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Topic: This Grillin Fool Went Hog Wild Over the Holiday Weekend  (Read 1530 times)
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« on: May 31, 2011 07:54:04 AM »

That's right, whole hog.  I've never done one before, and honestly, I was more than a little intimidated.  I mean it's a 60 pound pig.  If I had done 60 pounds of pork shoulders and one was over or under cooked, it would be OK, the rest would suffice, but if I over or undercook the pig, then I'd be SOL.  Turns out it's really easy.  The hardest part was getting a grill.  This was a huge hit.  It was really an amazing success and something we will do annually now. 

Here's the link to the longest post in the sites history (and by far the most pictures) and here are those pictures:

And here is the rest of the post, sans pics, for the link averse:

I have to warn you, seeing how this is the biggest thing weve ever grilled, this will also be our longest post.  This pig weighed in at 60 pounds.  Weve grilled more than 60 pounds of meat a few times, but weve never grilled one thing that weighs 60 pounds.

Also, Im quite proud to say that my beautiful wife was the one who came up with the idea for this pig roast/luau for Memorial Day Weekend and our youngest sons first birthday.  Its rather refreshing since shes not much for anything with the slightest hint of smokiness.  Ironic, I know.

Lets start off with the pig and how to cook something that big.  Were just backyard guys.  We dont have a custom rig.  Our widest grill is about three feet.  That wasnt going to cut it.  So I had to rent a grill from Kenricks Meat Market:

As Woody from 105.7 the Point calls it, the place is the Disney Land for meat.  Hes not kidding.  Their selection is outstanding:

And the homemade sausages are out of this world:

I love the cheddar, jalapeno/cheddar, and breakfast brats, but the apple brat is the best brat I have ever eaten, anywhere.  It has ruined almost all other brats for me.  Its only when Im craving some heat (jalapeno cheddar) or just some cheese (cheddar) that I dont get their apple brats.

But maybe the best part about Kenricks is the service.  Want your ribs skinned for you? Theyll do it before they package them up.  Want a specialty cut?  They can get it for you.  Want something exotic?  They can order just about anything.  They have this sign at one end of their store:

Not everyone can live up to that sign that reads Olde Tyme Butcher Services.  Kenricks does with every customer that walks through the door, and Ill demonstrate why with this post.  I rented a grill from them and bought the pig, but I also got step by step instructions on how to cook the pig properly from one of the head meat cutters, Mike Byassee.  Here he is between my grill for the day and his motorcycle:

He gave me step by step instructions on how to cook Maribelle and how to retrieve all the meat:

Yes, I named the pig.  Thats my 60 pounder, Maribelle.

After Mike showed me exactly how to cook it, I was off to the BBQ/Luau to get set up.  Some of you know my second son was born on Memorial Day Weekend last year so we decided to do a luau for his first birthday.  Other than my son grabbing fistfuls of cake and shoving them in his mouth, the pig was the centerpiece of the day, and I cant overstate this point.  I couldve cooked more meat at less cost by doing say 60 pounds of pork butt/shoulder (and not been nearly as stressed out as I was about taking a stab at this for the first time), but a smoker full of pork butts isnt remotely as cool as this was.  I had to admonish my father and father in law at one point for constantly opening the grill to show people the pig.  We actually had to announce to everyone inside and out every hour that we were opening the grill so nobody would miss seeing it.

So how do you cook a whole pig?  Honestly, its pretty easy.  Once Mike filled me in on the method, I found it almost fool proof.  And since I am a fool, thats pretty important.

Once we parked the trailer grill, we pulled the grill grate out of the grill and put three bags of charcoal at the end away from the chimney (and near the vent on the left side) which would be directly underneath the head.  We left about 18 inches of space and put two more bags under the rump.  Thats a full 100 pounds of charcoal.  My Father in Law, Dennis, helped with the charcoal distribution as well as hosted the little shindig:

You know youre using a lot of charcoal when you have to use a snow shovel to move it around:

And heres the first part of the trick to cooking the pig properly.  Im looking for 180 degrees internal temperature in the deepest part of the shoulders and 160 in the rear haunches.  So the three bags of charcoal under the head and shoulders will cook them a little faster than the two at the other end so the meat at both ends is done at the same time.

But how do we light that much charcoal?  Its not like I have a charcoal chimney for 100 pounds of charcoal or even 60.  Look close, as you will probably never see me use this product ever again:

Some will say Im anti lighter fluid.  That it makes the food taste bad.  Well, if you cook on charcoal where the fluid hasnt all  burned off that is the case, but if you wait long enough all the nasty chemicals will burn away and the food will be fine.  Thats not the reason I dont use fluid.  Im a closet pyro.  I love fire.  But at almost $5 a bottle, I cant justify the cost.  One $10 charcoal chimney will last me five years if I leave it in the elements and a good 15 if I bring it in after each cookout. The free journal they toss on my lawn a couple days a week is all I need to get my fires lit.  All that being said, drink this in.  You wont see it very often:

Now time to get to work prepping the pig:

That item on the grill grate on the lower right in the picture above is very important to the second part of the trick to cooking a whole hog tin foil.  The foil is needed to create a heat shield between the pig and 100 pounds of lit charcoal:

Thats two sheets running the length of the grill, plus a ribbon running down the middle. This is vitally important.  Without the foil, the pig would be nothing but char on the outside and raw in the middle after two hours.

Time to get the pig into place:

Be very careful with the hooves.  If they poke a hole in the foil, put a sheet of foil over the hole.  One hole right under the meat could ruin the whole event.

Oh, the last thing to remember is it takes about one hour per 10 pounds for this method so we were looking at a 6 hour cook.  Sounds nuts right?  A whole hog cooked in six hours.  Well read on, the pictures tell the story.

Maribelle is such a ham for the camera (sorry, I couldnt resist):

If youre wondering why the lighter fluid bottle is there, its because the wind kicked up. I had it there to hold down the foil.  I used a whole bottle and a partial second. Thats the second.

Now its time to inject the pig.

Injection Ingredients:

1 gallon apple juice
20 ounces Worcestershire sauce
1 cup salt
16 ounces white wine
1 cup brown sugar, loose packed
1 tbsp cinnamon

I also added a bunch of minced garlic, but all that did was clog even the big syringe needle on my injector so I had to stop stirring up the bottom of the bowl when filling the injector, so very little garlic made it into the pig.  In the future, Ill add a bunch of granulated garlic.

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and fill your injector repeatedly and push the fluid up and down each side with a few extra injections in the shoulder and the haunches:

Dont forget the apple:

And the obligatory goofy picture:

Shes ready for the grill:

Hows the fire?

The charcoal has been burning for about 35-40 minutes.  Its whited over completely and there is no odor from the odorless lighter fluid anymore.  Its only missing one thing:

Couple bags of hickory should do it.  Going old school here, no fruit wood, just good old hickory:

Its a two man job to get the grill grate onto the grill:

Shut the lid and let the smoker do the rest:

I know some of you are asking wheres the rub or sauce?  Well I could rub the outside of the pig, but that wont do any good.  The pig has the skin on and we wont be eating the skin.  It wont penetrate the skin and have any impact on the meat.  There is sauce, but thats for the end.

I didnt open the lid for two hours and heres how Maribelle looked at that mark:

With very little fat beneath the skin on the face, it has darkened quicker than the rest of the pig so I put foil on it to keep it from turning black before its all done:

You can also see the puncture marks where I injected the swine.

After the foil it was back home for a shower and a Hawaiian shirt.  At three hours the cornhole boards were set up in the yard and the pig is looking outstanding:

This is what Im talking about when I say that doing a whole pig is much more than making pulled pork.  Its an event and the pig is the star.  Everyone wanted their picture taken with it.  Heres Cathy (left) and Maureen posing at the three hour mark:

And how can you resist taking a picture with this beautiful face:

At this point I started adding cherry logs to the end by the head as the smoke had subsided.  Partially for the pig and partially for the trays of beans you can see over the left of the pig in the above picture.  If youve never had smoked beans, you have to try them.  The recipe is here.

Here we are at the four hour mark:

And here we are at the five hour mark with me and my oldest boy who was really excited about the pig when I was backing in with the grill at 9:30, not as much when he found out it wasnt alive:

At five hours were sitting at 162 in the shoulder:

At six hours and 20 minutes we reached 180 degrees and she was ready to slice:

Now when I say slice, I mean slice the skin to get to the meat.  After that no knife is needed.  I slice from the base of the skull all the way to the tail:

Then down the shoulder:

Then I slice down the haunch and the skin folded away:

You see that gloved hand above?  Thats a cotton glove covered with a latex glove.  The cotton insulates me from getting burned and the latex keeps the juices from soaking into the cotton glove.  Now time to get my hands dirty.  I dug in with two hands, pulling out succulent pulled pork:

The rib bones came out with little to no resistance:

More on the ribs in a minute.  After I cleaned out the one side, time to go to work on the other side:

Here are a bunch of the ribs on the other side:

I reached in with one hand:

With no effort whatsoever, a handful of bones come out of the meat:

So what do you think now about doing a 60 pound hog in 6 hours?

Picking over the carcass:

Despite leaving enough meat in that carcass to feed a family of four for a week, we had this entire aluminum tray full of pulled pork:

Dad (left) and I went to work pulling the pork:

Those at the Luau couldnt wait for us to pull it all so they started filling their plates before we were finished:

Heres the finished product to go along with some buns and a pot of doctored Cattlemans BBQ sauce:

So whats the verdict?  Is it worth the effort and cost.  Abso-friggin-lutely.  This will be an annual event for the Grillin Fools on Memorial Day Weekend.  The food itself was nothing more than pulled pork, but the pig was so much fun to do.  And not just for me, but for everyone who was there.  The process was a huge event.  Everyone was enthralled by the pig.  It was more than just a barbecue.

Would I do anything differently next year when we do it again?  I will probably pick up the pig a day ahead of time and either brine the whole thing in a huge cooler or inject it the night before and let the injection really work into the meat.  Other than that, I wouldnt change a thing.  And I gotta say that Im really going to miss number 17:

Now, after all that explanation and more than 50 pictures, what if you dont want to cook the pig yourself?  Call Kenricks and they will come out an cook it for you for a fee.

If you have any questions about this mammoth post, feel free to shoot me an email or leave it below and I will get back to you as soon as I can.

If you are interested in other pork recipes by the Grillin Fools, click here.

You can follow us on our Grillin Fools Facebook Page and post your own grillin pictures or join in the general grillin conversation, or follow us on Twitter as well @GrillinFool.

And now I would like to show off my family that I am so proud of.  And I would also like to thank my wife for taking over on the kids tonight as I spend hours trying to get this post finished.  Here are pics from the first Annual Grillin Fools Memorial Day/my sons birthday/Luau.  The birthday boy:

The birthday boy not so happy that his brother is scarfing down his cake:

I didnt realize the two grandmothers were that close:

And the grandfathers:

And the Godfathers:

Who needs a fork or even fingers:

Theres mommy (and my beautiful wife) holding up the dirty birthday boy.  One day hell hate us for these pictures:

Thats the fam (plus my Brother in Law):

The birthday boys not so certain about that pig:

Special thanks to Heidi for taking so many of these pictures.  I dont often get to be in any pictures that make this site because Im always behind the lens.  Thanks for going to work for us on this one, Heidi.  Between you and I snapping shots, we filled a 4GB card that day!?!

« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2011 11:35:12 AM »

Good for you! I am from the Phillippines and we roast a whole pig for most celebratory occasions. It's alot of work, but well worth it! If you ever decide to try it again, try basting the skin of the pig with coca cola. It sounds completely crazy, but it's amazing! It makes the skin very crispy and delicious. The kids always line up when the pig is being served to get bits of the skin. (when I read this back, eating skin sounds gross, but I promise, it's awesome!)
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« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2011 10:04:46 PM »


« Reply #3 on: June 01, 2011 11:38:38 AM »

Good for you! I am from the Phillippines and we roast a whole pig for most celebratory occasions. It's alot of work, but well worth it! If you ever decide to try it again, try basting the skin of the pig with coca cola. It sounds completely crazy, but it's amazing! It makes the skin very crispy and delicious. The kids always line up when the pig is being served to get bits of the skin. (when I read this back, eating skin sounds gross, but I promise, it's awesome!)

I will definitely do that next time we do it...

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« Reply #4 on: June 07, 2011 08:51:14 PM »

That hog makes me homesick. Cheesy

In Eastern NC, we only do barbecue using the whole hog, but it's basted with a vinegar and red pepper sauce, no sugar.  It tastes great as is and usually the only thing anybody puts on the meat is either more of the vinegar sauce or hot sauce.  If you're interested in a recipe, I'll be happy to send you one.
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