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Food Handling General Discussion General and open discussion for food handling and safety.


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Unread 05-20-2011, 08:01 AM   #1
Williefb
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Default Turning a Whole Hog

I'm planning to cook a hog using a cooker constructed out of concrete blocks.

Based on my search here I understand that there is a lively debate over the safety of cooking a whole hog using galvanized wire fencing.

My question is, if I need to use something other than galvanized material, what is it? I really need something that I can pick up at Lowes or Home Depot that doesn't require fabrication.

The other question is, does the hog even need to be wrapped? Can I just take a cable or something similar and wrap it around the feet and slide him over to one side and roll him over? Will this work or will the hams and shoulders pull loose?

Thanks!
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Unread 05-20-2011, 08:48 AM   #2
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http://cuban-christmas.com/pigroast.html

From page 4 of the link above...
Raúl Musibay: We use poles and mesh from a standard chain link fence.
Glenn Lindgren: We use either ALUMINUM OR ALUMINIZED chain link fabric (aluminum-coated steel mesh) for all surfaces that come in contact with the pig. WE NEVER USE galvanized metal!
Jorge Castillo: We lay the poles, which are galvanized metal since they never come in contact with the pig, across the top of our blocks to get an idea of the correct size. Then we cut two sections of wire mesh to size.
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Unread 05-20-2011, 07:03 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Williefb View Post
I'm planning to cook a hog using a cooker constructed out of concrete blocks.

Based on my search here I understand that there is a lively debate over the safety of cooking a whole hog using galvanized wire fencing.

My question is, if I need to use something other than galvanized material, what is it? I really need something that I can pick up at Lowes or Home Depot that doesn't require fabrication.

The other question is, does the hog even need to be wrapped? Can I just take a cable or something similar and wrap it around the feet and slide him over to one side and roll him over? Will this work or will the hams and shoulders pull loose?

Thanks!
Willie you can use expanded metal for a grate and use rebar to support it beneath the middle if needed.
The rack in my block pit is expanded metal.. it's heavy duty enough that I don't have to have extra support.

I do not wrap pigs on the block pit. I only turn them one time..half way through the cook. I start them on their backs and turn them onto their belly side half way through the cook. The pig still holds together well at this point. It takes a couple of people (on bigger hogs) on each end, holding the feet, lifting the pig and turning it over.
You can do it the other way too.. cook half way on it's belly and turn the pig onto it's back for the finish but people like to see the pig back side up (looks prettier :))

When the pig is finished it takes at least 4 people to lift it onto a sheet of wrapped plywood or a table. The meat is so tender...

I smoke pigs on my horizontal wood burner up to 75lbs.. pigs on my block pit are up to 175lbs.. anything bigger gets cooked in the underground pit overnight.
Hope you have great luck with it Willie!
The more of them you smoke the easier they are. It's the not knowing on the first one that makes people hesitate to try it.
Good luck.
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Unread 05-20-2011, 07:11 PM   #4
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^^^Hey Jeanie - what size is your offset? I'm wondering what size hog I can fit in my Klose - the main chamber is 20" diameter and 50" long. I assume I'd be doing it racer style.
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Unread 05-20-2011, 07:19 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gtr View Post
^^^Hey Jeanie - what size is your offset? I'm wondering what size hog I can fit in my Klose - the main chamber is 20" diameter and 50" long. I assume I'd be doing it racer style.
My offset cooking chamber is 5' and the firebox is 2'. I can't butterfly pigs in it, I have to fold the legs underneath. I know it is at least 20" in diameter..
It's funny...
I will fatten a pig to cook.... process it and place it on the tailgate of the pickup to get it to the smoker. The closer to the smoker I get, the bigger the pig gets. They seem to grow... or the smoker shrinks..
Sometimes I have to whittle off the head and legs and cram the pig in.
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Unread 05-21-2011, 09:12 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cowgirl View Post
I start them on their backs and turn them onto their belly side half way through the cook. The pig still holds together well at this point. It takes a couple of people (on bigger hogs) on each end, holding the feet, lifting the pig and turning it over.
You can do it the other way too.. cook half way on it's belly and turn the pig onto it's back for the finish but people like to see the pig back side up (looks prettier :))
You will find the latter in North Carolina. Starting skin up, finishing skin down. By finishing this way you get nice crispy skin. Plus the meat is facing up...where your guests can serve themselves right there on the pit.
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Unread 05-22-2011, 08:27 AM   #7
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I guess it doesn't matter which side you start it on as long as it gets done. He is right.. in NC we start belly down and then finish with belly up. How hard is it to get the meat out with the belly down? Never done it but willing to try it. I know with the belly up at the end ppl can just walk by and get served and then all you have to do is throw the skin away after it is over. Just curious how it works the other way and how much more work is involved if any? Do you still try to sauce with the belly down and just pouring sauce on the skin? And I know when Lionel B. sees this he will probably laugh. We gotta try this man.
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Unread 05-22-2011, 03:07 PM   #8
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It's easy to get to the meat with the belly down....and the first thing to go is the crisp skin, it seems to be a favorite with my friends.
I oil the skin and most of the time just use kosher salt and cracked black pepper. I like it that way.

I agree, skin side down at the end is great for crisping.. I'm not above using a torch at the last minute too. lol

When I'm short on time or don't have the help to scrape a pig I peel them like a deer







even with skin-on pigs I like to serve them belly down..
I guess my friends like the looks of it better. lol



When it is just a few people, a small pig and cold beer, I just keep paper towels handy for who ever wants one.
When it is a larger crowd and bigger hog, I move it off the pit and closer to the "party" area where the sauces and side dishes are located.
It's hard for some of my guests to reach across the cinderblock pit to get to the pig...so I make it easier for them.

I love block pigs... whether they are cooked up or down, skin-on or peeled.
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Unread 05-23-2011, 02:37 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cowgirl View Post
I love block pigs... whether they are cooked up or down, skin-on or peeled.
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