Thoughts on smoking ribs the day before a party

Discussion in 'Pork' started by wang61, Aug 23, 2016.

  1. wang61

    wang61 Newbie

    I'm hosting a big party this weekend where I plan to smoke about 10-15 racks of ribs and 2 pork butts. Given the limited capacity of my WSM 18, I'm thinking of smoking the ribs the day before the party, storing them over night, and then throwing them on the BBQ the day of the party where I will sauce them up.

    Has anyone ever done this before? Or have any input on this method? 

    I'm assuming storing them in the fridge overnight would be best as I'm not sure how they would keep in an empty cooler.
  2. tropics

    tropics Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Using the 3-2-1 method do 3-2 Store in fridge finish on the grill my 2 cents

  3. smokinal

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

    It's done all the time.

    They shouldn't be fully cooked, but close to it.

    For instance if you were to do the 3-2-1 method.

    You would do the 3-2 the day before, refrigerate overnight & then finish on a grill w/sauce at the party.

  4. smokinal

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

    Ha Richie, you type faster than me!!

  5. yotzee

    yotzee Smoking Fanatic

    I just did this this weekend.  Smoked on Saturday.  Heated up on grill on Sunday.  I didn't use 3-2-1 but I did leave them just a bit undercooked, just a bit, put in a foil pan still hot and covered with foil before refrigerator.  Warmed up slowly on the grill.  They turned out great. 
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2016
  6. yotzee

    yotzee Smoking Fanatic

    And yes definitely in the fridge
  7. sauced

    sauced Master of the Pit

    Yep...I do the same thing. They always turn out great!! Glad your did as well!!
  8. wang61

    wang61 Newbie

    Thanks for all the replies everyone.  I was just wondering, if I should smoke the butts the day before instead of the ribs?  Any input on that?
  9. I had a graduation party a couple of years ago for one of the grand sons I smoked the Brisket and Pork butt the day before and Ribs sausage, boudin, and beans the day of..

    Sometimes you have to do what you have to.  It all warm up really well.

  10. sauced

    sauced Master of the Pit

    Sure you fact, some will say the pulled pork tastes better next day!
  11. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I'd definitely do the pork butts in advance. I'm one of the people Sauced mentioned that thinks pulled pork benefits from a day in the fridge. Plus it'll make life much easier on you the day of the party. That way you can just concentrate on the ribs and the party guests.
    Wait... I just re-read your post. 10-15 racks of ribs in an 18"WSM is gonna take a few runs. I'd start the whole process several days in advance. Get the ribs AND the pork done, then smoke up som ABT's or Moinks or some fatties the day of so your guests get to see and smell the smoker running without you stressing yourself out.
  12. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member


    There's no way you'll get that many racks of ribs into your wsm, even using a rib rack. I'm all for cooking in advance, and reheating. I'd do it all in advance. I also feel that pulled pork is better a day or two after it's been smoked.

    If you are wanting to enjoy the party do everything ahead of time. And if you want do what MD suggests and make appetizers the day of.
  13. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    For me it's a coin toss. If I have the cooker space (and the venue allows it, if traveling), I like to cook as much of the meats as possible onsite and have it fresh out of the smoker. The down-side, as mentioned in a round-about way, is you'll have less time to spend with guests and family when tending cookers.

    This past weekend I traveled out of state for a smaller 2-1/2 day family gathering. I hauled my gear, cookers, supplies and much of the food I contributed (as well as local purchases), including a large batch of pasta salad (prepped the evening before). For certain dishes, I precooked my bacon so I wouldn't have to spend the time doing that on site. Others attending prepared some extra sides and all worked out beautifully and there were happy bellies and smiling faces with every meal.

    The main considerations with larger quantities is cooker space and time. You have to manage your capacities and time-frame to what works for your situation. If precooking is the only way that you can comfortably bring it to the table, then, you need to stick with what you know will work. While I'm not a huge fan of reheated ribs (I'm damned fussy), I have done it and they work fine. Go with your gut.

    Also, it's easy to cook entirely too much meats...been there, done that, all the time. If you have 2-3 sides there are always excess meats, in my past experience. One slab of BBs will feed 3-4, spares 4-5. 8lb precooked weight of butt feeds 15-18. You may be able to reduce your quantities based on these numbers...maybe not...not knowing your expected head-count, that's up to you.

    Good luck, good smoke, and enjoy the experience while you learn along the's all good.

  14. poco tejas

    poco tejas Newbie

    I do three or four "big cooks" per year. My definition of "big" is 40 to 125 people. I often cook on one day, wrap firmly in heavy duty foil and reheat the day of the cook. I reheat in the foil, generally using the oven. If I don't have my meat at the "pulled" heat, I crank up the oven to 350 or so. It it's already at the proper temp, I warm it either at a lower temp or for not as long.

    Like so many, I prefer to do all the cooking on the day of the event but if meal time is going to be earlier in the day, no way. There was a time, and age, when I didn't mind cooking all night but those days are behind me.

    By leaving the meat wrapped while warming, the outside doesn't burn. It always turns out good.
  15. myownidaho

    myownidaho Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    I do 30# or pork butt for an Independence Day party every year. I do them ahead and double foil wrap them. On the day of the party, I take the butts still in the foil and toss them in a 200 degree oven until they're up to temp. All the accumulated juices in the package keeps the meat moist. I would do the same with the ribs but I would finish the reheat with sauce on the grill.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  16. mkriet

    mkriet Smoking Fanatic

    I did some ribs a couple weeks ago for a carry in at work. I smoked them all the way the day before, 2-2-1 for baby backs, and brushed them with sauce. I cut them into individual ribs that night, and threw them in a crock pot bag, and in the fridge. Next morning, put them in the crock pot to warm them up, and voila! Served sauce on the side. Needless to say, there were no leftovers, and I will be bringing BBQ to future carry ins.

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