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Smoking Whole Pig Questions

 
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ff6849
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Joined: 18 Nov 2007
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Location: Yuma, Az

PostPosted: Fri Oct 14 11 12:07 am    Post subject: Smoking Whole Pig Questions Reply with quote

Getting ready to do whole pig about a 70lb’er on my RF offset smoker racing style, I have read almost every post on whole pig cooking, but I have a few questions.

1. Need to cook the hams to 190’ degrees, but where do I actually place the thermocouple temp probe in the beast.

2. What do you do with a cooked head, is there any thing eatable on it Rolling Eyes , and how do you actually cut up the pig to serve

3. Should I brine the breast, I read that it can become mushy if you brine it. Was planning on a real simple salt and sugar brine overnight placing the pig in a large marine ice chest (the big white ones). Any suggestions on brine are welcomed too.
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SoEzzy
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Joined: 13 Oct 2006
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 14 11 1:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Welcome to the forums!

1) Finish them a little higher so that when you cut right through the thigh, there is no pink next to the bone, (195 -200), put the therm in the biggest part of the upper leg, push it deep but stay away from the bone.

2) The head has great flavored meat, the cheeks and jowls, the tongue and the skin, (if you get it crispy).

3) Not heard of many folks brining...so I'll read others answers with interest.

In the interests of full disclosure, I've only cooked a single pig myself, (under 40 lbs), but I've friends that have cooked hundreds, and we have often talked about them.
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bucket
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 14 11 1:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've done a handful of whole pigs, not enough to be an expert, but enough to feel comfortable doing another. I didn't brine. I cooked them at 250 deg. till everywhere I stuck the probe read 190. As for slicing, weren't none of that...cut the skin down the backbone, down the hams and pull it out. I've found that the hands (and good thick gloves) work the best.
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mactoo
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 14 11 2:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Brine does sound interesting but I would be apprehensive to do that in fear of screwing the pig up. As you said it may become mushy and also it may over salt and ruin the pig. The hams and shoulders could take the brine but I think the whole mid section would become too salty. If you want to add some flavor I would inject it. I love the taste of injected pigs.
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Mr Tony's BBQ
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Joined: 01 Aug 2010
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 14 11 4:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ive done a few on my RF Lang from 33 - 141 pounds!- never brined but have had the butcher inject - charges up to $15 for a 140 pound hog, less for smaller. I prefer to get an earlier start and hold vs rushing cuz it aint quite done!
225-250 1.5 hrs per 10 pounds should do it - again, easier / safer to hold than rush and possibly burn! I stick a thermo in the shoulders - when they hit 190 I start checking a few spots, quit "cooking" at 195 - 200 and hold or rest. I put the head towards the firebox side wrapped in HD foil to prevent burning as it tends to run a little hotter on that end, getting the thicker shoulders done at the same time the smaller hams get done. I have a rack I can pull out and rotate the entire hog if needed .
I do believe the injection tends to make it cook faster - though a recent article posted here on the Ring by a supposed physicists would lean towards me being wrong...... Embarassed
The jowls and cheeks are prime eating!! There is also some nice nuggets and meat veins in the snoot!! Ears are supposedly diuretics???
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EastTennQcrew
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Joined: 23 Feb 2006
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 14 11 5:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have to ask why you are going to brine and then turn the pig into a racing postition to let the juices run back out of the pig.

Most of the shows you see for Memphis in May, cook them belly up to hold in the juices. And several will inject the pigs with alot of liquids to even improve on the moisture in the meat.

The head needs to be toward the fire, and it may need to have some foil covering it early on to prevent the skin from charing too much.

I've only done three whole hogs, and they have been awhile. But I did go to Myron's class this past winter. Got lots of notes, but it will be a while before I do another whole hog.

Won't fit in my FEC's

RandyE
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SoEzzy
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 14 11 6:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mr Tony's BBQ wrote:
Ears are supposedly diuretics???


I think that's just taking the pi$$! Wink Laughing Wink
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BBQMAN
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 14 11 7:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In addition to the above advice, this is a good start as well:

http://www.thesmokering.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=22364

I cook a few...............
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