9 Step Process To Cooking A Whole Hog
Pictures and Step-by-Step instructions on slow-smoking a Whole Hog
This is a video we shot at Memphis In May 2010 of the whole hog we cooked,
to give you an idea of what your whole hog can look like as a finished product.
Cooking a whole hog is the biggest BBQ challenge that there is...
It's also the most fun. And smoking a whole hog to perfection takes a little know-how.
On this website you will find videos, tips and recipes that will show you exactly how to trim a whole hog, inject a whole hog and smoke a whole hog.
Just look over the different sections on cooking a whole hog - and if you don't find what you are looking for, then you can ask a question on HowToBBQRight Facebook Page. We'll get it answered for you...
We give you the step-by-step guide to cooking a whole hog - competition style. The steps go a little farther than your typical backyard BBQer, but if you take the extra steps you WILL have better hog meat and better presentation.
Injecting Your Whole Hog Injection Recipe and Video
How To Break Down a Whole Hog
Step #1: Order Your Whole Hog
Order your hog from your local butcher. I recommend ordering a hog that weighs between 140 to 165lbs. You will probably need to give your butcher at least one week notice before picking up. If you need help finding a good butcher, click the link.
Step #2: Trimming Your Whole Hog
Trimming the Hog is the most important step. You are going to need:
Extra sharp boning knife
Electric saw for cutting the legs, head and ribs
Small hatchet for splitting the backbone
First remove the spare ribs from the baby backs by cutting with electric saw. Then split the top of the spine just below the neck of the hog. This cut should only be about 10" long. This will allow for the shoulders of the hog to lay flat.
Next with your knife remove as much fat from the top of the shoulders, hams and bacon as possible. This will allow your rub and smoke to penetrate into the meat while cooking. My rule of thumb is if I don’t think it will taste good after it’s cooked, it should probably be removed.
Finally remove all four feet at the joints and discard.
Step #3: Coating Your Hog
Apply yellow mustard over entire hog being careful not to get any on the outside skin.
Apply the Killer Hogs dry rub over all meaty areas again being careful not to get any rub on the outside skin of the hog. You can substitute my dry rub with your own creation or any store bought rub will be sufficient as long as it suites your taste palate.
Step #4: Injecting Your Hog
Inject the shoulders, hams, loin and bacon with a minimum of 2 gallons of injection
Killer Hogs Whole Hog Injection:
32oz Apple Juice
1/2 cup Kosher Salt
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
1/2 cup Lt. Corn Syrup
1/4 cup Red Wine Vinegar
1/2 cup Dry Rub
1 TBS Worcestershire
1 TBS soy
Step #5: Clean your Hog
Clean off outer skin of hog using a white cloth and vegetable oil to remove any mustard or dry rub that may have gotten on the skin. Next spray all of the outer skin with vegetable oil using a spray bottle. This will keep the skin from burning during the cooking process.
Step #6: Start Smoking
Get your smoker ready to smoke for 17 to 20 hours. Your pit will need to be at a temp of 220 deg and you will need enough coal and wood to last through the duration of the cook - so plan accordingly.
I recommend a good quality coal like chef’s delight or chef’s select and I always use dried hickory and peach chunks with or without the bark. You can also soak the wood in water if you like.
Place the hog in your pit that is up to temp. Cook at 220 to 230 deg. for four (4) hours. During this time be sure to add lots of hickory and peach wood chunks to the fire chamber.
Step #7: Wrapping Your Hog
Next you want to spray the outside skin again with vegetable oil and then finally wrap the entire hog with aluminum foil. This will keep the hog from turning to dark and also trap all the juices inside so it will self baste.
Step #8: Second Injection
Once the shoulders internal temp has reached 170deg (and has probably been cooking for about 16 hours at this point) remove the foil and inject shoulders, loin, bacon and hams with injection #2.
Next continue cooking the hog without foil until shoulders reach 185deg internal temp and the hams 175.
Killer Hogs Whole Hog 2nd Injection:
64oz – Apple Juice
1 Cup – Apple Cider Vinegar
2 TBL – Dry Rub
Step #9: Glaze Your Hog
Once the hog reaches desired internal temp its time for glazing. Glaze the hog using the Killer Hogs Whole Hog Glaze ingredients. Cook the hog for another 30 to 45min. to let the glaze set. Mist hog with apple juice to give a nice shine then garnish and serve.
When you get your whole hog, you need to cut tendons at the ankle of all four legs. This ensures that the feet do not curl up when you cook your whole hog.
Lay the hog on its back and cut the skin away from the hog's belly all the way up to the spine. Then cut the skin away from the legs and shoulders.
Dislocate both hips (grab hog's ankle, press down firmly toward belly, until hip "pops")
Wipe hog down very good, both inside and out. Liberally spread your BBQ rub or other sauces all over any surfaces, even between skin and flesh.
We coat our whole hog with our special Killer Hogs Rub.
You have two options when placing your hog on the grill grate. You can lay the hog on his back, or his stomach.
We suggest cutting through the breast bone and laying the hog on his back. This is preferred in competition BBQ.
Place 10 lb hot coals directly under shoulder and leg. Place a few more coals under the shoulder area since the legs cook faster than the shoulder area.
Check temperatures and add more charcoal every 40 minutes. Place probes (or meat thermometers) in thickest portion of both shoulder and leg. Set final cooking temperatures to 160F (70C) for the leg, and 180F (82C) for the shoulder.
During the initial 40 minutes, check barbecue temperature. It should peak at about 225F (105C). Try to keep it within ten degrees of this temperature throughout by adjusting charcoal supply and vents on unit. This takes a bit of trial and error.
Keep adding charcoal, checking temperatures, and making sure the water trays don't run dry.
Try to manage it so that the (quicker-cooking) leg is cooking slower than the shoulder. Ideally it should be about five to 15 degrees cooler than the shoulder.
Figure out by how many degrees the temperatures increase per hour. Using this figure, estimate how long it will take to complete cooking. But beware, at around 145F everything seems to grind to a juddering halt, and the temperature doesn't budge for what seems an age. Again, we recommend allowing an hour or two's leaway.