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Pig Roast 101
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MacMitch
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Joined: 22 Dec 2005
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Location: Alpharetta, Georgia

PostPosted: Thu Jul 02 09 10:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hope it is ok to resurrect this topic.

I have a small, around 35 lb. pig that I was planning to cook for the 4th. I had to have a root canal done a couple days ago and now I am way off on my plan. Not sure if I have time to get this thing thawed and cooked or not.

Thawing
No one seems to have mentioned this. I am concerned that bacteria will start to accumulate on the outside before the inside thaws. I have had it in a box inside a big plastic bag (box freezer) since I brought it home from my local grocery around a year ago. The grocer saw me regularly buying butts and offered me a deal on one he had ordered for a scout troop that ended up being too small for them.

Specific to cooking style
I have a Diamond Plate Fat50. I believe the pig will fit in fine. For those not familiar with the Fat50, it has the fire box on the long side of the cooker with a large pipe on either side feeding the heated air into the cooker. So my heat should be fairly well even, a little stronger towards the two ends.

I usually start my butts and chickens in foil dishes with tops, opening the foil tops after things get warmed up and then placing the butts on the open grate for the last few hours. I cook to an inside temperature of about 190. Then I wrap them back in the foil, wrapping them in paper an towels to rest for at least and hour or two. This allows me to control how dark the outside gets and get an even temperature through all the meat. I do the cooking the day before we want to eat, cooking through the night. This way I am sure I will be done and have the meat done and pulled by party time. I am guessing that the thick pig skin will do something similar to my foil wrap and keep the meat moist and tender, at least under the skin? I thought about wrapping the pig in cheese cloth but, it looks like most people just cooke them as they are.

Marinade
I see people mentioning this. I have no idea how you marinade a whole pig with the skin on. I guess I can spread my marinade/rub in the chest cavity but that is about all I can think of and that seems like it will be on the down side of the pig and not get up to much of the meat. It seems that the natural fat in the pig, along with the long smoking time will be what actually adds the flavor?

My big question is do I still have time to do this? Its Thursday, can I get the pig out and thaw/prepare it for cooking tomorrow Friday so that I am confident I will have it ready for Saturday PM? I figure I will do it semi open, belly down, "racing style".
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BBQMAN
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 02 09 10:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You should be fine Mitch.

As far as safe thawing, you have a few options.

It can be thawed under cool water that is changed periodically or has a slow trickle going into it. A marine sized cooler would work. This is an HD approved method, and that pig is relatively small. As soon as it is thawed it needs to go directly into the cooker.

Method number 2 would be to thaw it slowly in a refrigerator like a frozen turkey. This only works if you have a fridge large enough, or your meat market will leave it in the cooler to temper for you.

The other safe method is to go directly into the cooker frozen- if it is already in a racing position that is. Obviously if it is not you can't fold the legs up under it.

After a year in the freezer you may also run into some freezer burn issues. That's a long time IMHO to store anything that size unless it's cryovaced.

As far as marinade, you can use that same cooler to fill the body cavity feet up, then place a bag of ice over the top to keep it cold.

Yes, the skin will help keep it moist during a racing style cook.

Good luck, happy cooking, and have a great 4th of July weekend! Very Happy
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MacMitch
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Location: Alpharetta, Georgia

PostPosted: Thu Jul 02 09 10:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the fast reply BBQ man.

I am a little worried about the condition of this pig too. I'm not sure how long the grocery had it. I do know the meat manager is still trying to sell me a 70lb pig he says he sill has. The pig is in a large plastic bag that I have never opened (not vacuum sealed). The plastic bag is in a cardboard box, all of which has been in the bottom of a floor style box freezer.

I do not have anything big enough to thaw this pig in. I may try to see if I can find a cooler big enough. It does occur to me that I have a large galvanized wash tub. I may be able to clean it real well with antibacterial soap and thaw the pig (in the thick bag) in it with cold water & ice? As I recall the pig is in the box in more or less cooking position. I believe the legs are under it but the chest cavity is closed up. With just a 35 lb pig maybe I can get away with starting it frozen or semi thawed. Being small I may be able to get away with opening the chest cavity as it thaws in the smoker?

Thanks again,
Mitch
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Harry Nutczak
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 03 09 12:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

How about asking the grocer you bought it from to thaw it in his cooler for you?

Cooking it in the DPP, another real easy task.
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MacMitch
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 03 09 12:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Harry,

You are reading my mind. I am heading up to the Publix at the corner I bought it from. I want a couple chickens and at least one brisket to cook anyway, while I am there I will see if I can find the meat manager and ask him for the favor.

PS
Talked to the grocery store. They say law prevents them from taking any sold meat back into their fridg/freezers. The meat manager said that if I take it out the night before, leaving it in the box, in the sink. It should be fairly well thawed by the morning without spoiling. He says they keep pigs for 2yrs are more frozen so mine should be fine. I may put a little ice in the box around the pig in the bag, just to make sure. I imagine that the box holds in enough cold to keep it similar to a fridge.

regards,

Mitch
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MacMitch
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 03 09 11:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I found a large plastic container at Lowes $20, close to 4' long. I have 60 lbs of ice in the container/cooler with the pig sitting in it, seems to be working very well. I do turn the pig regularly though. My 35-40 lb pig was in a 32" box so it fits the container and the 35" long side of my DiamondPlate Fat50 perfectly. Leaving the pig out, in the box over night barely got the outside starting to thaw.

So now I start making some marinade/sauce to baste it in while it smokes. I plan to toss the pig in the smoker at around 12 midnight tonight. Assuming that it cooks in 12-14 hours that gives me a couple hours for it to rest before serving at around 4PM Saturday.
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Harry Nutczak
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 03 09 11:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

MacMitch wrote:
I plan to toss the pig in the smoker at around 12 midnight tonight. Assuming that it cooks in 12-14 hours that gives me a couple hours for it to rest before serving at around 4PM Saturday.


You could probably back off on starting that little piggy until 6:00 A.M. for a 4:00 P.M. serve time. No reason to not get any sleep on the night before.

I like to try and run my DPP around 275-300 for pigs until I get it past 150 degrees, then I slow it down a little.

I also take a knife split the pelvis, and cut on either side of the spine to seperate the ribs so it lays flat, the last pee-wee pig I cooked for our own enjoyment, I did it skin down, basted the cavity with flavorful stuff, and flipped it for its last 2 hours for a very juicy flavorful end product.
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MacMitch
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 04 09 12:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi again,
Well I read your post too late. I have him in the Fat50 now. I got the temp in the thermometer in the lid where the pig is to 200 which is probably more like 225 where the pig is. I am making brunswick stew, I need some meat done far enough in advance to put in the stew. I have three whole chickens, one of which is for the stew. I will cook them tomorrow, should only take about 4 hours. I have a brisket but it is fairly thin so I will put it on tomorrow AM too.

I cut down between the two hind legs so I could lay the hams flatter on the grill and spread the chest cavity a little to catch some heat. I figure the ribs and other thinner parts will get done well before the hams. Assuming this is the way it goes I may remove the head, ribs and hams so I can cook each differently. This cook is for a dog club and I am a little concerned about the appearance of a whole pig anyway.
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BBQMAN
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 04 09 5:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The reason we cook whole hog is for the presentation Mitch!

Otherwise, just cook pork butts.

A dog show?

Shoot my man, I got chihuahuas bigger than that pig (J/K). Razz

My big dog (part Shepard, part dobie) is a 120 big girl and is bigger than the 70 pounder I'm serving at a party later today! Laughing Laughing Laughing

Good luck with your cook today, sounds like fun. Very Happy
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MacMitch
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 04 09 8:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I hear you,

I run a 12 acre dog park, training...business. This cook out is for the members. We get all sorts of breeds of dogs.

Mostly I am just a little concerned about the hams getting done and things like the ribs, loins not getting over done. I have been cooking it at 225-250 for over 8hrs. I got a 160 reading in the shoulder around 45 min ago. I am about to check it again. Should be able to get some pictures.

Thanks for all the help.
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BBQMAN
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 05 09 8:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

How did it go Mitch?!

We are anxiously awaiting those pictures! Razz
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Fig Pucker
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 08 09 12:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

BBQMAN wrote:
The reason we cook whole hog is for the presentation Mitch!

Otherwise, just cook pork butts.



Geez. I wish I found this thread sooner. I had always wanted to have a pig roast and last year I toyed with the idea of cooking my own pig for my 4th of July bash. But I was talked into hiring a pig roaster to come in and do it for us.

I didn't know much about pig roasts and had had visions of a pig being cooked on a spit, and a huge presentation/service that would entertain my guest. Folks pulling off the meat, crunchy skin and a real social event.

Wrong.

I hired a local guy to roast a pig for my 4th of july bash and while the food was ok, the presenation was the pits.

At 8:30 a.m. they showed up with a large propane (what?) cooker and half a pig sliced down the middle. They team asked to park on the side of my property so that after being cooked, they could leave ASAP. I was a bit dispaointed, as I wanted the pig to be more visable, but they explained the pig would be placed between two grates and roasted with the cover closed. Nothing really to see. sigh.

I wanted to serve my guests at 3:30. At 2:30 they pulled the pig out and began to chop it up into little peices. No presentation, no annoucment. Just 3 guys in the corner chopping away. At 3:15 they brought large tin foil trays and placed them on the table, along with a trays of apple sauce (canned) and beans (canned). Took the money and drove away.

Eh. I could have had a local catering show up and make a 3:30 delivery.

Presentation to me was a big part of the attraction and I feel I got hosed. Crying or Very sad
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BBQMAN
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 08 09 3:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with you Andy- you did get hosed! Confused Shocked Mad

When I do a pig roast, the clients on occasion explain "wow, it's a whole pig, the last guys brought pig in a pan".

My comment is "that's pulled pork, and we charge less for that".

When I do a pig roast, the smoke is going up the chimney and the guests are invited to come take a look.

Then we take the pig out at the appointed serving time (actually a bit earlier so the pig can cool a bit and the guests can take pictures) and carve it as the guests come though the serving line.

Now that's a pig roast! Cool

Your experience is a big problem for me- I am fighting that idiots reputation.

It's also a great selling point, because we are not that idiot!
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Grnmtn BBQ Chef
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 08 09 6:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Man the show is where it is at. We do a little anouncement before we parade the prize of the party around for those who don't want to see it. Make a short lap of the area... well if it isn't too much over 120#er and then set the rack on the saw horses and start the job of peeling and pulling. When I get out to high speed land I'll post a few pictures of one of them from last week.

6 hours to cook the pig... was it a small one or did they cook under high heat. You said they were chopping it. I just scoup the meat out with heavy rubber gloved hands. Only knife that touches the pig is when I split the top skin of the pig to roll it off.

Andy... I'll roll down and do your next one if you like. Central Mass right. I have been know to roll to Maine so you would only be a 2.5 hour run more then likely for me.
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Fig Pucker
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 08 09 7:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I guess as far as pigs go, mine was proabably small. It looked to be a good 4 feet long, but I was told it was a small one. My party was for about 75 people. All-in all I paid just under 1K (+ tip) to have them show up, cook it, dice it up and serve it with apple sauce, beans and some potatoe salad. Did I get taken?

I had no smokey flavor, it looked like they used apple cider vinergar on it. Next time, I could have just orded some trays of pulled pork. It might have tasted better, and probably would have been cheaper. Confused
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Grnmtn BBQ Chef
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 10 09 2:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here is a picture of the pig... and the buffet line.

http://i131.photobucket.com/albums/p313/grnmtn/009.jpg
http://i131.photobucket.com/albums/p313/grnmtn/025.jpg


Lets see if this works.
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Whiskered Dog
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 08 09 12:13 pm    Post subject: Fatty pig Reply with quote

I roasted my last pig which was 50 pounds (only had 40 people). This is the second pig I have done in my closed charcoal roaster. I roasted it and when it was time to cut it up and pull the meat I found it was mostly all fat with very little meat. Was this just a poor quality pig that was fattened up too fast or does the cooking method have something to do with the fat not roasting off? [/img]
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Pit Boss
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 09 09 4:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not much meat on a 50# piggy.

Next time I'd recommend you cook half of a 120# hog. You'll surely get better results.

I actually recommend cooking halves up to about 100# (half a 200# hog). After that I'd come back down to a whole 120#. The meat is just better on those big pigs.

I know at least one Eastern NC bbq joint that doesn't cook anything under 180#. Works for them...and has for the better part of the last century.
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magicjeep
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 22 09 11:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Grnmtn that is an awesome looking pig. My question is why in the second picture is someone putting a hot dog on their plate when there are 3 plates of that pig right in front of him?

here's a 72# pig I did in June for my son's birthday about 35/40 people. I followed the 3 guys from miami's instructions. The only seasoning I used was salt, the white specks you see on the pig. The pig turned out great and I still get compliments about it.



I do have a question for the more expirenced pig cookers. How much longer does it take to cook racer style compared to butterflied? The one in the picture, 72# roasted (not smoked) about 6 hours.
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Frosty
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 23 09 4:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

God !!

I just can't bring myself to cooking a whole pig.
As a kid, we raised pigs, & I usually made a pet out of a couple of them. They'll follow you around the yard like a dog & they LUV to be scratched.( They tear hell out of the neighbor's lawn, too Shocked , but, I thought it was cool...didn't like that ol' buckweiner anyway Laughing )

Didn't Roger Miller say you could "clean them up & let 'em ride up front & teach them to hunt"

Just looks like Arnold Ziffell laying there Very Happy

As popular as pig roasts are...I gotta let the guy across the county do 'em.

Primal cuts for me Rolling Eyes

but then, they BBQ black labs in India, right ?
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