I was asked recently to make some PP for a BBQ, and of course I said yes. I didn't realize there would be so many people coming (35 to 50 including kids). after a bit of searching and some quick math I bought four 8-9lbs butts. I know my smoker can handle the 4 butts. I just have some lingering question about time and placement of things.
1) I usually place a drip pan under the butt and collect the fat instead of letting it fall to the bottom of the smoker. If I place four butts my drip pan will end up on top of the element cover. Is this a bad idea?
2) Does cooking time slightly increase based on the amount of meat in the smoker or is it a small adjustment? The last time I smoked a butt around this size it took about 14-15hours, should this be a good approximation or should go even earlier starting the smoker based on the larger thermal mass (best wording I could come up with)?
3) I didn't notice much difference between the top shelf and second from the bottom for cooking time but I didn't really pay close attention. When smoking this many butts which butts should I place my probes in top and bottom, bottom 2 (I have 2, plus a little digital meat thermometer)???