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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, Equipment and just outdoor cookin' in general, hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures... but stay on topic. And watch for that hijacking.


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Unread 09-26-2013, 01:09 PM   #1
markdtn
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Default Whole Hog-need advice

My oldest son is about to earn his Eagle Scout rank. For the award banquet (a Saturday evening in November) he has asked me to cook a whole hog. There will probably be 50-75 people for dinner. I have never done this, but always wanted to. There will be lots of relatives and family friends in town that day.

As I see it, there are 3 common methods to cook a whole hog.
1) On a spit. I would like to do this, but I want to be able to spend time with guests that day.
2) In a box or smoker. I have a 20x50 Backyard Chef, so I could do a small-medium hog. Again, it will require time on Saturday tending it.
3) In the ground. To me this is the most appealing for this occasion. I can leave work early on Friday, do the prep, and get it cooking and I will have time on Saturday to visit until close to time.

Does anyone have any advice or thoughts on this plan?
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Unread 09-26-2013, 01:50 PM   #2
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You could do a block pit.?
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Unread 09-26-2013, 02:24 PM   #3
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Unread 09-26-2013, 03:05 PM   #4
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Congrats on the eagle scout. I would use a block pit.
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Unread 09-26-2013, 03:17 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by outwest View Post
Congrats on the eagle scout. I would use a block pit.

Thank you. I am the Scoutmaster so I am very proud of him.

How much tending is required with a block pit? I normally don't mind tending the fire, but this time is a little different. I look at Cowgirls blog on cooking a pig in the ground and it doesn't look too hard. I was just wanting to do most of the work the night before before family came so I could spend more time Saturday with the ones that came from far away.
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Unread 09-26-2013, 03:18 PM   #6
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Block pit is super easy!

Plus you can break it down and use it again and again!!
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Unread 09-26-2013, 05:49 PM   #7
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A big congrats to your son, that is quite the accomplishment.
I'd go block pit as well.
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Unread 09-26-2013, 05:56 PM   #8
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I've cooked a few pigs in my 20x50 BYC ranging from just under 60# to probably a little under 70# & wouldn't want to go much bigger than 70 due to the size of the pit. That'll feed around 70 folks but yeah, you'll be working a little feeding the fire and spinning the pig a few times. I did 'em racer style and they all turned out really well. They all took in the neighborhood of 10 hours to cook and I let 'em rest about an hour.

All methods mentioned are well known to yield great results, but what I personally like about cooking in the BYC is being able to easily see and monitor how the cook is going.
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Unread 09-26-2013, 06:18 PM   #9
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I've done a few pigs. If it's your first time do two 30lb suckings which would only take like 3hrs or so. I've seen places rent motorized spits and you just need to keep charcoal on the 4 corners
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Unread 09-26-2013, 06:30 PM   #10
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another vote for a block pit
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Unread 09-26-2013, 10:02 PM   #11
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Here is a link to the few I did this summer. #1 piece of advice I would give is don't sweat this cook. Very forgiving and actually a lot easier than I imagined.

http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/sh...d.php?t=168776
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Unread 09-26-2013, 10:27 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markdtn View Post
Thank you. I am the Scoutmaster so I am very proud of him.

How much tending is required with a block pit? I normally don't mind tending the fire, but this time is a little different. I look at Cowgirls blog on cooking a pig in the ground and it doesn't look too hard. I was just wanting to do most of the work the night before before family came so I could spend more time Saturday with the ones that came from far away.
The block pit needs to be tended every 30 to 45 minutes. Add coals at each end under the hams and shoulders. You want to keep the heat fairly low and steady throughout the cook. I like 225 to 250F.
block pit... http://cowgirlscountry.blogspot.com/...nderblock.html

Getting the underground pit ready takes several hours. Burning the wood to get a good bed of hot coals takes awhile. 4 to 5 hours or so. You must use hardwoods so the coals will last through the night.
Getting the coals ready is a party in itself.
I like to get the pig in the ground around 10 pm then check it before noon. If anything is wrong I have time to add more heat before party time.
Underground pit.. http://cowgirlscountry.blogspot.com/...derground.html

Underground pits are great but you have to have that deep bed of hot hardwood coals and cover the pit air tight. Any air entering the pit will cause flair ups.

Good luck with what ever you do!
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Unread 09-26-2013, 11:56 PM   #13
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I've cooked about 50 hogs over the past 20 years.... all on a spit. I started with rental spits, and then just went ahead and made one with a friend of mine. Making a cooker might actually be a good scout project if you can find an old 500 -550 gallon oil drum somewhere. You can cut the drum with a sawzall to form the lid and base. Unless you know how to weld you can then buy the spit (actually I use a stainless steel cage to hold the hog securely so it doesn't spin as it cooks down), and motor on-line. Its a fun time and the pigs turn out great. Someone does have to keep an eye on the cooker, but it is not a lot of work. Just adding some coals every 45-60 minutes to keep the temp steady.

Congrats to both you and the new Eagle Scout, Dad.
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Unread 09-27-2013, 02:00 AM   #14
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I would do a block or rent something big enough to hold a large hog.
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Unread 09-27-2013, 06:58 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cowgirl View Post
The block pit needs to be tended every 30 to 45 minutes. Add coals at each end under the hams and shoulders. You want to keep the heat fairly low and steady throughout the cook. I like 225 to 250F.
block pit... http://cowgirlscountry.blogspot.com/...nderblock.html

Getting the underground pit ready takes several hours. Burning the wood to get a good bed of hot coals takes awhile. 4 to 5 hours or so. You must use hardwoods so the coals will last through the night.
Getting the coals ready is a party in itself.
I like to get the pig in the ground around 10 pm then check it before noon. If anything is wrong I have time to add more heat before party time.
Underground pit.. http://cowgirlscountry.blogspot.com/...derground.html

Underground pits are great but you have to have that deep bed of hot hardwood coals and cover the pit air tight. Any air entering the pit will cause flair ups.

Good luck with what ever you do!
Thank you. This is the direction I am leaning on this particular cook. I can dig the pit during the week, then get off work at noon on Friday and prep the pig, start the fire about 5:00 and put it on at 10:00. All that sounds do-able.

I want to try the other methods, but just not this time. Normally the tending fire is the part I enjoy, but this time I just want to be able to be as flexible as possible on Saturday to visit with family. They won't be there on Friday, so I maximize my time this way.

Just so I understand the big picture:
-dig a pit about 3' deep and 1' bigger than the pig
-line the bottom with firebrick or rocks
-create a bed of hardwood coals approaching 1' deep
-place a metal grate just above the coals. I have a few pieces of floor grate I was planning to use for that.
-wrap prepped pig in foil, then burlap, then chicken wire
-wet down the burlap and place pig on grate
-immediately cover hole with a metal plate that completely cuts off air to hole. (no galvanized) So if you use roofing it can't have any nail holes? Can you use aluminum siding for this? Could you use untreated plywood? This seems like the hardest part for me to find. I don't have anything for this part.
-cook 12-14 hours (~100 lb pig)
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