The week has finally come. Heading over to Sam's today over lunch to pick up a case of pork butts to smoke for a party this Saturday evening. Looking for 60-70lbs in the case. It'll be my first time firing up both my 22.5" and 18.5" WSMs at the same time AND the most meat I've smoked at one time. I'm nervous, but I'm more excited to get into it, work through the challenge and deliver all that awesome meat to the partygoers. Actually I more want this under my belt to prove to myself I can get it done. Got plenty of Royal Oak lump, foil and wraps for the coolers when done. Also have to pick up some apple wood, and another large-ish cooler. Probably mix up some more rub tomorrow night and just anticipate from there on out. Told the wife last night I may need to enlist her help at 2 or 3am when I'm putting the meat on initially and when I start foiling butts at 165 degrees. I got no resistance. Gonna be a long weekend...
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Have you considered smoking in advance? Thats the only way I'd go when smoking for a crowd or a party. Smoke it ahead, refridge it or freeze it with some just a wee bit of finishing sauce. Then warm it up the day of the party. Set some warm BBQ and some more finishing sauce next to the pan of warmed meat. Pulled pork is actually better reheated because you can add the finishing sauce and allow it to marry with the meat. You don't really reconize the finishing sauce is there, its just your pulled pork tastes better than everyone elses pulled pork. It must be the cook, or the grill, or the company. It really works.
If you want to burn some smoke that day, impress 'em with short cook items, pork shots, ABTs, sausages, maybe even some ribs where you only need one smoker.
You can relax and not worry about if you'll need to call pizza hut. or if all the meat will be done at the same time, or stay up the night before making sure the heats rights.
I am sure you'll nail it either way, just one way seems a lot freer of stress. Is freer a word?
Just a suggestion.
yeah, you know I thought about that but at this point I'm not really comfortable with my reheating results to be honest. I always use a finishing sauce after I pull fresh, but never tried it with a 'mass' reheat like we're talking about. I'm betting that would really be the key to the success of the reheat too now that you mention it. I've tried water, I've tried chicken broth and the fresh, bbq'd flavor was just wiped out. The one time I drown it with the chicken broth so that was my fault, but again that's why I'm pretty gun shy about the whole cook ahead, reheat process.
So just for future experimentation I'd smoke, rest, pull, store in foil pans covered, refigerate for up to <?> days then when ready to serve drop in some warm finishing sauce during reheat in 200 degree oven?
One thing I do every so often, I'll take my Pulled pork out of the freezer put it in a foil pan, add a little liquid and on the smoker for a couple hours really kicks up the flavor a couple of notches
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The very best place to re-heat? The crock pot. Its best low and slow to maintain moisture. I would pull my pork and stire in lage ziplocks. That way you can heat it however you want, it takes less room in the reefer, and you can get more of the air out the bag. Then you can more easily control the quantity out.
Remember, you are talking approx. 40lbs of meat after the smoke and the melt down.
Gotcha. Lots of good posts on here about reheating with meat in freezer/vacuum sealed bags in boiling water, crock pots, smoker reheat and even aluminum pan covered with plastic then foi in the oven. I'm going straight into the challenge zone on this one though and doing an alnighter prior to. Figure I'll have all the meat on by 2am and hope to have it all off by 4:30 and wrapped tight in coolers immediately after for transport to the party zone where serving will begin roughly between 6-6:30. Correction on the meat pick up too. Getting it tonight. Guy at Sam's said a case is usually just over 70lbs so I'm guessing on butts anywhere from 8-9lbs give or take each. I'd think 14hrs should be a plenty especially if i foild those boys when they hit 160-165 and can put the heat to them a little more later in the cook.
Got 66.8lbs between 8 pork butts on the two smokers around 2:45am. Stayed up til about 4:15am making sure everything was solid. Woke up around 8:30am and most of the butts were hitting 150+...thus begins the finishing time shell game. All are foiled at 165 except the 2 on the smaller smoker which i just went ahead and foiled at 160. I've got one butt registering 192 and another still bobbing at 162. ahhhh good times. Eating shouldn't commence until 6pm at the party far as i've been told which should be fine as i'll pull these guys when they hit 206, wrap another layer of foil and a medium towel around them and drop them into a cooler. A new development is that I've been told there will be a roaster on hand for me to keep the pulled meat warm in. Figuring these first couple butts are gonna finish by around 1pm (1hr &20mins from now) so those doods will be sitting in the cooler for about 4+hrs before i pull 'em to pull. Oh well...been there, done that. I'll have the finishing sauce warm and plentiful to mix on at pull time too. Expecting a good time tonight.
I usually let 'er hum between 220 and 250 pretty broadly up to and through the stall and foil at 165. After that its a time game on what I have left to work with. On the smoker with the now 196 degree butt I'm trying to keep it 220-230 and slow things down. On the other smoker finally registering 2 butts at 165 I'm running that guy hotter, up to 260-270 trying to move it along. It all works out well in the end for me usually. I like using the foil on butts after 165 and having or at least feeling like i have a LITTLE bit more control on how fast i can finish these guys.
All success. Butts started hitting 206 when I like to pull them off about 2:30pm. 3 hit at once and by the time i had those off the other 3 on the 22.5" WSM were ready too. Final 2 on the 18.5" WSM took another hour and then 2hrs respectively. Some how i got both smokers cleaned up and put away and made it to the party with time to spare. I realized when i was showering at the last minute that I forgot to brew up some finishing sauce so we went on without that, but it was awesome without it. As usual I totally blew it with the pics. Its a total pain with my talk/text only phone so i just blew it by.
I tell you what, pork butts are only $1.68/lb per sleeve at Sam's here in Des Moines, IA and when i bought this case they only charged $1.27\lb. Best deal in meat going right now unless you're getting it for free.