Wedding Reception

Discussion in 'Catering & Large Group Gatherings' started by countryboy19, Jan 25, 2010.

  1. countryboy19

    countryboy19 Smoke Blower

    I'm new here, but I've roasted a hog before (my roaster, another guys hog, directed on how to do it by a 3rd grumpy old man). The guy directing us how to do it didn't want to stray from his method one bit; I understand and respect this, but I don't think he was really as knowledgeable as he thought.

    In May I will be getting married to the love of my life. I would like to roast a hog (for pulled pork) as the main course at the reception. I've found a caterer that is going to do all the other food prep, and keep my pulled pork set out etc. So basically I am doing pulled pork, then chilling it for reheating and serving the next day. I am expecting between 200 and 300 guests. I planned to roast a whole hog, but after reading this site, I'm not sure if that is the right choice. Would butts/shoulders be better? Or is whole hog fine?

    On "askthemeatman" I saw a description on doing a butterflied hog. At the end he stated figure 1.5 pounds per person. This can't be accurate. Was he talking about 1.5 pounds of live hog weight per person? That still seems high. We will have other foods at the reception, to include: meatballs, fresh fruit table, green beans as a side, and some other stuff I can't remember, there will also be cake. How much meat should I figure per person?

    Moving on, I have a homemade hog roaster that is both gas and wood fired. It is made from the classic "fuel oil tank". The gas burner is mounted inside the tank at the bottom, the wood firebox is attached underneath the main tank. The gas burner is approximately 11" from lowest grate, and 20" from 2nd grate setting. I can add more grate settings if I need to. Wood smoke and heat is fed in the bottom by two 8"X8" square holes fed directly from the firebox (mounted below).

    I know there are 2 main ways to roast the hog; butterflied or "stuffed". I've only done it stuffed (with potatoes), and it seemed to me that the belly meat dried out too much and wasn't any good. I would like to make use of the belly meat by making bacon, so a butterflied hog might be the best way to do this. Any opinion?

    Should I use a rub? The grumpy old man from before refused to season the pork at all, and I felt that it was bland in the end.

    I know that you guys probably see newbs like me all the time asking for recommendations etc. I know that I can successfully pull this off myself, but I want to really "wow" them and make it more than just a success. Any direction, tips, pointers or thoughts are appreciated.

    Summary: 3 big questions/concerns
    #1 What to cook: whole hog or multiple butts?
    #2 If whole hog, how to cook: butterflied or "stuffed"
    #3 Rubs or seasonings?
  2. gene111

    gene111 Smoking Fanatic

    In my opinion butts would probably be easier & deffinetly use a rub!!
  3. rbranstner

    rbranstner Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I have never done a whole hog but if I did I would be putting a rub on it for sure and also injecting it.
  4. denver dave

    denver dave Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    I agree with Meat Mopper. Go with Butts. They are simple to do and taste great. To figure out how many, I figure approx 1/2 the weight lost in cooking then 4 servings per pound. ( With all the other goodies)
    Using a rub will only enhance the taste. I would go with a rub.

    Good luck.[​IMG]
  5. fatback joe

    fatback joe Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Since you are cooking, cooling, then reheating, I would not mess with a hog. I assume you would cook the hog, pull the meat, then reheat the meat.?.?.?...may as well do the butts if no one is going to get the wow factor of a whole hog anyhow.

    If you were keeping the hog whole, I would be interested in how you were going to pull that off, cook, cool, & reheat on a whole hog.........hmmm can think of a few challenges to that and still have good meat.

    Anyhow, congrats on the wedding and good luck with the cook.
  6. countryboy19

    countryboy19 Smoke Blower

    Not keeping it whole. Just planned to cook, pull the pork and put it in some sort of large storage containers, cool, then allow the caterer to heat and serve.

    I'm thinking butts does sound easier.

    My thoughts on doing whole hog was, I could take a hog from the farm, and have it butchered for a hog roast, then do it. Doing butts, I would likely have to buy the meat already processed (I don't want to buy 10+ live hogs just for the butts).

    I'll talk to the butcher shop and see if they can supply enough butts.
  7. kurtsara

    kurtsara Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    I agree, as long as your reheating nobody will see the hog, go with butts
  8. gene111

    gene111 Smoking Fanatic

    you could always have the hog quartered & cook it that way we have done that before instead of buying a lot of butts!!!
  9. fatback joe

    fatback joe Master of the Pit OTBS Member I get it.

    I think I would still go with the butts (assuming you can get them) just for ease of pulling. I don't have much experience with whole hogs, but the little I do have taught me they are more work than just butts for pulling and serving. I can pull 100 lbs of butts much quicker than I could do 100lb hog.

    Can't help but think that you are going to be busy that close to a wedding and anything to make the task easier would be a good thing IMO.

    Good luck
  10. bman62526

    bman62526 Smoking Fanatic

    Yes, you definitely do NOT want to invest in 5 hogs, just for 10 shoulders!

    Also, 1/4 lb. per person is correct - since there will be other food available.

    300 people = 75 lbs. of PP needed.

    That is 150 lbs. pre-cooked pork (when you cook and lose fat, bone, etc - is DOES end up yielding about 1/2 the weight you started with.)

    150 lbs Gross is approx 15 - 20 full size pork shoulders, depending on the size of the shoulders on the shelf of course, but all you have to do is tell the butcher that you want 150 lbs. gross weight and they will provide it, whether that's 15 @ 10 pounds each, 21 @ 7 lbs. each, etc...

    If you are ordering a couple weeks in advance, you should try and see what kind of a deal you can get. Anything more than $1.19 per pound around here would NOT be considered a deal by me. Of course, the prices vary depending on where you live, so, you'll have to do some research in order to know about what price you SHOULD pay, buying that kinda quantity at once.

    Around here, good quality pork shoulders go for $1.60 per lb. regular price, all the way down to 89 cents per lb. on good sale...if you are ordering in advance, and that kind of quantity - you should get something better than the regular retail price, IMO.

    Congrats on your upcoming marriage!
  11. countryboy19

    countryboy19 Smoke Blower

    Ok, I did some checking on pork butts.

    Anybody have any experience with GFS (Gordon's Food Service)? They're a midwest chain of bulk food suppliers mostly geared towards restaurant/catering supply, but their local stores are open to the public. I checked at the local store, and they have fresh pork butts available in 8/case quantity at $1.05/lb bone-in, and $1.25/lb boneless.
    Figuring that a case of boneless yields the same amount of meat as a case of bone-in, the boneless is actually $.01/lb less. My intuition tells me that boneless would also be more convenient. Am I correct?
    Anybody have any experience on their quality? What should I look for on quality? I'm thinking about buying a case now to see how they are ahead of time. Here is what the printout on the bone-in says: "fresh, butcher-quality bone-in pork shoulder boston butt, closely trimmed. 1/8" trim. Shoulder/loin separation straight cut beginning at 2nd and 3rd rib. Butt/picnic separation parallel line at outer edge of blade bone to produce tear-drop shaped bone. Exposed 8-10 square inches of false lean. Visible glands removed"

    Does that sound like a quality cut? There isn't really a way to visually inspect quality beforehand, I would just have to try it out.

    The bone-in come ~78lb/case and boneless ~65lb/case
  12. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I happened to notice that you said that you would maybe smoke the butts and put them into a serving container so that the CATERER to heat up and serve. If I'm smoking them I'm gonna serve them or for sure be there when they are served. I also catered our daughter's wedding and I was helping some of my friends with the set up too. I was with the smoker and the meat. Sfter all we had a pretty good amount of time with all the pictures and stuff that goes along with the whole big wedding gig. Heck I think we had about 45 minutes or so.
  13. werdwolf

    werdwolf Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I think you have been given good advice.

    I'm keen for you to keep this going or re post as you do it, cause my baby girl thinks she wants me to do pulled pork in 2011 for her wedding, so I will be watching closely!
  14. scarbelly

    scarbelly Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I have done 5 rehersal dinners in the last 3 years at my home. I agree with the rest of the folks here and suggest pork butts would be the way to go. Obviously you are not going to be able to serve at your own wedding so test your recipe ahead of time at least twice to make sure it is what you want your guests to get. Good luck with this
  15. tjohnson

    tjohnson Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Insider OTBS Member SMF Premier Member



    We used to do a hog roast every year. The day started at 6:00am with Bloody Mary's and ended with a Keg O'Beer.

    We made an event out of it, and it was a lot of fun, but it's alot of work and a huge mess for me to clean up. Add to this the amount of waste!

    I would use "Pork Butts", inject the heck out of them to keep moist and put on a good rub.

    Good Luck!

    Todd Johnson
  16. hdsmoke

    hdsmoke Smoking Fanatic

    im just going to share my experience with whole hog, not give any suggestions. It actually wasnt "whole hog" persay, as we had it quartered to make it easier to handle and then if parts get done quicker you can pull a quarter out and cut/pull it before the rest.

    We did a 150lb hog i bought from my cousin who raises pigs. He took it to the butcher and they slaughtered and quartered. I paid $150 total for the pig, slaughtering, and butchering, and they rubbed the meat with their house rub inside and out. This was a July 4 party that a friend and I were putting on. His uncle had the cooker, and alot of experience with whole hogs, so he helped us. Put it on the next morning. We got a good sized wood fire going and when it was starting to burn down through 50 lbs of charcoal in and the spread the coals evenly. Honestly, that was almost enough fuel for the entire cook. Had 2 inlet dampers on each side, and his instructions were watch the temp and dont lift the lid till i come back (he actually had a little chain ratchet system on the door to make it more air tight; and the first beer was was prior to 7am. He didnt come back until sometime afternoon and the first internal ham check was taken...not sure what it was (beer) but we also through a few more oak splits on the fire. sometime in the afternoon the first thing he made us take off was the loin so it wouldnt dry out, and we kept that seperate from the rest of the PP. Then, i think around 4:30 we pulled out the rest and went to pulling and separating fat. I ate so much i was almost sick and couldnt stomache dinner with the guests, this stuff was awesome. He had his own BBQ sauce mixture that people could add if they wished but it was a hit. I want to do another one. So, if you have farm access it might be your cheaper route...and a whole hog isnt tough especially when its quartered...its almost like doing shoulders.

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