Grilling a Whole Hog
If you have ever been to a BBQ where the pitmaster was grilling a whole pig, you know the sights and smells are unbelievable. However, smoking a whole hog takes more time and preparation than buying a pork shoulder or a set of chops.
In this article, we will look at the ins and outs of purchasing and cooking a whole pig on a grill. That way, you can decide if you are ready to tackle this exciting, fun and tasty project.
Considerations When Deciding Whether to Cook a Whole Hog
Should you go all out by grilling a whole hog? Only you can make the choice, but you will need to remember a few things. First of all, buying a whole pig is a special order project. You cannot just go to your grocer and walk out today with a hog. Therefore, if you have a picnic in a day or two, wait until another time to see this idea come to fruition.
Be sure you are also not too squeamish. A whole hog does not look particularly appetizing before it is cooked. But if you are comfortable around raw meats, you should be fine. Still, you will need someone else to help you with your smoking. Whole hogs can run 100 pounds or more, so get the right size for you and your buddies to handle.
Also, ask the butcher if they can buy a frozen whole hog and defrost it at their facility. This saves you the need for a huge fridge. Butchers can also prep the meat so all you have to do is pick it up and take it to your smoker grill.
This brings us to another question: Is your grill big enough? If your whole pig will just fit on the grates, you will never get enough air and heat circulation to properly cook it. You need a spacious smoker grill for this grilling adventure!
Cooking the Whole Hog
Unless you are dressing and cleaning the pig yourself, you should be able to put it right on a properly prepared grill. Set the grill to around 250 degrees and let it get nice and toasty. Use fuel you trust and know. This is not the time to experiment with a new type of charcoal briquette.
Before you can place the hog onto the grill, you will want to inject the carcass with brine. The brine helps season the meat and keep it juicy. Lay the pig out on a clean plastic tarp to do the injecting work. Again, a butcher may spare you this step.
When you have the pig laid out, you can always rub the skin with a light coating of oil. Feel free to include seasonings if you wish, although a roasted hog needs virtually no spices at this point.
Whole Pig Cooking Times and Temperatures
When your pig is ready to cook, reduce the heat to 225 degrees. Place the hog rib-side down on the grill. Then, babysit it for around eight or more hours. Do not skip this step! A whole hog can burn unevenly and quickly if you are not careful. You would much rather catch a problem early than mess up smoking a hog.
Use a thermometer to check the internal temperature of the meat. When the thermometer registers 160 degrees, make a slit in the back of the pig to let juices and heat escape. Then, flip the pig on its back and fill the belly with seasonings or rub, as well as an injection of apple juice, apple cider, beer or any preferred fluid.
Continue to cook the pig to an internal temperature of 170 degrees. You can then remove it and either carve it up or lay it out for people to serve themselves. Enjoy the feast and the thumbs up you get for tackling this recipe.
You’re also going to need a smoker grill, though, so turn to Grilla Grills to make sure you get the quality — and size — you need to go hog wild.