"Whole" Hog Problem

Discussion in 'Pork' started by beagle bbq, Sep 2, 2015.

  1. beagle bbq

    beagle bbq Newbie

    I decided that cooking up a whole hog for the Labor Day weekend would be fun, so I did all sorts of internet research and decided to try the cinder block pit method, which requires a whole hog that has been butterflied so that it will lay flat and cook evenly. Long story short, I told the farmer that I needed the spine and skull split so that it would lay flat, he passed these instructions on to the butcher, and I called today to learn that my hog has been cut into two pieces right down the spine.

    So, my question for you esteemed experts is, do I need to adjust my cooking strategy to account for this change in porky presentation? Right now, the plan is to throw it on at 250 degrees and cook it until the hams reach 190-200, rest for 30+ minutes, and start picking. I can't imagine that there will be much change now that it's in two pieces, but I want to double check before I do something foolish.
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2015
  2. okie362

    okie362 Smoking Fanatic

    You'll be fine.  Lay them close together and they'll never know the difference ;-)

    We've done them quartered as well and they do just fine.
  3. beagle bbq

    beagle bbq Newbie

    Well, things just got even more off-script. I called again to confirm that the pig would at least be scalded, scraped, and thawed when I picked it up. The butcher informed me that they didn't scald and scrape there, the pig had been skinned. So, I'm now cooking two skinned halves of a pig. Anything I need to do differently now that the pig is skinned? I'm was planning to salt the skin side and put a dry rub on the inside of the cavity, now I suppose I'll just apply a dry rub to the whole thing. Thoughts? (aside from finding another meat supplier)
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2015
  4. okie362

    okie362 Smoking Fanatic

    Take Chicharonnes off the menu!  [​IMG]
  5. find a new butcher. never done skinned pigs.
  6. siege

    siege Smoke Blower

    You may want to find a good mop recipe. I had to cook a skinned wild hog some years ago We oiled the skin side, covered it with cheese cloth, and lowered the pit temperature a bit.
    Our mop was apple cider vinegar, apple juice, mustard, black pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes. Keep your heat under the shoulders and hams only. Put drip pans where you can catch the juices, and they can be added to the baste. Remove the cheese cloth when you turn the pig.
    Our hog pulled beautifully, I hope this helps.
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2015
  7. beagle bbq

    beagle bbq Newbie

    Yeah, new butcher is top on the list. I'm planning to keep the coals on the two ends, nothing directly under the hog. I have two full size drip pans that I'll have some apple juice in and I'm planning to inject with a simple brine and I may mop it with some of the finishing sauce I have already prepared (I made a half gallon). Looks like I'm not the first person to try this particular adventure, so I guess I'll just give it a shot and see. I'll be sure to post an after-action.

    Last edited: Sep 2, 2015
  8. stickyfingers

    stickyfingers Smoking Fanatic

    At this point the whole hog idea has been decided for you. I would let him continue butchering it up and do the pieces individually. Sorry, maybe next time.
  9. some butcher!

    If you are going to flip it during cooking, you should put some chicken wire or other wire mesh over it - or wrap it in mesh so that it doesn't fall apart into the pit when you flip it.

    Just watch out for it drying out too much - mopping can help there

  10. beagle bbq

    beagle bbq Newbie

    Would you recommend cooking it all on the same side and avoiding a flip? If so, I'm assuming is would want to have the cavity side down and the majority of the meat pointing up.
  11. Normally, when cooking a whole spayed pig, you would cook cavity side down.  The skin acts as a heat and moisture trap - keeping moisture in the meat.  With no skin, I would worry about losing that, yet in order to cook it completely top to bottom, you are likely to end up with dried out, over done meat on the down side, just to get the top side meat to a properly done temperature. The fat layer under the skin renders during cooking, adding to the moisture and flavoring on the top side.  That is now going to be missing. 

    Even with skin-on, I have always rotated my pigs to get even cooking all the way through the hams and shoulders while still retaining moisture. (not to mention some good cracklin as a byproduct)  The bones and membranes hold the cavity side together and the skin holds the top side together.

    I've never cooked a whole pig with no skin, so I am speculating. (I've done dozens with skin)  I don't know for sure that these are issues, but this is what I would do if asked to cook a whole pig with no skin.

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