Stu2 - W7IY

Cooking a Whole Pig - 2008

August 15-16, 2008 at Bill's


Pig – 350 pounds live (~280 dressed)

11 Hours Cooking time

Chickens – 8, cut into 10 pieces each (80 pieces)

2 Hours Cooking Time

Sausage – 40 mix of hot and sweet

1 Hour Cooking time

Unlike 2006, the pig was processed on time and everything was waiting for us when the team arrived at 7:30pm on Friday. We had the usual Saturday morning 'panic' where we thought the pig was done early, but after taking a few slow breaths (and drinking a beer,) we cooled the fire and finished cooking as per our plans. The meat was about 220 degrees, when were finished cooking and this made the 'picking' much, much easier than last year.

We ended up with 4 large pans of pork, plus one with the tenderloins, 2 large pans of chicken and one pan of sausages. The crowd wasn't as hungry as in the past. So we had lots of left overs. (Note – it pays to be on the clean up crew!)

I really want to thank the help from Lori and her crew. We couldn't have done it without them. They spend a lot of time chopping the BBQ for me, while I finished the chickens and sausages.

Check out the pictures at:

In General:


20:30 Clean Pig, rub and move to pit.(We want to tie clamps before placing on fire) 21:30 Start Fire ( 40 pounds )
22:00 Move pig to pit and cover Pig – skin side up
23:00 Should be full smoke
00:00 Check Fire – may need more charcoal – add ¾ bag 01:00 Check Fire
02:00 Check Fire – add charcoal
03:00 Check Fire
04:00 Flip and Rotate Pig – add charcoal, ¾ bag
06:00 Check Fire
07:00 Baste Pig and add thermometers
08:00 Baste Pig
09:00 Baste Pig
09:30 Done - Remove Pig from Fire, place on saw horses, let cool (in shade)
10:00 Start cleaning pit (2 hours)
11:00 Start Picking Pig – much easier this year
12:45 Finish Picking Pig – 4 pans + loins + head
14:30 Light Pit for Chickens
15:00 Start Cooking Chickens – add rub, cook, add rub cook, add sauce, cook, add sauce
16:30 Late start on sausages, had to use grill
17:00 Chickens done
17:30 Sausages Done


We used a K-type thermocouple to measure the pit temperature. (Harbor Freight K thermocouples - $10 on sale! - We stopped at the HF HQ on the way back from my Grandmother's funeral.)The 'Front' is the side closest to the pool (and away from the input vent.) We should automate this data collection because it's tough to remember to measure the data on the hour – in the middle of the night.

Temperature Readings:


Pit Front

Pit Rear







(2) 20 lbs bags
















¾ 20 lbs bag

03:00 (03:30)



04:00 (flip)



¼ 20 lbs bag












H2O to cool,











Used 40 pounds of Cowboy charcoal to start. Again, just the right amount. I added ¾ bag at 01:00 before I went to bed. Then we added about ½ bag at 4:00 when we flipped the pig. After the flip, the temperature rose from 250F to about 320 and stayed there for a couple of hours. Once the foil is removed from the top of the pit, the fire gets really hot. So we should probably choke the air intake immediately.


Generally followed the recipe for a basic rub from the web. I used paprika, sea salt, black pepper, ground red pepper, brown sugar (dried over night.) Made about 3-4 cups, which was enough for the pig and the chickens. We really rubbed the spices into the pig this year and it paid off.


This year, I didn't get my sauce from VA BBQ. My brother in-law, picked up 1 Gallon from Dixie Bones in Woodbridge. I think the cost was about $30. I also made my own vinegar based sauce. Even though it really stunk up the house, it was worth it. A few people really liked it. We had Babby Ray's (Costco,) Mr. Stubbs (Target) and Cattleman's (Target.) I used the Cattlemans (original) on the Chicken. Sam's Club has 1G of Cattleman's for $9, but I didn't have time to go there. I gave away my bottle of 'Twang Sauce,' so hopefully Tim can help make a new lable next year.


Aside from cooking the pig, Todd and I played our guitars and sang a couple of songs for the party goers. Bill liked our work at the 'delta house' trailer during the June VHF contest and asked us to play a set. So, after Mojo's first set, Dennis let us go on for about 40 minutes. We played a variety of John Prine songs.

I guess we were more nervous than we thought. Just before we went on stage, we tuned our guitars, practiced a few songs and made sure we had a good playlist. As we walked out the back stage door, Todd dropped all the sheet music on the floor and we reverted to our normal spontaneous play. (OK – we had the words with us at least.) Then, once on stage, we both dropped our picks at separate times. Finally, I dropped my reading glasses on the floor and almost knocked over my beer.

Once we settled down – we had a lot of fun. We had a heckler, several supporters (our wives,) applause and even a groupie. Man – this band life is interesting!

Todd and I are both thankful to Dennis, Mojo, Bill and the crowd for letting us entertain them. By the way, for my friends who know I don't have a golden voice – I thought this note from Todd really explained why we have been able to play together for so long.

Hi Dennis,

Stu2 said he would be incommunicado until he gets back from Florida 
next Wednesday. I guess that means I get to make all the decisions 
until then.

Your plan sounds okay to me.

I do sing, but I sing too loud to know for sure if Stu2 sings. Probably 
should assume he does. We are still kicking around a small
play list. We’ve never actually planned to do a song more
than a few seconds before we actually did it. I would imagine
we will be starting off with a couple of John Prine songs. 
Note – next year, I'm going to demand a microphone.