For long time now I have been dreaming of cooking a whole pig in a wood fired brick oven.
It turned out that very few information can be found on how to do it in a wood fired oven. So i reached out to some of our customer who had tried it, called local butchers and search the internet for any available information. From there I established the process and put it to execution.
What you will need:
1.5 liters of White Wine
15 oz of Sea Salt
3 tbsp of Fresh Ground Pepper
6 Bay Leaves
3 large Onions, chopped
3 large Carrots, chopped
Handful of Garlic Cloves, crushed
5 branches of Sage
20 lbs of Ice
3 Rosemary branches
5 branches of Thyme
36 to 48 hours in advance:
Brine: Put 10 oz of salt in a 5 gallon pot of water to dissolve.
Put the pig in a large enough cooler to be submerged in water and ice, and pour brine water over the pig. Add 1.5 liters of white wine, the salted water, and the fresh crushed pepper.
Let it marinate for 36 to 48 hours. Check every 8 hours to ensure there is enough ice.
The day before:
Soak 2 pounds of hickory, apple, or cherry wood chips in water.
The day of:
Take the pig out of the ice bath, drain it, and dry it with a towel.
For the inside cavity rub olive oil, sea salt, and pepper. Then place the bay leaves, onion, garlic, rosemary, thyme, sage, carrots and celery inside. Sow it up to seal in the flavor.
Place the pig face down in the pan.
Rub the outside of the pig with crushed pepper, sea salt, and olive oil.
Fire up oven:
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees, and prepare the bed of embers. Put embers to the side with the soaked wood chips over embers, and loosely cover the pig with foil
Once the pig is in the oven, seal the insulated door, and close the cast iron door as well as the damper.
Let the pig smoke for 6-7 hours. (Approximately 1 hour for every 10 pounds)
The last hour, if you want the skin to be crispy make a small fire while keeping the foil on.
The pig should reach internal temperature of 155° F
Once the pig is cooked and removed from the oven, let it rest 20-30 minutes before cutting into it.
Other useful information:
- count 1.5 lbs per guest. In most cases the butcher will give you a price and weight that is for the animal before it is gutted. No worries, when you pick it up it will be all gutted and clean
- a 60 to 70 pound pig laying flat will be about 44" long. But you can lay it with the back legs folded under the rib cage and it will be under 36"
- don't be scared to cook the pig longer. With the brick oven holding the heat and moisture in the air, the meat will remain very juicy
- the smoke flavor will be very delicate and subtle as the skin of the pig will shield the meat
- the skin will be very thick and crispy. Make sure you have a good knife to cut through it