1 70-lb whole hog, dressed (ready to cook)
Dry Rub Seasoning:
6 tablespoons garlic salt
6 tablespoons paprika
4 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons onion salt
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons chili powder
6 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons cumin
4 tablespoons black pepper
1 tablespoon coriander
To prepare, lay the whole hog on its back on a flat table. With a small pair of handheld pruning shears, cut each rib bone as close to the spine as possible. This allows the hog to be spread out and lay flat (butterfly). When a hog is “butterflied” like this, it reduces the cooking time, enables each piece of meat to be cooked evenly, and makes seasoning the meat easier and uniform. With a sharp knife, score the top of each ham and shoulder with a cut about 1 inch deep to allow better heat penetration.
Season the belly of the hog with 2 cups of the dry rub. Work the rub into all crevices and make sure that all exposed meat is seasoned thoroughly.
Flip the hog over so that the skin is facing up. Coat the skin with olive oil. This helps generate a beautiful mahogany skin color during the cooking process.
When employing an indirect cooker or a smoker, the firebox is separate from the main cooking chamber. The hog can be cooked either skin side up or down during the entire cooking process. Cooking with the skin down produces a moist and flavorful result. Cooking with the skin up yields highly seasoned flavor with an unmatched presentation.
Light 10 pounds of charcoal in the firebox and add 2 small sticks of wood. When the cooker reaches 250 - 260 degrees, place the hog on the cooking grate. Maintain the desired cooking temperature by adding 10 pounds of charcoal and 2 sticks of wood every 2 hours or as needed. A more consistent temperature can be held if the charcoal is pre-lit and graying when added to the firebox. After 10 hours of cooking, remove the hog from the cooker and serve.
If the preference is to use a direct cooker, the firebox is inside the main cooking chamber. The hog can be started on the cooking grate skin up or down but needs to be flipped halfway through the cooking process to produce optimum results. A decision should be made based on finished presentation (skin side up) or easy pick’en (skin-side down).
For the direct cooker, light 20 pounds of charcoal in the bottom of the cooker. When the charcoal is hot and grayish white, spread the coals into a barbell shaped pile approximately the same size as the hog. This allows the larger pieces of meat (shoulders and hams) to finish cooking at the same time as the smaller pieces of meat (ribs and loin). Add 2 pieces of soaked wood to the charcoal bed. Center the hog on the cooking grate over the barbell shaped charcoal bed. Maintain the 250 – 260 degree cooking temperature by adding 10 pounds of charcoal and 2 small, soaked sticks of wood every 2 hours or as needed. Flip hog after 4 hours on the cooker. After 8 hours of cooking, remove the hog from the cooker and serve.
Serves about 20
Debone and chop all servable meat. Your favorite sauce may be added at this time or placed on the side where guests can help themselves. The chopped meat may be placed back in the hollow, crispy pork skin and served buffet style or out of a chafing dish. In North Carolina, bits of the crispy skin is often chopped up and added to the meat to provide extra flavor. Place the whole hog in the middle of a serving table and have a true pig pick’en. Let your guests’ delight in pulling their own pork off the centerpiece.