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Grocery list for large smoke

Kenny Taylor

Joined Dec 29, 2017
Hey guys, hope all is good with everyone.

My wife and I are nearing the final stages for doing a bbq fund raiser to help offset some medical expenses for our two girls who have several chronic diseases. She talked me into selling Boston Butts. Yes, in the middle of the freaking summer I agreed to do this when it's 100 degrees in the shade. Grrr. Never the less, I've never smoked more than 3 butts so all this is uncharted territory for me.

Our goal is to do 50 butts which is the capacity of our borrowed smoker. I need some help with how much butt rub, foil and other supplies to order. I will be using Bad Bryon's cut with brown sugar. Normally for my own butts, I put a nice thick winter coat of the stuff on, but I don't think I'll be able to afford that much with these given the amount.

Secondally, I like to put the butts to bed after their smoke to rest for several hours. This is a easy task with just doing 2-3-4 etc. What do you guys do with these large smokes? I don't want to hand a butt off to someone when it's not 100% ready to devour. I've had fantastic results using my techniques on a much smaller scale, but I do fear that i'm steppin off into the abyss with not having any experience with cooking this many at once.

Lastly, I'm really open to any other suggestions or tips. People have entrusted us by donating to help us with our children's medical cost and I'm going to do everything I can to deliver them the best product possible.



Smoking Guru
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SMF Premier Member
Joined Oct 17, 2016
Cut your costs everywhere you can.
First cut I'd make is to drop the Bad Byron's and make your own pork rub.

My pork rub is very similar to a lot of other people's, it is a good base that can be easily adjusted for flavor profiles, i.e. sweet, spicy or savory.
I normally use at least 2-3 cups of rub per butt, my recipe makes approx 3C.
You can convert cups to weight and figure how much spices you'll need in bulk.
Cut out the cayenne and black peppers to save more money.

Resting, you're simply going to need several 80qt and larger ice chest to use as cambros, or get a restaurant/caterer to donate the use of several real commercial sized cambros.

As for foil, I'm not sure, can you buy large restaurant size rolls in your area?
Figure to simply roll each butt into a double layer of foil, so approx four feet of foil for each butt.
Thats two hundred feet plus of foil.


SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster
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Joined Jun 22, 2009
Here is a wonderful spreadsheet for estimating everything you would need for any size group.



Legendary Pitmaster
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Joined Sep 15, 2012
50 butts that's a whole lot of pulling and finished product. Are you sure you'll get the foot traffic to sell it? I'm not sure where you live or what size town/city your doing this in. I'd also ask the local markets for donations or if you could by the meat at their cost - since it's for a fundraiser. Good luck - I hope your successful.



Smoking Fanatic
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Joined Oct 26, 2012
I assume you are selling/pre-selling 50 whole Boston Butts not pulled pork by the pound or sandwiches. I would definitely go for my own homemade rub to cut costs. Shop around for all your ingredients. It is imperative that you get wholesale costs or better on your butts and as much other stuff as possible.

Even if the smoker will hold 50 butts at one time I would consider staging the butts so they don’t all finish at the same time. Maybe start 25 or 30 to begin with and then add 10 more ever hour or two until you get them all on.

Don’t know if you are planning on wrapping after they hit 165 degrees or so but I would recommend that you do to be sure you are not delivering a dry product. Easier to manage that way.

Large coolers or an old chest type freezer will store and hold temps well for the finished butts. Wrapped butts can go into plastic bags for final delivery.

Stagger pick up times to avoid 50 people showing up all at one time with no place to park. Good luck with it. I know from personal experience that it is a whole lot of work.



Smoking Fanatic
OTBS Member
Joined Oct 20, 2015
No where near this scale, but when I did 14 butts for my sons wedding, Walmart gave us a much better price for buying in bulk.


Master of the Pit
Joined Jan 30, 2018
GoFundMe seems to work for a lot of folks these days. I'm not sure where you are at with the whole pork butt process but perhaps you could check into that avenue before you try to cook all of that meat unless it's already been sold. In that case, all I can do is wish you the best of luck with the process. I will pray for your little girls and if you decide to go with my above suggestion please don't hesitate to reach out for a donation. I would love to help you guys provide for your girls. Take care.



Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
Joined Feb 27, 2018
That's a tough one man. I've never smoked more than 6 at once.

Are you going to pull the meat or just sell the whole finished butt? How much are you going to sell them for?

Definitely make sure you have a good instant read thermometer and a whole lot of coolers(one for cold beer and all the others to keep the butts warm in). And make sure you have plenty of wood to burn!

A lot of times if you buy the butts by the case at wal-mart/sams/costco you can get them for $.99 lb. Maybe even some of the restaurant stores if you have any in the area. But if you are looking at 50 8 lb butts that's still $400 plus tax.

I echo making your own rub. I know its a huge pain and thinking about buying all the material seems like a lot but will be cheaper than using Byrons. And I would also agree with the at least 400 ft of foil. I would also throw in a 50 pack of foil pans to put the butts in to rub them plus transport. You can get a 40-50 pack at Costco for like $7 well worth the money.

Kenny Taylor

Joined Dec 29, 2017
Hey guys, thanks for the replies. Work and home is keeping me busy, but I have enjoyed reading your post.

Currently we have about 43 sold. Most of these we have money in hand, however several are still pending. Those always make me nervous. I'm kinda old school, it's not a done deal till money in hand. Thankfully several of my public safety peeps has stepped up to the plate and purchased a Butt for each of their shifts. These orders of 3-5 each has really gave us good hopes.

This will be a busy cook and initially we was going to do some deliveries on the following Saturday and store the cooked meat in a friends restaurant food cooler overnight Friday, but I may get stupid and do a second cook Friday night. We have several that have requested theirs be delivered on the second day instead of Friday morning. I sure would like for them to have platter of steaming hot meat fresh to eat. I'll play this by ear when I see how much cooking space I have.

I will be recruiting help from my two daughters, however they will probably tap out soon. lol. The inlaws are also jumping in to help make their signature sauce on a larger scale. The wife will be making her slaw and we will be buying rolls. Friday we will be loading up and hitting the road. The plan looks good on paper anyway, but I've tried to warn the wife that there will be hiccups. Meats will stall, I will probably be battling keeping the temps right. Thankfully I do have a few remote probes at my disposal. I have been told the smoker should hold 50, but I've tried to warn her they need space to breath in the goodness of hickory:-) I've tried to get my wife to STOP selling, but she is on a roll and wants to push on even if I have to use my smaller smokers. This is a loosing battle. lol

We're also coordinating a fundraising event at the local steak house two night before the smoke day. Typically this place is closed on Mondays, but once a year they host a fundraiser where all the staff volunteer their time and the store donates the food. They sell a limited menu of dinner plates for 10.00. Typically chicken, burgers or hamburger steaks. 100% of these funds will go to the SJIA foundation for research so it's been a busy month selling tickets for both of these events.

To those who took the time to give advice or offered words of support, I can't thank you enough. My wife, my daughters and I pray this will be a success, not just to help us financially with their medical cost, but to help find a cure for their nasty diseases.

All the best to each of you, I look forward to posting pictures of our journey!

Kenny Taylor

Joined Dec 29, 2017
Hey guys, hope all is well. Time is getting close for our smoke. It looks like my wife did not heed my advice of stopping at 50. lol. So I guess I'll split up smoking 70 butts over two nights. 70..........I would never have imagined ever that we would have sold more than 30. lol

We have worked out a deal with a local meat grocer to buy all the fresh meat, rub and industrial roll of foil at their cost. This has been a blessing for us and will save a ton of money. I'll be able to pick all the butts up Friday morning completely thawed and ready to wash and put the rub on. But there are a few items I'll have to go get elsewhere.

I like to use cheap mustard as a binder. Since I've always just used whatever I've have on hand, how much mustard do you think it'll take to cover 70 butts? Ya'll think 10 - 12oz bottles will be enough?

There may be more questions.

Also, next week I would like to start a new thread just to share my first large cooking experience. Where should I start that at?

Thanks much,



Master of the Pit
Group Lead
Joined May 19, 2018
I really hope this goes well for you and I hope it's overwhelmingly good for you and every one comes through for ya!


Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
Joined Feb 27, 2018
I would think 10-12 bottles of cheap mustard would be plenty. Could probably get by with less. Usually you can get the store brand for like $.69 a bottle. You might grab a few pairs of those cheap disposable gloves too just to help with the mess. And I would maybe post the thread in the large group/catering section.

Good luck cant wait to see how this turns out!

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