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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Prepping and Cooking a Pig on the Cinderblock Pit

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 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.

Next morning....
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!


Barbara said...

Thanks for this. I really like the walk through, wish I had that skill set. I'm just getting over putting the live lobsters in the!! Do you save/use the feet? Thanks again. I can almost smell it from here! Num, num...

Bushman said...

That looks so good! I just finished up my graduation open houses and not one roasted pig. So disappointed!

I have a very small pig farm down the road and every once in awhile one will die or break a leg or something. He gives them away. I'm on the list. I just hope its late fall or winter when my turn comes around.

Old Smoke said...

So I guess this took place BEFORE the GREAT ambulance cruise....;) Great tutorial, for prepping the hog. I was headed your way but I didn't quite make it. Never trust Jack 'n Jose' to give directions...;) It sure looks purdy darn tasty.
Take care
Hope yer havin' a good week.

LindaG said...

I soooo wish I could come to one of your BBQs. ;-)

Hubby's folks used a pully like that when they gutted their cows. The old rusty pully was still in the pecan tree we had to take down.

Thanks so much for this post!

And thanks for your comment on my blog. The reunion turned out great, after all our work and worry.

Have a wonderful evening. ♥

Sid said...

Long but educational! That pig looks and sounds awesome. I'm seriously envious of your friends and neighbors! Hope your doing better. Take care.

Rocco said...

You know Jeannie,
I would've drove from Chicago to Oklahoma for a fantastic meal like that

cowgirl said...

Thank you Barbara! I use the feed but did not this time.
I appreciate you stopping by. Hope you have a nice week! :)

cowgirl said...

Bushman thanks! Hope you give one a try sometime. They're easier to cook than they look.
Keep me posted when you do! :)

cowgirl said...

lol Thanks Rick! This happened the day before the ride. :)
Next time leave your friends Jack and Jose at home, You can meet my friends. lol
Hope you have a great week too. :)

cowgirl said...

Linda that's interesting about the pully in your tree. I bet it was put to good use.
Wish you lived closer, I would have invited you for sure. :)
Your reunion looked like a great success! I enjoyed the pics.
Thanks so much for stopping by. :)

cowgirl said...

Chris thanks! Meant to tell you that I didn't trip over Sugar. lol
I'm getting stronger every day. :)
If you lived closer I would have invited you too. You might have to bring your lawn chair though. :)
Thanks again Chris!

cowgirl said...

Shoot Rocco, I just googled it. That would be almost a 16 hour drive for a meal!! Not sure if my cookin' is that good. lol
Thanks for the kind comment though. :)
Hope you have a nice week!

Ohiofarmgirl said...

fantastic!!! any cooking that involves an axe is my kind of thing. yay!. we use a sawsall with clean blade when we halve our porks.. wonder if that would work to butterfly as well?

thanks for doing this post - you are totally my hero.

Ohiofarmgirl said...

ps are you on 'the facebook' somewhere?

Unknown said...

Great post. I've been BBQing for years on a Meadow Creek PR-42. Ironically, the one thing my wife WON'T let me do is a whole hog (she doesn't care if that whole hog is cut up into pieces...she just can't take it seeing a whole pig on the roaster).

My one question is, HOW do you kill your pigs. I've never done anything remotely close to your process nor did I grow up in a rural environment to be around people who did so. I'm a city boy with a love for good 'que.

Unknown said...

I'm sorry I missed this. Looks like a great spread.

Paulie G.

cowgirl said...

Thanks Ohiofarmgirl! The sawsall might work if you don't cut all the way through. Good luck with it! :)

I haven't found time for facebook or twitter. :(

cowgirl said...

Rob you're missing out. Whole hogs are pretty good!
I use a .22 to dispatch the pig.

Hope you give cooking one a try sometime. Thanks for stopping by! :)

cowgirl said...

Thank you Paulie , Great to see you! Hope you are having a nice weekend..I appreciate you stopping by. :)

Unknown said...

This is just outrageously inspiring. I can't wait to try it out!!

cowgirl said...

Thanks Brittanie! :)

Woodworkin' & Good Eats said...

Oh man, That's what I call a BBQ!!!
I love all the photos and you have me drooling on my keyboard, LOL
Hey, come on over and see my launch day photos. Gypsy Rose is in the water, at last!

Buddy said...

Hey cowgirl its been along time...I have missed your cooking,this one is a keeper, your really are one of the best.Sixteen hours...I'd drive that easy.

cowgirl said...

Steve thanks! Congratulations on getting the Gypsy Rose finished. Looking forward to seeing your pics!

cowgirl said...

Hi Buddy, Hope summer is treatin' you well!

Unknown said...

I am relatively late to your blog, but I am glad I found it. Anyway, cooking pig with cinder blocks and live coals (not the same as charcoal, but the jist is the same) is how I learned to cook bbq. Would you rather cook on the pit or would you rather used your offset. Do you reserve your pit for whole hogs - or do you also use it for pig parts, i.e., ribs, shoulders, etc? Granted, cooking times are different and it is much more convenient on the offset...but the offset cannot give the same taste. I've tried, and it just ain't happening.

cowgirl said...

Hi Van, it's nice to meet you!
Sorry for the delay in getting a reply to you, I just returned from a long weekend trip.
I agree with you...block pit cooking is different from the offset. I like it better for certain things. (like whole hogs).
I do use my block pit for different things...venison shoulders, beef and pork ribs, pork parts (shoulders), briskets, beans, turkeys. Anything! Plain ole corn on the cob is good on the pit too.

I do love my horizontal wood burner and other cookers but this block pit puts out some tasty grub... It does give the food a different flavor in my opinion. :)
Underground pits also add a certain flavor that you can't get from the wood burning horizontal too. I couldn't give up any of my smokers, I love them all for what they do. :)

Thanks for stopping by Van, it's nice to meet you!

Unknown said...

Cowgirl, I have been wanting to cook a spit pig ever since I first saw your blog. Any chance we could get your injection recipe? Love your blog.
thanks Steve H.

cowgirl said...

Thank you Steve! Many times I just use a spiced up beef stock, add garlic and onion powders then cayenne, soy and worst sauce to taste.
Sometimes I make a mixture of applejuice, brown sugar, kosher salt and worst sauce to taste. I don't usually measure, just make it to taste.
Sorry I can't be more specific!

Thanks so much for stopping by Steve, it's nice to meet you!

Unknown said...

Where did you get your huge grate for the fire pit? I can't seem to figure out where to acquire something that huge and awesome!

cowgirl said...

Hi Unknown!
I lucked out and got the grate from someone in construction. It was catwalk material. You might try a hardware or lumber yard, see if they can order you a sheet of expanded metal the size you need. Also get the heavy duty kind or use rebar to brace the center if it's too thin.
I (spray) oil it down just like cast iron, it keep the thing from rusting.
Good luck to you!!