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View Full Version : What size pig to cook???


Coldholler
06-05-2012, 09:38 AM
I'm having my second annual pig pickin', "Burning Pig Festival," in August, and I need to decide what size pig to serve up. I have some time to think about my options, but thought I'd float the question. This forum has really served to inform my decisions -- you guys are a great sounding board. I even have presumed "voices" for some of you. There's Click and Clack the Tappit Brothers from Cartalk, and Howard Stern, Hank III, my FIL, and even George Bush for one of you Texans.

Seriously, here's the Q, with backstory as usual:


Last year, I cooked a 140 pound pig for about 100 adults and a huge passel of kids. It was more than I needed, and it was almost too big for my smoker which has a 48x31" cooking surface.
Since then, I've gotten really good at butts and know I could easily churn out enough awesome Q doing that.
But, it's a pig picking. So I'm thinking about a medium-sized pig and maybe some butts.
Maybe an 80-100 pound pig? I'd hate to miscalculate as my numbers are a moving target and could easily exceed expectations. How much grill surface would be left for butts if I did that? Could I put 4 butts on top of the pig for a long, extended cook? I will almost certainly butterfly the pig skin-down, and I don't flip it. Thinking a 12-16 hour cook, here.
Or, I could do a very small pig racer style for effect and surround it with butts -- I could cook a 40 pounder and certainly get 8 butts around it, straight on the grate.


Thoughts????? Thanks!!!!!!!!!

CarolinaQue
06-05-2012, 09:59 AM
I think that a 100 to 120 lber would likely be enough pig. Especially if kids make up 20% or so of your total head count. However, teenage boys more than make up for what the little ones don't eat.

As far as cooking more meat, do you have a second shelf you can cook butts on, or another cooker you could borrow to dedicate to cooking the other meat? I'm just not sure putting butts right on the pig would work. You will be increasing your mass considerably because the butts wouldn't be getting any air under them and the pig would have to get hot before the bottom really started cooking. You'd be turning them every couple of hours to make up for this I would think.

BTW...which one is my voice?

BigBlock
06-05-2012, 10:28 AM
120 lb pig butterflied head off and feet off should be plenty and you should still be able to put on 4 or five butts if you like

BigBlock
06-05-2012, 10:34 AM
if you look at the rack on my grill that rack is 48 by 32 and that is a 110 lb hog and you would still have room for a few butts hope this helps
http://i1166.photobucket.com/albums/q612/BAWSHAWG/pig4.jpg

CarolinaQue
06-05-2012, 11:01 AM
Good lookin' pig BigBlock!!! The picture is deceiving though, that rack looks bigger than 32". But you definately do have enough room for a few extra butts on there!!!

BigBlock
06-05-2012, 11:50 AM
Good lookin' pig BigBlock!!! The picture is deceiving though, that rack looks bigger than 32". But you definately do have enough room for a few extra butts on there!!!
I meant the flipping grate not the main grilling grate

Lake Dogs
06-05-2012, 01:18 PM
Some guys cook butts placed over the ribs in the hog (when the hog is butterflied; skin side down). Apparently it helps the rib meat not get so completely over-cooked...

Coldholler
06-05-2012, 01:37 PM
All good ideas!!! I love the idea of an upper rack, anyway. Think I'll make one. Nestling them in the rib cavity is actually what I had in mind, but I think I'll go with a rack. It'll be fascinating to see how cooking up there near my stacks might be different, too. Further from the heat but in the main flow of smoke.

Coldholler
06-05-2012, 01:59 PM
BTW...which one is my voice?

Don't know if I have one yet for you -- you've got me confused with the Maine address and the "Carolina" handle -- of course, I don't know either whether it's NC where I live now or whether you're from THE Carolina, capitol of which is Columbia. These things matter!

Coldholler
06-05-2012, 02:01 PM
if you look at the rack on my grill that rack is 48 by 32 and that is a 110 lb hog and you would still have room for a few butts hope this helps
http://i1166.photobucket.com/albums/q612/BAWSHAWG/pig4.jpg

That helps a lot -- mine is almost exactly the same size, and more importantly even, my stacks are just like that, too. Any observations or thoughts about having an elevated rack up near the ceiling close to them? I'd think it would just be that much smokier, in a good way.

BigBlock
06-05-2012, 02:56 PM
That helps a lot -- mine is almost exactly the same size, and more importantly even, my stacks are just like that, too. Any observations or thoughts about having an elevated rack up near the ceiling close to them? I'd think it would just be that much smokier, in a good way.
not sure how your lid is made mine wouldn't fit another rack very well it would have to be pretty much in the center being the way the barrel is cut but I think you will be just fine.

good luck and enjoy your pig pickin

Coldholler
06-05-2012, 03:00 PM
Thanks -- yep -- me too -- I'm thinking a rack deep enough to hold one row of butts would be what I could fit. Maybe it'll be 48" wide by about 10" deep by about 8" high. I think 8" would fit over anything I cook except turkeys and allow for plenty of smoke circulation. I'll just have to measure and see. Of course, anything below it will be bathed in drippings. Not a bad thing, I think...

CarolinaQue
06-05-2012, 03:15 PM
I grew up in Charlotte for the most part and then lived in Midland, NC the summer before my senior year and for a few months ater I graduated before I left for the Marines. So, I'm from that Carolina. But I'm in the Coast Guard now, and stationed in Maine where I'll likely retire and rasie my kids here. I just give up my Carolina roots, hence the handle.

Coldholler
06-05-2012, 03:21 PM
Nice -- I met my dad at the top of Katahdin when he finished the Appalachian Trail, and I camped in Acadia the same trip, and met one of my wife's professors at their cabin on the shore near Camden and sailed their boat around the bay. I could live in ME.

I grew up in SC. Also, I love the mountains of NC which don't really do BBQ and grudgingly admit the eastern NC vinegar tradition is superbe. Actually, the best BBQ region, to my tastes, is the NC/SC area around the Peedee between Fayetteville and Florence. I think it transcends state lines. Now, this thread has really drifted, huh? Cooker mods, and BBQ regions -- bet those topics have never been discussed on this forum. :rolleyes:

Smokendink71
06-05-2012, 03:24 PM
My nephew and I share the same birthday, which is coming up in less than a month and we have been giving it some thought as to doing a whole pig, thinking we are going to do around 80-100 lbs, my smoker is 24"x48" so I'm hoping it fits

Coldholler
06-05-2012, 03:34 PM
My nephew and I share the same birthday, which is coming up in less than a month and we have been giving it some thought as to doing a whole pig, thinking we are going to do around 80-100 lbs, my smoker is 24"x48" so I'm hoping it fits

Here's a 140 pounder (dressed) on my 48"x31" surface.

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-ChykDi9TDsg/TlJ8v6A8pUI/AAAAAAAAA00/A3YPSr6whPA/s1600/IMG_4309.JPG

BigBlock
06-05-2012, 04:02 PM
I grew up in Charlotte for the most part and then lived in Midland, NC the summer before my senior year and for a few months ater I graduated before I left for the Marines. So, I'm from that Carolina. But I'm in the Coast Guard now, and stationed in Maine where I'll likely retire and rasie my kids here. I just give up my Carolina roots, hence the handle.
I was wondering about that guess we need to get you a good ole NC hog cooker up there to Maine so you can show um how to do it. I know its nice up there I used to live in NH

CarolinaQue
06-05-2012, 04:10 PM
Funny you mention the hog cooker. After seeing yours, I really want to build one!!!

BigBlock
06-05-2012, 04:19 PM
Funny you mention the hog cooker. After seeing yours, I really want to build one!!!
can't go wrong here this is a good deal for a brand new barrell
http://eastnc.craigslist.org/for/3008607901.html

Smokendink71
06-05-2012, 04:50 PM
well I'm in hopes that 100 pounder will fit on mine then