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Posted: 4/27/2015 6:23:14 PM EDT
Smoking 6 butts for pulled pork this coming weekend for a huge party. Smoker is a custom built BBQ trailer my buddy has. I've done a few butts before and they came out great so I'm not too worried about doing 6 at once.

My problem is timing. Mom wants the food ready around 4 or 5 in the afternoon on Saturday. I don't want to start cooking at 5 AM and try to stay up drinking beer all night with my friends.

I was thinking of smoking them for 10-12 hours on Friday, pulling them, letting them cool, and refrigerate them over night. Then on Saturday we could fire the smoker back up and heat them for an hour or so.

Think that'll work, or should I bite the bullet and start early Saturday?
Link Posted: 4/27/2015 6:54:13 PM EDT
Been there; done that.

You do not want to be pulling a bunch of pork butts at the last minute. Things can go wrong or take longer than you anticipated.

Do it early so you are not rushed and so you can clean up before the guests start eating.

Be careful about re-heating pulled pork. It will dry out REALLY fast. It would be OK at room temperature.

But if you must serve it hot, heat it in a closed container or a pan covered with foil.
Link Posted: 4/27/2015 7:02:08 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/27/2015 7:02:28 PM EDT by jackhandy]
Wrap whole butts in foil and place in an insulated cooler with towels top and bottom...they will hold temps for hours in advance.
Link Posted: 4/27/2015 7:10:53 PM EDT
Waking up at 2:30 am to prep and throw them on not an option? I don't know that I would gamble with doing anything different with that many folks to feed.
Link Posted: 4/27/2015 7:28:31 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By jackhandy:
Wrap whole butts in foil and place in an insulated cooler with towels top and bottom...they will hold temps for hours in advance.
View Quote
This man knows how to do it
Link Posted: 4/27/2015 8:54:39 PM EDT
Agree with above. Partially cooking them the day before will not work well. On Day 1 you will not render the collagen due to incomplete cooking, and on Day 2 you will not fully heat them up to that temp without drying them out. End result is dry, tough meat.

When I have a deadline I try to pre-cook with a large buffer. If you need pulled meat at 4, that means to start pulling at 3:15 or so. Figure 12-14hr cook plus minimum 1hr rest in cooler, that means putting the meat on the smoker around midnight. Can you prep everything before bed, wake up and get the meat going at midnight, and then go back to bed? Alternately you can start the meat at like 10pm and plan on a longer cooler session, as noted above this will not harm the meat.
Link Posted: 4/27/2015 9:02:43 PM EDT
Link Posted: 4/27/2015 9:04:54 PM EDT
Link Posted: 4/27/2015 9:16:04 PM EDT
You might test run that smoker to see about the time. 12-16 hrs is normal at 225-250, but I've gone 24-30 in a Big Green Egg if you're sub-225 because of the moisture it holds. Typically in something a lot larger, you loose that moisture and cook with a dryer heat (so the juices inside melt and evaporate faster.)

When it finishes, I just put mine in a half buffet aluminum pan and cover with foil. The go into a cooler and they'll be good for 6-7 hrs no problem. If you pull them, then reheat, just make sure the pans are covered or it will dry out quickly.

BTW, if you have 6 bone-in butts that are 8-10# each, plans on loosing 50% or the weight. You'll end up with 25-30# of meat.

Link Posted: 4/27/2015 9:26:16 PM EDT
Link Posted: 4/28/2015 8:56:05 AM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Bryan_Aim:
i cook at 275, I have tried 225-all the way to 325, some of my best have been the higher temp ones!
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Yeah, they call those higher temp ones "turbo butts" since you can do them in 4-6 hrs.
Link Posted: 4/28/2015 3:07:20 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By jackhandy:
Wrap whole butts in foil and place in an insulated cooler with towels top and bottom...they will hold temps for hours in advance.
View Quote

This is the winning answer right here. Start the butts to leave yourself a ~4-hour buffer on time (this may also work well into your schedule so you don't have to start them in the middle of the night, start before you go to bed and check them when you wake up). When they are done, wrap in foil, line cooler with towels, put foil-wrapped butts in, and leave it shut. The butts will hold in the cooler for hours with all 6 of them keeping the others warm. I once did about 40 butts at one time, naturally, with that many, and of varying size, in varying locations in the smoker (big smoker) some were done hours before the others. I held the first-cooked butts in the cooler for ~8 hours until all the help arrived to pull, sauce, pack them. They were for a few LARGE weddings and the pulled pork got rave reviews, numerous people said it was the best pulled pork they'd ever had.

That being said: if you MUST cook in advance and reheat, IMHO the ONLY way to do it is pack in large vacuum bags and chill. When ready to heat, put the bag in a large pot of boiling water to warm the pork up (bag still sealed), this will prevent the pork from drying out. Once it is warm dump it in the pan and sauce it if you're using a finishing sauce etc. (don't douse in BBQ sauce, that is bad Pulled-Pork form).
Link Posted: 4/28/2015 5:04:02 PM EDT
Thanks for all of the advice guys. I'm going to think on it for a day or two. Going to pick up the BBQ trailer tomorrow. I'll keep y'all updated.
Link Posted: 4/28/2015 9:27:00 PM EDT
+1 on the holding, wrapped in a cooler. It will actually yield you a better end product if they are allowed to rest.

Alternatively, you could do the same thing in reverse, cook your butts for ~4-5 hours until a pellicle forms on the fat, wrap them up tight, then let continue in the smoker around 225 until ready for service. (~12 hours plus)

And for all you little girls crying about pulling hot pulled pork by hand, if your dainty paws can't handle the heat, multiple kitchen gloves or a couple pairs of kitchen tongs will help you out.
Link Posted: 4/29/2015 2:12:57 AM EDT
cook them at 325, wrap around 160 .... welcome to hot and fast. I placed at many of comps cooking hot and fast. it works great :) If you your not comfortable cooking hot and fast then a cooler with blankets towels will work but cool the meat down to ~175 first... the hold over cooking at higher temp can make it like mush.

Clint
Link Posted: 4/30/2015 3:11:06 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By clinth:
cook them at 325, wrap around 160 .... welcome to hot and fast. I placed at many of comps cooking hot and fast. it works great :) If you your not comfortable cooking hot and fast then a cooler with blankets towels will work but cool the meat down to ~175 first... the hold over cooking at higher temp can make it like mush.

Clint
View Quote


Almost best advise... Here is the sure fire way to do it. Trust me I do this for a living.

Smoke at 275* 4-5 hours them foil around 160-170.

Place butts in 300* oven until internal temp reaches 200-205*

Lower oven to lowest temp setting and hold or place in a cooler with towels.

There is absolutely no advantage to low and slow with pork butts.

Target finish time 5pm

8am start cooker

8:30 put meat on

smoke until 12:30 or 160-170* then wrap

Cook in oven until approx 2:30 or 200-205*

Rest until service.

Also use a vinegar/mustard finishing sauce.


Link Posted: 5/1/2015 8:22:28 AM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By deich:


Almost best advise... Here is the sure fire way to do it. Trust me I do this for a living.

Smoke at 275* 4-5 hours them foil around 160-170.

Place butts in 300* oven until internal temp reaches 200-205*

Lower oven to lowest temp setting and hold or place in a cooler with towels.

There is absolutely no advantage to low and slow with pork butts.

Target finish time 5pm

8am start cooker

8:30 put meat on

smoke until 12:30 or 160-170* then wrap

Cook in oven until approx 2:30 or 200-205*

Rest until service.

Also use a vinegar/mustard finishing sauce.


View Quote View All Quotes
View All Quotes
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By deich:
Originally Posted By clinth:
cook them at 325, wrap around 160 .... welcome to hot and fast. I placed at many of comps cooking hot and fast. it works great :) If you your not comfortable cooking hot and fast then a cooler with blankets towels will work but cool the meat down to ~175 first... the hold over cooking at higher temp can make it like mush.

Clint


Almost best advise... Here is the sure fire way to do it. Trust me I do this for a living.

Smoke at 275* 4-5 hours them foil around 160-170.

Place butts in 300* oven until internal temp reaches 200-205*

Lower oven to lowest temp setting and hold or place in a cooler with towels.

There is absolutely no advantage to low and slow with pork butts.

Target finish time 5pm

8am start cooker

8:30 put meat on

smoke until 12:30 or 160-170* then wrap

Cook in oven until approx 2:30 or 200-205*

Rest until service.

Also use a vinegar/mustard finishing sauce.



I really, really wish I would've seen this yesterday. Couldn't figure out my timing for tomorrow so I went against the grain and decided to do them today. Put them on the pit about 20 minutes ago.



I'll rest them and pull them this evening, and reheat in the oven or on the pit tomorrow. Mom is making a Shiner Bock BBQ sauce and a mustard and vinegar sauce.

Lots of good advice in this thread. I want to thank y'all for helping me out. I'll keep the pictures coming as I have time.
Link Posted: 5/1/2015 10:07:48 PM EDT
Well guys, I'm glad I decided to do these in advance. Had trouble maintaining the temperature I wanted on such a big pit. After 8 hours I decided to move them into the oven. Wrapped them in foil and placed them on half sheet pans.

I guess I didn't wrap them tight enough, because I had a lot of juices leak out onto the pans. Worst still, I was able to pull only one of the butts. The other 5 were cooked, but not fall off the bone tender.

Tomorrow they're going in pans with foil. I'll either put them back on the pit for an hour or two, or try to cram them all into mom's oven. Won't have the same mouth-feel as good pulled pork, but I don't think my guests will mind.

Here's the one butt we did manage to pull. It was delicious.

Link Posted: 5/2/2015 11:46:04 AM EDT
Looks good... If you cant pull it chop it.

The butts wont take anymore smoke, i would just go into the oven.

Also, make yourself a finishing sauce. This is the little secret to great pulled pork.

Just scale it down to your needs.

1 gallon Apple Cider Vinegar
.5 gallon water
1 lb brown sugar
.5 cup kosher salt
.5 cup yellow mustard
.25 cup Worcestershire sauce
.25 cup molasses
1 tablespoon red pepper flake
.5 cup FRESH lemon juice

Now drop what you are doing get to the store and get these ingredients. It is the difference between good and great pulled pork.

Are you still reading???? GOOOOOOOOOOOOO
Link Posted: 5/3/2015 2:02:48 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By deich:
Looks good... If you cant pull it chop it.

The butts wont take anymore smoke, i would just go into the oven.

Also, make yourself a finishing sauce. This is the little secret to great pulled pork.

Just scale it down to your needs.

1 gallon Apple Cider Vinegar
.5 gallon water
1 lb brown sugar
.5 cup kosher salt
.5 cup yellow mustard
.25 cup Worcestershire sauce
.25 cup molasses
1 tablespoon red pepper flake
.5 cup FRESH lemon juice

Now drop what you are doing get to the store and get these ingredients. It is the difference between good and great pulled pork.

Are you still reading???? GOOOOOOOOOOOOO
View Quote

Ended up putting them in sealed pans on the smoker since they wouldn't fit in mom's oven. Cooked them for a few more hours and they were perfect. Pulled them just in time for the party. Might've not won any competitions but I got a bunch of compliments on it. Best part is we have plenty leftover

Mom made a similar sauce to that and it was great. Some of that leftover too. Thanks again for all the help.
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