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MES40 Max Capacity -BUTTS

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
My daughter is getting married in a couple of weeks....on a budget. The reception will be a potluck and consist of up to 150 people.
I want to load my MES40 with butts to its reasonable capacity. I know it wont be enough for 150 people but it will be a nice contribution.

I intend to by boneless if possible.

How many butts can I reasonably fit in there?
What total poundage?
Should I halve them?
Am hoping to get 5-13 lb butts in there at one time.

Any suggestions? Comments?
All input is welcome.
post #2 of 18

Suggestion.... First and foremost cook the butts the weekend before. You can pull 'em and freeze them so they are ready to just reheat and serve. Butts are really better after a day in the reefer mininum. It allows you to adjust the moisture content and sneak a bit of flavor too using a good finishing sauce like Chef JJ's. 'Nuff said about that. Makes a HUGE difference both in time required and enjoyability of the Father at the weeding and reception.


Next if you need multiblybutts, Even with the advanced method, thats still aload of butts. 150 people / 1/4 to 1/3 lb per person, realizing approximately a 35% loss in weight due to cooking loss, and thats pretty conservative.

You can always use the old oven trick! Throw the butts in smoker till they reach about 150 IT (Internal temperature) or the 165 IT normal foiling temp to hasten the stall. After the foil, it will not see smoke anyway so into Momma's oven to finish at a slightly higher heat. Even if you do foil, like me, the oven will carry your load for you.


Just Ideas..... Look for small buns, yes bigg looks nice but so much more meat is wasted, if there is small buns that can have more but you'll see less in the trash can.


There is three of my first ideas right off the top......


Good luck, you'll enjoy it more if not sweating pulled pork. Its you and your brides day also, try to enjoy it.

post #3 of 18
Thread Starter 
Thanks Foamheart. I wasnt sure about cooking in advance. For certain I will be looking for the smallest buns that I can find. Perhaps dinner rolls would do the trick! ;)
post #4 of 18
7 or 8 butts at the usual 8 to 9lbs will feed 150 people no problem, and that's good sized sandwiches too. I'm not sure the capacity of that smoker. but take foamhearts suggestion and do them in advance, you can do 2 smokes of 4 and have enough for an army.
post #5 of 18


post #6 of 18
Thread Starter 

I am going to measure my grill and then head off to Costco to try and determine what will fit.  My plan is to smoke this weekend.

I will update this thread as SOON as I know what will fit.
I will start a new thread for "Maxed Out MES40" when I start my cook,

post #7 of 18

I agree with the above info. If there are going to be other proteins and assorted hot dishes, 2-3 ounces of PP on a Dinner Roll would be reasonable. The numbers are like this... 3oz X 200 portions = 600oz / 16 = 37.5 Lbs PP / .5 (50% yield after cooking and trim) = 75Lbs Raw Butts / 7Lb avg boneless = 10-11 Roasts. You should be able to fit 3 Boned/Rolled/Tied Roasts per shelf. 3oz on a dinner roll is stuffed pretty well. Figure 3 oz and 200 rolls because guys will take 2 sandwiches or put a big spoonful of PP on the plate and eat the roll on the side. Below are the my Finishing Sauces, one sweet, one a tangy NC Vinegar style...JJ


Foiling Juice / Sweet Pulled Pork Finishing Sauce


Foiling Juice


For each Rack of Ribs Combine:


1T Pork Rub, yours

1/2 Stick Butter

1/2C Cane Syrup... Dark Corn Syrup...or Honey

1/4C Apple Cider...or Juice

1T Molasses


Optional: 2T Apple Cider Vinegar. Add 2T Mustard and 1/4C Ketchup to make it more of a KC Style Glaze.


Simmer until a syrupy consistency.

Allow to cool for 5 minutes, pour over foiled Ribs and

run your 2 hour phase of 3-2-1. For the last phase return

the ribs to the smoker BUT reserve any Juice remaining

in the Foil. Simmer the Juice over med/low heat to reduce to a saucy thickness. Glaze the Ribs for presentation or service.


For a Sweet Finishing Sauce for Pulled Pork: Make a Double batch, skip the Butter.


Add 1/2 the batch to the Foil Pack or place it in a Pan with your Butt, when the IT hits 165*F.

Cover the pan with foil and continue to heat to 205*F for pulling.

At 205* rest or hold the Butt in a cooler wrapped in towels until ready to serve.

Pull the Pork and place it back in the pan with the pan Juices and any additional reserved Foiling Juice to moisten and Serve...OR... Bag and refrigerate until needed.

When re-heating place the Pulled Pork in a Pan or Crock pot and add reserved Foiling Juice or Apple Cider, as needed to make up the Juice that was absorbed while  the pork was refrigerated. Cover and re-heat in a pre-heated 325-350*F oven or on High in the crock pot to 165*F and Serve.

Note: the addition of the reserved Foiling Juice or Apple Cider should make the PP moist but not Swimming.


I was AMAZED...No additional sauce needed. ENJOY...JJ


Tangy Pulled Pork Finishing Sauce


This is more of an Eastern North Carolina style Finishing Sauce...


2 C Apple Cider Vinegar

2T Worcestershire Sauce or more to taste

1/4C Brown Sugar

1T Smoked Paprika

2 tsp Granulated Garlic

2 tsp Granulated Onion

2 tsp Fine Grind Black Pepper

1 tsp Celery Salt

1 tsp Cayenne Pepper or Red Pepper Flake. Add more if you like Heat.

1/2 tsp Grnd Allspice


Combine all and whisk well. This is a thin sauce, bring just to a simmer and remove from heat. Adjust sweetness by adding Brn Sugar or additional Vinegar as desired...Makes about 2 Cups.


For a Lexington Style Dip add, 1/2C Ketchup and 1-3tsp Red Pepper Flakes...JJ


post #8 of 18
Thread Starter 

Fantastic info Chef Jimmy.

I wonder if my store (Costco) will have that many butts onhand.
I may have to go to several stores.  :)

If I can't fit so many in my smoker at once, I can always do a "batch two".


Definitely going to make that Lexington Dip.  That looks better than my current recipe.

post #9 of 18
Thread Starter 

I bought my butts last night.

I bought the boneless and was SHOCKED to find that each of the butts was two seperate peices.I did my best to tie them all up... but am fearful that as the cook occurs, they will shrink and become untied.

I am definitely going to foil these when the temp gets to about 160.  I figure they will be easier to remove from the smoker that way.


Although I will probably never buy boneless again, what is the best way to handle the boneless butts????

post #10 of 18
Improbably would have just thrown them in the smoker. You'd have more surface area to form bark. If room was an issue then tying them together is fine.
post #11 of 18
Thread Starter 

For those keeping tabs... The original question was how many butts fit into an MES 40.  The answer is 6-12lb'rs.


Here is what 5 looks like... and there is room for 1 more (halved).

post #12 of 18

Woot! Looking like a happy smoker!

post #13 of 18
Good God..that's one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen. Don't tell my wife or child I said that.
post #14 of 18
Thread Starter 

Yeah... am feeling bad that I left a couple of empty slots there.

post #15 of 18

You will be fine with the tie job you did. Looks like you are off and running...JJ

post #16 of 18
Thread Starter 

Lesson learned...

That much meat is going to cook off a LOT of juices.

After the 2nd hour of cooking, I had to empty the little juice tray EVERY hour for the next 5-6 hours.

I should have propped my smoker up on blocks and put a bucket under the drain hole.  


14 hours in...
The little one in the upper-middle on the right is at 192.  The larger ones are in the 170-ish range.


post #17 of 18

Those are looking good!  What temperature do you have your MES set at?

post #18 of 18
Thread Starter 
I set my MES to 135 on the display.
The temp swings between 204 and 258(or there abouts) that setting
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