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Smoking Pork for 30 people on a Traeger

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

Hello One and All!  I am new to this forum, but looks like a great spot to learn about smokin'!  This weekend I have been tasked with making some pulled pork for an event of 30-40 people.  Mainly athletes.  My intention is to smoke the pork shoulders on my Traeger Lil Tex and my questions are: 

 

1) How much uncooked meat should I get?  I plan on heading to costco and getting some shoulder there.

2) What kind of cooking time should I expect?  Smoke for 4 hours then cover and cook for another 12?

 

Thanks!!

post #2 of 13
Costco is a good spot for meats considering Safeway now has butts for 2.29 a pound...ouch. Be aware though Costco has boneless butts so this will affect your cook timing. I personally would figure at least 1/2 pound per person...some will eat more, some less but leftovers are awesome to use up. We cook by temps here, not time, so the pork is done when it's done. For pulling you need to hit 200-205 IT so you can pull off the heat around 195-200 and wrap in foil & a towel for a coupla hours to finish, rest and become even more awesome. I'm hoping you have dual probe therm's to be checking on the smoker temp & IT of the pork. I personally figure at least 45 minutes per pound for cook times.....if done earlier than needed see above for foiling & wrapping. Nothing worse than being late with chow for guests because you screwed up & didn't get them in soon enuf. I'd think 4 hours of smoke would be fine, depending on the choice of wood. Some like smoke all the way...some don't. Good luck....enjoy the event and be prepped up ahead.....Willie
post #3 of 13

Also remember you are going to lose weight to bone obviously, but also to rendering that liquid gold out the meat. I usually approximate about a 30 to 35% weight loss when cooking.

 

I highly recommend that you cook a day in advance, pull and store over night in the reefer. Then heat back up the day of the meal. It takes the cooking off the clock and that helps because no one ever taught pigs to tell time. I speak from experience, its kind of embarrassing to have to call Pizza Hut.

 

A little bit of finishing sauce (ChefJJ's recipe is here on the boards), will be absorbed overnight in the reefer, maybe a bit more if needed when heated, and OMG that's good stuff. Its just brings out that good pork taste more so your BBQ sauce takes it over the top!

 

Also pre-cooking allows you to sleep the night before and take a shower. If you wear your smoke as a badge of honor as some do, throw some sausage on the day of the cook to get that smoke in the air and use the sausage as a bit extra.

 

The chef is right of course, when using a thermometer the meat is most susceptible to smoke absorption from 100 to 140 Internal Temperature (IT). Most will then wait a bit longer to foil, just as long as you beat that silly stall that occurs.

 

Good luck that's a bunch of lucky players that are getting Pulled Pork!

 

BTW if you get a chance, click the "My Profile" icon above and let use know more about you, especially where you hang your hat when you come in. It will keep folks from constantly asking you, and it helps a lot when in a discussion or asking a question knowing about where you are located. Sure appreciate it, and thanks.

post #4 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chef Willie View Post

Costco is a good spot for meats considering Safeway now has butts for 2.29 a pound...ouch. Be aware though Costco has boneless butts so this will affect your cook timing. I personally would figure at least 1/2 pound per person...some will eat more, some less but leftovers are awesome to use up. We cook by temps here, not time, so the pork is done when it's done. For pulling you need to hit 200-205 IT so you can pull off the heat around 195-200 and wrap in foil & a towel for a coupla hours to finish, rest and become even more awesome. I'm hoping you have dual probe therm's to be checking on the smoker temp & IT of the pork. I personally figure at least 45 minutes per pound for cook times.....if done earlier than needed see above for foiling & wrapping. Nothing worse than being late with chow for guests because you screwed up & didn't get them in soon enuf. I'd think 4 hours of smoke would be fine, depending on the choice of wood. Some like smoke all the way...some don't. Good luck....enjoy the event and be prepped up ahead.....Willie

 

 

45  mins per pound on Butts ???    What chamber temp are you cooking your butts at Willie ?

post #5 of 13
500 degrees......NO, seriously....major error on that.....my fault, not sure what I was thinking....old guy brain slippage? With the bone out it could be less than my usual 2 hour guesstimate per pound, allowing time for the stall etc. I used to, early on, figure an hour a pound but it was never enough time. I understand higher temps are becoming more popular now instead of the 'low & slow' approach of 225 so some may experience shorter cooking times.
post #6 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chef Willie View Post

500 degrees......NO, seriously....major error on that.....my fault, not sure what I was thinking....old guy brain slippage? With the bone out it could be less than my usual 2 hour guesstimate per pound, allowing time for the stall etc. I used to, early on, figure an hour a pound but it was never enough time. I understand higher temps are becoming more popular now instead of the 'low & slow' approach of 225 so some may experience shorter cooking times.

 

All good.  Thought maybe you had some new seriously HnF method   :biggrin:

post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 

Well the smoking has started.  Put the shoulders in after applying the rub.  It's a bit cold here in seattle, so I am planning on smoking them a little but longer.  Here's hoping 16 hours at 200-225 is enough!

post #8 of 13

P is for par-tay..... A is for all night long!

 

Woot its a party!

 

 

The P is for par- tay,  A is for all night long

The R is for startin it right now,  The T is for smokin it slow

The Y is for why not  P-A-R-T-Y!!!!


Edited by Foamheart - 3/28/14 at 1:21pm
post #9 of 13
I agree with Foam about cooking in advance. Nothing wrong with a day or two earlier on pulled pork. Flavors tend to meld together very nicely on PP. Simply reheat and you don't have to worry about too late or wrong guess on cook time or not having enough room on the lil tex.
post #10 of 13
Thread Starter 

 

 

Yup.  BARELY fit!  I am taking advice from a friend and cooking on the smoke setting for 8 hours and then I will crank it up to 225 for another 8-10 hours depending on how well they are cooking.   I think if they take too long I may have to set it to 200 and let them cook covered overnight.  Would that work?

post #11 of 13
Why on smoke setting for 8 hours? Remember you need to get to a safe temp within about 4 hours and with that much meat in trays you may be playing a dangerous game with food safety. Smoke setting is only about 155 on a Traeger. I'd go to 225 and still get good smoke right from the beginning and get to about 200 for pulled.
post #12 of 13
Thread Starter 

Great point.  Thanks.  I'll keep it at 225 and monitor the temp a bit closer.  Thanks for the tip.  Last thing I want is to get people sick!!!!

post #13 of 13
Thread Starter 

Ok, update.  Been on the smoker for 6 hours and temps are at 130-133 degrees.  Going to cover and let smoke until i hit 190+.

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