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How To Smoke A Whole Pig

Smoking a whole hog is a considerably more time-consuming challenge than smoking just a simple pork butt or pig roast. One of the biggest issues in smoking an entire pig is having the space to store the carcass as it smokes to deliciousness.

Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time8 hrs
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: whole pig
Servings: 30
Calories: 331kcal


  • A sharp knife
  • Several wooden boards
  • Aluminum foil
  • Shovels. This item can be ignored if you already have access to a pit that accommodates your pig.
  • Injector
  • Wood or charcoal. Wood is preferred
  • Metal grate wide enough for the pig to rest upon it
  • Several long hooks to manipulate hot metal
  • Thermometer
  • One or more helpers
  • A vented lid slightly wider than the pit
  • Tongs
  • Durable paper bag, like the kind used for holding charcoal


  • Whole pig

  • Apple juice or apple cider vinegar

  • Kosher salt


  • Before you can begin the cooking process, you need to remove all of the unpleasant, inedible parts.

  • Fill a metal wash tub with water and then heat it to boiling.

  • Place the pig on some boards.

  • Carefully pour the boiling water over the pig and begin shaving off the hair.

  • Make a careful incision into the pig and remove the various organ meats, stomach and so forth.

  • All you want to cook is the pig's fat, skin and muscle within the pig.

  • Try to keep the skin intact as much as possible, this will protect the loins and hams from drying out before the rest the whole hog cooks.

  • Finish by injecting your preferred apple liquid into the hams and shoulders, covering the ears and snout with foil and saturating the insides and outsides with kosher salt.

  • If you do not have a pit on hand, go ahead and grab your helpers and some shovels and dig out a pit sufficiently sized for your pig.

  • Line the bottom of the pit with wood or heated charcoal and place the grate.

  • Once you are ready to lower the pig into the pit, do so with the pig oriented face down and skin up.

  • Place more of your chosen heat source under the shoulders and hams and keep the heat away from the ribs.

  • Finish the set up by placing your lid over the pit.

  • You want to keep a consistent smoke temperature between 225°F and 250°F.

  • For the first four hours, your focus should be on the temperature of your pit and not how hot the meat is.

  • Beginning at the fourth hour, start checking the hams and shoulders for an internal temperature of 195.

  • Check on things every hour with the infrared thermometer and know that this can take anywhere from 14 to 18 hours, depending on the weight of your particular porker; a good rule of thumb is it takes 90 minutes plus one hour per pound to fully smoke a pig.

  • You want to look for where the skin around the shoulders and hams begins to pucker up.

  • Once you think the skin has puckered, jab at it and see if the meat slides off-when you can just pull a bone free without resistance.

  • If this also proves true, call upon your assistants to help you turn the pig. 

  • Take your durable paper bag, open it up so that it is a flat sheet, set it aflame, grasp at it with your tongs and then spread it out across the skin.

  • This is a trick that southern pit masters have used to turn smoked pig skin deliciously nice and crispy.

  • As previously mentioned, cooking your pig will take more than half a day.

  • You want to plan things so that you will finish cooking hours before its time to serve the pig.

  • This gives you some wiggle room to bring the pig to the ideal cooking temperature range of 195°F to 205°F, measured at the shoulder.

  • If you get an unexpected rise in temperature, lower the temperature in the smoker-pour some water over a small portion of the heat source or toss in some ice.

  • You may also want to consider killing the heat of your smoker for an hour or two, just long enough to bring the temperature under control.

  • Once your pig has sufficiently cooked through.

  • It is time for you to extricate the pig from its vessel of smoke and metal, using the metal hooks to lift the pig up by the grate, and then transfer it to wherever you plan to put your carving and knife skills to work.

  • Alternatively, you may want to serve your smoked pork on its back and let your guests just pull the super-tender meat directly off of the carcass.

  • If you take this approach, remember to leave bbq sauces and yellow mustard near the carcass so that your guests can immediately apply sauce after plating up some of your he prized pig.


Serving: 100g | Calories: 331kcal