

The grill is a long piece of sewer pipe, with ends put on it, two doors, and one grate. Coal went straight on the bottom, and was shoveled around through the ends. Not ideal, but I think I can make do. Pig's legs have to be cut off, can't be butterflied due to grill size, etc. No problem......

Off to get the pig. I expect to pull into a slaughterhouse/store/butche, somewhere normal. Nope, we pull into a hogfarm. I grew up on a hog farm, so I'm ok with that, but I really didn't go to ND to kill a pig. We get out, and start talking, turns out the pig is freshly killed, blood is mostly drained, and about 40 lbs bigger than expected. It was a 180 whopping lbs after gutting.

He asks us, skin on or off? I've never cooked a pig with no skin, so skin on. We proceed to stuff the still warm pig in a plastic trash bag, put it in a giant trash can, and pack it with ice. Course the pig is too big to fit in the can, and the ham is sticking out. It's only a 40 minute drive so we figure it will be fine, but just to be safe, I pack the gutted "bunghole" with ice and my wife nearly falls over laughing.

It wasn't until about 3 hrs later that it dawned on me, crap, that thing still has hair. So, once the kids go to sleep (it was a party, so 10:00PM) and we won't traumatize them, we start prepping the hog. We used a sawzall to cut it down the backbone in half, and cut off the legs. That was easy enough. Then we get the torches and start blistering the skin and scraping. Stinks to high (hog) heaven. Finally finish about midnight, wash things off, clean up, get relaxed.

Beer comes out, and we put em down until it's gone, so about 1:30 or so we get ready for bed. Then they ask, what time we need to start cooking this thing tomorrow. I figured 4:30 should do the trick to have it done by around 6ish. Of course, the grill is a 30 minute drive away. Crap,crap,crap. We get up and get started at 3:30, after about 1 hour of sleep.

Once we got started, things went smooth as can be. Course, I had no idea what the grill temp was, because my stuff was 1000 miles away, and the grill had no thermometer. But, all in all, it came out perfect. About noon, I turned it over, pulled off the ribs, and had lunch. Showed the kids around about fresh pork ribs, then off to cooking some more. About 3:00 the half closer to the front of the grill is done, the back half is not quite there, imperfect equipment here, and it was a direct heat box, not offset. So, I take off half, and keep cooking. By 5:00 the rest is done, we start pulling and chopping. Sauce was a similar variant of SoFlaQ's sauce, just not quite the same. The majority pulled perfect as can be, but the ham, as usual for me had to be chopped. Has anybody ever gotten a ham to pull?

I figure the grill temp was somewhere around 300 to 325 based on the time it took to cook, which as far as I'm concerned is perfect for whole hog. I may be in the minority on this one, but I just don't see the benefit of cooking a whole pig that low and slow. Either way, about 12 hrs for the whole cook.

Fed about 150 people is what I was told showed up, with plenty of leftover pork. Sides were baked beans and corn on the cob. Everybody said it was great stuff, and I had a good time.

Hopefully my wife got some pics of the grill/food for qview, but I'm not sure. Maybe it'll be in the background of some pics at least and I can blurr strangers faces and post them up here so you see what we had.

I'll tell you one thing though, it sure was nice to get home to some trees again.


Smoking Fanatic
Joined Apr 5, 2007
Sounds like a fun time. Minus not having the perks of having your own equipment with you. Hope the q-view works so we can see some of the finished. Good story all in all though. Thanks.


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Joined Mar 22, 2008
Sounds like you did a great job I hope she got some qview for you


Smoking Fanatic
SMF Premier Member
Joined Jun 11, 2008
Brother my hats is of to you ! great job using equipment that your not use to and on a project that size. Hope you have some pics you can post for a q-view .


Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
Joined Jul 17, 2005
You have done us all proud, brother!

Excellent job of stepping in with the attitude of Git'R Done (right)!

And your narrative was very funny!



Legendary Pitmaster
OTBS Member
Joined Oct 2, 2007
Sounds like a great success!! I find that the closer you get to the cooker, the larger the hog gets.

Can't wait to see your pic!

capt dan

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
Joined Nov 2, 2007
Good job and great story. Gotta give ya points for bunghole stuffing with ice!
LOL hehehe, wish I coulda seen that and your wifes expression!


Smoking Fanatic
Thread starter
Joined Dec 14, 2007
The Pics:

This is the best you get of the cooker, a side view. Folks eating are scavenging leftover ribs at this point. That's me on the far right beside the cooker. Sorry for blurred faces, but you know how it goes.

TBS, and alot of it lol. Not sure when this was taken anymore, but the best we have.

Enjoying the ribs:

And finally pulling it apart with help:

Again, sorry, this is the best pics I have, but it works I suppose.


Smoking Fanatic
Thread starter
Joined Dec 14, 2007
Heh, you shoulda seen the looks we got driving down the road with a pigs but sticking out of a trashcan.

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