So why do it? First off, tradition. North Carolina is known for whole-hog cooking, and my family has been doing it for generations. While our customers may only see chopped-up meat on a bun, I know the work and effort that goes into each sandwich, the care it takes to make sure each part of the pig is cooked evenly, the hours each night our guys are out there keeping the fires going at precisely the right temperature, just as it's been done for centuries. It's part of the state's legacy. (There are only five or six hours a day when someone isn't manning the smokers.) All that aside, cooking whole hog results in a tastier final product. You have the belly meat, which is like fatty bacon, chopped up together with the ham meat, which is a little leaner than the front two quarters, and the carcass itself holds the moisture and the fat during cooking. The result is a big, juicy pile of meat, dripping with flavor that soaks into the bun.