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How many Boston butts

jimmy murdock

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I’m going to be smoking Boston butt for a group of 200 people. Need advise on how many uncooked butts I need to purchase. It’s for a wedding.
 

TNJAKE

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Dirtsailor nailed something alot of folks don't think about. The weight loss you will have in the finished product. I smoked two 8lb butts last week and after cooking and removing blade bone and some fat when I pulled I ended up with almost right at 8lbs pulled pork. 50% loss.
 

TNJAKE

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At 1/3lb each maybe 170lbs. That would leave you with nearly 85lbs pulled. That would be enough for 255 sandwiches. Which would give you a little wiggle room. I'm not a mathematician though lol
 

dirtsailor2003

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Dirtsailor nailed something alot of folks don't think about. The weight loss you will have in the finished product. I smoked two 8lb butts last week and after cooking and removing blade bone and some fat when I pulled I ended up with almost right at 8lbs pulled pork. 50% loss.
This is the formula I’ve always used for pulled pork when serving to large groups. I usually use the 40% yield which seems to work out perfectly with little left over.
One more note is you need to have a dedicated server so John Bob doesn’t take three plates full of pulled pork and half the Mac n cheese.
 

thirdeye

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A 45% to 50% yield on pork butts is a good starting place, but once you serve over 100 people and have sides.... trends are more noticeable. Like some will come back for seconds, or kids might not eat much meat. We've done an annual event for 20+ years, and serve an average of 150. The main meats have never changed.... 10 butts and 4 legs of lamb. This enough for 140 pork sandwiches and the lamb is the buffer because not everyone makes a sandwich. For the kiddo's we have 100 hot dogs cooked in beer/butter broth and held in the smoker to get nice and red. Also there is a roaster full of 'adult' sloppy Joe's, not the elementary school style. Sides are Hog Apple beans, and a couple of cold pasta salads. there is also a dessert table.

The number one tip I can share with you is to have your butts wrapped and in a hot box at least 2 or 3 hours before serving time. Teach the guys handling the meat how to pull, season with finishing rub and keep the pork moist..... and have the meat station at the END of the serving line. You want guests to arrive with a mostly full plate and you want to give them hot meat and a smile. We used to have bottles of sauce, but switched to 150 condiment cups with sauce. This helps the line move faster.
 

smokin peachey

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I’ve always done 0.6 x number of people and always have extra meat. 200 people would be 120lbs of butts. At an average of 8lbs each you need 15 butts. I agree with them Loosing 50%.
 

jimmy murdock

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View attachment 481974
A 45% to 50% yield on pork butts is a good starting place, but once you serve over 100 people and have sides.... trends are more noticeable. Like some will come back for seconds, or kids might not eat much meat. We've done an annual event for 20+ years, and serve an average of 150. The main meats have never changed.... 10 butts and 4 legs of lamb. This enough for 140 pork sandwiches and the lamb is the buffer because not everyone makes a sandwich. For the kiddo's we have 100 hot dogs cooked in beer/butter broth and held in the smoker to get nice and red. Also there is a roaster full of 'adult' sloppy Joe's, not the elementary school style. Sides are Hog Apple beans, and a couple of cold pasta salads. there is also a dessert table.

The number one tip I can share with you is to have your butts wrapped and in a hot box at least 2 or 3 hours before serving time. Teach the guys handling the meat how to pull, season with finishing rub and keep the pork moist..... and have the meat station at the END of the serving line. You want guests to arrive with a mostly full plate and you want to give them hot meat and a smile. We used to have bottles of sauce, but switched to 150 condiment cups with sauce. This helps the line move faster.
So would it be a bad idea to smoke them a couple days early then put them in the fridge and shred them the day before? Then the morning of the wedding put them back on the smoker on low heat to warm them back up. Or is this a bad idea?
 

jimmy murdock

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Joined Jan 26, 2021
At 1/3lb each maybe 170lbs. That would leave you with nearly 85lbs pulled. That would be enough for 255 sandwiches. Which would give you a little wiggle room. I'm not a mathematician though lol
Would it be a bad idea to smoke them 2 days early then refrigerate and shred the day of the wedding? Or will this dry them out too much?
 

Wurstmeister

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Here is a link to the Meadow Creek BBQ site in Lancaster, PA that has a very good FREE BBQ Catering Planning Excel Spreadsheet that might be useful to you and others. I use an earlier one for the planning of meals for gatherings and other dinner/social events.
Catering Planner (meadowcreekbbq.com) To get the worksheet, you have to download their planner pdf file. The worksheet link is at the end of the pdf.
 
Last edited:

Wurstmeister

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View attachment 481974
A 45% to 50% yield on pork butts is a good starting place, but once you serve over 100 people and have sides.... trends are more noticeable. Like some will come back for seconds, or kids might not eat much meat. We've done an annual event for 20+ years, and serve an average of 150. The main meats have never changed.... 10 butts and 4 legs of lamb. This enough for 140 pork sandwiches and the lamb is the buffer because not everyone makes a sandwich. For the kiddo's we have 100 hot dogs cooked in beer/butter broth and held in the smoker to get nice and red. Also there is a roaster full of 'adult' sloppy Joe's, not the elementary school style. Sides are Hog Apple beans, and a couple of cold pasta salads. there is also a dessert table.

The number one tip I can share with you is to have your butts wrapped and in a hot box at least 2 or 3 hours before serving time. Teach the guys handling the meat how to pull, season with finishing rub and keep the pork moist..... and have the meat station at the END of the serving line. You want guests to arrive with a mostly full plate and you want to give them hot meat and a smile. We used to have bottles of sauce, but switched to 150 condiment cups with sauce. This helps the line move faster.
Thirdeye - Can you post the "adult" sloppy Joes recipe? You got my interest in that one! Plus, Appreciate your tips, I wasn't even thinking of the hot box concept.
 

smokin peachey

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So would it be a bad idea to smoke them a couple days early then put them in the fridge and shred them the day before? Then the morning of the wedding put them back on the smoker on low heat to warm them back up. Or is this a bad idea?
It’s easier to shred when it’s hot then when it’s cold. Shred then refrigerate and reheat.
 

thirdeye

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So would it be a bad idea to smoke them a couple days early then put them in the fridge and shred them the day before? Then the morning of the wedding put them back on the smoker on low heat to warm them back up. Or is this a bad idea?
No, not a bad idea..... but you would have to chill that meat down pretty quickly after cooking which is tough with that weight. And you would have to have a good system for re-heating. The better plan is to cook, hold and serve in a 24 hour period. Besides,... the pressures around a wedding are somewhat intense. I'd make sure the food is picture perfect if you know what I mean.
Thirdeye - Can you post the "adult" sloppy Joes recipe? You got my interest in that one! Plus, Appreciate your tips, I wasn't even thinking of the hot box concept.
I was thinking the same thing haha
Absolutely. Here is the link to my sloppy Joe article. The prep for baking is the most important flavor step even if you change up the seasonings a little.

 

Wurstmeister

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Here is an older BBQ catering planner that might be useful. https://www.smokymtbarbecue.com/bbq-tools/bbq-catering-planner.php This is the same website as my previous, but takes you to an older file location. I've attached a copy of the same file in case there is an issue with the link. If you are interested in using excel in your business. check out the Chef Resources web page - Culinary Information for Professional Chefs - Chefs Resources (chefs-resources.com) . I've been using their forms for years and they make life a lot easier!!! The event planner, which gives the big picture, is available for standard (free) membership. I use this even for family gatherings. Keeps everything in one place. Hope these are useful for ya'll. 🍻
 

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Wurstmeister

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391
Joined Mar 21, 2018
No, not a bad idea..... but you would have to chill that meat down pretty quickly after cooking which is tough with that weight. And you would have to have a good system for re-heating. The better plan is to cook, hold and serve in a 24 hour period. Besides,... the pressures around a wedding are somewhat intense. I'd make sure the food is picture perfect if you know what I mean.



Absolutely. Here is the link to my sloppy Joe article. The prep for baking is the most important flavor step even if you change up the seasonings a little.

Thank you very much ! 🍻
 

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