Roasting the Perfect Pig for your Next BBQ Bash

Whole Hog Heaven:

Roasting the Perfect Pig for your Next BBQ Bash

There's a reason a pig roast is the centerpiece of legendary BBQ gatherings. The succulent meat, the crispy crackling skin, and the smoky aroma that fills the air are enough to make anyone's mouth water. But roasting a whole pig is a feat that can seem daunting, especially for beginners. Fear not, BBQ enthusiasts! This blog will guide you through the process of transforming a whole pig into a competition-worthy main course.  

Smoking a whole Pig is also an option but you have to have a larger smoker and the skin won't have that crunch.  However, the meat couldn't be more succulent.

Preparation is Key:

  • The Right Pig: For smoking, you can choose between a suckling pig (40-60 lbs) or a market hog (100-180 lbs). Suckling pigs cook faster but have less meat.
  • Prepping the Pig: Have your butcher clean the pig and remove the organs. You can also brine the pig for extra flavor and moisture. There are many brine recipes online, or you can keep it simple with a salt, sugar, and water solution.

Setting the Stage:

  • Smoker Showdown:  If grilling/roasting, you can splatchcock it and control the cook with an up down of your grill to get at the right temperature.  You can wrap it in washed and oiled chickewire to make for easier handling when turning it.  Pizza paddle is your friend.  Or you can use a rotisserie if you have one.  You can buy a fairly simple one online and put it over a fire pit in your backyard.    If you're going to smoke it, you can use a charcoal smoker with wood chunks for smoke flavor, or wood only.  For pig, add lots of fruit wood of your choice to the fuel.  Aim for a steady temperature between 225-250°F (107-121°C) for cooking.
  • Wood for the Win: Hickory, oak, and cherry are popular choices for smoking pork. Apple is also great.  Experiment to find your favorite!

Smoking Low and Slow:

  • Seasoning Savvy: Apply a generous rub all over the pig before placing it on the smoker. Popular options include a traditional brown sugar and paprika rub, or a bolder option with cayenne pepper and cumin.  Rub in the cavity generously.
  • The Long Haul: Smoking a pig is a low and slow process, taking anywhere from 8 to 16 hours depending on the size. Monitor the internal temperature with a probe thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the shoulder. You're aiming for an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C).

Basting Bliss (Optional):

  • Mop it Up: Some folks love basting their pig with a mop sauce throughout the smoking process. This adds moisture and keeps the exterior from drying out. Popular mop ingredients include apple cider vinegar, BBQ sauce, and spices.

The Grand Finale:

  • The Crisp Factor: Once the internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C), you can crank up the heat for a final hour to crisp up the skin. Be careful not to burn it!
  • Resting Ritual: Let the pig rest for at least 30 minutes before carving. This allows the juices to redistribute, resulting in tender, flavorful meat.

Carving Tips:

  • Break it Down: A cleaver and a sharp knife are your best friends for carving a whole pig. Start by separating the head, shoulders, and legs. Then, remove the ribs and backbone. Finally, slice the remaining meat across the grain.

Roasting the Perfect Pig for your Next BBQ Bash

  • Classic Sides: Pair your smoked pig with classic BBQ sides like coleslaw, baked beans, and potato salad. Don't forget the BBQ sauce for dipping!
  • Pig Pickin' Fun: Traditionally, smoked pig is served buffet-style, allowing guests to grab a pulled pork sandwich or a pile of their favorite cuts straight off the hog..

Smoking a whole pig is a rewarding experience that will leave your guests in awe. With careful preparation, the right smoker setup, and a low and slow approach, you can achieve BBQ perfection. So fire up your smoker, grab your favorite rub, and get ready to experience whole hog heaven!

Here's to great BBQ this summer. 

-Paul and all the team at Smoking Pig BBQ