· I've cooked a lot of pigs—hundreds of them, I'd guess. A lot of that pig has been served at my restaurants, McCrady's and Husk, but just as much is the product of roasting with friends.
· If you roast a large pig, like 200 pounds dressed, it can take 24 hours. Through the night you can't go to sleep for more than 20 minutes at a time. You are basically camping, which would include necessities such as cold beer, music, and snacks.
· Come daylight you still have a lot of time to kill. The party continues. We go four-wheeling, shotgun beers, play football, toss horseshoes. Shooting guns is also a fun way to pass the time, but I wouldn't suggest that in your backyard—or anywhere—if you've got a belly full of beer.
· I didn't eat pork until I was, like, 15. That was on account of a strange religious thing having to do with the non-denominational church my family went to. I didn't ever have pepperoni pizza; I never had bacon. Maybe that's why I'm so obsessed with pigs now.
· Just about every chef loves pork. But the real turning point for me was when I started raising pigs myself. Completely changed my perspective. These pigs loved me—they were like pets. So the first time I took one to the abattoir I was nervous, but then this enormous amount of respect for the animals hit me like a ton of bricks. Now nothing from the pig goes in the garbage, absolutely nothing except for the bones—and we don't throw them away until after we make stock from them. Everything else finds its way to the plate.
· The expression "eating high on the hog" has never made any sense to me. It's a vestige of history. The rich people got the pieces from high on the hog, like the loin and the chops. The poor ate what's low, like the feet and the hocks. In my opinion, there isn't one piece of the pig that isn't perfect and delicious.
· My ideal for whole-hog cookery is a 240-pound Farmers Cross, specifically, a Berkshire or Tamworth Cross. Both of those have the genes of different breeds, which gives you a balanced animal—good meat-to-fat ratio in the belly, the hams aren't too big, the loin has the right amount of fat cap on it, and the shoulders are large and well-marbled.
3 Ways to Roast a Whole Pig
"You keep turning it to get an even, golden-brown crust," Brock says. "It's a bit faster, but it's open-air, so you lose some of the smoky flavor." PopMech pick: the stainless-steel , $550
 Concrete-block Pit:
"I prefer this method," he says. "It gives you the control to cook the pig slowly, moving the coals around until it's tender." See .
 La Caja China Roaster:
"You put the pig in the box with charcoal on top," Brock says. "It makes for moist meat, and it's almost foolproof, but it doesn't give the wood flavor that I'm obsessed with." From $260; .
· The secret to tender, succulent meat throughout the entire animal is slow, slow cooking. I can cook a lamb on a spit in 5 hours. I prefer five times as long as that for a pig of the usual size I roast.
· I start with a rub that has sugar, smoked paprika, and top-secret spices. This gives you the "bark" once the rub caramelizes during roasting. It's one of my favorite parts to eat.
· Some people inject their pigs before roasting with seasoned liquids or fruit juices. I've never done this and never will. Injecting manipulates the flavor deep in the meat, unlike a rub, which is superficial. In my opinion, you roast a pig to taste it in its purest form.
· There are many ways to roast a pig. Each has its good points, depending on your level of experience, the pig size, the flavor you want to achieve. I prefer a concrete-block pit. You can build it to the size that suits the pig and control the heat to ensure even cooking by adding embers or moving them around. After the feast you can break it down and store it until the next roast.
· As for the heat source, I'm a purist—I prefer embers. Use a well-seasoned, local wood. We use mostly oak in the Low Country. I'll throw in some hickory or pecan for flavor. I make the embers by burning the wood down in a steel barrel. The flavor achieved by using only embers is amazing—subtle and smoky.
· Live music is perfect for the party, good music is a must. My pig-roast playlist is strictly Southern. Drive-By Truckers, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard—they all set the right mood.
· Your experiences at a pig roast are universal. That's what I love about it. When that pig hits the table, nothing else matters. Everyone lets down their guard and digs in. I encourage eating with your hands. It's such a primal thing. It reminds us that we are human.
5 Steps to Roast a Hog
 Pick Your Pig
One with too little fat will be dry when cooked; too much fat and it will be greasy. Also, know your source: How a pig is raised and fed determines flavor.
 Pick Your Wood
No briquettes. Make embers from a local hardwood that's well-seasoned so it burns down properly before going into the pit.
 Take Your Time
Cook slowly over heat from 200 F to 250 F. Move the embers around for even cooking.
 Crisp the Skin
Near the end, get the skin closer to the coals to crisp it. Work fast—overcooking is a real risk. Pull on the ribs; if they part from the meat, it's tender and ready to eat.
 Sauce the Hog
Brush on BBQ sauce. Once it bubbles, remove pig from pit, carve, serve.