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Smoking butts 2 days early

mike3ga88

Fire Starter
74
31
Joined Jun 15, 2014
Hi all, I am going to be smoking 6-8 butts for an event. I am planning on smoking them on a thursday and reheat and serve as sandwiches on saturday. When I pull them off the smoker and let them rest I plan on pulling them, my main questions are what is the best method of cooling that amount of meat to the safe zone? I do not have a vac sealer. I have read about possibly letting it cool some and putting in ziplock bags and set in ice water or ice filled cooler before storing in fridge. Im afraid putting that amount of meat in foil pans in the fridge would raise the temp in the fridge before the meat cooled. 2nd, I am going to be serving the pork sandwiches until gone so I am wondering about best method of keeping at safe holding temp, would putting foiled pans on a gas grill with pan on one side and one burner on other end going to keep temp above 165 work? I could keep the pork in an ice chest cooled until I need to heat, Im not sure if this is the best method? Thanks for any helpful advice.
 

forluvofsmoke

Smoking Guru
OTBS Member
5,170
405
Joined Aug 27, 2008
 
Hi all, I am going to be smoking 6-8 butts for an event. I am planning on smoking them on a thursday and reheat and serve as sandwiches on saturday. When I pull them off the smoker and let them rest I plan on pulling them, my main questions are what is the best method of cooling that amount of meat to the safe zone? I do not have a vac sealer. I have read about possibly letting it cool some and putting in ziplock bags and set in ice water or ice filled cooler before storing in fridge. Im afraid putting that amount of meat in foil pans in the fridge would raise the temp in the fridge before the meat cooled.

Yes, you're on the right track. If you place in baggies, do not stuff them full. Instead, layer it thinner...about 1.5" max...this reduces the cross-sectional density, thus reducing chilling time. Icing may or may not be necessary. If you have the space to place the meat in single layers after bagging and cooling to near room temp it will chill faster in the fridge and also not shock the fridge with a lot of hot food. Icing would be the best choice for a rapid chill, no doubt, but if you can get it chilled in just an hour or so after pulling is safe. If you have any drippings caught in a pan or foil, put that in with the meat before chilling to help keep the meat flavorful and moist when reheated...defat the drippings first, if you wish. Also, consider additional liquids when reheating, or a finishing sauce to kick it up a bit.

2nd, I am going to be serving the pork sandwiches until gone so I am wondering about best method of keeping at safe holding temp, would putting foiled pans on a gas grill with pan on one side and one burner on other end going to keep temp above 165 work? I could keep the pork in an ice chest cooled until I need to heat, Im not sure if this is the best method? Thanks for any helpful advice.

Gas grill would work fine for reheating and holding. Keep the pans covered to prevent drying out from evaporation, of course. You need to reheat to 165*F per measurement at the center of the meat with a thermometer, then hold @ 135(min)-140*F to reduce further cooking which can dry out the meat as well as create a mealy, grainy texture. Keeping on ice and reheating on demand can be done in batches...one reheating and one in holding, if you can keep temps reasonable. With one cooker may or may not be feasible depending on the grill size and burner orientation, but it is quite possible.
You're on the right track...just some pointers to follow above for safety and the best finished product.

Have a great smoke!!!

Eric
 
Last edited:

mike3ga88

Fire Starter
74
31
Joined Jun 15, 2014
Thanks, Eric.

I appreciate your input, I`ll definitely collect the drippings and plan on trying chef JJs finishing sauce when I reheat. Smoking 8 8lb butts if I get 50% yield that would give me close to 32 lbs cooked meat, were hoping to get around 125 sandwiches out of everything.
 

forluvofsmoke

Smoking Guru
OTBS Member
5,170
405
Joined Aug 27, 2008
You might want to plan for as little as 40% yield with bone-in butts for PP...I hit the 41% mark when I smoked a case of butts several years ago for a wedding. JJ's finishing sauce is a good route to go, also.

Eric
 

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