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Cooking a whole pig this weekend

I am cooking a whole pig this weekend. I've borrowed an amazing cooker from a friend and will pick up le cochon, a 60 pounder, tomorrow. I am looking for any advice, tips and words of encouragement (especially the latter). My inclination is to cook it slowly for six-to-seven hours and then start taking its temperature. Any help is much appreciated.

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  1. Did you borrow a Caja China? I'm dying to get my hands on one. Your pic should only take 3-4 hours in one of those.

    I alsways do whole pigs in a cuban mojo marinade - cumin, garlic, sour orange juice (or 50/50 lime and sweet orange), olive oil, S & P. People will absolutely love this so relax!

    6 Replies
    1. re: Junoesq

      3-4 hours for a whole pig?? At what temp, 900? I just slo-roasted 6 lbs of a pig shoulder roast, with skin, for 8 hours at 300. Don't you need it to get to at least 190 temp so it's fork tender and all the girstle & tendons have melted into the meat?? I've never roasted a whole pig, so I'm just wondering.......why would it take less time??

      1. re: Phurstluv

        Raichlen cooked his 50 lb pig for about 5 hours. The recipe linked below is for a 30 lb pig and calls for 3 1/2 hours. He did say the internal temp should be 190. Maybe it's the rotisserie thing.

        1. re: janetms383

          Wow, must be. I would love to know how hot it gets!

          1. re: Phurstluv

            I was trying to find the answer inside his cookbook - How To Grill. For the rotisserie, he was using hardwood charcole and it was shooting flames. In his book, he say a hot charcoal can be about 650 degrees. But I would think that if flames were licking the coals, it would be hotter......

            1. re: janetms383

              Thanks for the research, janetms383!! Somehow I don't think my weber could handle that!!

      2. re: Junoesq

        What's your recipe for the marinade? I used the one that came with the Caja China and I thought the brine watered down the mojo too much. Pig mostly tasted salty... Was actually kind of disappointing.

      3. OOhhh you should cook it hawaiian style in a big fire pit! Hehe.

        1. I just saw Steven Raichlen do a whole pig on his show Primal Grill. Here is a link to the recipe.

          http://www.primalgrill.org/season2/Re...

          scroll down the page about 1/2 way

           
          1. A caja china would make your life a lot easier. The other method I know would involve building a pit from concrete blocks that will serve to house your coals and wood. Fill the cavity of the pig with aromatics (lemongrass, garlic, onions, peppers, s&p, etc.) and sew it shut. Spear through the pig with either a sturdy tree branch or a metal pipe. Cook the pig over hot coals, replenishing as necessary, rotating the pig so that the skin cooks evenly without catching over any hot spots.

            1 Reply
            1. re: JungMann

              A bunch of us went in together and bought a CC. We have roasted many pigs to the delight of ourselves and the neighborhood. The included instructions have worked well and you can roast other critters and pieces of them too. It cooks so fast that the first time we didn't believe the pig was done (which it was ) and overcooked it. We have a medium (or small I can't remember) and it is very portable in a small truck, maybe even a big station wagon.

            2. If you do get a China Box, here is a whole series of videos for prepping and cooking. I am so jealous. I would prefer JungMann's open pit, and sitting with the pig for 5 or 6 hours ... along with friends and a good variety of summer cocktails. A whole pig is an event, both the cooking and eating.

              http://www.ehow.com/videos-on_1086_ro...

              1. Maybe the most mouth-watering, why-wasn't-I-there articles I have ever read about how to cook a whole pig:
                http://gardenandgun.com/article/going...
                The photos alone made me hungry...

                1. Next time we do one, we are going to debone and stuff like in the link below. Batali has done some great seasoning for porchetta, similar too Zuni mock porchetta seasoning, but adds feneel pollen and uses a serious amount of coarse sea salt. We all f ight over the cracklling skin and the salty stuffing.
                  http://www.seriouseats.com/2008/05/fr...