Tips On Brining A Pig

This is a discussion on Tips On Brining A Pig within the Off Topic & Humor Discussion forums, part of the The Back Porch category; So my kid is getting married on Saturday, and for the rehearsal dinner we are doing a pig roast for about 50 people at the ...

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Thread: Tips On Brining A Pig

  1. #1
    Distinguished Member Array CT-Mike's Avatar
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    Tips On Brining A Pig

    So my kid is getting married on Saturday, and for the rehearsal dinner we are doing a pig roast for about 50 people at the house.

    I rented a large trailer-grill with 200# capacity rotisserie from the base, and I have a 60# fresh killed pig from a local farm.

    I have been doing a lot of reading on how to do this, but I am looking for a good brine recipe to marinate the pig overnight in.

    Plan is to keep the pig in the heavy duty plastic bag it will come in, add brine to the bag and seal it up. Then put the thing in an extra-large cooler I have and surround it with ice to keep it cool.

    I also plan to stuff the cavity with some whole chickens, italian sausage links, etc based on some of what I have read on the web.

    I know that I need to cook it over low 250-300 degree heat, for at least 1 hour per 10 lbs.

    So any brine recipes, and good overall tips would be greatly appreciated. I have seen this done before, just haven't done one on my own.

    I will post pictures after.

    Thanks,

    Mike
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    Member Array Bob66's Avatar
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    Hi,
    Do a search at Dogpile Web Search They have a lot of good replies, about 3 pages. I think this one of the best search engines on the web. I used the term "Brining A Pig". Got lots of good hits.

    Bob

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    VIP Member Array farronwolf's Avatar
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    Never done a brine marinade, but I will suggest to cook it longer and lower heat. When cooking larger amounts of meat, I shoot for about 215 degree heat and for a pretty extened time period. The last 50 or so pounds of pork that I cooked was for almost 10 hrs at the 215 degree temperature.

    Then I took it off and let it stand for a couple of hours.

    You might PM Pitmaster and see if he has any ideas on it.

    Good luck with the cooking and congrats on the wedding.
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    VIP Member Array ron8903's Avatar
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    I brine on a much smaller scale

    1 gallon of water
    1/4 cup sea salt
    1/4 cup brown sugar
    A couple grinds of black pepper
    I use Boston butts and Shoulders.
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    Member Array 02PSD4ME's Avatar
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    I Marinate and cook my pigs a little different...

    I have been doing a Pig Roast twice a year, and usually 1 or 2 more for other occasions Since 1991.

    I start by laying the pig on its back and start cutting deep holes in it, making sure not to puncture the skin, fill the hole with Mojo (marinade) than plug the hole with a clove of garlic. I do this ALL over the pig than spread a onion on the inside. I let it marinade for 24 hrs than on the grill it goes covering it with banana leaves, to keep in the moisture for about 6-8 hrs, depending on the size. I also marinate every so often through out the cooking time.

    I make sure all of the charcoal and wood chips are place around the outside of the pig and not under it, this prevents flareups. The pig is never flipped, it turns out to be very juicy and very, very tasty.

    Mojo is a latin marinating sauce made of onion, garlic, cumin, oregano, salt, black pepper, orange and lemon juice, I also add Sour Orange juice. I use about 3/4-1 gal of the Mojo
    02PSD4ME

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    Member Array Reicher's Avatar
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    So is that a 60# pig ready to cook, or is that when he was running around? A 60# ready to cook will take about 8 hrs at 225F. Cook to an internal temperature 180 and let sit for a hour or so. The meat will be extremelly moist and flake away from the bone.
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    Distinguished Member Array CT-Mike's Avatar
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    60# hanging weight. Thanks for the info.
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    Distinguished Member Array Bunny's Avatar
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    Congrats!This is one I love, but it's for oven-roasting 5 lbs of pork. I'm sure you can tweak it to suit your needs though...


    For brining pork

    * 8 cups water
    * 1/3 cup kosher salt
    * 2 tablespoons maple syrup (Grade B or amber)
    * 1/2 teaspoon crushed black peppercorns
    * 2 sprigs fresh sage
    * 1 large garlic clove, smashed
    * 1 Turkish or 1/2 California bay leaf

    For roasting pork

    * 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
    * 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh sage
    * 3 tablespoons maple syrup (Grade B or amber)
    * 16 bacon slices (about 1 lb)
    * 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
    * 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
    * 1 teaspoon water

    Stir together garlic, sage, and 1 tablespoon syrup in a small bowl and rub all over pork. Lay bacon slices crosswise over loin, overlapping slightly, and tuck ends of bacon underneath loin.

    Roast pork until thermometer registers 140F, about 1 1/4 hours. Stir together 1 tablespoon syrup and vinegar until combined. Brush vinegar mixture over bacon slices and continue to roast pork until thermometer registers 150F, about 10 minutes more. Remove from oven and let stand in pan 15 minutes. Transfer roast to a cutting board with a lip, reserving juices in pan, and let roast stand, uncovered, while making sauce.

    Skim fat from pan juices and discard, then transfer jus to a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Stir together cornstarch and water and whisk into jus. Simmer, stirring, until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in remaining tablespoon syrup. Serve pork with sauce.
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  10. #9
    Senior Member Array Tom357's Avatar
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    There are as many ways to cook a pig as there are pits. I've cooked pig for as many as 450 folks (with my team, of course). There is so much waste cooking a whole hog, that I prefer to cook whole shoulders, myself, but I have done whole hog on request.

    I think I've shared my Memphis-style rub and sauce recipes, here, but if not, the ones I use for whole hog are at the bottom.

    Some observations (and only my opinions).

    Make sure the kidneys have been removed. On a whole hog, this sometimes gets missed. You really want the kidneys removed.

    Stuffing the cavity with chickens and sausage would make a great presentation, but your hog shouldn't be cooked that way. You will have to overcook the hog to get the chickens safely cooked through. Much better to cook the sausage and chickens separately and stuff the cavity before presentation, if you are presenting the whole hog. Not only will the hog be overcooked, but the total cooking time will be significantly higher because the cavity is filled.

    250-300 is not low. If you cook pork in that range, you risk driving off moisture and drying out the meat over the amount of time it takes to cook a whole hog. 250 is the hottest you want the cooking surface to be. 225 is ideal. Maintaining the temperature between 225 and 250 is good. 210 to 225 is better.

    The most important element you bring to whole hog barbecue is patience. The timings, above, of 6-8 hours and 1+ hrs per 10 lbs of meat are for butterflied hogs (split down the middle of the rib cage and spread flat). If you are cooking it whole, on a rotisserie, at 225, the cooking time will be closer to 12-15 hours. Exact timing is different from hog to hog. I've seen whole hogs cooked low and slow for up to 30 hrs. You don't really cook to timing. You cook to temperature. The time estimates are just that and depend on many factors.

    If cooking with charcoal you will need somewhere between 60 and 100 lbs of charcoal, depending on the cooking time, air temperature and wind. If cooking with wood, you will need somewhere around 1/3 to 1/2 cord of hardwood, preferably a combination of hickory and oak.

    If you cook it to an internal temperature of 180 (that is, measured deep in the ham or shoulder), the ribs and loins likely will be dry and overdone. You want the temperature deep in the shoulder and ham to be 165 when you remove it from the pit. Then, you want to let it rest for 1-2 hours before pulling the meat. The temperature will rise to about 175 as it rests, and then gradually decline again, but it won't overcook. When you let the meat rest for an hour or more, then, when you remove the skin, most of the excess fat will remove with the skin (makes it a little easier to defat the meat).

    So, if you need the cooking time to be down in the 6-8 hr range, then you need to split the rib cage, butterfly the hog, and cook it on a grill surface, not on the spit.

    A whole hog has a lot of waste, you can figure at most about 25lbs of finished barbecue from a 60lb hog.

    If you brine with too much salt, the meat will dry out as it cooks. A light brine works best with pork. Figure 1/3-1/2 cup of kosher salt per gallon of liquid. Be sure to use kosher salt, and not table salt. Table salt has additives to keep it from clumping. I add 1/3 cup of rub to each gallon of liquid. Also, if you brine, make sure the tough, white lining of the inside of the rib cage is removed, so the brine can penetrate some. Even then, the brine won't penetrate the shoulders and hams. You may want to inject some brine to the deeper parts of meat. Brining the way you plan to, in the bag, is the best way and requires the least brine.

    You may want to rub the meat and cavity with spice rub before you put it on the fire. If you want to baste the hog as it cooks, don't baste it with the leftover brine; you will want to make a mop sauce for basting. Let the hog cook for 5 hours before starting to baste, then baste exposed meat and the cavity every 30 minutes. If you butterfly the hog, then start basting after 2 hours. Use a cotton basting mop.

    Tip: The ears, snout and tail will blacken before the hog cooks. You may want to cover them with foil until the last 2 or 3 hours, if that matters.

    Brine
    For each gallon of water:
    1/3-1/2 cup kosher salt
    1/3 cup spice rub

    Stir to completely dissolve the salt, then add the spices. Let the meat sit in cold brine for 8-24 hours.

    Mop Sauce #1
    For every quart of mop sauce:
    2 cup cider vinegar
    1 cup apple juice
    1 cup water
    1 tablespoon spice rub (optional)

    Mop Sauce #2
    apple juice

    Spice Rub
    1 tablespoon whole cumin
    1/4 cup sweet paprika
    3 tablespoons turbinado sugar
    2 tablespoons chili powder
    1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper
    3/4 teaspoon cayenne
    1 1/2 teaspoons granulated garlic
    3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

    Toast the cumin. Grind fine. Mix ground toasted cumin, paprika, sugar, chili powder, pepper, cayenne, granulated garlic, and salt. Makes about 3/4 cup of rub. Scale as needed.

    Hope this gives you some useful ideas. Congratulations on the wedding, and good luck, however you end up doing your first pig. If you need a recipe for a table sauce, I'll be happy to offer a couple.
    - Tom
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    Senior Member Array Tom357's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 02PSD4ME View Post
    I Marinate and cook my pigs a little different...
    The Mojo sounds great! I'll have to see if I can find good sour orange juice and try that one.
    - Tom
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    Distinguished Member Array Bunny's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom357 View Post
    The Mojo sounds great! I'll have to see if I can find good sour orange juice and try that one.
    Go to a Latin Food market, you'll be able to pick some up there.
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    Distinguished Member Array CT-Mike's Avatar
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    Tom,

    Thanks for the detailed info, and please send along the table sauce recipes if you could.

    Thanks for all the help everyone,

    Mike
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    Senior Member Array Tom357's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CT-Mike View Post
    Tom,

    Thanks for the detailed info, and please send along the table sauce recipes if you could.

    Thanks for all the help everyone,

    Mike
    Here you go.
    - Tom
    You have the power to donate life.

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    Member Array 02PSD4ME's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom357 View Post
    The Mojo sounds great! I'll have to see if I can find good sour orange juice and try that one.
    Most all of the grocery stores in FL carry Mojo. and I have seen it in NC, SC, GA and TN.

    Brand names are Goya, Badia, but La Lechonera is my favorite
    02PSD4ME

  16. #15
    Senior Member Array Tom357's Avatar
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    I've seen Mojo in the groceries. What I've had a hard time finding is good sour orange juice. Lots of bad sour orange juice, but the good stuff is hard to come by. The best I had was fresh-squeezed. A friend brought me a bunch of sour oranges from a very old tree, and they were amazing.
    - Tom
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