Coming from the world of KCBS (Kansas City BBQ Society), we never get the chance to do a whole hog in competition. Many of us that compete in the KCBS find it intimidating and downright impossible to fit one of those full size animals onto the smokers we’ve been using for our portion sized cuts of chicken, ribs, pork and brisket. That being said, we here in our lab have been doing some serious digging into the MBN (Memphis BBQ Network) and are very intrigued to cook the ever elusive whole hog!
Given the space restrictions noted above, we started researching possible solutions. Enter: Meat Glue!
Meat glue is made of Transglutaminase, which is an enzyme that catalyzes the formation of an isopeptide bond between a free amine group and the acyl group at the end of the side chain of protein- or peptide-bound glutamine. The reaction also produces a molecule of ammonia. Such an enzyme is classified as EC 18.104.22.168. Bonds formed by transglutaminase exhibit high resistance to proteolytic degradation.
Translation: We can TOTALLY part out a whole animal and glue it back together however we wish!
For us, it seems oh-so-simple a solution to per-fect the whole hog category.
The plan goes like this: Part the hog out, as you normally would for processing, into the parts you see here:
Using a very sharp carving knife, like our 14″ Victorinox knife, you can easily and quickly part out the pig for smoking on a normal sized cooker, allowing a Tetris-like piecing together in the smoker. You can place the ribs on one rack, the bacon on another, the shoulder on another and so on.
The thought goes, once you have completed the smoke to your liking, you simply piece it all back together with Meat Glue and, viola! You are ready to WOW the judges of an MBN contest with a whole hog presentation, just like this:
While we have yet to fully execute this method, our past experiences tell us it will no doubt be ‘fail safe’ and can’t wait to give it a shot! Let us know what you think if you try the same!
I think we can all assume that the safe, inexpensive, solution of Meat Glue is a sure fire way to get yourself the next MBN Grand Championship! Here’s to you and your whole hog!