Project PIG

I am a big lover of barbecue. And to be a bit of a ponse I mean US style southern barbecue as opposed to the stuff we call barbecue. In the south, what we call barbecue is just called grilling. So whats this all got to do with Project PIG? Well, Project PIG is my endeavour to construct a Southern US style open-pit barbecue and then to use said barbecue to cook an entire pig. 


This is a pig

Why do it?

Good question! I’m glad you asked. When you go to a barbecue, 9 times out of 10 you’re not there for the food, its just a way to get fed and an excuse to have a party. You’re there because its an event. So why shouldn’t the food Be the event. So far, everyone I’ve mentioned this project to has been intrigued just to see the thing being cooked. So am I. It is also about the food though and there is also the taste. Based on some calcs (and by that I mean rough estimates) it should take between 20 and 24 hours to cook the thing. Can you imagine what that meat will taste like after 24 hours of slow smoking? I have to know. That’s why I’m doing it.

When is this happening?

The May bank holiday weekend (5th – 7th May) as it will take not only the cooking time but also the setup for the event. Basically, this will take two full days to prep and cook.


In terms of technique and barbecue construction, I’ve looked at several guides and spoken to a few people in the know about size of pig, cooking times and any special technique I should know. As my main guide I will be taking the advise of a man called Tim Russell. To hear Tim’s words of wisdom on the subject, watch the video below. A wise guide through barbecue which I’ve found has an odd re-watch value to it (seen it 4 times now already)

In terms of the work. I’ll be prepping the design over the next two weeks and working out the logistics of pig transport and manoeuvering. I’ll also be looking to draft in some help for the construction and cooking process as well because  Remember kids: There’s no ‘I’ in ‘Barbeque’

What’s next?

During the build up to the day, I’ll be putting up the design, construction, planning, prep and everything I end up doing to make this happen. This will by the end, either be a ‘How To’ guide or a warning from history. Sod it, Project PIG is a GO. OINK, OINK!!


23 April 2012 – Drawing up the designs

The last few days have been largely taken up with design. How big does the barbeque need to be? How big will the pig be? How much space will I need? Is there a risk of setting the neighbours shed on fire? These are all pressing questions so I had to break out the sketch book and do some calculations. Here’s how I’m getting on so far.

The plan is to build a two block wall and installed an expanded metal grate to make up the grill. A useful tip I picked up here was to avoid galvanised steel. This will make the food taste wrong and probably have you spewing the best part of your pig into the rose bushes.

(As a side note, the TOP SECRET block here is hiding an idea I came up with as a bit of a special gift for my guests on the day. I can’t really brag about something I haven’t done yet, but I’m fairly excited about whats behind that black square.)

A final layer of block on top with either a sheet metal or timber board on top will then seal it up. As well as the blocks and grate though, I need to work out the base. I’ll be doing this on a paved surface, so to protect the paving, I will either need some sacrificial paving slabs to go under the bbq or a timber sheet covered in tin foil and sand (to protect it from the heat). Whichever option I choose, there are more calculations to be done.

All of this though is just ideas. The next thing I need to determine is the exact size of the pig. I’ve been working on load calculations based on a 20kg pig (gutted), but this may alter depending on what I can get.

On to the fun stuff tomorrow. I’m off to the butchers…

3 Responses to “Project PIG”

  1. jules May 8, 2012 at 9:08 pm #

    What was the surprise behind the black box?

    • mangechester May 8, 2012 at 9:14 pm #

      It’s finished but I’m putting that up tomorrow. Can’t put all the goodies out in one go…


  1. Southern Summer Barbecue « Lickerish Split - August 18, 2012

    […] with him and built a breeze block pit in his back yard, all in the name of cooking a whole pig. Project Pig commenced, and what followed was a foray into all the other trappings of southern barbeque, from […]

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