For the sixth year in a row, we finished ANSC 117, Texas Barbecue by cooking a whole pig at the Savell home (here is last year’s post). We used the cinder-block pit located in the backyard, and once again, it performed well with a minimum of wood required to cook the pig.
Just like last year, we obtained a smaller pig (around 70 pounds) so that we did not have to worry about a long cooking time. I believe that we will continue to cook whole pigs around this weight range so that we can have a manageable cook time and can have a great-tasting product from a smaller pig, too.
I had a fire going in the pit beginning at 7 AM, and Ray Riley and Michael Berto brought the pig over around 8 AM to put it on. The pig had been pumped with a salt/sugar brine, and a general rub was applied to the body cavity before the pig was put in the pit. We used the iGrill to monitor internal temperatures of the shoulder and ham on an iPad during the cook.
We cooked the pig for about 8 hours and to an internal temperature of around 160 F. We could have taken it to higher internal temperatures, but we needed to get the pig ready to go for class so we decided to pull the pig out and get it ready to serve to the class.
We gathered the students around the pit for the big reveal and to discuss the method of cooking. We did not take the cover off when discussing the pit because the students would have been looking at the pig and not listening to me!
We then took the cover off and showed the pig to the students.
The pig was taken out of the pit and was placed on a table for the usual photo op and preparation for serving. The meat from the pig was great, and another successful ANSC 117 class came to an end.