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Smoking ahead of the event

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

Good morning!  I have a situation, and I would like to ask everybody's advice, please!


Next Saturday will be a major family event, and I'm doing BBQ for it.  My plans at the moment are for a pork butt and a beef chuck roast, both of which the family likes.  But looking at the weather forecast, it looks like rain starting late Thursday through the weekend.  I don't have any way to cover the patio where I smoke, and none of the sports stores have canopies in stock.  So I'll have to cook in advance.


The cook will be either Wednesday or Thursday.  Cooking so far in advance I'm going to abandon the chuckie (family HATES chuck roast reheated.)  So my questions revolve around storing shredded pork butt.  Assume an internal temp of 205 when I pull it, resting in a towel lined cooler until IT drops to 150, then shredding and quickly packaging into 1 lb packages. 


If I cook on Wednesday, I'll need to freeze it.  But if Thursday opens up, would you store it in the fridge?  Or in the freezer?  If in the fridge, how many days could it be safely stored at 35 degrees?



post #2 of 11

I would freeze it and move to the fridge the day before to thaw. I freeze a lot of PP.

Happy smoken.


post #3 of 11
No need to wait until 150 to shred. Give it an hour rest and shred away. Then do as Mule has suggested. I also freeze a lot of pulled pork. I've kept mine in the fridge until day of eating for 3-4 days no problem. As Long as it stays cold it should be fine. Pull it out and throw it in with a cup or so of liquid of choice into a crock or warming trays. Should be just fine.
post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 

Thanks everybody!  I'll be smoking on Wednesday, serving on Saturday.  And I plan to ask "Mrs. Santa" for a vacuum sealer for Christmas!

post #5 of 11
Cook to an internal temp of 200 and remove from cooker. Let cool for 20 minutes then put your seasonings over the butt. Using surgical gloves over harbor freight cotton gloves, you should be able to squeeze (pull) the butt in about 2 minutes. Put about 2 lbs in each vacuum seal bag and about 1/8 cup of your drippings in the bag and seal. Immediately cool in an ice bath. Botulism grows best in an oxygen free environment, so that is why you should bag in small quantities and cool rapidly below 41 F. Once cool, put in your freezer.

The day before you want to eat, put the bags in the fridge to bring up to fridge temp. This greatly reduces reheat time. Place in boiling water and keep at a low boil until temp reaches 165F . Squish the meat around to make sure core temp got to 165F. Place in ice chest to keep warm until serving, while heating the other bags. 2 lbs will make about 8 good sandwiches. A 10 lb butt will cook down to about 6 to 6.5 lbs and feed about 24 people one sandwich each.

I wouldn't store in fridge for more than two days. No so much for safety, but the quality goes down.

post #6 of 11

Smoked Pork will maintain it's quality for 5 days without issue. The texture will be far superior coming from the refer rather than from the freezer. If I am reading this right, you will be smoking this coming Thursday to be served two days later on Saturday??? If this is so... Freezing is totally unnecessary and will result in mushier PP as compared to that which you store for two days in the refer...JJ

post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 

And being Arkansas and November, the weather forecast is still changing... I'll either be smoking on Wednesday and serving on Saturday, or smoking on Saturday for serving on Saturday.  Nothing like a little "excitement" at the last second (sigh).


But I was thinking about the reheat... rather than boiling in the bags, what about using a crock pot to heat and serve?  I was thinking this:

  • My style of cooking is to smoke 3 hours, then finish the cook foil-wrapped in a pan.  I keep a lot of the au ju.
  • When done with the resting, drain off the pork au ju.  Refrigerate the au ju.
  • Pull the pork into 1 qt freezer bags, seal tight and squeeze out the air.  Either freeze or fridge.
  • If the meat is frozen, put in the fridge the night before serving to slowly thaw.
  • About an hour before serving, put the (thawed) meat into the slow cooker.  Skim the congealed fat off the au ju, and heat it to 130-ish in a saucepan. 
  • Pour the warm au ju onto the meat, and set the slow cooker on "warm".


How does that sound for reheat and serve?

post #8 of 11

The Crock Pot works great...But, NEVER reheat on Warm!!! That is for holding Only. The goal is to reheat to 165°F quickly then hold above 140 as needed. The Warm setting will keep the PP in the Danger Zone too long trying to reheat...JJ

Edited by Chef JimmyJ - 11/19/13 at 3:12am
post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 

Thanks Chef JimmyJ!


(FYI, the reason I still consider freeing is my wife and in-laws... they think that leftovers MUST be eaten within 72 hours or tossed.)

post #10 of 11

No sense in arguing, do as they wish so you enjoy the holiday and no one fears eating...Good Luck...JJ

post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 

Well, I almost... ALMOST beat around the weather.  But a pop-up rain shower caught me (and the local weather guys) by surprise.  So I had to improvise...



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