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Old 08-16-2007, 03:25 PM   #1
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Question I'm going to cook my first whole pig! Help?

I'm sorry I haven't ben around very much lately. I have been rediculously swamped with work, work, family, work, housework, work, family, work, etc...

Anyways, it's my turn to cook for our 7th anual block party. I was deemed head chef in charge of cooking a whole pig The pig will be about 60 to 75 pounds. I'd like to stuff it with fragrant fruits like apples, oranges, limes, etc. as well as plenty of herbs & spices (GARLIC). I will be using a rotissirie over charcoal. Of course the skin needs to be super delicious and crisp and the inside needs to be nothing short of perfect.

Any ideas on prep, cooking time & temp, favorite recipes, or any other hints & ideas to help me along. Oh, the party is next Saturday so time is definitely NOT on my side right now LOL.

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Old 08-16-2007, 03:42 PM   #2
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Old 08-16-2007, 04:04 PM   #3
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On a spit, eh? My parents had my mom's company party at our house once, when I was about 12, and they cooked a whole pig, which I actually witnessed ... never mind, but we lived in the country at the time, and the pig came from our neighbor two doors over.

Anyway, as I recall, they dug a hole in the backyard and started a charcoal fire in the hole. They put the whole pig in there, covered it up, and cooked it for a day or two. The day of the party, or maybe the day before, they took it out and put it on the rotisserie to crisp the skin. I'll give my dad a call and find out what they actually did - I'm sure my memory is not great, since I wasn't into cooking at the time
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Old 08-16-2007, 04:10 PM   #4
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I've never made a whole pig, but if I were going to do that, I would be googling all over for a recipe for "Lechon," which is the roast pig, Filipino style. It is SO delicious. I know that's how I'd like to do it....
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Old 08-16-2007, 04:18 PM   #5
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I cooked a whole one once with my brother at his place last year for the fourth. We built a cinder block pit and a pig holder. We butterflied the pig and cooked it that way. We got the idea from this site. It worked well and is fairly easy to do.

I take it you’re using a large rotisserie over a fire pit? This site gives some good pointers. One of the most important tips being that you have to truss the whole pig well. As it cooks and gets tender, it will pull away from the bone and can fall off the spit. The site talks about how you’ll need to secure the backbone to the spit, tie the legs and head to the spit and sew up the body cavity. Good info.
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Old 08-16-2007, 07:04 PM   #6
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Yea, we're cooking it over charcoal with a rotisserie. We already have the rotisserie lined up so changing plans isn't really possible unless we spend the money to rent a flat grill.
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Old 08-16-2007, 07:56 PM   #7
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It must be emphasized. Secure it well to a heavy duty rotisserie!Have Fun & Good Luck!
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Old 08-16-2007, 10:27 PM   #8
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I have seen a whole pig roasted on a spit and the wrapped it in chicken wire and tied it with wire (baling wire) so nothing fell out and the skin was crisp
LOof luck A meat thermometer is vary handi to have 160*F is about right in the thickest part of the hog.
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Old 08-17-2007, 07:58 AM   #9
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Yea, I heard the chicken wire pulls the skin off. The skin is either the best part or the second best part of the pig. I don't want to damage that. Plus, it kinda makes for a poor looking presentation whileit's rotating on the spit. I know it will be covered and all but when you have to open the cover to baste I want to see this beautiful golden tan carcass glistening with skin so perfect.
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Old 08-17-2007, 08:24 AM   #10
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I've never seen one done with chicken wire. and if you have the deepest part done to 160, the entire remainder of the pig will be stringy and dried out! I'd use a digital thermometer and set it for 150. The pig will continue to cook for quite some time after it's removed from the spit, and will easily reach 160 inside.

Check the Pork Council's web site if you have questions.
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Old 08-17-2007, 08:55 AM   #11
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Miss June, not to disagree in the least. However if you get the temp. to 160 in the deepest part of the ham, then the rest of the hog would be (hopefully) in the 185* to 200* (pullable) range. With the skin & fat in place hopefully again it would not be dried out. Just my experience. Anyway...


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Old 08-17-2007, 08:59 AM   #12
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another one to warn about securing the beast.
we always used a roll of steel wire, like the kind used to hang pictures, to secure our pig to the spit rod. we'd tie it in several places along it's length, like you would do a roast in the oven. the head, the shoulders, the mid section, then the butt/legs all had a wire wrap or 2. have the wire ready in case something starts to flop as it is getting cooked, before it falls into the fire.

it won't be practical, to stuff a pig that large. it's not like a little suckling pig. 60-70 lbs. is a good size, but the body cavity with be somewhat open, with not enough skin to hold in your stuffing.

something you may want to look into is a good mop sauce, like honey dijon. make buckets of it, and just keep slathering the thing, inside and out as it cooks. you'll have battles to the death for the skin when it's done.
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Old 08-17-2007, 09:07 AM   #13
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Are you using lump charchoal or briquettes?
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Old 08-18-2007, 10:04 AM   #14
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We'll be using lump Apple and Cherry as well as supplementing it with standard charcoal.

As far as stuffing the pig I was told it would be a great idea. Since we'll be tying the pig to the spit and will be using a needle & twine or steel wire to fasten the legs, spine, head, etc to the spit we should also use it to sew the cavity closed as well. The cavity should be sewn shut anyways as to help cook more evenly from the outside in.

I was also thinking about an injection of some sort. I've been very successful with injecting chickens. At the very least I'd cut some slits in the skin & fill with garlic and / or herb butter.

In any case I have been told repeatedly to BASTE, BASTE, BASTE! I'll have to come up with a good mop sause as suggested by Bucky. Honey Dijon Mustard sounds fantastic!!!
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Old 08-18-2007, 10:05 AM   #15
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Again, my biggest concern at this point is time & temp.
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Old 08-18-2007, 10:22 AM   #16
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Plan on devoting a full day....and some backup relief!


Have fun!!!
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Old 08-18-2007, 11:49 AM   #17
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I wouldn’t cut slits in the skin! As it cooks it tightens, and I’ve seen many skins rip apart and develop larges holes because of a small tear. To make sure the skin stays all in one piece, I’d avoid cutting slits in it. Use an injector if you want, but I’d suggest injecting it from the inside cavity to avoid piercing the skin.

Since you are concerned with presentation, and the skin seems important to you, then you’ll want to be really careful to leave it in tact so that it doesn’t split and destroy your presentation.

Here are some examples from the web.

Mangled skin.

Slits in the skin pulling open.

Decent skin, but some splits.

Perfect skin.

And another perfect skin.
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Old 08-18-2007, 11:51 AM   #18
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With large pieces of meat, I've had better results using lump charchoal or logs. For one, there's no need to start the lump in a chimney, just dump it on. I can get a hotter, more controllable temperature using lump. Also, there is very little ash, whereas using briquettes you'll need to remove some of the ash to keep from smouldering. Use a small sturdy metal trash can placed on dirt away from any flammables. It will take a day or so for that ash to cool.
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Old 08-18-2007, 12:02 PM   #19
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Pig Roast in my neck of the woods..... as featured on Food Network, too:

http://http://cuban-christmas.com/pigroast.html
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Old 08-18-2007, 01:26 PM   #20
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For great crisp skin I like to baste with a big chunk of bacon dipped in beer.
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