Going whole hog, what did I get myself into????

Discussion in 'Pork' started by jakethessnake, Feb 21, 2012.

  1. I've been talking back and fourth with a friend about doing a whole hog and one thing led to another and now I'm doing it this weekend. I've never done a whole hog, so I'm more than a little nervous. I haven't used my bigger smoker since I got my Masterbuilt gas last year as it's about 10 times more efficient and so much easier to use :lol:. My biggest concern is how long it will take, what can I do to keep everything from drying out, and what's the best temp to cook it at? I've been doing lots of research and I've gotten so many different answers, I don't even know where to begin. I've read cowgirls blog and few others, but most of them seem geared more towards roasting a hog instead of smoking it.

    The hog should be about 125lbs dressed from what I've read (180lbs live weight). At 225 degrees, I'm guessing it should take anywhere from 16-20 hours, but my smoker is kind of finicky and has a few hot spots. So more than likely, I'm going to have to flip and rotate it during the smoke. I'd like to get the shoulders to around 185, and the hams to 170ish. I've noticed some people wrap certain areas in foil to help slow down the cooking somewhat. I see most people wrap the ears, and I've seen some wrap the whole thing midway through like you would when foiling a pork shoulder.

     I also have the option of hooking a propane torch/burner up to it in case I need to speed things up, or if it would help crisp up the skin. So basically, my main questions are time, cook temp, what and where to take internal temp, and what to foil, or not to foil. Thanks in advance, and yes, there will be pics. Unless it's a colossal failure [​IMG]
  2. boykjo

    boykjo SAUSAGE MAKER Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    I smoke at 250 to 275....  should take 12hrs.....Pig will get plenty of smoke... The pig needs to get to a minimum of 190 to pull but 210 is ideal.  After pulling the meat I Raise temps up to 350 to crisp up the skin... Cowgirl is the whole hog guru... hopefully she'll chime in soon

  3. harleysmoker

    harleysmoker Smoking Fanatic

    I used to help my uncle years ago do whole hogs on a rotisserie we made out of and old fuel tank.

    We always made a pile of charcoal under the shoulders and a pile under the hams, none down the middle. We threw in some green hickory on top of the coals for smoke.

    Hawaiian Punch was used for basting every so often through out the cook.

    We got the hog on at 6 am and it was done around 6-7 pm that evening.

    I can't give you a cook temperature as we didn't have a gauge on the smoker, I know kind of scary but it always turned out well.
  4. raptor700

    raptor700 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I like the 250º - 275º range also.

    You want to check IT's in the shoulders(190º), hams(180º) and the loins(150º).

    You can lay the hog on a couple of cheap briskets to keep the loins from reaching temp too fast and being overdone .

  5. What do you mean by "pulling the meat, and then raising to 350"? Are you talking about raising the temp to 350 towards the end to crisp the skin?

    I'm definitely liking the idea of 250-275 much better. 20 hours is WAY too long for me. What do you guys do to the skin to keep it from getting burned, anything? Some of the ones I've seen were a nice deep red in color, others were more burnt looking.
  6. raptor700

    raptor700 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Here's a nice glaze recipe

                                            Glaze the last 2 hours with this

    2 cups cider vinegar                    finishing glaze

    1 cup ketchup                          

    ½ cup hot sauce                   <--2 cups glaze

    2 Tbls salt                                2 - 18 oz jars apple jelly

    2 Tbls black pepper                   2 cups light corn syrup

    ½ cup sugar
  7. Any other ideas for shielding the loins? I really dont want to spend $40+  and use a brisket for a shield. Also, what does everybody prefer and why as far as skin side up or down? The pig will be butterflied and I plan on flipping it and may have to rotate it halfway through since I have a hot spot on my smoker.
  8. boykjo

    boykjo SAUSAGE MAKER Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    See here in nc we call it a pig pickin.... when the pig is done everyone goes to the pig and picks there piece off of the pig a puts it on there plate. we mostly cook the pigs skin side down only.. after every one has picked you will pick the rest and place it in foil pans for the late commers and all you have left is the skin... crank up the heat to 350 and crisp up the skin for some delicious cracklin thats the way we do it here

  9. Hey Jake, some folks use alum foil to shield different parts of a hog when cooking a whole one.  As for skin up or down... around these parts where we do a lot of pig pickin's.... it's always skin down for the entire cook/smoke.... the skin helps hold a lot of the juices in the meat  if you go skin side up... all the drippings are going to end up in your pit and out of the meat... and I would think you're going to end up with some dry pieces of pork if you go skin up....that's just my VH $0.02...

  10. The only reason I wanted to do skin side up was to get a little juice to drip into the beans(probably for about 3 hours or so), and then finish skin side down. It might sweat enough juice that doing that wont be necessary. I do plan on doing a "pig pickin", so it will be finished skin side down either way. As for the foil thing, would I want certain areas (mainly the loins) to be foiled the whole time,or just for the last half of the cook? Also, for those of you cranking it up to 350 to crisp the skin up, how long do you usually do that for?
  11. ak1

    ak1 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Doing one on a spit tomorrow.
  12. thoseguys26

    thoseguys26 Master of the Pit

    Give me your address! I'm there!  I've only had whole smoked/roasted pig twice in my life and it both times it was one of the best things I've ever eaten, hands down!

    Good Luck on your feast!
  13. Slight change of plans [​IMG]. The guy butchering the hog had never done one with the skin on and wasn't comfortable doing it, so we made a few changes. I wasn't about to experiment with it at 8pm after a long day, so he won that battle. He ended up skinning it, and then cutting everything up into their respective groups. This made everything a lot easier to handle, and it allowed me to use my Masterbuilt Xl instead of my big stick burner. I'll just have to run two shifts to get it all done, but it is so much easier to tend to, I dont mind. The amount of wood it takes to get my stick burner up to temp in this weather is more than it will take to run my gasser for 16 hours. Only having to add wood every 3 hours instead of 45 mins is also a plus. We have two more hogs for this summer, so I will get a chance to do it the way I want it, so it's not so last minute next time.
  14. thoseguys26

    thoseguys26 Master of the Pit

    Did you keep the skin!? Tasty treat there!

  15. No I did not, the pig was VERY hairy, that was the main problem. I was kind of bummed about that.

  16. Hairy?  They didn't scald and scrape the pig?  Bummer... crispy pig skin is killer at a pig pickin'....

  17. No, they really didn't have any way to do it. It was just a guy that raised a couple of pigs for his friends, it was a pretty crude ordeal. I was there from picking out the pig all the way up to when he started quartering it before I had to leave. At least I learned a lot on how to butcher one, not that I ever really want to[​IMG]
  18. thoseguys26

    thoseguys26 Master of the Pit

    That's cool. I've processed more whitetail than I can remember but I've never processed a pig! I know a pig would be harder if you actually wanted all the different cuts made.

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