Monday, November 7, 2011

How to Roast a Pig - Part 3

I apologize for the delayed posting.  I have had some computer issues that has made life difficult lately.  So without further ado......Part 3 on how to roast a pig.

Game Day
Set your alarm, get up early, and put your game face on because now you are ready to cook.  This is the day you are going to score some serious points for all the work you have been doing.
Low and slow is the method you will be using today.  So get up early to make sure your pig is cooking, and will be ready to eat shortly after your guests arrive.

First, take your pig off of ice to let it warm up and get closer to ambient temperature before placing it on the grill.  Before you fire up your pit put some foil drip pans underneath the area your pig is going to be.  I used three pans and put some water in two of them and apple juice in the third.  I placed one under the hams, one under the shoulders and one under the ribs and loin section.  This not only allows a place for your grease to drip, but the evaporating liquid will help keep your meat moist.

After placing your drip pans, start your charcoal and get your pit up to temperature.  Give yourself about 30 minutes to do this. 

Instead of placing coals in each corner of the pit I placed them evenly, about 1 foot wide, across the width of the pit at each opening.  I then placed a chimney full of coals on top and let it naturally heat up the other coals and slowly burn to each corner.

Once your pit has reached 250 degrees place your pig on the grill, over your drip pans, belly side down, laid flat.  Before doing this you may want to wrap the snout and ears in foil.  This will prevent them from cooking too fast and burning.  Also, if you are planning on placing and apple, or other piece of fruit in the pigs mouth, put a can it the mouth so the mouth will remain open when finished.

Now cover it up and let it cook.  If you have a digital probe thermometer you can place it in the hams, or shoulders to monitor the temperature.  The goal is to get the temperature to about 185 degrees before taking it off.

Cook Time and Charcoal

Below are two tables showing approximate cook times and the amount of charcoal needed to complete the process.

Pig Weight (Dressed)
 55-80 pounds
 40-70 pounds
 4-5 hours
 85-100 pounds
 70-80 pounds
 5-6 hours
105-140 pounds
 80-100 pounds
 6-9 hours

Cook Time  (per 10 lbs.)
90 minutes
 225 degrees
60 minutes
 250 degrees
45 minutes
 300 degrees

Environmental factors will play into this equation of temperature and cook time.  

The day I roasted a pig it was about 50 degrees outside and very windy.  My pit maintained a temperature of about 280 degrees with a couple of unexpected spikes and drops.  I used about 50 pounds of charcoal and it took 6 hours for the pig to reach 185 degrees.