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9 Step Process To Cooking A Whole Hog

Pictures and Step-by-Step instructions on slow-smoking a Whole Hog

Here is the step-by-step guide to cooking a whole hog - competition style. The steps go a little farther than your typical backyard BBQer, but if you take the extra steps you WILL have better hog meat and better presentation. Below the video you will find the 9 Step Whole Hog Procedure.

This is a video we shot at Memphis In May 2010 of the whole hog we cooked, to give you an idea of what your whole hog can look like as a finished product.

Step #1: Order Your Whole Hog

Order your hog from your local butcher. I recommend ordering a hog that weighs between 140 to 165lbs. You will probably need to give your butcher at least one week notice before picking up. If you need help finding a good butcher, click the link.

Step #2: Trimming Your Whole Hog

Trimming the Hog is the most important step. You are going to need:

  • Extra sharp boning knife
  • Electric saw for cutting the legs, head and ribs
  • Small hatchet for splitting the backbone

First remove the spare ribs from the baby backs by cutting with electric saw. Then split the top of the spine just below the neck of the hog. This cut should only be about 10" long. This will allow for the shoulders of the hog to lay flat.

trimming whole hog at bbq contest

Whole Hog Meat

Next with your knife remove as much fat from the top of the shoulders, hams and bacon as possible. This will allow your rub and smoke to penetrate into the meat while cooking. My rule of thumb is if I don’t think it will taste good after it’s cooked, it should probably be removed.

I have recorded 6 short videos that will walk you through the entire trimming a whole hog process - just click the link.

Finally remove all four feet at the joints and discard.

trimming the ribs in our whole hog

trimming whole hog

Step #3: Coating Your Hog

Apply yellow mustard over entire hog being careful not to get any on the outside skin.

Apply the Killer Hog's BBQ Dry Rub. (for dry rub HIT THIS LINK) over all meaty areas again being careful not to get any rub on the outside skin of the hog. You can substitute my dry rub with your own creation or any store bought rub will be sufficient as long as it suites your taste palate.

applying mustard to whole hog

add mustard to help the dry rub stick to the whole hog

adding bbq dry rub to hog

coating entire whole hog with bbq dry rub

Step #4: Injecting Your Hog

Inject the shoulders, hams, loin and bacon with a minimum of 2 gallons of injection

Killer Hogs Whole Hog Injection:

  • 32oz Apple Juice
  • 32oz Water
  • 1/2 cup Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 cup Lt. Corn Syrup
  • 1/4 cup Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1/2 cup Dry Rub
  • 1 TBS Worcestershire
  • 1 TBS soy

injecting whole hog

shooting hog shoulder with injection

Step #5: Clean your Hog

Clean off outer skin of hog using a white cloth and vegetable oil to remove any mustard or dry rub that may have gotten on the skin. Next spray all of the outer skin with vegetable oil using a spray bottle. This will keep the skin from burning during the cooking process.

Step #6: Start Smoking

Get your smoker ready to smoke for 17 to 20 hours. Your pit will need to be at a temp of 220 deg and you will need enough coal and wood to last through the duration of the cook - so plan accordingly.

I recommend a good quality coal like chef’s delight or chef’s select and I always use dried hickory and peach chunks with or without the bark. You can also soak the wood in water if you like.

Place the hog in your pit that is up to temp. Cook at 220 to 230 deg. for four (4) hours. During this time be sure to add lots of hickory and peach wood chunks to the fire chamber.

Step #7: Wrapping Your Hog

Next you want to spray the outside skin again with vegetable oil and then finally wrap the entire hog with aluminum foil. This will keep the hog from turning to dark and also trap all the juices inside so it will self baste.

Step #8: Second Injection

Once the shoulders internal temp has reached 170deg (and has probably been cooking for about 16 hours at this point) remove the foil and inject shoulders, loin, bacon and hams with injection #2.

Next continue cooking the hog without foil until shoulders reach 185deg internal temp and the hams 175.

Killer Hogs Whole Hog 2nd Injection:

  • 64oz – Apple Juice
  • 1 Cup – Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 2 TBL – The BBQ Rub.

whoel hog on bbq grill

Step #9: Glaze Your Hog

Once the hog reaches desired internal temp its time for glazing. Glaze the hog using the Killer Hogs Whole Hog Glaze ingredients. Cook the hog for another 30 to 45min. to let the glaze set. Mist hog with apple juice to give a nice shine then garnish and serve.

Killer Hogs Whole Hog Finishing Glaze:

  • 1/2 Gal. – Your Favorite BBQ Sauce
  • 2 Cup – Honey
  • 16oz – Peach Jelly
  • 1 Cup – Teriyaki Sauce

me with my memphis in may whole hog

other videos and information on my website about our whole hog cooking procedures:


The BBQ Rub - a barbecue dry rub developed by The Killer Hogs

ChefAlarm Meat Thermometer
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Thermapens For Internal Meat Probe for Competition BBQ Cooks