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Assistance with Boston Butt smoking times.


Joined Aug 25, 2016
I've smoked boston butt's successfully a couple times in the past, however it's always been for my own family and I just take a "if it's not done for lunch, it'll be dinner" approach to timing.  However, we are having my youngest son's birthday party on Saturday and the pork needs to be ready to go at 11:00AM sharp.

I have two butts.  One is 7Lbs the other is 7.5Lbs.  I'm figuring 12-14 hours cook time followed by several hours rest in a preheated cooler.  

I would like some sleep Friday night, so I'm wondering if I can time this so they are ready to come off around 2:00AM, foil them, wrap in towels, toss them into a preheated cooler, and let them rest until lunch the next day, about 9 hours.  Is that a feasible plan?

My other concern is that if the butt's get done sooner, that 9 hour rest could get a lot longer depending on how quickly they get cooked.  If that happens, would it be a good idea to just pull them out of the cooler at some point, add more boiling water, let the cooler warm up more, and put them back?  Or would I be better off going straight from the smoker to a 150F oven until lunch time?

Previous butts spent 2-4 hours in the cooler resting just due to the time between when they were done and the meal time when they were eaten.

This is what I am thinking for the schedule:


11:30AM: Preheat the smoker to 230F-240F

12:00PM: Put the butts on

keep the smoker going to maintain temp....


12:00AM - 2:00AM:  Pull the butts, wrap in a few layers of foil, stick in preheated cooler or oven.

2:00AM - 7:00AM: Sleep.

7:00AM - 11:00AM: Prep other food and the house for the party.

11:00AM: Eat delicious pulled pork.

or should I just bite the bullet, start later Friday afternoon and get less sleep Friday night?


Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
Joined Aug 13, 2015
I would just smoke them Friday rest them, pull them,put them in the fridge. Then Sat morning reheat so it's ready for 11:00.
That way you get a good nights sleep.

chef jimmyj

Epic Pitmaster
Staff member
OTBS Member
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Group Lead
Joined May 12, 2011
Whoa, Deja Vu! If you have the time, do this ahead and reheat. I have catered over 25 years and put on a lot of B-Day Parties for my 3 daughters. Stuff always goes wrong at the worst moment. Your backside is covered cooking ahead. In any event, that much meat should hold 8-10 hours easy and at 150, you can hold for 16 hours plus...JJ
Last edited:


Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
Joined Dec 29, 2013
I agree. Do it ahead of time . Let it rest. Pull it. And reheat when you are ready to eat. PP is very forgiving
If you are waiting for the food to finish and then eat, it can and usually does take longer than you think , or finish way ahead of time...
I had a 15 lb brisket that I wanted for lunch the next day that finished at 4am.. I had eggs and brisket that day

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