Cooking whole hog

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obxheel said:
a rented gas cooker, made for hogs...

Sorry, can't help ya there, never cooked on one. We always did ours with lump and wood. Now don't take this the wrong way, but doing a whole hog with gas is a waste of time to me. They did a pig at a bar near me a few years ago on one cuz they were too cheap to pay me to do one, I went down to have some and to see how it came out. It had NO flavor and tasted like a over cooked pork roast. But to each, there own. I talked to the "cook" and he told me they used about a pound of store bought rub and he made some kind of crazy mop he made up and moped every hour. No wonder it took for ever to get done. If your looking, its not cooking. Good luck on your quest.

Heel, sorry I didn't get back to you on the other board.
Most important is getting the pig split down the backbone, butterflied,
so you can lay him skin side down. Get 4 or 5 bricks and wrap them
in foil. Use these if necessary to create a bowl like effect, so your
mop and juices won't run out.

My old gasser had a drip pan that stopped the juices from hitting the burner.
if you don't have anything between the pig and the flame, you may want
to lay down some heavy duty aluminum foil before you put the pig on.

If you can get a good temp reading of the pit, try for around 225 for about 8 hours.
There is no set rule, and a lot depends on the size of the pig. I run a digital therm
into the hams and shoulders so I can see the temps without opening the pit and letting
the heat.

Low, slow, steady heat. Plenty of rub all over!!! At 190, start twisting bones. When
the ham bone twists easily, you're good to go.

Always better to get it done early and hold it at safe temps than having it not
done on time....everyone waiting will want to keep opening the lid and look at it,
making the cook time longer.

Maybe Jack and GQ will stop by, they've done whole hogs as well.
What Capt Morgan said, although I never cooked split with belly up, I would try it. Injecting never bought me much (tons of flavor with, or without), but all the good comp teams do it big time.
Try and put together a foil pack with wood chips to get smoke on it; it will make a big difference like Pigs said.
Get the shoulder and hams up to 200* and use Capts shaky bone test.
Sever the cheek meat to the guest of honor or the guy paying the freight.
If you find yourself in time trouble feel free to jack up that temp to between 300-350. I cook my hogs at 350 on my offset. If you get done too early thats no problem - they hold their temp for a while and you can always just turn the heat down to ~200 and hold till serving.

If you are having folks pull the pig themselves, and you cook like Cappy suggested with the pig forming a bowl, be VERY carful that the temps have come down. Having folks dig into a hot pig is a recipe for bad burns! And if those juices are still in the hog cavity then be extra careful. Imaging the feeling of 180-190 degree hog fat on someone's hand!

If you just don't get the pig to pulling temp (200 or so) then don't worry. You can always slice the hams and if you want you can get a cleaver and chop it up - no worries. Anything over 170 will work - but 200 is best.

Hope you have fun - no matter what don't panic!
Captain Morgan said:
I don't think he's cooked it yet...he usually plans these things
a couple of weeks in advance.

Well then, I'll throw in some .02.

Skin side up or down, flipping, and all that jazz is a matter of personal preference and whether you want to handel those tasks. The hog will cook just fine skin side down the whole time. Trim back as much of the skin as possible to reveal the muscles. This will provide you with more bark, and bark is the best part.

Present hog breeding has allowed hog cookers to raise temperatures without much risk. I still recomend below 300 but you can cook between 275 and 325 on the grate, without any problem. When the pork gets to the color you want, wrap the beast and let it ride until the hams hit 200. The "roast" will still stall at around 160 and maybe again at 175. When the hams hit 200 remove all the foil and turn the cooker down to around 190 and let the rest of the fat render for an hour or so.

You should have a nice pool of fat in the cavity. Use it as a baste. Add a nice Lexington style sauce to it if you please. Makes a nice flavor. When you are done with the render, spoon out the grease and remove all the bones, break the muscles apart on top of the skin. Roll some foil up to make a tube and place it under the skin to raise the edges to make a "skin bowl" Add a thin fairly acidic sauce and turn the cooker up a little bit. Add some wood chunks to make a nice smoke. About every 15 minutes or so add sauce and continue to chop or pull the meat in the carcass. Continue to cook in this fashion for about an hour mixing in the thin sauce and chopping or pulling until you get the consistency you desire.

There is a process for "popping" the skin, but if you have never cooked a hog before, I suggest you use the skin as a serving bowl and let it ride.

Good Luck

Season inject, season inject wrap cook belly-up til 180 in the hams. Oak & peach wood my favorite at this time.
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