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whole hog in smoker

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
we are fixin to cook a 50 lb hog on a smoker and at this time we are planning on seasoning like we cook but we are just wanting to see if anyone had any other ideas or ways they have cooked a whole hog
post #2 of 13
My smoker's not big enough to do it, sadly.

Steve Raichlen has a how to and recipe in his excellent book "How to Grill".

Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
post #3 of 13
You will want to season the hog a day ahead. Make sure you season both the outside and the cavity. I then wrap it in heavy plastic and let it sit, in a cooler for the better part of a day (season in the afternoon and start cooking early the following day). After getting the hog on the spit I then fill the cavity with apples, peeled onions and lots of fresh thyme, sage and rosemary and sew it up.
post #4 of 13
IIRC traditionally the hog is wrapped (or is it rubbed?) with damp burlap. And the ears and snout are foiled to keep them from burning...correct me if I am wrong Pete..
post #5 of 13
soup -- there are a lot of ways to smoke a pig. Wrapping in damp burlap is a minority view for a modern smoker.

phil -- IIRC, the Raichlen recipe in How To Grill is for a very different kind of cooker.

rzona -- Times, temperatures, ear wrapping, all depend on whether you're going butterfly or racer and a few other things. What's your plan?

I like to sauce with a dijon version of a Carolina Mustard Sauce and a very basic Memphis style tomato based barbecue sauce. I'm sure you have your own recipes, but I'll go into more detail if you want.

The rub I use for whole pig (and for shoulder and even sometimes for spares) is:

2 cups brown sugar (or ground piloncillo, if you know what that is)
3/4 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup fennel seeds toasted and ground
1/2 cup coriander seeds, toasted and ground
1/4 cup paprika
1/4 cup fresh ground black pepper
1/4 cup granulated onion
1/4 cup granulated garlic
1/4 cup ground ginger
1/4 cup ground mulato chile
2 tbs rubbed sage
2 tbs marjoram
2 tbs fresh chopped rosemary

The slather I use is:

1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup extra virgin olive oil

I don't mop frequently, and don't start mopping until halfway through the cook. The mop I use is:

2 cups real maple syrup, or 2 cups peach preserves
1-1/2 cups decent bourbon (Rebel Yell, e.g.) or Captain Morgan spiced rum

I fool around with a lot of different smoke woods. My favorite is oak (hey, I'm from California). But for whole hog, I like maple, pecan or a mix of pecan and any fruit wood.

If you're burning chunk and charcoal, I recommend discontinuing the chunk about halfway through the cook so as not to over-smoke. If you're burning sticks, you got to do what you got to do.

Everyone loves apple with pig, but it gets old. I like peaches, nectarines, pineapple, cherries, you name it. Anything juicy. The combination of peach, maple, ginger, pig and bourbon is magic.

My dos centavos,
post #6 of 13
Yes, Raichlen cooks it in basically a huge grill but indirectly. That's easily adapted to a large enough smoker though.

Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 
We will know when it gets here if we are going to have to butterfly it but at this time the plan is to cook it whole, will be using mesquite (yep a true Texan) and pecan wood, the last hog I cooked was a wild hog about 25lbs god was it good!!!!
post #8 of 13
Out here we call anything less than 125# a pig... that having been said:

First thing I'd suggest is getting on the National Bar B Que News Forum and asking your questions there too. They've got some guys that have done a lot of pigs on that forum. Especially Doc.

If you're going racer style, you'll want to foil the ears, mos def. I like to put the pig facing the heat. That way the shoulders get a little more heat than the hams.

50# racer style, I'd figure about 6 hours-ish at 225 - 235ish. The way to figure times on big pieces -- whether in the smoker, or the oven, is not based on weight, but on the thickness of the biggest piece. I figure you're looking at hams and shoulders in the neighborhood of 5# each. But leave major fudge time and a good rest.

If it's an offset, I find the best thing is keeping a loaf pan full of hot water, on the cooking rack as close to the firebox wall as you can get it to keep temperatures more or less even end to end. Keeping the water pan going also helps get good texture on the skin.

If you've got an offset, the time and the inclination, and it hasn't.already been done, you might want to think about putting in a manifold over the opening between the firebox and the cookchamber on the cookchamber side to get the heat and smoke flowing evenly -- and extending the flue at least down to the cooking grate to get a complex convection going. BUT, since I get the idea your cooker is a stick burner, you're probably well past this point.

Again, you're probably past this point but one thing I recommend to everyone is to invest the change to get a Maverick ET-71 "Redicheck" thermometer. It's got two probes -- one for the meat, and one for the cookchamber; and it's wireless so you can work, mill around, and otherwise do stuff that you can't do when you're tied to the cooker. There are actually a few systems that are better, but the ET-71 is by far the most reasonable.

Anything big -- it's all about fire management. I mean heck. Rubs, slathers, all that stuff doesn't do nearly as much for the taste as the smoke and the low and slow process. Try and keep your temps steady. A small pig like yours is really a fast enough cook that it shouldn't be too much of a problem.

As always with smoking -- the most important thing is keeping the cookchamber and firebox door closed unless absolutely necessary. NO PEEKING!

post #9 of 13

Way to smoke hog

I'm looking for way to smoke a small pig in horizontal smoker/ grill, any ideas are welcome.
post #10 of 13
For further information, visit the following two websites:

The Smoke Ring- All you need to know about barbecue

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.



Brot und Wein
(1 photos)

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.



Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
post #11 of 13
What do you actually want to know?

How big is the "horizontal smoker/grill? Does it have an offset firebox? Or, are you planning on having the fire and the pig in the same chamber?

How soon are you planning this?

What have you already decided?

post #12 of 13

whole pig

grill/smoker is about 3 ft in length, 2 ft around offset firebox is half size of gril/smoker and i plan on using firebox i'm plannin on havin pig on july 4th
post #13 of 13
You've got something like a Silver Smoker or Brinkmann Smokin Pit Pro then?

Now's the time to do all the mods, if you haven't already done them. A manifold between the firebox and cook chamber, extended flue, charcoal basket, big drip pan, water pan, wireless pit thermometer, etc. A little cooker like yours benefits hugely from these little and mostly inexpensive mods. Makes all the difference in the world with a big project like a pig.

You can do a small pig. racer style in it. Max size for a not too inconvenient good job is right around 35 pounds (dressed) -- which will feed roughly 15 if the pig is the centerpiece of the event. You won't get more than 20 people unless there's some other meat being served on.

"Racer style" means, head-on, cavity trussed, and the pig laying on the cooking grate with its legs tucked beneath it. It's a really nice presentation. Anyway, your smoker is a litle too narrow for a butterflied pig, and a little too short for semi-racer (rear legs pulled out).

If your little pit is well tuned (that is the temperature levels are fairly even from one side to the other) the pig won't need to be turned. Otherwise it will need to be turned at least once during cooking.

Estimating the time for a whole animal is a little tricky if you've never done it before. You base it on the size of the thickest part -- which is going to be the hams and shoulders. These are actually pretty small on a thirty five pound pig -- you're probably looking at a 4 to 6 hour cook, or as much as 8 if you go very low and slow.

Some people find it helpful to wrap the pig in light wire fencing mesh to help turn it around during the cook, and to get it out of the pit afterwards. But since you're not butterflying or spitting, you don't really need to do it on a pig that small.

One thing a lot of people don't consider is the pig board. You'll need something long enough and wide enough to serve the whole pig on. After he's cooked, you slided him onto the board, carry him to the table, and peel the skin off. If you've cooked the pig hot, the skin is wonderful. But if the cook was slow, it may be too leathery to eat.

Many people don't, but I inject. Your choice can depend on a lot of things but apple juice and white grape juice, mixed 50/50 then seasoned with the usual suspects has won a lot of comps. For years, that was the base Chris Lilly used. Personally I prefer something more citrusy or peachy.

Here's another thing many people negelct. Gloves. Don't forget at least a couple of pairs of gloves that will allow you to handle the pig while it's still hot.

A thirty five pounder can be easily handled by two people. Make sure you have at least one reliable friend on hand designated to help. Best not to rely on your spouse -- at crunch time, she'll have plenty of her own things to do.

That's a few of the basics ... please ask whatever comes to mind.

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