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Pig Roast 101
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samandnoah



Joined: 22 May 2009
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Thu Oct 14 10 12:53 pm    Post subject: Tips for getting edible skin? Reply with quote

My best friend and I did our first whole pig last year for his 40th birthday. It was a 70 pounder, and thanks to this forum, it turned out fantastic!

We're doing it again in a week. The only disappointment last year was that the skin -- though beautifully bronzed and crispy -- seemed extremely tough/thick. There were very few pieces that you could comfortably eat.

So is there a trick or treatment to make the skin easier to eat? I know there are a lot of folks who want on the crispy skin action!

Thanks,
Rich
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BBQMAN
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 14 10 7:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Welcome to the forum Rich!

There is no secret to crispy skin with slow smoked pig roasts.

It's just the nature of the beast.

Cooking over live coals Eastern NC style, then puncturing the skin toward the end of the cook will crisp up skin.

So will doing them on a rotisserie.

I posted this a week or so ago about the same questions from a client's guests:

http://www.thesmokering.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=44489
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samandnoah



Joined: 22 May 2009
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 14 10 8:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the quick reply! Perhaps I wasn't clear enough. Our skin got plenty crisp/crunchy -- it was just really HARD/thick. We can't put it on a rotisserie. This is cooking it butterflied on a rack in a cinderblock "pit", starting it skin up, and finishing it skin down.

Does it just vary from pig to pig? When I've had roast pig, for example, from a chinese "BBQ" restaurant, skin has always seemed thinner and easier to eat. Or is there some treatment of the pig/skin pre-cooking that helps that?

Or are there just some areas on the pig that are naturally thinner and easier to eat? (In which case I'd select those areas after display but before picking and put aside for those who want to snack on skin).

Thanks again,
Rich
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Geronimo
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 14 10 11:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

samandnoah wrote:
Thanks for the quick reply! Perhaps I wasn't clear enough. Our skin got plenty crisp/crunchy -- it was just really HARD/thick. We can't put it on a rotisserie. This is cooking it butterflied on a rack in a cinderblock "pit", starting it skin up, and finishing it skin down.

Does it just vary from pig to pig? When I've had roast pig, for example, from a chinese "BBQ" restaurant, skin has always seemed thinner and easier to eat. Or is there some treatment of the pig/skin pre-cooking that helps that?

Or are there just some areas on the pig that are naturally thinner and easier to eat? (In which case I'd select those areas after display but before picking and put aside for those who want to snack on skin).

Thanks again,
Rich


I just saw on the Food Network last week where a Chinese restaurant doing whole hog (very small ones) actually DIPPED the pig in hot oil to crisp the skin.....and smaller/younger pigs do have thinner skin to start with.
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Harry Nutczak
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 14 10 11:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

when you flip it to cook it skin side down, crank up some serious heat for the last 15-20 minutes. That will crisp it and puff it up so it is edible.
Just keep vigilant for grease fires, the skin-down cooking is when it will usually happen because you have all that fat liquefied from the cook, the heat cracks the skin and the fat drains into the fire creating an inferno if you are not careful
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Herman
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 15 10 12:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

15 to 20 minutes at 400 degree grate level will puff the skin but as Harvey said keep a box of baking soda close at hand for possible grease fires

Herman
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samandnoah



Joined: 22 May 2009
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 15 10 1:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This forum ROCKS! Thanks to all of you.

I thought I had cranked up the heat at the end,but when I looked back at my notes I realized what had happened:
- The pig cooked faster than we expected by about 90 - 120 minutes.
- We couldn't serve the pig when it was ready, so we had to "hold it".
- We kept the heat low, right @ 190 - 200 F for the 90 minutes or so to make sure food temps stayed in the safe zone.
- We never did do the "heat blast" because of concerns of overcooking, inexperience, and general novice fear! Smile

So the extra time at the end (skin side down) with the really low temp helped ensure meat that was full of melted collagen and easy to pull. And the skin was crispy, but not exactly how I hoped it would turn out. I will definitely try the heat blast, and I appreciate all of the flare up warnings.

OK, one last one... last time most of the cooking was done @ 250 - 275 at the grate level. I still felt like the loins & tenderloins got too dried out. When you pull the meat and everything gets mixed together, it's not so obvious.

But if we want to do some sampling of various cuts, what are some good tips, tricks, gotchas, etc. that would help keep those cuts & areas moister? We did mop 3 times with cider/cider vinegar mixture while skin down. Does anyone ever cover areas with foil during cooking to slow it down? From all of the gorgeous photos I've seen on this site, sure doesn't look like it.

By the way, I am a new poster, and did finally register last year, but I've had a link to the smoke ring and used it as resource for MANY years. One of the better forums I have followed over the years.

Thanks for your expertise!

Rich
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Harry Nutczak
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 15 10 5:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is not alot you can do besides direct the heat to the shoulders and hams during the cook.

When I used to do open-pit pigs, I would have a small mound of coals under each ham and the shoulders with no coals under the center of the pig.
As the day progressed, I would spread my coals more to get the thinner rib area.

This is the reason some people will stuff a pig with chickens or butts, to try and keep the backloins from over cooking, I do not like stuffing pigs due to the increased time spent in the 40-140 funk zone.
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daddywoofdawg
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 16 10 4:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Most of the old time cinder block "BBQ" pits in the carolinas place the coals under the shoulders and hams and as more coals are needed they move some of the older coals under the middle areas,and add more coals to replace the ones moved.You can also inject the center cuts to help keep it moist.
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Last edited by daddywoofdawg on Sun Oct 17 10 2:49 am; edited 1 time in total
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Pit Boss
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 16 10 9:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No need to inject. Just don't cook those thin/lean parts of the pig more then the thicker parts. Place your coals (and it will take fewer than you think) under the shoulder & ham ends. You can scatter a few under the the center of the pig, but not too much.

Do it "right" and BAM...whole hog bbq in 6-7 hours (a smaller hog might be 5-6 hours).
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miss_rach
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 25 11 3:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Has anyone seen or used anything like this to cook a hog?

[/img]http://images.craigslist.org/3k73o53p65V05W45P1b2i0bf828bbe0301fbd.jpg[url][/url]
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miss_rach
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 25 11 3:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

sorry link didn't work:

http://images.craigslist.org/3k73o53p65V05W45P1b2i0bf828bbe0301fbd.jpg
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Harry Nutczak
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 25 11 4:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It is a more common approach in the Carolinas,
I understand BBQ is direct-grilled whole or half hogs in those parts.

Now if you need a great grill similar to that that is somewhat mobile, NSF and UL rated. Take a look at the "WoodShow Grill" made by J&R manufacturing in Mesquite Texas, I used to have the 801-6 model in a restaurant situation and I loved it. I hope to have another woodshow grill in the future.
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BBQMAN
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 28 11 8:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pit Boss wrote:
No need to inject. Just don't cook those thin/lean parts of the pig more then the thicker parts. Place your coals (and it will take fewer than you think) under the shoulder & ham ends. You can scatter a few under the the center of the pig, but not too much.

Do it "right" and BAM...whole hog bbq in 6-7 hours (a smaller hog might be 5-6 hours).


Nice to know a bunch of us are not "doing it right". Razz
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jess
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 28 11 8:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BBQMAN wrote:
Pit Boss wrote:
No need to inject. Just don't cook those thin/lean parts of the pig more then the thicker parts. Place your coals (and it will take fewer than you think) under the shoulder & ham ends. You can scatter a few under the the center of the pig, but not too much.

Do it "right" and BAM...whole hog bbq in 6-7 hours (a smaller hog might be 5-6 hours).


Nice to know a bunch of us are not "doing it right". Razz
X2 6-7 hrs Question Question
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BBQMAN
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 28 11 9:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

All kidding aside, they can be done over live coals in that amount of time Jess.

Of course this being the Smoke Ring and all, there isn't that much smoke (other than dripping fat) going that route.

But it is popular in some areas of the country, and BBQ is after all a (somewhat) regional preference type of thing.

That being said, it is an option as an alternative method to get-r-done in a lot less time.

Side story- as luck would have we catered a pig roast just last night (another to do on Wednesday) and one of the Carolina snow birds told me flat out "I don't like smoked pork".

I assured her the smoke was mild doing them the way we do (skin on, racing position).

Sure enough when she came back for seconds I teased her it was so bad she needed to try it again! Razz
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valleypigs
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 28 11 10:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

another way to blister the skin...pull the pig out and while still on the grate, take a shovel full of live coals and hold direclty under the area you desire blistered. I normally go for the thinner skin areas of the back and over the shoulders, not the hams. I have never ahd a problem with overcooking the loins as the heat is intense but short lived since the pig is out of the smoker. This gives a very hot blast directly where you want it without over heating the entire pig.

and BBQMan...jsut because she was a "Carolina" snowbird don't mean she was FROM one of the Carolinas. Being that she did not like smoked pork, she obviously was not FROM there...probably moved to Charlotte from NJ and then decided NC was still too cold! No one FROM a Carolina would admit openly that they did not like pork...!! Just kidding!
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BBQMAN
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 28 11 10:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, she had an accent that said "Carolina's" or perhaps even Tennessee or (gasp) Virginia even! Razz

And I'm no expert, but it definitely was not NJ. Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing

My dad (native Richmond guy) lost his accent years ago........................
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Louie
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 28 11 10:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

valleypigs wrote:
another way to blister the skin...pull the pig out and while still on the grate, take a shovel full of live coals and hold direclty under the area you desire blistered. I normally go for the thinner skin areas of the back and over the shoulders, not the hams. I have never ahd a problem with overcooking the loins as the heat is intense but short lived since the pig is out of the smoker. This gives a very hot blast directly where you want it without over heating the entire pig.



I've tried this a few times and it worked great, crisped up the skin for some of those tasty cracklins.. Wink
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valleypigs
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 01 11 11:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

yeah...I claim NC as home, but I am from the South. No place in particular, just the south. Being from all the south..born in GA, learned to talk in LA (lower Alabama), moved to central NC, moved to FL panhandle, moved to ENC (eastern NC), moved to Raleigh (NCSU), moved to Auburn (AU), moved back to ENC, moved to Shenandoah Valley of VA (hence Valley Pigs) and here I am. I have been in VA for 10 years and am just now loosing some of my accent so people dont automatically know "I ain't from here". But I do bring a pig pickin to the valley...spreading the truth!
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