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We recently had the opportunity to travel on a road trip to Newnan, Ga. to do some cooking with Tina Cannon. If you have been living under a rock and don’t know who Tina is, let me tell you. She is the winner of the Netflix BBQ Showdown, Food Network BBQ competitor on BBQ Brawl with Bobby Flay, Michael Symon, Eddie Jackson, Carson Kressley, Anne Burrell, Jet Tila, David Sandusky and Whole Hog Pitmaster, Rodney Scott. That is quite the collection of superstar celebrity chefs! Tina is also a national and world BBQ champion, amassing over 350 awards, walks and trophies. Tina is also a fantastic BBQ Instructor, holding classes and clinics all over the United States. Let’s just say that it was an honor for her to have us to her home to cook with her.
Many of us know how to cook all types of different BBQ but the whole hog is the crowning achievement for any BBQ enthusiast. There are many different aspects to cooking a whole hog well and Tina has certainly proven that she is an expert hog smoker. She even designed and built the cinder block whole hog pit that we cooked on. It is fully insulated by the way that she filled all of the cinder blocks with gravel. Not only does this insulate the pit, but it also helps to make the pit much more solid.
You do not need a custom cinder block pit in order to smoke a whole pig. Chances are good that you can do one on whatever smoker you are using. Don’t believe me? See our video where @cptnron302 smoked a pig in his Big Green Egg MiniMax! ( watch video here ) It is a real show stopper and there is nothing better than knowing that you were able to smoke an entire pig!
We veered off of the normal BBQ flavors for this special event. We decided to go with an Asian flavored injection, just to switch things up a bit. We stuffed the entire pig cavity with a mixture of vegetables, fruits and Chinese sausages. If you are like me have never had Chinese sausages before, don’t walk, run to your nearest Asian market and pick some up. They are delicious!
- Coat your hog skin completely with the coarse salt and allow it to sit for 1 hour or up to overnight. For overnight, make sure to refrigerate the hog.
- Wipe all of the sale off of the skin. Flip it over and season the inside with Notorious PIG rub.
- Mix all injection ingredients together and stir until all of the salt and sugar have dissolved. Inject the hog in between the skin and bones in all of the fattest parts of the hog. (legs, ribs, collar etc.)
- Spray the skin with the Duck Fat Spray and coat it entirely.
- Flip the hog over and fill the belly cavity with the vegetables and fruits. Tie the hog closed tightly in 6-8” intervals using the kitchen twine.
- Light the bag of FOGO Super Premium and once burning, spread the coals to the outer edges of the inside of the pit. Once the pit is stable at 250-275°, place the pig on the rack. Place the Meater+ probed into the fattest sections of the hog. Tuck the front and rear legs under the hog and place it in the pit.
- After 1 ½ hours, check the pig. It should be turning a light brown color by now. Cover the snout, ears, and front section of the legs with aluminum foil to prevent them from burning.
- Continue cooking the hog until it reaches 185° internal temperature and remove it from the pit. Allow it to rest for ½ hour before cutting it open.
- Flip the pig over, remove the twine and take out all of the stuffing. Flip it back on to its belly.
- Slice the skin from shoulder to shoulder, right at the neckline and from ham to ham in the rear. Then, make one slice down the middle of the back. Peel the skin down each side and begin pulling the meat out and transfer it to a platter. Along the back bone, you will find the loin. The tenderloin is basically in the same place but on the belly side in the cavity. Pull all of the meat from the pig. This is known as pig picking. Enjoy!