Imitating the Whole Hog Experience

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mexican mike

Original poster
Jun 14, 2006
Detroit, MI
Hey everyone, just found this site, hope you can help. I'm an experienced amateur chef, but still a beginner smoker...

I was planning on doing a pig roast for an annual baseball game and party I have. But it'll be an extra $200 for the roaster rental (and the overpriced pig I'll have to buy), compared to just buying the pig from my best source. So I thought - maybe I can still buy the whole hog, but cut it into primals so it fits my equipment? I still want to create as much of the experience as I can for my guests, which for me means crispy crackling skin and a nicely browned pig head.

Here's my preliminary plan, please pick it apart and tell me what I should do instead. I'll separate the pig into head, 2 full shoulders, loin section, ribs, bacon, and 2 fresh hams. I thought I'd bone-out the double loin but leave the skin on tie it like a roast, brine or maybe brine-pump it, then put it on the rotisserrie attachment of my gas Weber. Slash the skin to help it crisp up? Then I have a nice propane smoker, the size of a small fridge. Everything else goes in there, except the bacon and maybe 1 ham(cure for later). I should have good spacing. I have a rough idea of timing and sequence for even cooking, and but no idea what to do with the head! When to put it in relative to the other items, how to prep it, etc.? Also not certain about the skin on the shoulders and hams: where to leave it off or on. And if I leave it on, how to get it crispy, or if I should just remove it after and save it for beans.

Any ideas out there? Thanks!
Mexican Mike,

If you have enough room to do this and an extra 100 bucks, you can build yourself a cajun microwave. We have been doing pig roasts in north louisiana for as long as I remember. This website ( gives a pretty good description of how the microwave is built and how it is operated.

BEWARE. It will draw in lots of people wanting to eat your meat and drink your libation. So prepare for plenty.

Mike, Back when I used to butcher and cut up hogs, the skin on the pork shoulder was cut off except for a 2-2 1/2 inche band of skin that was left across bottom of the shoulder and on the hock. On the ham, the shank portion and the hock just had the skin on.

HOpe this helps
cajunsmoker that looks to be one of the easiest ways of doing a pig.

Does it still have a nice smokey flavor? It would seem that the ole traditional way would have more smoke flavor to it.
Traditional smoking will give it more smoke flavor, but the microwave lets some smoke in when you open it to mop the meat and the corner drain hole lets some smoke get in.

We always build a fire in the ground and then set the box on top of it and then build another fire on top.

It always was quite tasty.
That "Microwave" looks really cool. I thought about digging a pit and doing it Mexican "Barbacoa" style - wrapped in soaked banana leaves (I'm really into Mexican food), or Hawaiian Luau style. But the wife said no to holes in the yard, since our house is for sale.

As I'm researching this, I'm confused on timing. I see the general 1.5 hours per pound rule for shoulders/butts, the 3-2-1 rule for ribs, and I see longer estimates if the smoker is really full. But then I see 6-9 hour time estimates for a whole hog?!? What am I missing? is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.