If possible, place the smoker in an area where it is somewhat protected from the wind. Also away from anything flammable.
Coat the cooking grate with spray cooking oil.
Remove the cooking grate from the smoker and place the pig on it.
Optional-inject the butts and hams with a mixture of apple juice, apple cider vinegar, salt, pepper and garlic salt.
Rub the skin of the pig with vegetable oil.
Wrap tinfoil on the feet, snout and ears.
Load the fire box with about 20 lbs. of charcoal.
Light the charcoal and once you have a good burn throw in a couple of logs.
Fully open firebox vents.
Allow approximately 45-60 mins. for the smoker temp. to reach 300 to 325.
Ideally when the smoker reaches 325 place the pig and cooking grate in the smoker.
Your temperature is going to drop because of putting on the cold pig.
Don’t worry. Once the pig starts to warm up your temp. will come back up.
Maintain about 300 degrees on the gauge.
Maintaining temp. will be accomplished by either slightly closing the vents to lower temps and opening to raise temps.
Once adjusted it should stay at 300.
Add charcoal and wood as needed to maintain 300 degrees.
When the meat temp. reaches at least 185+ (higher like 190+ is OK) by using an instant read thermometer ( not dial ones-they can be off 25 degrees) your ready to remove the pig. Test the temp. both in the hams and butts. If the temps vary bring the lowest temp up to 185+ and don’t worry about the high temp.
You need at least two people to remove the pig.
Place a table close to the smoker. On it have the board you plan on placing the pig. Check that the feet are not stuck.
Carefully lifting the head and the butt and also trying to support the trunk move the pig onto the board.
You can also leave the pig on the grate for serving.
Double wrap the pig with heavy duty tinfoil.
Cover the pig with a blanket.
Allow to rest at least 1 hr.
The pig will stay hot for at least 3 hrs. and warm for several.
Garnish with greens and cut up fruit of varying colors.
Rule of thumb:
1 hr. for every 10 lbs. of pig.
Allow “wiggle room” of 1.5 hrs. in case the cook is taking longer and also to give the meat time to rest.
Plan 1lb. of charcoal for every LB. of pig. Again on larger pigs you may need less.
Lard Have Mercy
Break In or Seasoning
Adjust the unit so it is slightly nose down.
Place a container under the grease valve.
Open the valve.
Clean cooking racks with dish soap and hot water to remove any cutting oils and debris from manufacturing.
Check the inside of the cooking chamber for any debris and if necessary rinse.
Spray the interior of the cooking chamber and racks with a light coat of cooking oil.
Load the firebox with charcoal, light and allow temp. to come up to approximately 275 degrees and maintain this temp. for about 1 to1.5 hours.
Keep firebox side and chimney vents wide open.
Adjust firebox vents to regulate temp. (opening increases and closing decreases).
Keep the chimney vent wide open at all times. Never close during a cook.
Now you are ready to cook.
If starting from “scratch”, fill the firebox with 20 to 2 5 lbs. of charcoal.
Light the coals either with a torch or a couple of hot chimney coals.
Keep vents wide open and doors closed on the cooking chamber.
How fast the smoker will get to temp is dependent on ambient temperature, barometric pressure, wind etc.
Remember, you are heating up a tremendous amount of steel.
Once you reach your desired temperature (225 to 275) place your meat on the racks.
Place one or two logs on the fire.
Use only hard woods such as pecan, oak, hickory, cherry, peach and apple.
They must be dry and seasoned.
Once you achieve a light blue smoke put on the meat.
The section close to the firebox will be hotter than the sections to the front.
We usually tend to but the larger cuts of meats like brisket and butts towards the front and smaller cuts like ribs, chicken, sausage towards the back.
You will know if there’s a problem if you have black or dark smoke coming out of the chimney.
Ideal smoke color is light blue/white (at this point you can continue with all wood or a combo of wood and charcoal as we do).
Regulate your temperature with the side vents on the firebox.
If your heat gets too high and you are having trouble lowering it, simply prop open the cooking doors and if it’s way hot open the firebox door about an inch or two. This will allow things to cool down.
If you want guidelines on cooking various meats, check out our recipes.
Note: Do not get discourage if your first cook doesn’t turn out exactly as expected. After a few cooks you will understand the mechanics of your smoker and also you will develop your own techniques to turning out some of the best BBQ. Best to start with things like ribs and pork butts.
Remember, you can always call us with any questions.
Good luck and may the Lard be with you!