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How long can a finished butt be kept in a cooler?


Meat Mopper
Joined Feb 4, 2009
I have a cookout coming up Saturday. Trying to see if I can time it so I can cook the butts all night and let them rest in the cooler wrapped up in towel for a couple hours. I've done this before for around two to three hours but this will be at least four or five hours. Anybody ever let one sit wrapped up in a cooler that long?

pc farmer

Epic Pitmaster
Staff member
OTBS Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
Joined Feb 17, 2013
I have and still let butts go for 6-8  hours, cooler full of towels with the butts in it.      I fill the cooler with towels not just wrapped in towels.
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Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
Joined Dec 29, 2013
I had a brisket in a cooler wrapped in towels for 7 hours and it was 140 degrees when I took it out and moist and delishous


Smoking Fanatic
Joined Jan 14, 2015
As Adam and others said above.
I've had a butt in a cooler wrapped in towels and foil for 6+ hours.
Heck, I've had them in for 4, and still almost too hot to handle bare hand...


Legendary Pitmaster
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SMF Premier Member
Joined Sep 7, 2013
I have what are called "Xtreme" coolers by Coleman.  They aren't expensive, relatively speaking ($25 to $60).  I have one small one (28 quart) that is good keeping ice for 3 days.  The large ones I have (3) hold 100 quarts and they will definitely keep ice for 5 days. 

On the opposite end of the temperature spectrum either cooler will keep something hot longer too.  If I'm traveling with something hot, a trick I learned is to put several dry towels in the dryer on high heat for 15 minutes.  Load the sealed (Ziplock bags) or containerized hot meat in the bottom of the cooler, then pile the hot towels on top.  Seal it and travel.  Always still very hot when ready to serve, even 5 hours later, the longest I've gone.

We've done jugs of boiling water too but prefer the towels.        


Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
Joined Dec 26, 2007
I have Carlisle food keepers. I hold mine overnight all the time. Might put them in there 8 or 9 at night and take them out a pull them the next day at noon or so. Still plenty hot. And after all that resting time they literally pull them selves.


Fire Starter
Joined Apr 7, 2016
Yes pork wrapped in foil and a towel then placed in a cooler will hold heat 5-6 plus hours! Good luck my friend!


SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster
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Joined Jun 22, 2009
Or you can do it the easy way, if your not traveling to the cookout.

Just wrap in foil & put in a 170 degree oven, it will stay hot until you shut the oven off.


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