I normally don't post long stories on the internet, and I haven't done much except ask for advice on this forum, but I figure I owe you all on this one:
I just had one of the most incredible experiences of my life last Saturday. Thanks so much to this forum and especially MotoChef and ScarBelly (who was generous enough to give me his personal phone#) for all the tips. I wouldn't have had a chance if not for your expert advice. Everything came together perfectly with the help of my family and friends. We had no hired help (other than Critton Hollow String Band) and over 120 attendees plus kids.
I ended up using the cooler method suggested by MotoChef. I did a trial run on Friday as suggested by ScarBelly (while cooking the last shoulder). I filled a big cooler with 190 F water and it held above 160 for 5 hours. On Saturday my father in law and I started around 1, and used a turkey fryer to heat the water for the cooler. Then I used the turkey fryer basket in a big stock pot to heat the meat. The basket prevented meat from touching the sides and bottom of the pot, so I was able to put a lot of meat in it at once. I heated the pot to about 190 and let the meat sit in it for about 15 minutes and threw it in the cooler. I was done with the meat by about 3:00, helped with setting up the farm, and got changed by 4:30. I checked the water temp in the cooler and it was holding at about 160 with an hour or so before the meat would be served. The wedding started at 5. I had a few trusted friends in charge of the meat, both of whom are more experienced with cooking (not smoking) than I am. All they had to do was open the bags and dump them in chafing dishes (and add my premade finishing sauce to the pork). They used the perfect amount of sauce, and it came out great. We had homemade pasta salad, potato salad, and cupcakes (all made by the bride and her girlfriends) with store bought coleslaw, bean salad, and buns. The meat was pulled pork, smoked chicken, and two smoked venison hind quarters. The only thing we ran out of was the venison. Sure enough, as ScarBelly warned, there were people filling their plates with chicken and pork and not using buns, but I still have several bags of pork and chicken that I refroze for later (and smaller) get togethers.''
I teared up when my bride walked down the aisle. I teared up when she mentioned in her vows our old dog who just died before Christmas. Then after about the 3rd person came up to me telling me how great the meat was (and I believed them), I almost lost it!! I put so much time and effort and worried so much, and it all finally came together.
I will try to put up a few pics of the wedding and some Q-view in the next few days.
Thanks so much!!
Edited by mountaineer79 - 6/22/11 at 5:18am