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jtphillips
02-03-2011, 01:18 PM
Good afternoon everyone,
The past few weeks I have been contemplating the best process for smoking enough pulled pork for 300 people. I know you are going to call me crazy, but I am planning to smoke all the meat for my wedding this September. I figure if I can save my in-laws some money, and get experience cooking mass quantities of meat, then it has to be a good idea. Some of the things I have been questioning are:

(1) How many pork butts should I smoke in the Stump's Stretch at once (for Stump's owners)?

(2) Should I wrap them?

(3) Should I go low and slow, or should I do a higher temp cook?

(4) How should I hold the meat until the wedding (I plan on smoking it the day before)?

On the day of the wedding, I plan to have the Stretch fired up at around 140 degrees and have the pork in foiled serving trays. Once the meat is ready to be served, we will transfer the serving trays to roasters as needed (hopefully this will minimize the meat drying out). What I am most worried about is keeping the meat from drying out the day before. Any and all advice is most appreciated. Thanks guys,

-Tyler

gtr
02-03-2011, 01:37 PM
First off, congrats on getting married - smartest thing I ever did was marry my wife.

Second off, just to throw it out there - have you thought about a pig pickin'? A couple of big ole hogs may be easier to deal with...just an idea.

Groundhog66
02-03-2011, 01:50 PM
My personal opinion, is that your wedding day is too special to add the stress of doing the cooking yourself. You only have one shot to do it right the first time, don't make it more difficult than it is going to be already.

cgwaite
02-03-2011, 02:05 PM
I'm no expert in this area, but from what I've been told, you need to plan on approximately 50% shrinkage from your pre-cooked meat weight.

So if you are planning on 300 servings of 8 oz per, you would need to start with around 300 lbs of pork shoulder, or 30, 10lbs shoulders. If you plan on pre-cooking, you would probably have to wrap and pack the shoulders whole into coolers. I believe that they will hold for a decent time, but not sure what the limit would be. Mainly, you need to make sure they maintain a temperature of 140 degrees or more.

Catering a wedding is a big task, with lots of planning, setup and serving work. If you plan on taking all of this on, I would suggest that you have some good friends assist you with the actual setting up and serving portion. If you trust them enough, you could use their help with the cooking, too!

You could ask this question in the Catering area, where you could get more direct numbers. Whatever you decide to do, Good Luck!

Tinybud
02-03-2011, 02:10 PM
congrats on getting married, I'd recommend not doing this, you'll have so much going on the day before and the day of, I'm speaking from experience I did this and regretted doing it. If you want to do, I'd precook at least a week ahead of time, pull, then vacuum pack the meat, then get someone to reheat it for you the day of. Just a suggestion. good luck.

JediDog
02-03-2011, 02:17 PM
I would like to congratulate you on getting married, but I would have to agree that the process of trying to pull off a picture perfect wedding is stressful enough. Hire a caterer and dedicate your time to whatever you need to do to make your wedding that much better. Good luck.

BBQ Bandit
02-03-2011, 02:26 PM
Not recommended... if you must... enlist a Brethren Brother to assist.

chromestacks
02-03-2011, 02:34 PM
When my 2 younger sisters were married I was asked to cook for each wedding. The problem was the wedding and reception was 10 miles apart. for the younger sister, the wedding and reception was at the same place. To partake in the ceremony, I had to shower and change to be presentable for photographs. Then change back to serve the meal. the younges sisters was just a chaotic! Had to enlist my FIL to help as I was in her wedding party. While I was attending her wedding, the manager of the reception establishment gave my FIL a hard time about where he was set up amongst other things. Too much will be going on for you. Especially since it is YOUR wedding. please take my advice and have it catered. Enjoy this special occasion as it will be stressful enough with out having to cook.

lcbateman3
02-03-2011, 02:44 PM
I wouldn't recommend it either. You don't want to be standing up there saying your vows and wondering about the pork in the smoker....

Congrats too!

BBQ_MAFIA
02-03-2011, 02:55 PM
Congratulations on the wedding.
I believe you should enjoy this day with your wife and friends and get somebody else to do the cooking.
You may want to step back and look at the situation as if it were a movie playing out in your head.
Visualize how you will get everything done and most importantly, keep you new wife happy at the same time.
Good luck with whatever you decide to do and congrats again.

NRA4Life
02-03-2011, 02:58 PM
If it was me and my wedding and I was set on cooking for it for 300, I'd have to consider: Plan on about an average of 6 oz finished meat per person, which would be about 112.5 lbs total finished pulled pork. Figuring about 5 lb average yield from a butt, you'll need to cook about 23 butts. I don't have a clue how many you can fit in a stumps stretch...my stickburner is big enough though, though I wouldn't want to run my stickburner and try to get married. If it was me, I'd have it catered or find a local Brethren to help you out. Logistically, it is a nightmare to think about doing it all myself. I've cooked for weddings, and there is no way in hell I'd want to do it and be the groom. Too much stress, too much responsibility, to much going on...pay the $$ and let someone else take care of it. Relax and enjoy your day.

Goddahavit
02-03-2011, 03:23 PM
Most i really fit on my stretch is about 18 or 2 cases of bosten butts, on 3 racks. I cook hotter, then wrap, to speed it up. Even so your going to need 2 loads for 300 people.
I have no idea of your situation, but your going to want help, what about the sides?
Dont forget it always takes longer then you plan for so plan to be done several hours early....

Looking forward to hearing what you decide.

Eric

luckyduk
02-03-2011, 04:21 PM
I cooked for my wedding, I cooked pp and sliced beef for 350. What I did was cook the day before, pulled the pork without adding anything and put in gallon ziplocs in a cooler with lots of ice. With the beef I sliced and added foil juice/broth in foil half pans and ziploc and iced down. You want to make sure if you do this you cool that meat down as quickly as possible, takes lots of ice and couple good sized coolers.
I warmed up the next day in foiled full pans at around 250-300 degrees until up to 165.
Do you have someone to help? Stretch would be simple to cook overnight or start in early morning and pull meat off up to 4 hours or more and hold in coolers.
Definitely doable though, I wouldn't be afraid if you had some good help. I did all the sides also, but I had a couple buddies take care of keeping roasters/chafers full....they are there for the beer anyways:-D

jtphillips
02-03-2011, 06:50 PM
Thanks to all who replied. Just to clarify, I am not doing anything with the sides or etc; I am only smoking the meat. The day before the wedding I plan to smoke, pull, and store the meat for the next day. It is an outdoor wedding, so the day of I am going to have my smoker by the outdoor kitchen with the Stoker locked in at 175 degrees to warm the meat---which will be foiled in aluminum pans--- back up. On the day of the wedding, I don't plan on having to do anything but get up early and get the Stretch cruising. From that point on, I am delegating the responsibility of scuffling the meat to roasters as needed. I think that if I create a good strategic plan, and have some help, it is definetely achievable. Thanks again, fellas.

route66
02-03-2011, 07:29 PM
I personally do not like to pull the butts and keep them whole till just before service time. The meat seems to hold the juices better. On big events I chill in large aluminum pans with the drippings for up to 3 days prior and found it takes 2 hours at 300-350F to re-heat. If done far enough in advance it shouldn't add any stress to your wedding but adds a personal touch to the event. Best wishes on your marriage.

Bbq Bubba
02-03-2011, 08:12 PM
congrats on getting married, I'd recommend not doing this, you'll have so much going on the day before and the day of, I'm speaking from experience I did this and regretted doing it. If you want to do, I'd precook at least a week ahead of time, pull, then vacuum pack the meat, then get someone to reheat it for you the day of. Just a suggestion. good luck.

Ditto this.

Let me put it this way...

Are you able to properly cook, cool & store this amount of food?

HBMTN
02-03-2011, 09:44 PM
I would not try what you are thinking about. It will be a large task to cool down 100lbs of pulled pork unless you have the means to do so. Plus you are taking on a huge task on a day that should be spent with your new bride. Let your inlaws pay a caterer. Just my 2 cents Congrats!!!

Jeff Hughes
02-04-2011, 05:03 PM
I am a professional caterer. Were I to do this job, I'd cook 300 lbs of butts. I'd bring four or five very experienced helpers with me. Who are these people you are going to "delegate" to? It's hard to have a good plan when you don't know what you don't know.

If it were my wedding and I was trying to save some money, I would hire a some of my friends to help. These particular friends that I would hire have extensive catering experience. There is no free lunch. And really, if you are going to have 300 guests at your wedding, I'm going to assume that costs are of a secondary concern.

A wedding for 300 people is a really big deal, and catering it is not a job for a first timer. A job like this can go wrong in many different ways. First of all, you could get someone sick and cost your future father in law hundreds of thousands of dollars. Less serious, but still a very big deal is the logistics. Trust me, you will never pull this off and be the groom without major tears and screaming coming from your bride and MIL.

Have you ever heard the term "bridezilla"? Let a pro earn his money, catering a huge wedding is no piece of cake...

JD McGee
02-04-2011, 07:16 PM
Not recommended... if you must... enlist a Brethren Brother to assist.

Ditto...most will work for beer...:becky: Congrats on your wedding...but I gotta agree with Jeff...let the pros handle it...you just need to sit back and enjoy the moment with your bride! :thumb:

trekmstr
02-07-2011, 08:06 PM
congrats on getting married, I'd recommend not doing this, you'll have so much going on the day before and the day of, I'm speaking from experience I did this and regretted doing it. If you want to do, I'd precook at least a week ahead of time, pull, then vacuum pack the meat, then get someone to reheat it for you the day of. Just a suggestion. good luck.

ditto on this idea. after packing get the bags into coolers filled with an ice water bath so they cool quickly. you can put the bags into a pot of boiling water for a little while to get them heated up faster. most people are incredibly busy the day befoer the wedding not to mention the day of the wedding,(usually taking care of thengs that nobody planed for) make sure you've got skilled reliable help.

Mad About Que
02-07-2011, 09:11 PM
here's another idea.. cook the meat, pull it and sauce it a tad. pack it up however you must. even a couple days out. fire the smoker up to reheat and start HOURS before you thought you needed too.. you can rent cambro chaffers to serve in (and hold in). or put in large coolers. we did a fundraiser last summer with a friends bbq place and we server 2500#'s. you know those huge coolers that it takes 2 people to carry? you can put 300# of meat in one. really. get it hot, toss it in the CLEANED/SANITIZED cooler and it will stay hot. we stuffed a thermo in one of them.. with the lid snapped shut, we went from 170 to 165...in 11 hours. Meat was good and juicy, and hot.

Or like its been mentioned.. i'm sure someone wouldn't mind cooking on a stretch.. even if you flew a brethren in it would be cheaper than a caterer.. whens the wedding?

Jeff Hughes
02-08-2011, 09:22 AM
Catering a wedding for 300 is a lot more than cooking meat. For an like this event to go smoothly, a team of pros is required...

ssbbqguy
02-08-2011, 09:56 AM
I just can't imagine trying to have so many possible ways to go wrong, and wanting to go ahead. I would enlist some help that was there for cooking and serving only, not free drinks. That is a recipe for disaster waiting to happen. If you want to go ahead with your original plan, then find a way to practice cook for another function before yours. That way you'll see what advice is given here as good ideas. Good luck. Steve.

rlncookinbbq
02-22-2011, 08:59 AM
I live just a few mi. from you, and there is a team close to you that could do this and make you proud. If their scedule permits, I would go that route. just sayin.



hoosierque@yahoo.com

C Rocke
02-22-2011, 09:45 AM
Catering a wedding for 300 is a lot more than cooking meat. For an like this event to go smoothly, a team of pros is required...

"The person who caters his own event has a fool for a client" - Heard this once...

big brother smoke
02-22-2011, 10:33 AM
"The person who caters his own event has a fool for a client" - Heard this once...

Yup!

Don't try and do this. I have catered countless weddings and could not fathom trying to do my own wedding, especially for 300 people. :crazy::becky:

Make some friends on this forum and find some Indiana bros to help you, if you cannot go the professional route. Make sure someone safeserv certified and make that person the pitmaster.

jtphillips
03-08-2011, 07:12 PM
Thanks for all the great advice guys. Even if I am only planning on doing the meat, you still wouldn't recommend this?

Dallas Dan
03-08-2011, 07:40 PM
Thanks for all the great advice guys. Even if I am only planning on doing the meat, you still wouldn't recommend this?

No way! :hand: Your special day is no time to test your talents on cooking meat for 300 people. Have it catered and enjoy the moments.:thumb:

HBMTN
03-08-2011, 07:41 PM
Nope, but if you did then I would pre cook a couple days in advance and reheat only the day of.