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College graduation party pulled pork advise needed

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

I want to make pulled pork for about 55-60 people.


I have a 40" Masterbuilt smoker.


I have smoked single pork butts and pork picnic roasts before.


Do you think I should smoke an actual pork shoulder or two or more?


Or smoke multiple pork butts or a pork picnic roasts instead?


How much pork do you think I need for this many people?


I planned to smoke the meat the day before and then heat it up the next day for the party.


I was going to put the pulled pork in a light BBQ sauce to get happy overnight before reheating the next day.


Any advise would be appreciated.



post #2 of 10

I like doing butts personally. Figure a quarter pound per sandwich and figure you'll yield 50 percent or a little better of finished product vs raw weight. I would smoke them before and go ahead and pull them put them in foil pans cover with tin foil then day of event mix in some finishing sauce put the tin foil back over the pans and reheat.

60 sandwiches divided by 4 sandwiches per lb = 15 lbs of finished so I'd start with 30 lbs of raw butts and figure I'll have some extra

post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 


post #4 of 10

Stick with the butts, the picnics will yield less meat due to the size of the bone.  Just follow pineywoods advice, he won't lead you anywhere but the right way.

post #5 of 10

Here's a very good finishing sauce




Then you can serve a couple different BBQ sauces on the side and people can choose

post #6 of 10

X, you've gotten some good advice.  The only thing I'd add on quantity is that the amount of meat eaten will often depend on the ratio of guys to gals and the number of other food options.  More guys=more food eaten.  More sides=less meat eaten.


Pulled pork keeps and freezes well so if you have the fridge or freezer space and it fits the budget you might want to make more than you think you will need.  It is easier to make more than you think you will need and freeze the leftovers than worry about it.  The common vacuum sealer bags (Foodsaver, Vacuum Sealers Unlimited) and brand name freezer weight zip top bags can be used as boil-in-bags or defrosted in hot water to speed up final prep.


I don't have an MES but do have two small electric smokers, a Bradley and a Cookshack so I would guess the process I use will work for you.  I usually make 3-5 butts at a time since it's not a lot more work than making one or two.


I smoke them until they are about 3/4 done and finish them in a covered roaster in the oven.    That way I get to save some of the juices that would otherwise render out in the smoker and be lost.


When they are done to pulling stage I drain off the juices and pass them through a fat separator.  After pulling the pork I stir the de-fatted juices back in and that adds a lot of moistness and flavor without using too much sauce that masks the flavor of the meat.


Good luck and enjoy the party.



post #7 of 10

Pineywoods has given you the same numbers I use. LanceR is also correct on the way to look at the food. There is no set formula in catering events. Believe me after over 20 years of catering I have never had 2 parties the same. So we do an average and usually plan a bit heavy.


They both have given you very good methods to follow. It really depends on what you have going on the day before and the time of the food service on how I would proceed.


If after lunch time I would be more likely to follow Pineywoods method. If around lunch time I would lean towards LanceR method, but I would do the oven at 200 degrees and put the pork in just before i went to bed. That way when I woke up it would be ready. I set it at 200 so it does not get over cooked....done this many times and works great. I place the pork in a pan with some beer, apple juice concentrate and a it of apple cider vinegar. Wrap with plastic then foil, no the plastic will not melt. When i get up in the morning I remove the pork from the pan and use the juices to make my finishing sauce.




Below is some information I posted on another thread.....




You have received a lot of info on processes for the cooling, reheating and storage. It is very important to be aware of the temperatures and how long you are in them. I use and most people use the range of 40-140 for the TDZ (Temperature Danger Zone)(USDA is 41-135). As pointed out bacteria grows best in the TDZ range. When cooling you want to go from 140 to below 40 in less than 6hrs according to the 2009 USDA Guidelines, I try to go a lot faster than that by placing into smaller amounts as suggested. I will actually place in the freezer if i don't have an ice bath handy. When reheating you again want to go as fast as you can through the TDZ, <40 to >165 in <2hrs. Below are my preferred methods:


  • For small amounts: In a saute pan with a little finishing sauce and or BBQ sauce. Very quick and effective.
  • For medium to large amounts: In a shallow pan with a small amount of finishing sauce covered with plastic wrap then foil in a 325 degrees oven till it reaches 165 degrees. You can add the BBQ sauce after.
  • Crock Pot: not really my first choice due to time in the TDZ can be longer than wanted. I will saute and place into the crock pot for hot holding if needed. Others have and continue to get great success from this, just not my first choice.
  • Boiling in the bag: Works very well. Need to make sure you have a towel or something to buffer the plastic bag from the bottom of the pan. This method is used in commercial application a lot. I don't do this at home due to not wanting to wait for water to boil, but at work we do this a lot.


If you are going to store your PP either in the fridge or freezer, do not add a finishing sauce to it with a high acid content. This will cause to meat to break down over time and get a mushy texture. I also will intentionally only cook my meat to 195 and allow to rest before pulling. This way it will maintain a better texture in my opinion. I don't like shredded or mushy pork. I like to see the chunks of the bark and pork.

post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thanks everybody for your advice. I appreciate it. I'll let you know how it turns out.
post #9 of 10



here is a link for when i did 8 shoulders for work...5 for customers and 3 for employees...3...8 lbs shoulders fed 50 people at work...and we have a few pigs that went crazy on there sandwichs

hope this helps out

post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 

Thanks again everybody for your advice and suggestions.


I did five 8-9 lb pork butts.


Thursday I put mustard and Jeff's dry rub on them.


Friday I cooked them with cherry and oak and pulled them.


Saturday I heated them up and added the BBQ sauce.


they came out great and I had some leftovers (not much though).


I made some homemade coleslaw to go with the sandwiches.


Thanks again!!

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