More and more often, we receive questions about how to prepare and cook whole pigs and hogs. Here is some basic information for accomplishing this task. After mastering the technique, then begin to experiment on new seasonings while making adjustments for time and temperature unique to your pit.
The secret to success in not in the recipe but the technique.
First step is to line up a suckling pig -- which isn't easy these days. Roasting should be done at 250-350 degrees. You loose less moisture (tenderness) at 250, but it takes longer. A suckling pig will dress out 10-18 lbs, depending upon how long he has suckled.
The simplest way is just to salt and pepper the guy all over, inside and out, stick a piece of wood in his mouth to open it enough to receive a small apple, and put him on the grill in gentle repose.
Or you may rub it well with a mixture of:
1/4 lb unsalted butter, softened
2 T. salt
1 T. each garlic powder and onion powder
1 t. thyme
1 t. sage
1 t.ground bay
1 t. fresh ground black pepper
A couple of things thereafter. When the ears, snout and tail begin to brown, cover them with aluminum foil. Most importantly, take it off when the internal temp. of the hams reaches 155 degrees and let it set for 12-15 minutes before carving.
If you are cooking directly over the coals, place most of the hot coals at the hams and shoulders. If you are cooking in a sidewinder pit (offset firebox), put the butt end nearest the firebox.
Relax, have fun.