We’ve been doing a yearly pig roast going on five years, and we have one coming up in a couple weeks. Around 3 or 4 pigs ago we managed to score a 5 foot commercial grade flat grill for free and have been using that as a pig cooker ever since. Its certainly a lot better than the improvised pits and spit rigs we started out with, and it comes in handy for large scale grilling.
It works pretty well for low and slow roasting/smoking a pig, but its got some problems. Chiefly temperature control. As in it doesn’t have any. There are no vents to open or close, and coals sit on a rack that’s directly on the bottom of the fire box so they don’t breath well. Its pretty tricky to get an even temp across the whole enclosure, and maintaining a consistent temp is difficult as well. We’ve made it work in the past by banking coals to either end, and keeping the pig centered and away from the fire. But there’s still big jumps in temp when coals are added, and it dies down very quickly. Like minutes quickly, and it takes a ton of charcoal to raise the temp above about 180F. It takes pretty constant attention to keep things ~250F and we usually settle for bouncing 25dg up or down as we go.
I was wondering if any one has advice for cooking a pig on this type of grill. Or ideas and tips for better temp/fire control. The grill is a Belson Porta-Grill, which is pretty much identical to most other catering style charcoal flat grills. Though we have the “breadbox hood” which is a heavy gauge and highly domed cover. Aside from working an indirect fire with drip pans filled with water under the pig itself I’m thinking I might need to contrive some way to lift the coals up a bit more so they breath better. I’ve also heard adding mass with sand in the drip pans rather than water can lead to more even temps and better efficiency with cookers that have similar problems to mine. And the thing is large and sturdy enough that I could even line the interior with bricks or lava rock or something.