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Whole Hog methodology

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Posted by CivilWarBBQ on July 12, 2011 at 14:58:57:

In Reply to: Re: Rotisserie for a Whole Pig posted by Brian Oatway on July 12, 2011 at 07:14:44:

We cook several hogs a season, via a variety of methods. My personal opinion is the best results come from a top-down heat flow setup with a butterflied hog sandwiched between two racks. With this method you can start skin side down where it acts as a bowl to hold moisture in. Then near the end of the cook you flip the pig to crisp the skin. You need two people to flip the hog. The La Caja China is one of the least expensive cookers that is designed do this, but it is a roaster, not a smoker. Backwoods Smoker makes a great hog cooker, but it ain't cheap.

If you are determined to go the spit route, you can theoretically go with any motor speed as long as it doesn't throw the meat off the spit. However, the way a roto works is to apply relatively high heat, bringing the meat just up to the browning point and then moving away from the heat to allow the meat to cool again. A fast turn speed makes it a little harder to find the sweet spot for your fire temp. 6 RPM means your hog will make one complete revolution every ten seconds, which is a bit faster than I'd like myself. I'd prefer a two or three to one reduction gear on such a motor.

A perfectly balanced load doesn't take much torque to move once it is spinning, but a whole hog is far from balanced, with the majority of its weight on the backbone side of the spit rod. When that load is on the bottom of the orbit the motor is going to have to work to rotate it back up to the top again, then holding it back as the weight falls back to the bottom of the arc. The better designs have an adjustable counterweight system to even out the stress on the motor.

Will your chosen motor have enough oomph to turn your spit? I'm not a mechanical engineer so I can't say, but in my mind it's better to start with more motor than you need than to have one burn out half way through a cook.

Good luck!


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