This is going to be a long post and it might be a bit graphic for those who don't want to know where their pork comes from. Close your eyes if you're squeamish. :)
Did this cook a couple of weeks ago.
Didn't know how many would be here for the party so I picked out a pig that was close to 100lbs. (Didn't weigh it). This was one of the smaller pigs I had in the pen.
Day one.... attached a pully to the tree limb where I process pigs, (close to a water hose). Dispatched the pig, loaded it onto the tailgate of the pickup. (had help with that, it was pretty heavy)
The new gambrel I bought for processing deer was too large for the pig so had to rig some rope to keep the legs slightly spread and the pig in a position that was easy to work with. Looked odd but it worked. :)
Bled the pig and washed it well with the hose before starting...
Split down the center, removed the entrails, catching everything in a large container.
Inside the pig on either side of the spine is where your pork tenderloins come from. They are pretty popular for their tenderness.
For those who don't know....next time you grill tenderloins you'll know exactly what part of the pig you're eating. :)
I opted to skin the pig instead of scalding and scraping to save time and work.
Started with a slit around the hind legs and worked the hide down, using a knife to separate the skin from the pig. (just like skinning a deer)
work the hide all the way down...
removed the head and the front forelegs...
Hosed the pig off again, backed the pickup close by and lowered the pig into a tub on the tailgate.
(the tub is a sheep water trough I save especially for pigs)
Remove the back feet as you lower the pig into the tub.
Next step is to butterfly the pig. Use a large sharp axe.... place the axe on the center of the spine. Hit the back head of the axe with a hammer. This forces the axe into the spine...move the axe down the spine and repeat until the whole spine is split and the pig lays flat.
Be careful not to cut all the way through the pig.
Press the rib cage and shoulders open with your hands to make the pig lay flat...
Rinse with cold water and ice down until needed. In this case I iced it down overnight.
It was a beautiful day. :)
Getting the pit ready. Put new foil in the bottom. Used the weed burner on everything (grate too).
It rained during the night so had to place boards around the pit to walk on. It was pretty muddy! (not complaining, I loved the rain! :))
Covered the bottom with foil, added two small piles of coal, added two drip pans filled with beer, dry rub and sliced leeks for flavor and aroma. (smells sooooo good)
The coals go under the hams and shoulders of the pig, not the rib section.
lit the coals with the weed burner...
placed the cooking grate on the pit and added another layer of blocks...
Getting the pig ready. Injected with a mixture of apple juice, water, soy sauce, worcestershire sauce, brown sugar. The recipe belongs to friend Jon in Vermont. I've used it many times, it's my favorite. Thanks again Jon!
I used 3 quarts of the mix in this pig. Injected shoulders, back loin, hams...everything.
Then seasoned the pig with a mixture of Big Poppa "Money" Rub and Slap Yo Daddy "Meat" Rub..
layed the pig into the pit on it's back...
and seasoned the bottom. It was a lot easier for me to do it this way than to season the whole pig on the tailgate.
Covered the pit and sat back to let it slow smoke... It was in the pit at 7:30 a.m..
Added a handful of coal every 45 minutes or so to each end of the pit. It doesn't take much coal....just enough to maintain the temperature. The pit ran 250F through the whole cook.
Turned the pig over after 4 1/2 hours of cooking. Figured that was about half way through.
I spritzed the pig every hour with a mixture of apple juice and whiskey. About 4 1/2 more hours in the pit... the pig was pretty much ready...
I stopped adding coal, kept the pig covered so it could rest and the juices could equalize back into the meat....I let it rest for at least 30 minutes.
Pulled most of the meat but left some whole...
went the fairly easy route on the side dishes and made potato salad, slaw, beans, corn on the cob......
Served a vinegar sauce and regular Q sauce...
spicy shrimp and a strawberry trifle...
Didn't get a pic of the other table with snacks...chips, dip, veggies and fruit.
Some of us sat by the pit and snacked on pig and cold beer and didn't make it to the food table. It was a fun night. :)
Everyone said this was the best pig yet. Looking forward to the next one!