Pictures and text by Bruce Cook:
This is a description of my experience catering an event on a Big Jim Lazy
Q. I was responsible for the pig and pork butts. I work for Indiana
University South Bend. This event was for a staff appreciation day put on by
the Chancellor of the university.
Click on the thumbnail to see the full sized picture.
1. PitIUSB-This is my Big Jim Lazy Q. Tonight I attempted the challenge of
cooking a whole pig in the vertical using hardwood coals for direct heat. I
cooked 20 pork butts in the vertical gas with some offset heat throughout
the cooking process. The coals for the pig were made by burning hickory logs
then transferring the coals to the horizontal. This is the first time I
have tried this method of cooking on this pit. It is also the first solo pig
2. Making Coals- This is a picture of the firebox in action. Quite a bit of
heat is generated to get the base going.
3. Lighting Coals- I would not recommend this method to others<G>. My weed
burner ran out of fuel and I had to resort to the torch. Time 8:00 P.M.
4. IUSBButts2-The vertical side is loaded with 20 butts on the 4 shelves.
The butts were rubbed with a rub recipe by Danny Gaulden. They butts were
started using offset heat and smoke from the firebox. The horizontal was
empty. After a couple of hours I closed the vent and went to gas. More for
convenience/ease than anything else. Time 9:00 p.m.
5. DanRaw1-I had not intended to rub the pig and planned to salt the skin
per Bob in GA's method. This pig is butterflied and weighed 54 lbs. The pig
was named Dan for an inside joke at work. If you will notice the rack the
pig is laying on. It is the same size as the normal grate, which uses
expanded metal. I had this one made and spaced 1/2 inch angle iron every 5
inches. My intent was to be able to blister the skin and allow room for the
skin to sag.
6. DanRaw2-Another view of Dan the pig.
7. DanLoaded1- Dan was a little long so I cut the head off and made the
appropriate adjustments. The time is 3:00 A.M.
8. DanCooked1-Dan is done. I had switched him end for end to even the
cooking. I was getting some extra heat from the firebox.
9. DanCooked3-Dan is ready to be plated with the addition of pork butts.
10. DanPlated-Dan is surrounded with pulled pork. The pork was sauced with
Sweet Baby Ray's barbeque sauce. I had one hotel plate off to the side which
was sauced with the Eastern Carolina Vinegar/Pepper sauce.
Overall this was a great time and experience. There were some challenges and
things I would do different. The attendees had many compliments. I find this
pit to be very versatile and useful.
On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being excellent IMO.
Satisfaction of attendees-10 (lots of compliments, from novices and insiders
Quality of butts-7 ( Some improvement could have been made. A couple were
not quite pullable.
Quality of cooked pig-3 (Dry, Overcooked, Lacked Flavor) May have had more
to do with commercial pig than me. Although I will take responsibility.
Presentation-5 (a little dark) Too tender to turn to blister.
Tenderness-7 ( In some spots tenderness was there.)
Moistness----4 (More fat would have helped)
Experience/Knowledge gained-10 (I learned a lot about my cooker, using the
firebox and combining various cooking methods at one time)
Do it again-3 My pit is probably not real good to do a small pig in. Will
discuss further later. I think whole shoulders would work better than a pig.
If I wasn't reasonably satisfied after 3-4 I would give up on cooking this
I would like to thank the BBQ-Porch, the FAQ, Lineback's list and the BBQ Mailing List members. The attendees really enjoyed the experience.