Pricing the cost of roasting a hog

Discussion in 'Wood Smokers' started by gobluelou74, May 27, 2014.

  1. gobluelou74

    gobluelou74 Newbie

    Hey Everyone, I was wondering, how much should I charge someone to smoke a whole hog? See, an old friend of mine called me last night wondering if I could do that for her and how much I would charge her. She's buying the hog, I have to prep it and then smoke it. The hog I believe is going to be between 100 and 150 pounds. And I have never smoked a hog before. So what do I charge her???
  2. How much is your time worth to you? Is she also supplying the fuel? How good of a friend? Why type of smoker are you using (can effect the amount of time and fuel needed)

    From my experience, a 100 pound hog is going to take a minimum of 12 hours, not including prep time. Fuel cost will on my reverse flow was about 40 pounds of charcoal and 15-25 splits of wood, depending on the ambient temp. It starts adding up quickly.

    Now with that being said, I have done them for friends, good friends, damn near feel like family friends, for just the cost of the hog and fuel. And they were required to sit out with me and feed the fire. Turned out to be a good time had by all.

    So I said all that to say, assuming she is the type of friend in the previous paragraph, $500 for the 100 pounder. The bigger the more expensive. (and that's cheap)
  3. gobluelou74

    gobluelou74 Newbie

    HI. I'll be using a reverse flow smoker and she's a lady I've known for 20 years, through business associates. I don't know the size of the hog although it's going to be for a party of 150 to 200 people. And I've never smoked a hog before since I just bought a smoker that was large enough to do it.
  4. There are a lot of variables in that equations that make me nervous. The last thing I would want to do is a reception for 150 people on a new smoker cooking a meat I have never cooked.

    Will there be other meats? Is this a pig picking?

    If you are charging, people are going to have expectations. If this is your first rodeo, I would pick a smaller bull. :)
  5. gobluelou74

    gobluelou74 Newbie

    I know exactly how I'm going to smoke it. I know that I'm going to butterfly it, then separate the spareribs from the baby backs, then stuffing with pork sausage to keep the loins moist. I'm also going to inject the hams, shoulders, and belly with my rub marinade. Then I'm going to dust the meat with my rub, after I've trimmed all the unnecessary fat from it. And I'm going to coat the skin with vegetable oil. After a few hours of smoking at 250 degrees, I'm going to wrap it in foil and let it cook for another 4 hours and I'm going to inject it with an apple juice marinade. I'll be looking for Temps for my shoulders and hams to be around 195 and loins to be around 140. I'm figuring around 12 to 16 hours of smoke...what do you think?
  6. geerock

    geerock Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Sounds like you got the plan down, but smoking whole hog on a new cooker is no walk in the park. If you keep that temp right your plan is good. I wish you the best of luck....... and courage for jumping in with both feet in front of 200 folks.
  7. What he said.

    There is a saying in my world, "No plan survives first contact." Good luck and let us know how it goes.
  8. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    I give you credit for considering such a big challenge but here is a few things to consider...

    Unless you have some cool tricks up your sleave, you will not be able to have or keep the Loins at 145° while the Hams and Shoulders get to 195°, you need more like 200 to 205° for pulling and the least amount of waste. A Reverse Flow smoker is really good at maintaining even heat across the whole unit. So even with the Sausage Stuffing, great idea for moisture retention by the way, the whole hog will see the same temps end to end. To even try to get different temps in the loin and the rest of the hog, you need a set up where you can have a hotter bed of coals under the shoulders and hams while having no or very little heat under the loins. Additionally cooking to an IT of 195°, I assume you are thinking about Slicing as at this IT it won't pull. Trying to slice will only give about a 30% yield. That is with a very sharp knife, excellent knife skills and LOTS of time. If the hog is the only meat, you will need about 250- 5 ounce portions for sandwiches, some will want 2. For Plated Sliced Pork you will need about 225-8 ounce portions. Here is the Math...

    Sliced and Plated Pork...225 Portions  X  8 ounces ea.  =  1800 ounces  /  16 ounces per Lb  =  112.5 Pounds Cooked and Sliced Pork.   112.5 Pounds  /   .3 yield   =   375 pounds of Raw Hog to feed 200 people! 

    Let's try Sandwiches... 250 portions  X  5 oz ea.  =  1250 oz.  /  16 oz per Lb  =  78 Pounds  Cooked and sliced Pork.  78Lb  /  .3 yield  =  260 pounds of Raw Hog to feed 200 people.

    Lets go with Pulled Pork, with a 50% Yield...

    PP Plated...225 portions  X  8 oz ea  =  1800 oz  /  16   =   112.5 pounds cooked PP   112.5 Lbs   /   .5 yield  =   225 Pounds of Raw Hog to feed 200 People.

    PP Sandwiches...250 portions  X  5 oz ea  =  1250 oz  /  16   =   78 pounds cooked PP   78 Lbs   /   .5 yield  =   156 Pounds of Raw Hog to feed 200 People.

    To sum it up. The Hogs need to be Headless as they are only of value for Pulled Pork...

    Sliced and Plated you need to cook ...375 Pounds of Hog.

    Sliced Sandwices you need to cook... 260 Pounds  of Hog.

    Pulled Pork, Plated you will need to cook....225 Pounds of Hog.

    Pulled Pork Sandwiches you will need to cook...156 Pounds of Hog.

    Is your Smoker going to handle this much meat?

    Do you have the skill set to Smoke this much meat and keep the IT' s where you want 145° and 195°?

    Can you Slice all that meat and have the equipment to Hold the meat Hot while you slice?

    What are going to do with the 2/3 weight of Waste, that's good meat left on the bone as every part can't be sliced, bones, fat and skin?

    Do you have or can Rent the number of Chafing Dishes to keep all this meat  Hot while people are being served?

    Pay wise, if your friend had this catered by a Pro, she would pay $25 and hour (4 hour Min) for each worker plus cost of Food and Equipment. If you want to do her a favor, charge $10 to $15 an hour. You are attempting a lot of work here...JJ
    Last edited: May 27, 2014
  9. geerock

    geerock Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Doing whole hog right is like the holy grail of bbq....even for professional or competitions smokers. There are champions that won't get out of their comfort zone to conpete in whole hog. I had been smoking for over 10 years before I attempted my first (with good instruction I might add) and it was five pigs later before I had a very good pig with correct meat temps for all parts. Every now and then when the stars are aligned I'll put out a great pig, but there are a lot if variables and usually the hog is just what I consider pretty good eating. BTW.... I use ground sausage in the rib cutout to protect the loin. Sometimes you have to lay slabs of butt under one end or the other to protect from heat. Or lay foil underneath at certain times at certain places...etc. etc.
    I never do whole hog unless someone requests it. If they have a large crowd and want bbq then I'll always suggest useable meat with much less waste. But sometimes they just want the whole hog show so ten years later I still do 'em. You know, 10 butts, 10 chics, briskets, ribs, etc. to feed larger crowds are my preference. But whole piggy can be a bigger pain and certainly a bigger waste of dollars per pound than its worth. Again, I admire you for wanting to try but new cooker and first time at a very difficult task. You got some coconuts there, pal. I would definitely have an escape plan for yourself if 200 hungry people don't get fed. Because, like chef jj says, even if you get this perfect you are going to need a lot more meat. And, like I said before, you've done your homework on procedure but, damn! Keep us posted on this one, grasshopper.

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