Cooking a suckling pig creates a palpable dining atmosphere and sets the stage for top-flight party ambiance.
Over the years I have travelled all over the USA and made pilgrimages to as many BBQ joints as I could locate. I love BBQ so if you are vegan, read no further.
The ideal suckling pigs weighs about 25-30 lbs. and feeds about 20 people. While there are numerous ways to cook one, we prefer wood / charcoal smokers. Using the smoker’s venting system, the temperature can be easily controlled. Here’s the drill.
Brine: Slowly heat 1 gallon of water mix and dissolve 8 cups of salt, add dozen peppercorns, 4 full clove bulbs cut in half (do need to skin clove clusters). 4 large chili peppers cut in half, 8 cups of brown sugar. Heat slowly and mix fully. Let it cool.
Brining: Get your Coleman ice chest out and two large plastic bags. Put the pig in bag 1 (the liner bag). Put the pig and liner bag into bag 2 (the leaker back-up bag).
Put the pig and bags into the cooler. With help, pour in 3 gallons of Martinellis apple juice and add your brine. The pig should be submerged as best as possible. Cover the pig with ice and leave it in the brine for 24 hours.
Remove the pig from the brine and towel dry completely. Heavily dust up the interior with your favorite rub. Get good stuff not just fancy salt. You will notice your pig smells like…..yep, apples. Carefully wrap foil around the ears and snout which will keep them in tack during smoking.
Cook the pig at 220 F. for about 7hrs. If you don’t have a digital meat probe, get one. A good cheap one works just fine. The pig is done when the shoulders are at 170-180 F. Go to Youtube to learn different ways to serve it. Pair it with Bearitage Petite Sirah, Red Blend, or Old Vine Zinfandel. You’ll be a BBQ rock star with big smiles all around.