|Tower Rock BBQ "A Champion Hog"|
1st A LITTLE HISTORY:
NOW: OUR WHOLE HOG STORY
We start with a hog that is chosen from a small farmer here in southern Illinois and send it to our processor. Where he processes it to our specification of removing the skin and leaving the head. We only cook fresh hogs they are processed on Monday and we pick up on Thursday for competition. We feel you get a better product using fresh meat. When we arrive at the competition site the prep work begins. We work on a time schedule which takes a total of 26 hours:
We start with a hog that dresses out around 120LBS.
9:00a.m.--------remove hog from ice and trim fat to 1/4" thickness. remove any debris left from the processing. Split the back bone open just enough to make lie flat but not lose all of its shape. We then sprinkle a little salt inside, and out ( we use a sea salt for this) Then we add our special magic dust (rub) which is a combination of chili powder, red pepper, black pepper, white pepper, celery salt, garlic powder, brown sugar. ( can't give the measurements) they are locked in a safe until the demise of my father. After the special treatment of preparation we then secure a body rack to the cavity of the hog and a rack top and bottom the length of the hog.
11:00----------The hog is then named (Phillip Ingram Garcia) and loaded into the cooker belly down (which was designed and built by my husband and my father). There are two baskets under the hog that are filled with 10 to 15 pounds of charcoal each, we only use a pure hickory with cornstarch binder) and add about 1/2 gallon bucket of apple chips to the charcoal then we fire it with a propane torch - no lighter fluid!. We bring the temperature up to 190F. We then bring the internal temperature of the hog up to 170F and hold there for approximately 4 hours. We use the old smoke house theory of meat will take on smoke when its cool. Once the temperature rises above 170F, the meat starts to cook outwards therefore no longer drawing the smoke in. After the 4 hours we start to raise the internal temperature of the hog to 185 to 190degrees. We maintain a 200F setting on the temperature of the cooker from here on out.
6:00pm--------We then flip the hog to its back. This allows for the basting sauce to lay in cavity of the hog. We baste every hour on the hour, up until 4:00 a.m. During this process we are checking that the internal temp. of the hog is ok and that the shoulders and hams are getting tender. We keep our baskets under the shoulders and ham most of the time.
4:00am--------At this time we wrap foil around the head, and lay foil (with slips across the belly to keep it from darkening to much. We maintain temperature at 200F until 30 minutes before judging. Then we begin our ritual of removing the meat for the blind box and dressing the hog for a formal meeting with the judges.
This is our main process of cooking a hog. We hope that it will help a few and give a few ideas to others.....our cooker has been out on the circuit for over a year and has brought us nothing but good luck. We wish all of you good luck with your hog. Tower Rock BBQ Team
From: Patty Burke-Shelby
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