suckling pig

Suckling Pig

Suckling Pig

Suckling Pig are a BBQ delicacy that everyone needs to try at least once in your lifetime. The meat is incredibly tender and rich in flavor. As it slowly cooks in a smoke sauna the exterior skin turns crispy and the fat melts away leaving juicy, delicious pork that is sure to put a smile on your face!

For this recipe I first had to source the pigs. I put a call in to Brad my local butcher (The Butcher’s Block – Southaven, MS) about a week ago and had him order a couple suckling pigs.

These pigs are young – typically 4-6 weeks in age and only weigh between 15-30lbs. At $4.99 per pound, they’re not cheap, but they’re oh so worth it!

They come froze, wrapped in plastic, and need 3-4 days to slow thaw in the refrigerator. Once thawed, they require a little trimming before they’re ready for the pit.

Place each pig on its back and use a knife to cut through the breast bone. Press down on each side of the rib cage to open the cavity. Remove the kidneys or any organs left from processing and trim away any silver skin or excess fat.

suckling pig

To flavor these pigs I take a 2-step approach. First a layer of dry seasonings – you can use anything you like here – I’m going with a base coat of my Killer Hog’s AP Rub (salt, pepper, garlic) for a savory flavor then my Killer Hog’s The BBQ Rub for more traditional bbq notes.

suckling pig

The Second step is an injection to get some flavor deep into the meat. If you have a favorite injection, by all means use it. You can really play with the flavors and go any direction you want here.

I mixed 1 cup of Victory Lane Pork Injection with 64oz Apple juice. Hit the loins, hams, and shoulders with the injection; the BDI injector makes quick work of this.

suckling pig

Now it’s time to fire up the smoker. I’m using my Ole Hickory Ace MM for this job but you can use any pit that has a rack big enough to hold one. You’ll need at least 18”x24” cooking surface for a suckling pig.

Get the fire going using Royal Oak briquettes with a few chunks of Hickory and Cherry Wood for smoke flavor. I’m shooting for a cook temp of 225-250 degrees for these pigs.

suckling pig

Before placing the pigs on the pit, wipe the skin dry with a clean towel. This will help it crisp during the cooking process also protect the ears and nose with a little aluminum foil.

suckling pig

Place the pigs on the cooking grate and make sure the legs are pointed forward, the back is straight, and the sides are tucked. (The way you place it on the rack is the way it will cook).

suckling pig

Close the smoker and let it roll for at least 2.5 hrs. At this point the skin should be firm and you can apply a little cooking spray to keep it from getting too dark. (you’ll want to reapply the cooking spray a couple times during the cook)

Hold the temps in the 225-250 range and monitor the internal temps using a wired probe thermometer (Thermoworks Dot) inserted into the thickest part of the shoulder. Target temperature is 190-195 in the shoulders; it’ll take about 7 hours to get there.

suckling pig

When the pigs are done, carefully transfer them to a full size sheet pan or large cutting board to rest for 30 minutes before serving. I use a little fresh kale around the outside for garnish; this is completely optional but it does make the presentation look fancy.

suckling pig

To serve: use sharp knife and make an incision down the length of the back bone, turn and continue to cut down at the shoulder and ham just through the skin. This allows the skin to peel completely off on the side exposing all the juicy goodness beneath.

suckling pig

Wear some heat resistant gloves and get to pickin’! You can serve the meat right from the cutting board or place it on a platter of your choice.

However you decide to serve; folks are usually crowded around and ready to dive in. Suckling Pig is some fine eating pulled pork; drizzled with a little spicy vinegar sauce and you’re good to go!

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Suckling Pig

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Slow Thaw suckling pig in refrigerator for 3-4 days.
  2. Place pig on cutting surface back side down and use a sharp knife to cut through breast bone allowing the chest cavity to open. Press down gently on each side until pig lays open.
  3. Trim away any excess fat, sinew, organs, or blood colored areas from the cavity. Wipe the cavity and outer skin clean with a damp towel.
  4. Season inside the cavity with Killer Hogs AP Rub followed by a layer of Killer Hogs The BBQ Rub.
  5. Whisk pork injection and apple juice in a bowl to combine. Shoot the injection into the hams, loins, and shoulder areas of the pig.
  6. Place the pigs on a sheet pan in the running position and wipe any excess rub or moisture off the skin using a dry towel.
  7. Prepare smoker for indirect cooking at 225⁰ using cherry and hickory wood for smoke flavor.
  8. Arrange the pig on the cooking grate and protect the ears and snout with aluminum foil.
  9. Smoke at 225-250⁰ for 2.5 hours then apply a light coating of cooking spray on the skin.
  10. Continue to smoke until internal temperature registers 190 in the thickest part of the shoulder.
  11. Remove pig from smoker and rest for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Malcom Reed
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Suckling Pig

Comments 25

  1. I have your injector and love it. I used it on 5 packer briskets yesterday and I always have problems when the container holding my apple juice mixture is about empty and turns over, sometimes. This is the first time that I saw your bottle holding your injection mixture and would like to know where you got it at? Hopefully you sell them.

    I’ve been searching for a suckling pig recipe for a long time, but never felt comfortable with the other videos I saw. I love this video and my Yoder 1500 is going to be smoking a sucking pig, in the near future. Man, you did an excellent job with this, as you always do!!!!

  2. Do have any lechón small pig 🐖 hog like what I saw on ur Facebook in Jacksonville, Florida, please if u can respond my email, my friend in Texas they always order this pig that cooked already from ur store. I look forward to hear from you soon. Thank you.

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  3. Hi Malcom, great job on the new website design it looks great! Do you have to remove any glands on the piglets like you mentioned on your whole hog video and if so how many are there and where?

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      Sometimes they are still there – If you see any, you remove them. You really just want to remove anything you don’t think will be very good to eat. silverskin, blood, glands, etc.

  4. Great video, Malcolm. I’ve been wanting to do this for a long time.
    Question. I’ve never seen you cook with an offset smoker. I think I could fit one pig inside my New Braunfels stick burner but it would be tight. I have never done anything over a 15lb brisket. In your opinion is it worth a shot or should I try a different method?
    Thanks for the great website.

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      I’m looking to add a stick burner to my collection soon. You can get smaller pigs – so it really depends on what size pig you get – but for the 30lb ones I used, you really need a 24inch grate.

      1. Looks like your pig was 30 lbs butchered, would be 60 to 80 lbs on hoof.
        I am going to do 1 from living state to dinner table

  5. Hi Malcolm! I’ve been following you for a long time in Italy and I admire you very much! I find your excellent recipes and your exceptional videos … since here in Italy they are not widespread and I do not know them, I would like to know which Spray you use on your pig skin your last recipe: Original or Butter?
    thank you very much, see you soon!

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  6. Malcom,
    we are cooking a pig for the 4th of July. It is a little larger than a suckling pick. My butcher had one that was 41 pounds. How many hours at 225* would you estimate the cook? Is there a rule of thumb for hours per pound for a pig/hog? Thanks in advance for your help! love your products and videos.

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  7. Malcom, Malcom, Malcom,
    This looks sooooooooo great, I MUST give this a try. I have 2 questions.
    1. Do you recommend placing a pan beneath the piggie to catch the drippin’s?

    2. Do you recommend stuffing the cavity?

    Thanks!

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  8. Malcom,

    Your weight of 30 pounds is for a dressed pig, correct?

    My cooker measures 23 3/4 inches front to back and 27 1/2 inches side to side. The head flows from the firebox on the right up and out of a stack on the left side. Would you place the head towards or away from the heat source (right side)?

    I am really looking forward to trying this out.

    Thanks.

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      Yeah, it was around 30lbs dressed. I would start with the head away from the heat and then rotate it through the cook. If the head starts getting too dark, cover it with foil.

  9. I just smoked my first suckling pig following your recepie and it was OUTSTANDING! Came out perfect, tender with a lot of flavor. Vinegar sauce a plus. Thanks Malcolm.

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