View Full Version : pig roast

06-02-2004, 09:29 PM
I've got myself roped into rosting a pig this Saturday so I figured I'd tap into the vast collective knowledge of the WBF. Anyone have any advice? The pig is 75 lbs, plenty for the 55-60 or so people expected. I've got a grill that has a cooking area of 6' x 3'. Please help.

Joe (SoCal)
06-02-2004, 09:48 PM
Originally posted by casem:
Please help.Directions? :D

06-02-2004, 09:54 PM
Start yer bed of coals the night before, (assuming you've already got a bed of stones about 2 feet deep in the ground under your spit....) and stuff the pig's belly cavity with sage, onions, and rosemary. Cook slowly until the joints are loose and the fat runs clear.

Jim H
06-02-2004, 10:07 PM
Do a Google for "the smoke ring" (a BBQ web ring), then do a search for "whole hog". There's at least one or two pages there that talk about whole hog cooking.

[ 06-02-2004, 11:08 PM: Message edited by: Jim Hillman ]

06-02-2004, 10:22 PM
I have done a few. I used a 55 gallon drum barbecue set up. I rigged a rotisserie using black pipe, sprockets from an old bicycle, and a rotisserie motor from an old barbecue. Some notes: for about a 40 pound pig, I cooked for 4 or 5 hours. If you are using standard barbecue briquets, there is no need to start the fire the night before, an hour or a little more is good. Clear out a trench directly below the pig where there are NO COALS. All the dripping grease falls straight down below the pig. If you keep the coals to the side, even just by raking them to the side, you can avoid big flare ups.

You will need a place, like another big grill, where you can start additional coals burning before you add them. You will need to replenish the coals, and you should only add fully burning coals, so you will need a place to get the replacement coals up and running.

Cook long and slow. Its great. Get an injector and inject vast quantities of whatever your favorite marinade might be. Its not rocket science. Apply heat to the pig, keep it moving so it doesn't scorch, it will be good, everything extra is just gravy. Hey, the cro magnons could do it, so can you.

Bruce Hooke
06-02-2004, 11:20 PM
Originally posted by PatCox:
Hey, the cro magnons could do it, so can you.:D :D :D

06-02-2004, 11:21 PM
This is good stuff. Damn middle of the night and I've got 4 replies already.

I've got a 75lb pig. Can't dig a pit, really, so its gotta be done on the grill. I also don't have a rotisserie. Maybe I should get it cut in half to cook faster? I'm definately cutting off the head because there will be young children around and I don't want any of them to freak out. Every pig roast I've been to there are always one or two drunks who have to take the head and mount it on a stick out in the lawn - I'm trying to avoid that.

I'm in the process of scanning the web but please keep any advice coming. Recipes for BBQ sauce also welcome. I like the sage-onion-rosemay idea. Is this good enough for a marinade if I do it over night?

imported_Steven Bauer
06-02-2004, 11:22 PM
At the big pig roast we go to every September they do the pig Hawaiian style. They have a huge bonfire the night before and then bury the pig in the hot coals and cover it up and let it cook underground. It comes out OK but not as good as when cooked on a spit. The best roasted pig I've had was at a catered affair. The cook showed up early in the morning and built the BBQ out of concrete blocks. I'm sure plans for something similar are out there on the 'net.


06-02-2004, 11:39 PM

06-02-2004, 11:53 PM
I found a site that describes the concrete block grill, but its a pretty late hour for me to do that. I'm just gonna cook it on the grill I have until its 160 degrees F. If something goes wrong I'll just order a couple dozen pizzas.

One site says a 55-80 lb pig (dressed weight) takes 4-5 hours and 40-70 lbs charcoal. Does this sound about right?

06-03-2004, 06:01 AM
Originally posted by casem:
I've got a grill that has a cooking area of 6' x 3'. Please help.I'm jealous, that would be an excellent grill for grilling corn!


06-03-2004, 06:10 AM
Ahhhh! Thanks for reminding me about the corn.

How many case of beer are there in a keg? (or half keg really, what they sell at the liquor stores)

06-03-2004, 06:15 AM
How could you forget the corn. Anytime someone mentions grills, cooking out, get togethers, camping trips, or anything of that nature, grilled corn is the first thing I think of.

Now don't do like my wife and wrap it in foil with butter. Corn grills up better if left in the husk. Sometimes I soak it in water prior to grilling, but it ain't necesary.


Gresham CA
06-03-2004, 06:35 AM
7-8 hours is about right and we start with the skin up like Mike's picture shows. That lets most of the fat drip out and you don't have a greasy bunch of meat. Turn over at about 4 hours and start basting with half of a 2 liter bottle of ginger ale, 1 cup of vinegar, black pepper, salt, garlic powder, crushed red pepper, one bottle of Texas Pete and fill the rest of the ginger ale bottle with beer. Make sure you keep the meat wet.

Del Lansing
06-03-2004, 06:51 AM
If you don't plan on splitting it as pictured, (would take a really large grill for 75 lber). You can take a coupla large coffee cans and wrap them in aluminum foil (to isolate the paint) and use them to prop open the belly more in a natural shape so as it cooks you don't have an ugly swayback looking piggy; and it keeps the thinner parts farther from the heat so they cook about the same as the thicker shoulders and hams.

Gresham CA
06-03-2004, 07:29 AM
Del, A 6X3 grill is plenty big enough for a 75# pig split down the back. And still have room to cook about 10 chickens.

Del Lansing
06-03-2004, 07:37 AM
6x3 is surely long enough but width-wise it doesn't allow for keeping the coals to the side for the indirect slow heat.

06-03-2004, 08:00 AM
This is IMPOSSIBLE to describe by e-mail. Send round trip first class ticket and receive personal on the spot instruction... :D :D

Jim H
06-03-2004, 02:44 PM
It's got to be looking like this about now...


Jim H
06-03-2004, 02:51 PM
Too late to help but from the BBQ FAQ (http://www.eaglequest.com/~bbq/faq2/10-3.html#10.1.5)

[Can anybody tell me how to barbecue a whole hog?]

Rick Thead--

If you want to cook you hog on a horizontal cooker, the best way is to split the hogs spine. Your hog should have no hair on it if it came from a decent slaughterhouse.

Scrape all red things out of the body cavity, and trim the slits where the teats are--there is lots of fat here. On up towards the ribs is Bear's favorite piece, the bacon, so be careful how much you trim off. Start at the shoulder and work on back to the ham. Cut the 'brisket' out of the spare ribs area too, but keep all these trimmings for later. Now, place the hog on its back and take a hand hatchet and start chopping along the spine--working the ribs apart and away until the ribs will lay flat on the table.

Never pierce the skin, as it acts as a cooking pot for the pig to stew in its own juices. Rub the body all over, especially the inside, with Italian dressing and then some barbecue rub. Carefully create pouches under the skin of the shoulder and hams and rub good there too.

Take the trimmed skin and place back inside the hog's cavity, to act as an insulator. Add cut up onions, plums, apples, oranges, pineapples, whatever, inside the cavity also. Spray with Pam or other vegetable spray, all over the outside of the hog and the grill grate.

Place hog on hot smoker (250F at meat grate) and smoke heavily at 200F for three hours. If your firebox is to one side, place the tail nearest the firebox. The hams are the last to be finished, due to the thickness of the meat. Baste/mop with a liquid, whatever you wish to use. After smoking, switch to pure charcoal and raise heat to 230F. Now the trick with the hog is the unevenness of the meat, the hams and shoulders take longer than the head and ribs. So you bring out your trusty foil. Cover the mid-section and head with foil and allow the shoulders and hams to continue cooking unwrapped. Make a 'tent' not a tight wrap. A hog that goes on at 6 p.m. and foils at 9 p.m., should be ready to eat by 6 a.m. However, you want to really spike the hog temperature-wise about that time to about 150F (internal temperature) or so, to facilitate rendering the fat and then slowly allow the fire to die down.

If using the hog for onsite judging, garnish the grill all around the hog with fruit. Work off one side for preliminaries. If you make the finals, swap the hog around for a fresh looking hog, that does not look like it has been picked over.

Pull the hog off, set on a table and let everyone pick away!

If you can't fit the hog on your pit, cut it into quarters, and arrange as per above.

Oh, at the 6 a.m. spot, poke holes in cavity and allow rendered juices to drip away. Be prepared for about a half gallon of rendered juice. Your hog will be ready by 11:00 a.m. Assuming it is not a 200 pound hog, of course.


Patty Burke-Shelby---Tower Rock BBQ Team--

Here is how we do the Tower Rock BBQ "A Champion Hog

We start with a hog that is chosen from a small farmer here in southern Illinois and send it to our processor. He processes it to our specification of removing the skin and leaving on the head. We only cook fresh hogs. They are processed on Monday and we pick up on Thursday for the competition. We feel you get a better product using fresh meat. When we arrive at the competition site the preparation work begins. We work on a time schedule which takes a total of 26 hours. We start with a hog that dresses out around 120 pounds.

9:00 a.m. -- We remove the hog from the ice and trim the fat to a 1/4" thickness. Then we remove any debris left from the processing. Next, we split the back bone open just enough to make the hog lie flat but not so much as to lose all of its shape. We then sprinkle a little salt inside the body cavity, and on the outside (we use a sea salt for this). Then we add our special magic dust (rub) which is a combination of chili powder, red pepper, black pepper, white pepper, celery salt, garlic powder, brown sugar. Sorry, we keep the exact measurements a secret! After the preparation, we then secure a body rack to the cavity of the hog and a rack top and bottom the length of the hog.

11:00 a.m. -- The hog is then named (Philip Ingram Garcia) and loaded into the cooker belly down. The cooker was designed and built by my husband and my father. There are two baskets under the hog that are filled with 10 to 15 pounds of charcoal each, we only use a pure hickory charcoal with cornstarch binder and add about 1/2 gallon bucket of apple chips to the charcoal then we fire it with a propane torch - no lighter fluid! We bring the temperature up to 190F. We then bring the internal temperature of the hog up to 170F and hold there for approximately 4 hours. We use the old smoke house theory of meat will take on smoke when its cool. Once the temperature rises above 170F, the meat starts to cook outwards therefore no longer drawing the smoke in. After the 4 hours we start to raise the internal temperature of the hog to 185 to 190F. We maintain a 200F setting on the temperature of the cooker from here on out.

6:00 p.m. -- We then flip the hog to its back. This allows for the basting sauce to lay in the cavity of the hog. We baste every hour on the hour, up until 4:00 a.m. During this process we are checking that the internal temperature of the hog is OK and that the shoulders and hams are getting tender. We keep our baskets of coals under the shoulders and ham most of the time.

4:00 a.m. -- At this time we wrap foil around the head, and lay foil strips across the belly to keep it from darkening too much. We maintain a temperature at 200F in the cooker until 30 minutes before judging. Then we begin our ritual of removing the meat for the blind box and dressing the hog for a formal meeting with the judges.

J. Labaree
06-03-2004, 03:09 PM

We've had good luck renting a rotisserie spit from a local rental place. You might ask around. Ours has always had an electric motor to turn the spit. It's pretty much start it and forget it, except keeping the charcoal fire going and perhaps squirting some wine on the beast. 75 lb pig might take 6 hours to grill that way. Not the cheapest way to go, but very easy.

Oh, and unbelievably good.

- Jonathan

06-04-2004, 01:17 PM
Thanks for all the advice. I'm picking up the pig in a few hours so we'll see how it goes.

I was a little worried at first because of the wide range of advice I was getting - between here and work and the internet. But now I'm taking that as a sign that no matter how you do it, it will probably turn out okay. My biggest concern now is that they are calling for rain.

06-06-2004, 06:08 PM
Well, despite torrential rain, cooking the pig at too high a heat half the time and too low of a heat the other half of the time, and some horrific grease flare-ups, the pig turned out okay. In fact we pretty much ate the whole thing, 60 or so guests went through an 84 lb pig with only about 5 lbs of leftovers. Thanks for all the help.

Gresham CA
06-07-2004, 06:44 AM

06-07-2004, 06:47 AM
and didn't bring me none. :(