Whole Cow

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moo pig

Original poster
Mar 29, 2014
So my family has a very small (hobby) cattle ranch. One of the steers born a couple of years age seems to have stunted in growth (he is smaller than the year old cows in the herd). It has been decided that he will not be worth anything to sell, so of course the only other option is to have a big BBQ.

Rather than pay to have it butchered, we decided to keep it simple and cook it whole.

We already have advice on how to slaughter/ dress it, and a place to let it age. Once slaughtered and aged, I would expect the weight of to be around 320 lb.

We have acquired an old custom built propane hog cooker which we will be converting into a reverse flow offset wood smoker. This cooker should (fingers crossed) hold this whole cow.

If anybody has any advice on how to go about smoking a whole, albeit small, cow, please let me know.


Moo Pig
I do know some people who did a whole cow (full size, 600ish lbs.) on a homemade propane fired rotisserie about 30 years ago. They tell me that after several hours when the meat started to get tender, it started to fall off of the rotisserie and into the fire, so they had to wrap it with all of the chains they could find. I was told that it tasted delicious, but after all of the problems they encountered, that they would never try it again.
I think if I had to cook it whole I would be tempted to dig a hole & cook it in the ground pig style 

It'll be interesting to see how you guys do it - make sure you take plenty of pics for us 
Well bad news on this project. The cow we had planned to be cooking ended up dying it the pasture on Friday, only a few weeks before the planned slaughter date.

Now the question is, what to cook for the BBQ we already have planned?

We were thinking possibly whole hog, or to keep it interesting, order a couple whole alligators and cook them the way BBQ Pit Boys do.

Any thoughts?
I've done whole hogs before, but never alligators!

I've always done rotisserie, but always have to balance over-cooking the middle where the meat is thin, and cooking the butt and shoulders, where it is very thick.

I have talked to folks who splayed the critter - put it between two "sheets" of gratings and bolted them together to avoid pieces falling off, then cook one side, then flip to another.  That way seems to be easier to get even cooking, but takes a pit big enough to hold the whole thing (which is very simple to build using stacked cinder blocks).  I've been thinking of doing that next time I do a whole pig.

I posted info on my rotisserie rig and cooking info a while back.  Here is the link:  http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/157552/simple-box-oven-for-cooking-whole-pigs-and-other-critters
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