With the proper technique and tools, and with enough help from your friends or family, it is fairly easy to kill, clean and cook a pig. It is important that the pig be healthy, dispatched quickly and humanely, cleaned well and cooked thoroughly. The techniques used by farmers, ranchers, hunters and butchers are very different from the process used by large slaughter houses.
Things You'll Need
- A .22 caliber rifle or pistol
- Butchering knife
- 60 lbs. charcoal briquettes
- Coarse-ground black pepper
- Creole seasoning
- Burlap sacks
- Aluminum foil
- Chicken wire, approximately 4 feet by 6 feet
- Sheet metal, approximately 4 feet by 6 feet
You should prepare the pit and start burning the coals prior to dispatching the pig. The hole should be about 3 feet deep, and longer and wider than the pig by 1 foot on each side. Line the pit with bricks or stones, then fill in the coals about 1 foot deep. Light the fire in the morning to begin cooking the pig in the early afternoon.
Place a bowl of food in front of the pig, in a pen. As he is eating, calmly aim the gun from behind him at a point behind one ear, at a downward angle toward the eye on the opposite side. This brain shot should instantly and humanely kill the pig.
Place the pig on a flat, clean surface, and gut it as you would a deer, removing all the entrails. Wash the pig with a hose inside and out, and allow excess water to drain out of the cavity. It is imperative that you be knowledgeable about killing and cleaning the pig, since one must follow the other in rapid succession. If you do not know how, be sure to have someone available who does.
Split the cleansed carcass up the abdomen to the bottom of the jaw, and spread open. Sprinkle the meat liberally with pepper and creole seasoning. Prop the mouth open with an apple to allow the heat through the pig evenly. Wrap the seasoned meat tightly in several layers of foil, then in several layers of wet burlap. Cover the burning coals with a layer of aluminum foil to separate the pig from the coals. Wrap the pig with chicken wire. This will hold everything together and give you some handles to hold on to.
Place the prepared pig into the pit, and cover it up with the sheet metal. Shovel some dirt on top to make a fairly good seal. By covering the pit you can maintain a fairly constant temperature, keeping the coals hot for hours, but not providing enough oxygen to allow the burlap or pig to combust.
Cook undisturbed for 5 hours.
Open up the pit to quickly flip the pig so that the top half can cook evenly. Place a meat thermometer deep into one of the hams. Close the pit again for another 5 hours. If the temperature reaches 170 degrees, the pig is done. If not, cook for another 1 or 2 hours.
Generally the cooking time for an average adult pig is 10 to 12 hours -- an all-day affair. Plan eating times with this in mind. The low-and-slow cooking method and wrapping the meat tightly make for very juicy and tender pork.
- Cannuli's Meats: How to Roast a Whole Hog
- Cowgirl's Country Life; Cooking Whole Hogs in an Underground Pit; September 16, 2007
- Francis "Chips" Grainger; retired chef; Poplar, Montana
- Photo Credit Thomas Northcut/Digital Vision/Getty Images
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