April 14, 2011 1 Comment
Since childhood, I have always had a desire to cook my own whole hog. It brings back memories of helping my dad dig a pit with his friends and all the fun that went with it.
Last year, I made the plunge and purchased the Cadillac of pig smokers….The Lang84.
This rig is dang near fool proof.
The big day arrived and I went to pick up my pre-ordered pig from Wilson’s Meat House in Crystal Springs, Mississippi. I walked through the cooler and
carefully selected asked the butcher which one looked good to him. We agreed on a 110 pound beauty and stuffed it in the iced cooler for my return trip.
Once home, the fun began. I set the alarm for 4 a.m. and got a good night’s sleep. When the alarm screamed me awake, I was pleasantly refreshed and ready for the day ahead.
First, it was time to get the Lang cooker ready. 2 bags of charcoal were loaded in charcoal chimneys and lit with newspaper. Once these were burned down properly, I tossed them into the Lang and opened up the vents to burn everything off. After an hour, I tossed in seasoned oak firewood and burned it down to coals.
Then it was time to inject the hog. As this was my first hog in over 25 years, I figured it would be a good idea to turn to the experts for some advice. Chris Lilly of Big Bob Gibson’s has won a number of championships so his injection recipe sounded like a good place to start.
- 3/4 cup of apple juice
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce
Of course, I had to make about a gallon of it for the whole hog, but adjusting the size is easy. Just multiple the above by 3 or 4.
On to the rub. A good rub can make or break pork. For this, I turned to Mike Mills, also know in BBQ circles as “The Legend.” The name is almost as impressive as his cooking. His rub goes by the name of “Magic Dust” is made by mixing:
- 1/2 cup paprika
- 1/4 cup kosher salt
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons mustard powder
- 1/4 cup chili powder
- 1/4 cup ground cumin
- 2 tablespoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup granulated garlic
- 2 tablespoons cayenne
I slathered the inside of the hog up with yellow mustard (it acts like a glue to hold the rub) and covered it with the Magic Dust.
By then, the Lang had been brought up to 350 degrees and then lowered back down to 300. It was time for the easy part of actually cooking the hog. I gently slid the hog on and let the temperature climb back up to 250.
For the next 12 hours I alternated tossing oak, pecan and plum wood into the firebox every 2 hours and basted the hog in apple juice. The Lang made keeping a constant temperature of 250 very easy. I watched the digital internal meat thermometer and waited for it to hit 185 in the hams (this is higher than many people recommend but I wanted to be able to shred the meat.
The end result