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Roasting A Whole Hog

OK, you've been hunting like a real man, you've gone face-to-face with one of the most dangerous animals in North America and you've put a really nice 80 pound sow (a girl pig) in the ice chest...what's next? Easy answer! BBQ the pig in your yard and have a party everyone will remember, as a side benefit, you'll also have a captive audience that will listen to your hunting stories.

If you don't know how to spit roast a hog, don't worry, this article is here to make you look like a pro hog roaster as you host the mother of all hog roasts. Please note, this article is aimed at real men and women who go out and brave snakes, insects and even the hogs to put a feast for family and friends on the table. If this is you...take your place of honor at the grilling pit as the BBQ Grill Master! If it's not you visit here for your party ideas.

Before you can have a hog roast, you'll need a wild hog, a BBQ pit and a roasting spit. You'll also need 6 to 8 hours for cooking, tons of charcoal (ok...100lb to 125lb), buckets of cold drinks, a good meat thermometer, chairs and friends to sit in the chairs, drink the drinks and tell you when to turn the pig!

At this point, we're assuming you field dressed the hog, throughly cleaned the cavity then got it on ice quickly. Hogs have thick, bristling hair all over their bodies that you'll need to remove before you start roasting and the best way to get rid of it is to simply skin the hog. I hang the hog head up, make an incision around the neck and pull/cut till all of the skin is gone.

After your hog is clean and skin free, you'll need to attach it to the spit. It's easiest if you stretch the hog out on a table (belly down and feet stretched out) then you and your Assistant Grill Master need to work the spit through the hog, entering from the back end and out the mouth. If you want to go the other way, you can try it.

After the hog is mounted on the spit, use butcher string to secure the hogs head, front feet and rear feet to the spit. You'll also want to use a butchers trussing needle to secure the hogs spine to the spit. Cut a piece of butchers string about 2 feet long and run your trussing needle through one side of the spine and BBQ-Spit into the body cavity THEN thread the string into the trussing needle and pull it back out through the pig. Repeat this on the other side of the spine/spit then tie the butcher string as securely as possible. With a bit of work the spine will be touching the spit. You will always be pulling the butcher string from the inside of the body cavity to the outside of your hog. Repeat this procedure several times down the length of the spine.

If you want to stuff in the cavity with vegetables, do it now then use your butcher string and trussing needle to sew the cavity closed (even if it's not stuffed).

If you've done everything right, the pig won't slip on the spit and you'll be ready to start cooking the hog! Remember, wild hogs have never been to the vet, so it's vital that all meat is throughly cooked to insure the meat is safe to eat.

Make sure you have about 120 pounds of charcoal on hand, because once you start the process you're committed for the next 6 to 8 hours, but don't worry because the cooking is as much fun as eating! A quick "rule of thumb", figure 1 hour and 15 minutes cooking time for each 10 pounds of pig.

Using 2 charcoal chimneys, light your charcoal and while it's getting ready set your pig/spit combo in your fire pit and hang a block on your BBQ spit handle to make sure the side of the pig you want up stays up. A good mounting height for the spit is 2 cinder blocks and a 4X4. When your charcoal is ready, pour it into a row along one side of the pig, if you pour it directly under the pig, you'll have pig drippings on your charcoal as the pig roasts. Light a new chimney of charcoal as soon as you dump one into the fire pit and keep adding burning coals until you have a line of charcoal burning down both sides of your hog and your fire is hot enough. You'll know your fire is "just right" if you can put your hand, palm toward fire, next to the pig for no more than 2 or 3 seconds and the pig is "sweating".

Every 15 minutes, turn your hog 1/4 of a turn to make sure it cooks evenly. When you think it's ready, use a meat thermometer to check the temperature in several deep portions of your BBQ hog. If the temperature hasn't reached 170 degrees F, keep cooking till you have an internal temperature of 170 degrees F. If you really start to get hungry, feel free to pull done pieces of meat off the pig while it cooks...just make sure the pieces you pull are cooked!

If you want to baste your pig, have at it. I don't have a basting recipe yet.

Finally, when the deepest parts of your hog reach 170 degrees, call everyone together, hoist the pig to the table, remove the spit and enjoy your feast!

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