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Cheryl Alters Jamison & Bill Jamison
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Going Whole Hog
from Smoke & Spice(Harvard Common Press, 1994)

If you have a large barbecue pit, a few assistants, and an urge for the ultimate challenge, you should tackle a whole hog. This was the original barbecue meat of the South, and it's still the first choice of many prominent pitmasters. Among all the experts, no one does a better job than Jim Quessenberry, founder and leader of the Arkansas Trav'lers barbecue team. We had the honor of cooking with the Trav'lers one year at the Memphis in May World Championship Barbecue Contest, where Jim taught us his techniques.

As Quessenberry says, "The most important factor in whole hog is in fact the hog, himself." Bribe your butcher for the best animal in the area. Jim gets his hogs from a Mennonite farmer in Tennessee who custom raises them on corn for a firm white meat that's as mild as turkey. The butcher should gut the hog, skin it, and trim the outside fat to a 1/4-inch thickness.


  • One full-grown hog, 120 to 150 pounds, skinned and trimmed
Southern Succor Rub (need 10 to 15 cups):
  • 3 cups ground black pepper
  • 3 cups paprika
  • 3 cups turbinado sugar *
  • 1 1/2 cup salt
  • 8 tablespoons dry mustard
  • 4 tablespoons cayenne
*A coarsely granulated raw sugar which has a light molasses flavor and doesn't break down under barbecuing temperatures to the same extent as other sugars. You can find it at natural food stores or order it by writing:
206 E. Merriman
Wynne, AK 72396
or call, 501-588-4442

Quessenberry's Quintessential Hog Mop:

  • 3 quarts cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 quarts water
  • 3/4 cup salt
Vaunted Vinegar Sauce (optional):
  • 2 cups cider or white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar or brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne or hot red pepper flakes

1. Fire up the pit, preferably with a combination of hickory and oak, and bring it to a temperature of 250 degrees F.

2. Rub the hog thoroughly with Southern Succor Rub and lift onto the pit, belly side down. If the pit has an offset firebox, position the head facing away from the fire and cover the hams loosely with aluminum foil. Every hour or so, sprinkle on more dry spices or mop the meat with the vinegar mixture, alternating between the two applications.

3. Maintain a steady cooking temperature of 200 degrees F to 250 degrees F for 18 to 20 hours, or until the internal temperature of the meat is 165 degree F to 170 degree F.

4. While the fire dies, allow the hog to sit in the pit for several hours before carving. Serve accompanied by Vaunted Vinegar Sauce, if you wish.

Cheryl Alters Jamison and Bill Jamison are the country's preeminent experts on smoke-cooked barbecue and regional Southwestern cooking. The authors of ten cookbooks and travel guides, they write with wit and passion about American home cooking, the food and culture of the Southwest, and tropical travel. The Jamisons have twice received the culinary world's most prestigious honor, the James Beard Book Award, for Smoke & Spice and for The Border Cookbook, which was also nominated for the Julia Child Cookbook Award. The Jamison's books are acknowledged to be definitive guides to their respective subjects - authentic smoke-cooked barbecue, genuine Southwest-border home cooking, or succulent, "open-air, open-flame" grilling. The New York Times Book Review, Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, USA Today, Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, Cook's Illustrated, On the Grill, and Gourmet are only a few of the major publications that have praised the Jamisons for their encyclopedic knowledge and engaging writing style.

The Jamisons are also national spokespeople for The National Pork Producers Council and are frequent guest- instructors at many prestigious cooking schools around the country, including the Santa Fe School of Cooking where Cheryl teaches traditional and contemporary Southwestern and Mexican cooking. In addition to their cookbooks and travel guides, the Jamisons also write articles for magazines and newspapers, including Food & Wine, Bon Appétit, Cook's Illustrated, On the Grill, and the New York Times. Bill and Cheryl Jamison make their home in Santa Fe, where they develop their recipes and do most of their writing.

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