"A big pig is not for the beginner. It's cumbersome to work with, tricky to cook, near impossible for one person to turn, and a whole lot more meat than a dinner party for four can handle. Only try a whole hog when you have help, lots of help, preferably experienced hlp.
"When calculating how much pig to buy, figure a pound and a half per person. The meat will cook down quite a bit; in addition there are some parts on a whole hog, even one that's been dressed by the butcher, that civilized people won't eat.
"Some people recommend buying a dressed pig, with its head and feet removed. I (the author) prefer leaving them on. Gives me somebody to talk to during those long hours.
"Have the butcher saw the backbone through the center, leaving the skin intact. And don't pierce the skin.
"When you put the hog on the pit, spread him apart. Start cooking him meat side down and skin side up. You will need to turn him several times as you cook.
"Sop often enough to keep the pig moist, although you shouldn't need to start until the pig has been on the pit a good four hours. Use any of the sop recipes (in the cookbook), or make a solution of 1 quart water, 1 cup red cider vinegar, and 1/4 cup salt. Brush it on with a small cotton mop.
"Be sure and baste as quickly as possible so as not to lose the heat in the cooker.
"A whole hog won't cook in a half-hour. Plan on barbecuring Mr. Pig only when you can stay up all night.
"For a true pig pickin', serve the pig whole. Give each guest a pair of tongs and instruct them to pull their own meat. The experienced ones will head for the tenderloin first. Trail along behind the newcomers; they're liable to pick something they'll regret later, when they find out what it is."
"HOW TO TELL WHEN YOUR MEAT IS DONE.
"There's no magic number"....."Cooking barbecue is just like making mayonnaise. You just have to break enough eggs to make it right."
"Some use the rule of thumb of an hour a pound. With larger cuts, such as a whole hog, this won't work, since no one wants to tend a pit for 90 straight hours.
"Some say the meat is done when a meat thermometer inserted in the thickest part reads 170 degrees."
(Do not let the meat thermometer touch any bone, as bone registers a higher degree than the meat itself.)