Stu2 - W7IY

Cooking a Whole Pig - 2010

August 6-7, 2010 at Bill's


Pig – 350 pounds live (~275 dressed)

12 Hours Cooking time

Chickens – 25 lbs, cut in pieces

2 Hours Cooking Time - prep + cooking

Sausage – 40 mix bag

1 Hour Cooking time

Pictures - Thanks to KT4AD!

After a year hiatus, we were back at the pit. The weather was great! 85 degrees and sunny. BUT - a year off made a big difference. The pig was the same size as the one we cooked in 2008, but we didn't do a great job of controlling the fire. So the skin was very crispy. Black - actually. After a few anxious moments around 6:00 AM, we got back on track and the meat turned out fine. On the plus side, we didn't need to worry about a 'presentation', because there wasn't anything to present!

The usual gang helped the farmers butcher the pig. So if you're wondering; this pig went almost straight to the BBQ pit. Check out KT4AD's pictures. We left out the gory ones. We don't have any pics of the finished product because our photographer had more pressing issues at home... a flooded basement! Anyway - it's probably a good thing we don't have pics.

On the plus side, we ended up with 5 large pans of delicious pork, which included the tenderloins. There was one large pan of chicken and one pan of sausages. The crowd wasn't as hungry as we hoped, but there were lots of good comments. We had lots of left overs. My 'homemade' vinegar based sauce was a hit, too.

I really want to thank the help from Lori's crew. We couldn't have done it without them. They spent a lot of time chopping the pork for me, which gave me time to cook the chickens and sausages. Out of tradition, we give them the BBQ head. I just wish the head wasn't soooo charred!

I would also like to thank the team for staying up to watch the pig. (Rob, Bob, Merle, Tom and Bill) No way I could do all this by myself. Thanks to Todd, for all his help. Thanks to all the other folks for good ideas, tips and encouragement! Looking forward to next year.

In General:


20:15 Clean Pig, rub and move to pit.
20:50 Start Fire ( 40 pounds - 1 bag Kingston, 3/4 bag Cowboy) - too much.
21:15 Pig on Pit – skin side up. (I thought it was 9:50! So rushed this step)
22:50 Full smoke
01:30 Check Fire – add ¾ bag - redistributed charcoal around edges. (mistake)
02:00 Check Fire
03:40 Check Fire – add charcoal - raked coals evenly over pit. (mistake)
04:00 Flip and Rotate Pig – flare ups - pig charred.
06:00 Check Fire - flare ups, Bill gets Stu and we start cooling fire.
09:30 Remove Pig from Fire, place on saw horses, let cool (in shade)
10:15 Start picking pig (had 4 people helping!)
11:30 Finish Picking Pig
14:30 Light Pit for Chickens
15:00 Start Cooking Chickens – add rub, cook, add sauce, cook, add sauce
16:00 Chickens done and started boiling sausages
16:30 Moved sausages to the grill 17:00 Sausages done


We used a K-type thermocouple to measure the pit temperature. (Harbor Freight K thermocouples - $10 on sale.) However - we never got the placement right and the data was varied. Therefore - we don't have the temperature readings. One of the probes was damaged. (Was the fire that hot?)


Used two bags (40 pounds of Cowboy charcoal) and 20 lbs of Kingsford. I thought on of the bags was 3/4 full. Now, I don't think that was really correct. The visual indicator should be small, manageable piles located in each of the four corners. No way we should have added more charcoal at 1:30. There was still plenty of fuel. Our temperature readings were too high on one end and about right on the other. We should have removed some coals - or better yet - start with fewer. Flare ups happened when we removed the foil. This is to be expected. We should NOT have added coal before the pig flip. This made the 4:00 flare up worse. Next time we really, really need to manage the fire better. Stu - listen to yourself when you read this next year.

We forgot to add the water pans. I wanted to try that out, but just forgot. Next time, we'll see if it makes a difference. At first, there was a lot of moisture in the pit from the pig. We cleaned it off, just before we put the pig into the fire.


Generally followed the recipe for a basic rub from the web. I used paprika, seasoned salt, black pepper, ground red pepper, cane sugar. Made about 3-4 (two seasoned salt containers) cups, which was enough for the pig and the chickens. We really rubbed the spices into the pig. I like my other mix, with the brown sugar and sea salt, a little better. But, this mix was easier to make.


I took my Brother in-law out to Dixie Bones for dinner. We bought 1 Gallon of their Red Sauce, which cost about $30. It's not bad, but I think I like the Cattleman's better for the general application. Wegman's selection was poor, but they had Mr. Stubbs. So I picked up a few bottles. They also had Famous Daves Devil Spit, which turned out to be a hit. (spicy!) I made my own vinegar based sauce, too. Several people loved it! BTW, the 'regular' version of Famous Dave's sauce was pretty good on the Chicken.


Todd and I 'opened' for Mojo. I say that very much tongue in cheek because Mojo is a professional band and we are not! Thanks to them for letting us play a few John Prine songs before they started. The idea was to give the band some time to eat before they started playing. Todd and I didn't know we were supposed to play, so we weren't prepared. No worries - we put together a play list and had fun!

Todd and I are both thankful to Dennis, Mojo, Bill and the crowd for letting us entertain them. Note – from last year (2008), I was going to demand a microphone. My wish came true! ;)

Good Luck with Your Cooking