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fendi_pilot

Going Whole Hog

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So I've purchased a Tamworth breed pig for my wedding. Not sure yet how much he'll weigh, as he is still alive and growing but somewhere most likely b/t 300 - 350 lbs.

Just wondering if anyone has any advice and specifics on cooking a whole hog or a hog split in two. I have access to a charcoal style grill where the pig can be cooked split but haven't seen it yet and won't get a chance to until I return to South Carolina in May.

Considering the cost and the event, I want to make this as great as possible (i.e. not fuck up) so any help or resources are appreciated. I don't want to buy any expensive cookers, but am willing to build or do whatever I can, for instance if it's much better to cook whole vs split.

I have some natural fruit trees growing in the same area so am thinking of using those for smoke, as well as trying to find some wood charcoal in the Charleston area. Curious about the need or effects of basting etc.. I've seen in Bali they use coconut water and the skin comes out looking really shiny and crisp.

Thanks for any/ all advice or experience.

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Hi fendi_pilot from what you wrote, I don't think you're interested in dropping $350.00 for one of these but this link shows a pretty detailed series of photos of how it works: La Caja China. You said you would be able to figure out how to build it yourself, so I hope these pictures help. Essentially is a large outdoor charcoal fired oven on wheels. Food writer/critic Jeffrey Steingarten has called the results "pig candy" which is of course a good thing!

Good luck. :smile:


Inside me there is a thin woman screaming to get out, but I can usually keep the Bitch quiet: with CHOCOLATE!!!

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You may want to check in your area and see if someone specializes in this. For my wedding, many moons ago, we did pork and lamb on spits. The crew came with their own set-up and handled the cooking. It was cost effective. As I recall it was a case of "the simpler the better". Interested to hear what other have to say.

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Thats a big pig, even live weight. You will need at least two people to lift.

Securing to the spit so the off-centre load doesn't slip when hot and greasy will also be interesting.

It will feed around 300 people, with buns, stuffing, sides etc.

A pig that big will take a long time to cook, as meat conducts heat slowly.

You are aiming for an end temperature of 60C for at least an hour in the thickest part - inside the butt. That will take something like 18 - 24 hours cooking at low temperature, say 75C.

The trick is to build what amounts to a slow oven. I used corrugated tin(roofing/siding) and a couple of builders trestles I had lying around. The spit is a scaffolding pole with cross pieces welded on. The front folds down to completely enclose the pig, and the fire is on the ground. Two small fires, actually, one at each end where the thick meat is, with a water filled dripping tray in the middle.

gallery_7620_135_708.jpg

Carving is also interesting, with 300 hungry people driven mad by the smell of roast pork. You need o get queues and a production line organised...

gallery_7620_135_91963.jpg

However, its your wedding, and you may have other things on your mind besides hog roasting. Leave it to the professionals, who have their own rigs.


Edited by jackal10 (log)

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Thats a big pig, even live weight. You will need at least two people to lift.

Securing to the spit so the off-centre load doesn't slip when hot and greasy will also be interesting.

It will feed around 300 people, with buns, stuffing, sides etc.

A pig that big will take a long time to cook, as meat conducts heat slowly.

You are aiming for an end temperature of 60C for at least an hour in the thickest part - inside the butt. That will take something like 18 - 24 hours cooking at low temperature, say 75C.

The trick is to build what amounts to a slow oven. I used corrugated tin(roofing/siding) and a couple of builders trestles I had lying around. The spit is a scaffolding pole with cross pieces welded on. The front folds down to completely enclose the pig, and the fire is on the ground. Two small fires, actually, one at each end where the thick meat is, with a water filled dripping tray in the middle.

gallery_7620_135_708.jpg

Carving is also interesting, with 300 hungry people driven mad by the smell of roast pork. You need o get queues and a production line organised...

gallery_7620_135_91963.jpg

However, its your wedding, and you may have other things on your mind besides hog roasting. Leave it to the professionals, who have their own rigs.

Very good advice here from jackal 10. I have done many a whole hog, but when we had pig for our wedding I booked a guy to do it all. I enjoy doing it, but you will be busy enough. It's a sloppy mess of a job, which on most days is fun, but you won't want that on your wedding day.

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Thanks for all the advice / photos! Really nice to get some perspective on this as tackling a whole animal this size is something I have not yet had the pleasure of. Myself and another friend, we're both chefs, are already doing all the food for the wedding so I'm sure I already got myself in too deep - why not stay up all night hanging out with a pig as well ?

I'm curious if the results of cooking a whole hog on a spit are that much better than cooking it split ? I'm sure if would reduce the cooking time significantly, and with a hog that will be around 300 lbs. sounds like less trouble since I'll be so busy.

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That's a big pig and should weigh well over 200#'s when dressed. I have done a number of whole pigs and the only way is on a spit. Splitting amd BBQing does not allow for the pig to rotate which is needed. The Chinese Hat is another method but many results I've seen are blistered skin.

Most areas have someone with a traveling spit that specializes in this type of thing. They show up at 6am or so, get the pig on the spit and tend it until ready.

Be aware that you have no place to store an animal of that size so it should go right from the processor to the spit. Hard wood charcoal is the thing to use as wood for BBQing must be aged first to dry properly.

Good luck, there is NOTHING like whole roasted pig!-Dick

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there are plenty of places to put a pig

gallery_23695_426_26487.jpg

http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=67661

the actual party starts around page 19

tracey


The great thing about barbeque is that when you get hungry 3 hours later....you can lick your fingers

Maxine

Avoid cutting yourself while slicing vegetables by getting someone else to hold them while you chop away.

"It is the government's fault, they've eaten everything."

My Webpage

garden state motorcyle association

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You should also review Marketman's blog on roasting a pig. He has tried several techniques to get the crispy caramel-colored skin. His pig trials should give you tips on roasting your pig just right.

http://www.marketmanila.com/archives/three-little-piggies

http://www.marketmanila.com/archives/lecho...5-mm-score-8875

http://www.marketmanila.com/archives/lecho...-a-la-marketman

http://www.marketmanila.com/archives/lecho...-a-la-marketman


Doddie aka Domestic Goddess

"Nobody loves pork more than a Filipino"

eGFoodblog: Adobo and Fried Chicken in Korea

The dark side... my own blog: A Box of Jalapenos

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There is no need to cook it on a spit, you can just cook it Lowcountry Style which is actually is a traditional way to cook them in South Carolina. You basically start them skin side up and then flip them over partway through cooking. It's a much simpler setup them trying to get a pig balanced on a spit and turn it for 12 hours.

Here's an article from Southern Living talking about cooking this way: Lowcountry Pig Pickin'

I've cooked many this way very successfully.


I've learned that artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.

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Not from personal experience, but a friend of the family that raises lechon pigs (pigs intended to be roasted on a spit) in the Philippines says anything more than 60kg (or maybe it was 75kg) is too big and won't be as tasty (or have as crispy skin). I've never investigated in myself, however, but generally, lechon pigs I've seen definitely weren't 300-pounders.

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Many thanks to everyone who has replied.

Tracey - that looks like one hell of a party and I think I'll need about four hours to go through that whole post. Brining a pig in the bathtub ? Priceless. (and something I most likely will do, I'll be sure to post pics of a huge pig with its feet sticking out of a 18th century claw foot tub ) Mom will not be happy.

MSRadell - I'm inclined to go your way. As I will be in the lowcountry (and I know most of my neighbors have all cooked it split in the past), I think splitting it makes the most sense. The links domestic goddess sent look amazing, but it seems to more in line with the asian style i've seen in the past - all the pigs seem to be no more than 100 lbs. and thus much easier to handle and deal with.

Putting such a big boy on a spit would be messy and slow roasting I imagine could easily take over 12 hours and possibly even an entire day. I don't want to hire a crew b/c I'm stubborn and want to do it myself. So I am splitting it. I think it would be brilliant to try and brine it overnight - I'm thinking salt, brown and palm sugar, black cardamon, bourbon, green tea, jalapeno and kaffir lime. How long should it take split though ?

Who wants to come for dinner ?

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I'm still betting is going to take at least 12 hrs to get it done all way through. It's going to take a pretty good fire and an awful lot of charcoal to complete the book. If you can find someone who has one of the great big cookers made of a split tank (normally mounted on a trailer) it would help reduce the time and amount of charcoal required by holding the heat in. One thing I've also been several times is after I flip it over (skin side down) I put a mixture of vinegar, Cayenne pepper and hot sauce into the cavity to let it soak into the meat. Certainly spices it up a good bit!

Unfortunately, I live in Louisville Kentucky so I won't be able to sample your culinary skills. Good luck and let us know how it comes out!


I've learned that artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.

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What time is dinner...I drove (well actually sat on the back of a motorcycle) over 500 miles for that bathtub pig

tracey


The great thing about barbeque is that when you get hungry 3 hours later....you can lick your fingers

Maxine

Avoid cutting yourself while slicing vegetables by getting someone else to hold them while you chop away.

"It is the government's fault, they've eaten everything."

My Webpage

garden state motorcyle association

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If you're serious, I might tell you. Coming from Jersey I think you'd break your record - it's a little over 700 miles from nyc.

What time is dinner...I drove (well actually sat on the back of a motorcycle) over 500 miles for that bathtub pig

tracey

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The method you use depends in part on how you want to serve the meat. Split is better for shredded, chopped meat. Spit roast for carved slices.

It will take at least 12 hours...You will need to keep the fire small otherxise you birn the outside before cooking the inside - you are aiming for an air temperature around 180F. Maybe a sack of charcoal an hour, and a good distance between the fire and the pig. Oh and a basball cap a sunglasses for the pig..wrap the ears and tail in foil, if they are still attached.

Are you really sure you want to do it personally, rther than organsise others ? Your bride must be very tolerant, since you will bw filthy from teh charcoal, greasy and smelling of pig, besides tired and distracted...

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Thanks Jackal - I was planning on doing it like I do most other bbq - keeping the temp slightly below 200 degrees F.

Are you really sure you want to do it personally, rther than organsise others ? Your bride must be very tolerant, since you will bw filthy from teh charcoal, greasy and smelling of pig, besides tired and  distracted...

Haha - That's true love, my friend.

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