Suckling Pig RecipeSuckling 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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). 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. 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. 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. 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! Print
Suckling Pig Recipe
- 20–30lb Suckling Pig
- 4oz Killer Hogs AP Rub
- 4oz Killer Hogs The BBQ Rub
- 8oz Victory Lane Pork Injection
- 64oz Apple Juice
- 1 can Vegetable Oil Cooking Spray
- Slow Thaw suckling pig in refrigerator for 3-4 days.
- 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.
- 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.
- Season inside the cavity with Killer Hogs AP Rub followed by a layer of Killer Hogs The BBQ Rub.
- Whisk pork injection and apple juice in a bowl to combine. Shoot the injection into the hams, loins, and shoulder areas of the pig.
- 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.
- Prepare smoker for indirect cooking at 225⁰ using cherry and hickory wood for smoke flavor.
- Arrange the pig on the cooking grate and protect the ears and snout with aluminum foil.
- Smoke at 225-250⁰ for 2.5 hours then apply a light coating of cooking spray on the skin.
- Continue to smoke until internal temperature registers 190 in the thickest part of the shoulder.
- Remove pig from smoker and rest for at least 30 minutes before serving.
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OMGoodness, A must try this summer. I called a friend and have a 8 week old ordered.
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!!!!
Charlie Maddox I have that bottle exactly. It is a Rubbermaid 32 oz. / 1 quart bottle. I got mine at Publix grocery store in FL. I’m sure you could find it on their website though.
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.
We don’t have a store – and we aren’t located in FL
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?
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.
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.
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.
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
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!
I just used cooking spray – and did a light spray twice during the cook.
You play Fortnite?
no, but my son does
Did one 2 weeks ago. Turned out perfect! Doing 2 next weekend for my neighbors 50th wedding anniversary party.
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.
I would estimate it would take 8-10 hours. But give yourself plenty of time because you can always hold a pig.
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?
A pan might create a heat diverter – so it all depends on your cooker. I don’t recommend stuffing the cavity if you are cooking it running-style.
How big of a pig can you cook on a CTO
Not much bigger than the suckling pigs – 25-30lbs. ole hickory does make a hog cooker though.
Hi Malcom !!! I havr a Char Broil Pro smoker !!! Do you thonk I have enough cooking surface yo do 1 Suckling Pig? Thaks !!!
u need a 24×18 inch grate size for a suckling pig
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.
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.
I want to try this for a tailgate. How long do you think it would hold in a cooler insulated with a moving blanket or two?
A whole sucking pig would hold in a cooler for 4 hours no problem
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.
Getting ready to try this for the first time, thanks to your video, my grill area is 40” radius, wish me luck.
Hey Malcolm how many people would a 30 pound pig feed? I’m thinking about bbqing a pig this summer
Followed Malcom’s recipe for Thanksgiving dinner
26 lb suckling pig (locally sourced) on a Rec-Tec pellet Grill………….
OUTSTANDING!!! Everyone was happy happy.
225 degrees for 7 hours did the trick.
Looking to do a suckling pig on my offset stick burner next month. Plenty of room for it. Everything I have read says the skin will be leathery when doing indirect heat, yours seems to be quite crispy. Is the Ole Hickory direct heat and that is why it gets crispy?
How long can I rest the finished pig in a yeti cooler if I want to do the cook at home and then transport it to a friend’s house to prepare the pig for being served? I have a good buddy who is a 2-hour drive from home.
I followed this recipe EXACTLY. And it was some of the most amazing pork I’ve ever had. Only problem was zero leftovers! People were really digging into the ribs and loved the rubs. Injection was a flavor boost and the meat was really juicy. Spraying with cooking spray made for a great presentation–the skin was perfect. I’ll definitely do this again. Thanks Malcolm!
PS. I used the same combo (AP rub/ BBQ rub) on St Louis style ribs with same great result.
This video (among all of your videos) helped me and gave me the confidence I needed to do my own pig. I ended up with a 39lb whole pig on a Yoder YS640. Smoked it “racing style” for about 9 1/2 hours until about 192 degrees. Temped the shoulder and the ham. It was AMAZING!!!!
I love your videos I was wondering if I could put the pigs in a brine like I do my Boston butts just wondering your thoughts thanks keep up the great videos. I tried the video on the brisket and it turned out great.
Is smoking skin side up better than skin side down….just wondering. I’m smoking a 45 lb one soon, just wondering which is the better. This is my first one.
Love your videos. Can this suckling pig be done on a masterbuilt gravity series 1050? What size pig do you recommend ?
Did you do the pig on the masterbuilt. As I have the same make and am attempting one on the weekend. How did you get on?
Do you have a location in utah?
Hi I have a question. In you recipe you say about temperatures. Is that in Fahrenheit or in Celsius.
Doing a suckling in a few days really looking forward to it.