Smoked Suckling Pig...Great Meat, Rubbery Skin

Discussion in 'Pork' started by joeeeeeeee, Jul 28, 2008.

  1. Hey folks,

    We just smoked our first suckling pig (30 pounds) on my homemade backyard BBQ Pit.



    While the meat came out incredibly delicious, unfortunately the skin was just way to rubbery for human consumption.

    We oiled the pig down prior to cooking, but after 6+ hours at around 225' that skin was not the awesome cracklings i've had at other Pig Roasts.

    I've found the same deal with chicken and turkey skin when prepared via the low and slow method.

    Does anyone have any suggestions for anti-rubberized skin when cooking at the low temps required for perfect meat tenderness?
  2. richtee

    richtee Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I'd say you gotta up the cooking temp. perhaps during the last half of the process, to avoid overcooking the meat.
  3. thanks rich. we thought about doing that but were too worried about over cooking the meat.

    will definitely try it out next time.
  4. richtee

    richtee Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    To be honest... I'd wait for other advice yet... Cowgirl and a few others have actually DONE a whole pig many times...LOL! That was just my gut feeling.
  5. carnuba

    carnuba Smoke Blower

    excuse my noobness but, wouldn't that dry the skin more?
  6. richtee

    richtee Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I'm pretty sure that's the point.
  7. lcruzen

    lcruzen Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    This is probably not what you want to here but when I do a pig I have the skin removed. Don't have to shave it and grease fire risk is greatly reduced. They come out great that way and actually cook a little faster.
  8. carnuba

    carnuba Smoke Blower

    ohhhh, that must have been some of that sarcasm
    i've been hearing so much about
  9. cowgirl

    cowgirl Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Good looking pig! I'd up the heat a bit too.
    When I do one on my cinderblock pit, the hot coals are at each end of the pit, so it's pretty easy to up the heat without grease dripping directly onto the coals. Also, I like to build a foil dam around the hot coals as a back up plan. lol

    Sure does look tasty!
  10. richtee

    richtee Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    No...just that they WANTED a crisper skin. If I'd have been sarcastic, there would have been no doubt about it ;{)
  11. thanks cowgirl. i have the same thing going in my cinderblock pit - coals in two of the corners, and then we had the pig across the pit, into the opposite corners. it worked out really well.

    a few other observations on the first suckling pig roast:

    * i had read many times on the web that suckling pigs yield too little meat. however, this 30 lounder, which was quite lean, still yielded a pretty significant quantity. it was perfect for the party of 100+ people, since there was a lot of other food available. however, it would not have been enough if it was the primary source. most everyone who wanted a sandwich or such, however, was able to get one.

    * we cooked the pig to an internal temp of around 175 - 180 (two probes, one at the shoulder and one at the hams). it was absolutely perfect everywhere. the only meat with even a hint of dryness was the furthest exterior of the shoulders.

    * about 4 hours into the cooking, we flipped the pig onto her (we think it was a she) back, to try and crisp the skin, to no avail. but i think that also helped to keep shoulders and hams a bit more moist.

    * we were not sure how long to expect to have to cook the 30 pounder, but 6 hours was our estimate and it turned out to be spot on. obviously if we had jacked up the heat for skin purposes, things would have gone quicker.

    * as with most of the fires i've done in the cinderblock pit, i started it with royal oak natural charcoal, and then threw on a couple of nicely seasoned pieces of hardwood oak. the pig had a beautiful smoky flavor and perfect smoke ring on the shoulders and hams.

    * i had heard many people recommend brining the pig before cooking. we did not brine her either. just a simple olive oil slathering and a fairly standard pork rub (paprika, salt, pepper, cayenne, etc...)

    * aside from people just coming right up to the board and eating meat off the bones, the favorite way to eat was some nice pulled/chopped pork on white bread with some delicious homemade bbq sauce.
  12. here are the only two decent pictures i have of the actual meat...



    oh yeah, one other tidbit about the process this weekend. we cooked the pig in my backyard and then transported her to my brother-in-law's for his daughter's graduation party.

    the transportation went off without a hitch! we rigged up a simple transport/cutting board out of a couple of scraps of plywood and two-by fours. wrapped that in foil and then tented the foil around the pig. we then strapped a couple of bungees around the pig to prevent slippage on the two mile drive over.

    the best part was when we paraded the pig into the backyard to much fanfare - what a blast. and the graduation girl, who had requested the pig for her party, was really psyched.
  13. cowgirl

    cowgirl Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Joe...that makes my mouth water. lol[​IMG]
  14. cbucher

    cbucher Meat Mopper

    Looks good, I am wanting to do a small pig on my smoker some time in the near future. Good Job!

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