How long for 60lbs of Pork Butt?

Discussion in 'Pork' started by willysguy, Aug 28, 2011.

  1. willysguy

    willysguy Newbie

    Hello All. I am new to smokers, having just bought a Masterbuilt Extra Wide propane smoker with 15,400 BTU,

    For the past 20 years I have been hosting an end of summer party featuring pulled pork, which was produced by roasting a whole Pig over charcoal. I got pretty good at the roasting, but this year I decided to cook pork butts using a smoker. Reasons include better control, less mess, faster clean up, handling a whole pig is getting hard on my back, and my home built brick roaster is starting to show its age.

    My question is this. If it takes 6-8 hours to cook a single pork butt, how much extra time should I allow to cook 8 pork butts? I'm hoping someone on this forum has experience cooking large quantities and can advise on how to scale. The worse thing that can happen is if I start cooking too late and keep the guests waiting for hours. If I start too early I can always keep the meat warm for a few hours. My gut instinct is to allow 12-14 hours.

    Thanks for any help and advice you can give.

  2. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Too many variables here?

    If you maintain correct temps in your smoker, it will be like smoking one, but will take more fuel.

    Cook to internal temp.  As to estimated times, that will mostly depend on each piece of meat and the temp in your smoke chamber.

    Good luck and good smoking.
  3. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Like Merv said. If you can maintain the heat it would be about the same as 1 butt.
  4. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    I think you need to rethink your  assumption that a pork butt takes 6 - 8 hours when smoking as opposed to roasting.  That really is pushing it if you keep smoker temps at 220 - 240.  I imagine you ran much higher temps in your brick roaster.  I have yet to have a butt take less then 10 hours and have gone as long as 14 - 16 hours with them.  Venture and SmokinAl are right, as long as you keep the heat the amount of meat in the smoker is probably irrelevant but  recovery times take longer and if the smoker is so full that the meat is not fully exposed to the heat and smoke it's like cooking a larger, single piece of meat.  With more meat in the smoker you will also have the smoker open longer when you move the butts around or when you mop.

    Most of us really like to let butts sit in an ice chest after bringing them to temp in the smoker.  Unless you want to take meat out of the smoker when your guests arrive you can start the butts the day before, give them all the leisure time in the smoker they need and then wrap in foil and towels and store in an ice chest the night before.  They will still be hot and fall off the bone tender the next morning.  I have gone as long as 10 hours in an ice chest and the butts have retained a minimum 140 internal temp for safety. 

    Good luck, don't forget the Qview
  5. willysguy

    willysguy Newbie

    Wow! That is great information, and exactly what I needed. I got the notion that extra time is needed for large amounts of meat on a forum for electric smokers. It makes sense that propane has more flexibility, and can handle the demand by increasing the BTU's. More work takes more energy. Simple physics. Thanks so much to everyone who responded.

    You're right, I was basing the timing on my experience with the brick roaster (The Big Pig Rig), which ran hotter and was harder to control. Now I have a new baseline to work from. Especially valuable was the tip about storing the butts in an ice chest. That alone is going to allow me the freedom I need to take my time and work this out to develop the process for the first time. Thanks for that.

    The Big Pig Q is the weekend after Labor Day. I intend to practice this weekend with a single butt for family and neighbors so I can get a feel for the meat and bond with the new rig.

    Look for pics and a summary in early to mid September.

    Thanks again for your quick and most helpful advice! This is a great place. :)

  6. smokin - k

    smokin - k Meat Mopper

    Hey Willysguy,

        Welcome to the forum...! Everyone on here is top notch helpful & friendly.. If you dont own one already I would buy a Maverick wireless ET-732 thermometer... Great for long smokes. I can sit in my man cave doing what I do while watching the internal temp of my smoker and the temp of the meat... Brilliant! Look up Todd Johnson via the A- MAZE-N-SMOKER link on the top right of the page. I also bought a Pellet smoker and for around 50 cents of pellets I get the perfect smoke for 12 hours. Good luck with your pulled pork! Can't wait to see 8 butts all lined up..!

                                Happy Smoking, Smokin - K
  7. oldschoolbbq

    oldschoolbbq Smoking Guru OTBS Member

       Willysguy,I do basically like Alblancher does.[​IMG]  When doing several at a time ,I take an average weight of the bunch-ie. 10# avg. , @ 1.5hrs/lb. @ 220*f.  I know, they say cook bt temp. and I do too,BUT I keep my lid shut the entire cook to keep the moisture in , (another discussion I may get into one

    day)[​IMG]. This is used only to give me a reasonable time to open the pit and check things out without losing everything...

    Here are some of my results:



    On all of these, I pulled the bone and pressed on them and they fell apart[​IMG]  See the juice(sweat) on the bark[​IMG],and it was so moist,I didn't add any finishing sauce,and just placed it on the side.

    Just my  .02 worth,

    Have fun and.......................
  8. willysguy

    willysguy Newbie

    Excellent suggestion! That is going to be my very first accessory purchase. The memories of 20 years of manually checking the whole roasting pig every 30 minutes for 12 hours is already starting to fade. :) The thermometer will pay for itself in the first good nights sleep.

    Thanks to all who responded. I am so excited about this now. What was originally just a simple question to get me started is turning in to a very pleasant journey. So much to learn...

  9. willysguy

    willysguy Newbie

    Old School

    Thanks for sharing, especially the rules of thumb you offered. I must say that is a beautiful picture! Too bad you can't attach the heavenly aroma that must go with that image.

    I noticed you have bone-in shoulders. In my area they offer both boneless and bone-in. Any advantage to bone-in? I had planned to use boneless just for convenience.

  10. garyt

    garyt Smoking Fanatic

    Go with the bone in
  11. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Most of us feel the bone actually adds flavor to the meat. Plus its a good way to find out if the meat is done,  when the bone pulls out with no problem the butt is ready for pulling.
  12. willysguy

    willysguy Newbie

    An update.

    The Big Pig was a great success this year! Not only did I get way more compliments on the pork than usual, but for the first time in 21 years we actually ran out of buns! I wound up putting out every slice of bread and dinner roll we had to make sandwiches with, and even then folks continued piling the pork on their plates until it was all gone. This was despite a smaller turn out than usual.

    Thanks to everyone on this forum who answered my questions, contributed their knowledge, and allowed me to "pull" this off. :)

    Here, in a nutshell, is Big Pig by the numbers

    61.9 lbs of pork shoulder, which is

    8 bone-in roasts

    4 cups of rub

    5lbs of hickory chunks

    15.5 hours total cook time

    Yielded about 40 lbs of pulled pork

    120 sandwich buns

    2 loaves of sandwich bread

    About 10 Tons of Fun

    Here it is by the pictures


    One case of 4 "Pork Shoulder Butts", cut in half to yield 8 roasts, total weight 61.9 lbs at $1.89/lb


    Four roasts waiting for Rub


    Aye, there's the rub!


    MasterBuilt Extra Large smoker loaded up and ready to rock. Notice cast iron skillet at the bottom holding approx 3 lbs of hickory chunks.


    Replenished wood and water after 6 hours and went to bed. Woke up 7 hours later and this is the view of the Maverick ET732 wireless thermometer that greeted me. I love it when a plan comes together. :)


    I gave it another 2.5 hours to hit 190F, then shut off the gas and let them rest for 2 hours. This is the view right before being pulled. Unfortunately, I have no pictures after this as my hands were full for a while and I forgot to designate a photographer. :-(

    Thanks again to everyone who contributed. We are already planning a fall rib fest for a few selected friends using the same rub recipe my wife used on the pulled pork.
  13. roller

    roller Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    And its sooooooooo good !!!!!1 Yours looks great.

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