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Whole Hog Barbecue

Every year on the Saturday nearest New Year’s Day I used to barbecue a whole hog in my back yard (sometimes only a half hog depending upon size). My wife just found some of the old pictures, so I am sharing a few. I lit the fire in the pig pit about 3:00 AM and Mary Lou picked up the pig around 5:30 AM. I will not name the slaughterhouse near Picayune, MS but it was a scene from Deliverance. The bare lightbulb swinging in the fog and Marcel barefoot in coveralls. She always took our 80-pound Labrador for company. I wired the pig between two pieces of 2x4 foot expanded metal with a 2-foot wire strap on each corner. The pig was then placed on a piece of 4x4 foot expanded metal, supported by two metal pipes over the fire.

The straps allowed two persons to lift the pig and turn it over every hour. After turning, the pig was sprinkled with a mixture of vinegar and saltwater. By this time, it was light, and the workers were hungry, so sausages were placed next to the pig to roast for breakfast.

During the day numbers of people dropped by to check on progress and to partake of the keg of beer and sack of oysters. I personally preferred red wine. Visitors also brought a wide variety of snacks and side dishes.

The cooks mostly sat and watched the fire burn and the pig roast. Occasionally getting up to add wood to the fire or turn the pig.

As the day wore on the pig began to render fat producing smoke and the smell of barbecue.

After dark the pig was looking like serious barbecue and guests started asking when it would be done. I have a thermometer with an 18-inch probe and we always had a designated responsible adult to test the shoulders and hams for doneness.

Finally, the pig was done, laid on a foil covered plywood table, and the expanded metal removed. There were two types of guests – those who chose a plate, knife, and fork and those that began grabbing pieces of crackling and ribs with their hands

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