How To Brine and Smoke a 50lb Pig

With the big brick pit under our command our cooking teams swings into action. I dial up Ruffino Meats and place an order for a young shote, am assured of its’ delivery and begin making plans for its’ denouement.

We take delivery on a Monday morning, I retire to my home and begin building the brine. Ingredients

2 c. Salt, kosher

1 c. Sugar, turbinado

50 each bay leaves

1/4 c. Peppercorns, Black

1/4 c. Peppercorns, White

20 each, Garlic, cloves

2 qts Water, municipal


* Bring all ingredients to boil

* Simmer for one hour to allow flavors to meld

I scrupulously clean one of my coolers with a mild bleach solution and place the pig inside. We pour in the brine and fill the cooler to the top with water from the tap and trundle all concerned into a vast walk in cooler.

96 hours later we retrieve the pig, and flush the cooler, with pig inside, for 10 minutes with steady running water, we then drain the cooler and place the animal on a prep table. Now we give the pig the Greek Treatment


80 each, Garlic, cloves

1 c. Salt, Kosher

1 c. Pepper, Black

10 each, Rosemary branches


* Taking tiny, sharp knives we cut 80 small slits all over the creature

* Each tiny slit gets one clove of garlic tucked inside

Cooking note [ I learned this technique from an elderly Greek restaurateur when I was making my bones in the industry in Birmingham. We typically gave this treatment to Lamb, which was our Wednesday special].

* Coat the shote with salt and pepper

* Stuff the animal with rosemary branches

Now the creature is ready for smoking. Onto the fire part of the cooking:


40 lbs Hardwood Lump Briquettes

18 logs, small, hardwood, soaked submerged in water for at least 10 days

Liquid Fuel

* Load your pit with half of your briquettes and light them

* When they go to embers place 9 small logs on top of coals

* Put pig on grating

* Close pit

* Open flue all the way

Cooking note: This should give you about 10 hours of fire, heat and smoke. We’re doing direct heat method with shote placed directly above fire. If you have an offset smoker with fire box you’re living in a different world and probably already have your own technique.

At the ten hour mark our fire is spent. We pull the pig off the pit, clean out the fire chamber and repeat method above. Give the pig a 180 degree flip and a 90 degree turn and smoke for 10 more hours.

At this point the pig is a gorgeous mahogany brown and collapsingly tender with a crunchy salty hide. We load the animal in a big, deep #1 pan and place in a 200 degree oven to let it catch it’s breath for a bit.

A half hour later we pull the animal out for the assembled throng.

Utilizing my silicone gloves I begin plundering the beast. It’s delicious.

My first roast pig turned out. A lot of time, energy and effort went into this project.

I hope yours turns out every bit as good.

See comments below for photo link of pit

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