Newbie smoking for 50-75 this weekend

Discussion in 'Roll Call' started by who24, Apr 1, 2008.

  1. who24

    who24 Newbie

    Hi everyone,

    My name is Mike and I'm from central Arkansas. I've started smoking as a hobby and have really enjoyed it so far. I have a Brinkman electric and a bag of mesquite chunks/chips (mostly chunks). So far I have grilled one beef brisquit and 3 different pork butts all on different occassions, with each occassion I've used a different rub (store brand) and mop. So far so good. I have personally been pleased. My friends and family also seem to enjoy, maybe even too much (I'll get to that here in a minute). I have some concerns about my smoker and some concerns about this coming weekend. Thank you for any tips. Read on.

    First, regarding the storage. I keep my smoker outside and uncovered. I understand this is silly and a bit irresponsible, but I really do not have much a choice. I've been meaning to get a tarp for it, but that's probably about my only other option. (I have no storage or cover.) Honestly, how bad is this for my smoker? Thanks. Also, this thing doesn't have a temp. gauge and this is really an issue. So far I've used a meat thermometer to measure the temp of the smoker. The problem is the meat therm. only reads to 180, but the needle goes higher and by eyeballing the needle I've been able to wing it thus far. Anybody experienced this or any suggestions? Thanks.

    This Sunday I'm planning on serving pulled pork sandwiches for 50-75 people (possibly more). I'm a little nervous as you can imagine this will be a total different ball game then I'm used to. Here's what I've decided to start with. Using my brinkman and mesquite. 24 pounds (3 cuts of meat) of uncooked pork butt (will this even be enough?). 2 cuts on top rack (laying on their sides) and one cut on bottom (trimmed fatty cap facing up). I'm planning on using the same rub I used last time because I thought it was the best batch. Coleslaw and sauce as options for the guests. Party starts between 4 and 5 p.m. I'm wanting to get there at 4 with pulled pork fresh off the smoker, so I plan on putting the meat on the smoker at about 5:00 a.m. on Sunday. Thoughts on my timing?

    Here are my biggest concerns. First, I've never cooked near this much meat and I've never used bottom rack. Smoking time? Heat? How will xtra meat effect how much wood I use?, etc. In other words I feel comfortable doing one, but not so much 3.

    Second, I need a way to keep the meat warm throughout the night as people will be coming and going. My plan now is to bring pork already pulled wrapped in aluminum foil to sit on my friends large charcoal barrell grill. I was planning on keeping a small amount of charcoal burning on one side with pork ready to serve on other side. This seems to be a good idea, but the pork will be finished and I don't want it to overcook. I'm only trying to keep it warm. I do want to be outside as this is where the "action" is. Plus the grilling aroma will add to the atmosphere and appetite.

    I know this is long with several questions, but I'm really needing some advice. I'm a bit nervous about this coming weekend so any, any, any suggestions are greatly appreciated.

    Thanks,

    Mike
     
  2. capt dan

    capt dan Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Is this another april fools joke![​IMG]

    If not, I would say you are gonna need some help and more meat. 3 butts will not feed 75 people. 6 butts might if you make the sandwiches. Roughly I figure 12 folks per 7-8 lb butt. That like 1/3 of a lb per sperson!

    hope that helps!
     
  3. pineywoods

    pineywoods Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead SMF Premier Member

    First off welcome to the best smoking forum going. Your gonna need more meat. Your gonna need more time. Get a couple digital thermometers at least one for the meat and one for the cooker temp. Look in the Pork section and you'll get a good way to cook the pork and don't forget the finishing sauce its great
     
  4. fireguy

    fireguy Smoking Fanatic

    welcome, bring on the pics!!
     
  5. abelman

    abelman Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    This has to be an April Fool's post
     
  6. geob

    geob Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    Welcome. You a lot more meat, a bigger smoker, and a lot of HELP!!!
    Place pulled pork on a grill will dry out quick unless you have some sause mixed in it.
     
  7. Welcome to SMF. Go with 1/3# per person. Sounds right. Then the 50% rule for cooked weight.
    As far as the smoker, add a couple thermometers a th grate levels. I found mine at Home Depot for about $8 a piece. They help. You might wat to see if you can find a wireless remote for the meat temps. With more meat on, your temps will be a bit harder to keep up because it "absorbs" more to cook. Just pay attention to the cooker temps regularly. As far as wood for smoke. You still want to keep thin blue smoke coming out. Even though there is more meat, the smoke should be the same.
    Hope it helps some. Good luck and keep it posted on how it turns out.
     
  8. bb53chevpro

    bb53chevpro Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Welcome to the forum. It looks like everyone has answered your questions.
    Andy.
     
  9. bbq bubba

    bbq bubba Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Why do you think that? Follow this thread....Pulled pork 101

    I did 3 butts on the ECB and fed 60 people.......before drums!! [​IMG][​IMG]
     
  10. capt dan

    capt dan Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    with a brisket![​IMG]
     
  11. smoke-n-jr

    smoke-n-jr Smoke Blower

    Welcome and good luck!

    The only thing I might add is this (thanks Cap!)

    If at all possible, smoke the butts the day before. From my personal experience, they never seem to progress like you want. I have had butts take 12 to 14 hours to cook. I'm sure others have had better success than I but, If this is a really important event, why not cook the day before and enjoy the gathering. Just my .02 worth. Good luck and let us know the outcome!

    -Jr
     
  12. short one

    short one Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    Welcome to SMF, Who24. I just cooked for a gathering about a month ago and cooked approx. 73 lb. of butts. We fed approx. 45 to 50 men. All ate one large sandwich on hamburger bun, but most had two or came back for just pulled pork. We had sides of baked beans, cole slaw and chips. Guess what I am saying is cook plenty because folks will eat good "Q" and it is better to freeze some leftover pork than run out. We had 4 gal. ziplock bags left over to freeze. Good luck with your cook and I personnelly would cook a day ahead of time.
     
  13. kookie

    kookie Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Welcome to the site.................I agree do the butts the day before..........Best of luck...........
     
  14. abelman

    abelman Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Well, it's April 1st, and this is his first post, and it's a doosey. Plus, I read his post. I guess you can call me skeptical. For his sake, I hope I'm wrong.
     
  15. k5yac

    k5yac Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    No mention of it being a joke so far... I can do 4 shoulders at a time on my snp, usually a day ahead when possible, and it is a lot of work even when doing it just for several friends, but 75 people? You will need to run 3 sessions just to get the stuff cooked... better get crackin!

    Hate to sound negative, but dude, I would call the party folks and tell them to make dinner plans. [​IMG]
     
  16. richtee

    richtee Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Then again, has not logged in since.... I can almost believe it's a joke. SMF has done it's best to handle a few VERY similar posts LOL!
     
  17. who24

    who24 Newbie

    This is not a joke, but I can sure understand you all thinking that. I've read through the suggestions and the pulled pork 101 (thanks bubba, very encouraging). Sorry, but what do you mean "before drums"?

    By the way I really meant 50-75 sandwiches and not filling 50-75 people neccessarily. Either way here's the changes I'm going to make based on the advice so far.

    Make it 4 butts, maybe even 5 or 6 if I can squeeze them in. I'll start earlier, maybe 2 or 3 that morning (I'm not a fan of doing it the day before, so early that morning is prefferable if at all possible.) Going with probably 1/3 pound sandwiches. I also appreciate the tips on my temp gauges and I'll work on that. My last concern would be keeping it warm. One reply tells me that my plan of keeping the meat in a warm grill will dry the meat and I don't want this to happen, I simply want to keep them warm. I'm thinking a few coals on one side of the large grill and serving pork that's sitting on foil on the other end of the grill. Any other thoughts on this plan or any other alternatives. Again, I want to be outside serving my sandwiches as this will be the gathering area.

    On maintaining my cooking temp:
    I understand cooking more meat at once will be harder to keep my temp up. What's the best way to do this? Add wood? Also, to lower temp? Add water to bowl?

    By the way I've been told that my friends have started a rumor with the other guests telling them that a 1998 world champion from Canada will be providing the bbq. I've got big shoes to fill to say the least. I think the guest are going to be surprised considering this will only be my 4th smoking session.

    Also, I'll try to provide pics.

    Thank You everyone for you help and suggestions.
     
  18. who24

    who24 Newbie

    This is not a joke, but I can sure understand you all thinking that. I've read through the suggestions and the pulled pork 101 (thanks bubba, very encouraging). Sorry, but what do you mean "before drums"?

    By the way I really meant 50-75 sandwiches and not filling 50-75 people neccessarily. Either way here's the changes I'm going to make based on the advice so far.

    Make it 4 butts, maybe even 5 or 6 if I can squeeze them in. I'll start earlier, maybe 2 or 3 that morning (I'm not a fan of doing it the day before, so early that morning is prefferable if at all possible.) Going with probably 1/3 pound sandwiches. I also appreciate the tips on my temp gauges and I'll work on that. My last concern would be keeping it warm. One reply tells me that my plan of keeping the meat in a warm grill will dry the meat and I don't want this to happen, I simply want to keep them warm. I'm thinking a few coals on one side of the large grill and serving pork that's sitting on foil on the other end of the grill. Any other thoughts on this plan or any other alternatives. Again, I want to be outside serving my sandwiches as this will be the gathering area.

    On maintaining my cooking temp:
    I understand cooking more meat at once will be harder to keep my temp up. What's the best way to do this? Add wood? Also, to lower temp? Add water to bowl?

    By the way I've been told that my friends have started a rumor with the other guests telling them that a 1998 world champion from Canada will be providing the bbq. I've got big shoes to fill to say the least. I think the guest are going to be surprised considering this will only be my 4th smoking session.

    Also, I'll try to provide pics.

    Thank You everyone for you help and suggestions.
     
  19. I Would Not Leave Smoker Uncover Out Side Since Its Electrict
    But If This Is Your Only Option Cover Wit 55 Gallon Trash Bag
    Than Buy Cover
     
  20. k5yac

    k5yac Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    Really man... call The Rib Crib and order several family packs.
     

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