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Libertarian 03-15-2013 06:36 AM

Pig Cookers vs Traditional Offsets
I'm hoping for some input from some of the more experienced brethren on this. I currently own a Large KJ and a Pitmaker Safe - both essentially vertical smokers. I am planning to add an offset/horizontal to the family this year and one of my primary objectives is to be able to cook a whole pig several times/year. I'll use the offset for lots of other things too, but the ability to cook a 75-100 lb. pig is a key consideration. Here in the Carolinas most guys have pig cookers with at least 36" of depth and most of them run on propane. Thankfully you can also buy them as charcoal/wood only cookers as well. Similar to the cookers made by BQ Grills in NC. Guys here swear you need the 36" to accomodate a split pig.

I really prefer the more traditional offsets - something like a Lang, Jambo or Pitmaker Sniper. 24" diameter buy 48-60" or so. Will these easily accomodate a small to smallish medium size pig or am I going to run out of room? Anyone successfully cooking pigs on these size pits? I realize I could cook halves but for presentation purposes I want the ability to cook the entire thing.

Any input greatly appreciated. The Texas-style offsets are not as popular around here but these pig cookers (many of them stainless) are everywhere.

dwfisk 03-15-2013 06:50 AM

I have a home built reverse flow stickburner with a 24"x +50" primary gooking grate. Did a 54 pound (dressed) whole hog (my first) a couple months back and it was great and I'll certainly do more. I'm thinking I have plenty of room for maybe up to an 80 pounder if I stay with the racetrack style. If I were to butterfly the hog, the 50 pound range will fill up my 24" depth and that is probably my limit.

Goddahavit 03-15-2013 06:57 AM

I have a 24 x 48 jambo, besides the door issue that you can fix when ordering, no way i could get a 100 lb pig head on butterflied. in there.

Libertarian 03-15-2013 07:14 AM

It sounds like a pig cooker is the answer if I truly want to get a 100 lb pig on the unit. Thanks for the input. Pigs are a big deal around these parts and I'd like to be able to cook one. Long-term just another excuse for more pits in the "fleet". :)

captndan 03-15-2013 07:29 AM

If your dead set on doing a split a deeper grate is necessary. Call Lang and tell them what you want to do.

dwfisk 03-15-2013 07:48 AM


Originally Posted by captndan (Post 2408185)
If your dead set on doing a split a deeper grate is necessary. Call Lang and tell them what you want to do.

^+1. IMO you will be much happier with a stickburner over gas. I cooked for +10 years on a pretty nice gas vertical and was pretty happy with it UNTIL I started cooking with my stick burner. Much better bark, smoke rings & overall taste!

cpw 03-15-2013 08:07 AM

We have a Lang 84, and cooked a 120 pound hog no problem. I don't know if a 60 could do it though.

Hawg Father of Seoul 03-15-2013 08:25 AM

75 and 100 pound pigs are worlds apart. Decide what capacity you actually want and go from there.

A Lang 84 is super over kill for 99% of the cooks you will want to do. Get two cookers and be happy.

PaPaQ 03-15-2013 08:55 AM

I have a BQ Grills 36 x 48 and that is about small as you want to go for a
110 lb pig (less head and feet). Talk to John at Alveron Cookers he will build about anything you want. When I took the cooking class in Summerville we cooked a whole pig on one of his charcoal cookers and it turned out nice. Like someone said a Lang 84 with double doors and slide out rack would be an option also.

Bludawg 03-15-2013 11:11 AM

Offsets are all about Flow, if you pack it to full it'll slap land you at an AA meeting. So size matters. Figure average the size hog you will cook your gonna want the cook tube to be at min 2/3 larger in volume in Dia and Length. to keep the proper flow. If I was looking to cook Whole Hog and other stuff too I would go with a Meadow Creek PR 60.

gtr 03-15-2013 11:25 AM

The chamber in my offset is 50" with a 20" diameter. This is a 58# pig. There's a little room to move it around, but not much. I think I can go a little bigger on the pig next time but I don't think I'll be fitting anything over 80# in this cooker.

smokeisgood 03-15-2013 01:11 PM

I know it's just me, but I really do not want to cook and eat something that is still looking at me. I'll take my pork and beef and chicken parted out at the butcher shop please.....but that's just me...

J-Rod 03-15-2013 01:32 PM


Originally Posted by smokeisgood (Post 2408660)
I know it's just me, but I really do not want to cook and eat something that is still looking at me. I'll take my pork and beef and chicken parted out at the butcher shop please.....but that's just me...

I'm with you there. I have a hard enough time knowing where it comes from let alone if it's glaring back at me while I cook it! To each his own though.

And, I like the Native American's view on meat- always thank the animal for it's sacrifice. It's the least we can do!

Gnaws on Pigs 03-15-2013 02:40 PM

I'm the opposite-I prefer meat that I kill and butcher myself because I know where it came from and how it was handled.

As for the cooker, the standard old-school pig cooker here in NC is a stickburner made from a 250-275 gallon oil tank, they work great. The usual method is to burn the wood down in a seperate barrel and shovel the coals in under the pig. They also work great for general smoking-you can build a fire on one end and cook on the other end, or grill on one side while you're smoking on the other.

Libertarian 03-15-2013 11:06 PM

Great thread guys - lots of good information here. Thanks for the input. I think I'll be going with a true pig cooker as opposed to a traditional offset for now. To each his own, but I worship at the alter of whole hog barbecue.

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