Here are pictures of my first pig. I cooked it this past summer (2013)
We had 16 people and I only served half the pig. The other half was doggie bags and Sunday dinner. I also cooked a few brick chickens, and I served a Shrimp boil 3 hours earlier. Pictures below
Also here is a video of the experience. It was 95F and high humidity. I didn't realize how heavy I was breathing.
I feel I should have taken more video to include the carving, etc. Let me know if you have any questions.
I picked up the 40 lb pig the day before the cook. Stored it in a cooler till I was done with work.
I butterflied her from neck to groin with a sharp boning knife.
I used this bad boy for injection. Much easier than a syringe. I used approx 72 oz of liquid to inject the pig using a mixture of a brine solution and orange, lemon and pineapple juice with oregano, cumin.
Don't just inject the hams, and shoulders. make sure you get into the loins, or it will just taste like a roast loin of pork.
I injected the night before, then gave a generous sprinkling of rub.
If I had to do it over again, I would have injected half the pig the way I did it, and the other half I would have added my rub to the mixture, then strain, and inject the other side, just to get those spice flavors deep into the areas I could not reach by hand rubbing.
I decided to cook the pig breast side up, to keep all the drippings contained, and not drip into the pail.
Ms. Piggy went on the smoker at 8:15 am at 225. I thought it would take 10 hrs, but after 6 hours I realized this would take close to 12 hrs to get to 195F IT. I bumped the temp up to 250 to compensate. So for anyone planning on smoking a pig, plan on at least 12 hrs, and if it's done sooner, that is OK.
I used 3 lbs. cherry, 4 lbs. hickory, 3 lbs oak for the final hrs of cooking.
The skin was easy to cut, just remember to keep the shape knife at a 30 degree angle, blade facing up. Let the knife do the work, and don't force it. You can also use sharp scissors.
I tied the legs. You can put downward pressure at the lower leg. It will feel very stiff, but then it will relax and release to all you to bend them closer to the body.
This pic was after 3 hrs on the smoker. I only foiled the ears. Nothing burned.
I noticed I was getting a 10-12 degree difference between the shoulder and the ham, until the stall, which was at around 160-165 I wasn't watching close enough to know exactly when the stall started. Eventually both probes were reading identical temps till the end.
Regarding the stall, I believe it happened about 5 hrs into the cook, and lasted about 2 hrs. Then things picked up again after about 175 IT. I did spritz a few times, and there was plenty of liquid pooling in the cavity to provide moisture, which helped power through it.
She is done. Removing the pig from the grill. I brought a table in front of the grill, and gently flipped it over (2 people required) onto a full sheet pan.
She was very happy to be on the table. We started to dress her up for the dinner party
She wanted to wear a crown for the special event
After resting for 30 minutes, it was time to shred and slice the meat. I did not mix all the meat together, I served the meat separate to the guests could sample each, and compare the flavors and textures.
This took about 20 minutes
I also served loaded potato salad
Cucumber vinegar salad
I made a tomato and orange segment salad, but I forgot to take pictures.
I wasn't sure if all the guests would like pork so I made brick chicken as well
As an appetizer I served a shrimp boil around 2 pm
For dessert, a fruit piggy
All in all it was an experience. I'm not sure I would do it again, or often, since I paid $3.00/lb for the pig, so it was a waste for all the bones, skin and head. If someone was willing to pay me, then maybe I would do it again