What does mean Whole Hog Smoking?
There are 6 main parts of a Whole Hog. The Shoulders that consist of The Picnic and the Butt. The Hams which are the two back legs. The Loins going down the backbone. The Ribs down both sides of the belly. The Skin which is a pivotal part of the Hog. The bacon the most flashy part which the center part of a hog will dry out or burn before the hams and shoulders will cook.
The primary challenge of a whole hog is the center of the Hog vs the two ends. The two ends are thick hams and shoulders they cook at a different rate than the center of the hog the bacon, ribs, backbone, loins, thin meat. Getting it all done at once and moist is the challenge of the ages.
- First you have to pick out a quality Whole Hog. I’d have to say from my point of view Vaughn Packing is the highest quality Whole Hog. I’ve never seen a Whole Hog that I didn’t like Vaughn packing Greer South Carolina has in stock. Berkshire hogs weight as much 700 pounds. Some claims have been that they have more Omega Oils and are healthier. Local Butcher sometimes have some high quality hogs. Go to your local butcher and see what they got sometimes grocery stores can help you. You have to find a source that is credible. 150 pound hog is ideal but takes a big cooker. Tucker Cookers are ideal for cooking a hog! Always cook your whole hog on an offset. Don’t ever cook a hog on direct heat. That is how fires start. Hogs are a large part flammable fat that combustion at 400 F. If this fat falls on a charcoal that is 1200 F boom! Those direct heat hog cookers just stay away from them.
- Brine your hog. What does it take to brine a hog. Well word is they are doing that now. I’m sure its submerging it in a salt brine over night to get it ready for cooking. Putting water in and taking the blood out will make it taste better. this is a point where you can add flavor. Kosher Salt, Brown Sugar as a base, your favorite Rub, Butcher Pork injection is a must, sage and other spices I would stay away from.
- Trimming your hog. Its all about the Membranes. Pulling membranes back so rub can attach to the pork is king. Stripping back the hams, shoulders, and taking the membrane off the back of the ribs is still important. Stripping down into loins is done some so flavoring can get around the loins.
- Some cooks like to put French’s Mustard all over the inside of a hog as a binding agent to help the rub stick to the hog. It makes the best color in the world. Mustard adds a little flavor but it adds more color and may make your rub stick.
- Packing the Back Bone -Protecting the loins so they won’t dry out is key. How do you protect those loins. Some people will put a leather cloth over them.
I have seen some of the back bones and loins loaded down with butter. Packed with sausage over the loins, then bacon put over the top of all that. Here is a picture of exactly that butter, sausage, bacon on the top.
- Injection, There has been a lot of different things used to inject a hog. I say try Butcher Pork Injection. Sprite as a base has been done quite often with whole hog. Sprite mixed with something else like Butcher Pork Injection. Apple Juice is a must, no mango nectar here. Don’t try to inject through the outside skin always inject from inside the hog. Pull the skin back on the hams and shoulders inject, rub those parts before you pull the skin back. Some people will pull the skin back and leave it back for the cook.
- The whole key is to keep it in a wet environment to keep it moist. You have to wrap the hog half way through to keep it moist. Then to protect loins from drying out. Some people put butter down the inside of the back bone, put sausage over the butter, put bacon over the sausage in a 3 piece stack. Rub under the butter, rub over the 3 piece stack instills a lot of flavor.
- Keeping the ribs from burning is difficult. Cook the hog at 250 for about 1 hour per 12 pounds. You don’t have to worry about adding charcoal and lighting it. With Tucker Cooker just buy a fuse system it will last 12 hours! When you use Royal Oak Chef Select.
- Cover the Hogs face and tail to keep it from burning.
- Rub down the hogs skin with Peanut Oil to get that deep red color.
- After the hog cooks for an hour put tin foil on the ears and front of the face. Also put tin foil on the tail so they won’t get darker or burn.
- Working the pit is important. Hogs should be cooked at 250 degrees or less. To get the temperature higher the hog is going to get dried out or burned up. Low and slow is the key to whole hog. Its an all night thing. Myron Mixon’s new cooker line is ideal for cooking whole hog.
- Cook it till the hams and shoulders are 190 degrees. It will be done by then. Falling Apart done is the order of the day. Hog cooking Time Line.
- If your cooking for a group you have to figure 50% waste on a whole hog. Bones, skin are all throw away but add to the cooking process. The glory of a whole hog is the way it all mixes together to make it taste good. Ham juice mixed with shoulder mixed with rib and loin flavor, bacon and ribs cooked together its the best pork in the world! Serve it any way you like, put Cattlemen’s Mustard chopped in a big pan. Put sauces out for people to get. This is all up to you.
- When it comes to charcoal lump will cook the pig as well as Royal Oak Chef Select. Royal Oak Lump Charcoal doesn’t burn any faster than the briquettes and I love the flavor it puts in it. I love both for use in this situation. There is no difference in the burn of either one.
Here is the Pork
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Going Whole Hog Smoking
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The tank on the 1/2 gallon Chops Power Injector holds up to a 1/2 Gallon of your favorite injection fluid. It has FOUR large bore needles spaced out at the perfect distance.Out of the box you will find the Injector fully assembled all you have to do is clean it with HOT soapy water and bleach. Then flush it with clean hot water until all the soap and bleach is gone! (Make sure you do this before and after EACH use)When your ready to inject, fill your injector at least a 1/4 full with your injection, pump up, and pull the trigger! You will notice whatever you are injecting will quickly start to expand as if you are filling a football with air!!! That’s POWER!
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Injecting your BBQ is important. It makes a difference. Citric Fruit Juice contains ascorbic acid that will help break down the collagen. Inject everything, it will build the flavor.