View Full Version : Pulling Pork for a crowd

04-04-2009, 04:15 PM
I will selling pulled pork at the local farmers market and wanted to get opinions on the easiest and fastest way of pulling the pork.

I will be cooking 50 to 100 pounds of shoulders for every weekend. When I have cooked up large batches of butts in the past the hardest and time consuming job is hand pulling the pork. I find that it takes me over 1/2 to pull a 6-8# butt. I know I am slow at it but I am trying my best to get all the pieces of fat out of it. I pull using my hands, a fork and maybe bear claws. I use a knife to chop up the bark.

Can any one share any techniques that I can use to speed up the process?

I have eaten pork sammies that have a lot of very fine pieces of meat in it that almost look like that were quickly put through a food processor. I have heard about this on chicken but I have not seen it done.

Any advice at all is greatly appreciated.

Thank you,


04-04-2009, 04:32 PM
I'm not a caterer or vendor but have pulled pork for a crowd in mass qty on a few occassions.. Pulling out the fat is less than ideal in high volume. Westex and I did about 20 of them wearing hi temp food grade neoprene gloves.. a big squeeze and then a bunch of little squeezes and pulls... Very quick.. Maybe 3-4 minutes per butt. You'll catch a few large pieces of fat by default.

Even better... When I assisted Chris Lilly at the Big Apple Block Party it was somewhat similar.. A big crush with our hands but then a different approach.. A samurai knife is used to chops the large chunks. Here's his brother Owen doing the same technique .. It's a real crowd pleaser especially when Chris puts on the show.

Check it out the starting at 1:24 seconds


04-04-2009, 04:47 PM
I pulled 4 cases of butts in 2 days last fall at our local fair.

I used high temp rubber gloves, pulled a but in about 4 minutes like Vinny said.

I then picked out what little fat was left, mixed the bark with the inner meat and into the roaster pans it went.

Tip......After doing about 10 butts stop and remove your gloves as your hands are pretty warm.

big brother smoke
04-04-2009, 06:02 PM
If you are going to do this often, in the amount mentioned, I would consider a buffalo chopper. It will chop the fat up as well. They work nice, CountryHB and I borrowed one at a comp once. They are pricey, so I suggest you find one used.

Gloves, try these: http://www.texasbbqrub.com/tools.htm

04-05-2009, 11:10 AM
When I had my kitchen, I would cook a case at a time (8-10 butts). Used 2 carving forks to do it. Never took longer than 1/2 hour. I guess it was easier fer me 'cause I would put them (one at a time) into a large stainless mixing bowl and have at it. Makes it real easy.

04-05-2009, 11:17 AM
Bear claws, mere minutes, pull the fat off by hand. Some get's mixed into the food, small bite of great flavor. Scott

04-05-2009, 01:51 PM
heres an idea if you have a drill handy

04-05-2009, 05:45 PM
Bear Claws and glove covered hands... If you have good gloves it doesnt take long...

04-05-2009, 06:55 PM
If cooked to the proper temp they should practically fall apart for you, I just cooked a case of butts and did most of the pulling with a pair of tongs all in about 40 mins or less.

04-05-2009, 08:42 PM
If the butts sit in a cooler or cambro for a while, they pull easy. We cooler them for an hour or 2, throw on a cadaver tray, let cool for 30 minutes and pull by hand with good gloves. We did pork for 1600 last fall. we do 3 cases most weekends.

Michael in PA
04-05-2009, 10:46 PM
Pull the bone then whack 'em with the flat of a heavy cleaver. Most of it should fall apart on its own. Use the cleaver to quickly chop any big chunks that are left. Much faster than tongs. Visually scan for large chunks of fat. Yer done - three butts, three minutes, one 4 inch pan full of pulled pork.

04-06-2009, 09:42 PM
Thank you all for the help. There is lots of good advice.

04-06-2009, 10:41 PM
Funny that Steph beat me to it...if you're serious, check out a Hobart Buffalo Chopper. Not only is it quick, but it mixes the fat in perfectly...higher yield. And they are great for all your other chopping needs.

04-07-2009, 10:00 PM
They all work bear claws, forks, choppers I like to let it cool a little bite and throw on some gloves and pull

Bbq Bubba
04-07-2009, 10:17 PM

This is what the Cali guys use. :roll:

04-07-2009, 10:38 PM

This is what the Cali guys use. :roll:
No, I pull with Bear Paws, but I'm not doing high quantity. If I were, whis investment would be a no-brainer. Bubba, didn't we have a conversation about working smarter, not harder in a different thread? If not, I apologize. It takes that thing about 3 seconds to do a whole butt perfectly.

04-07-2009, 10:42 PM

This is what the Cali guys use. :roll:

Ive heard if you use one of these to remove the chopping blades and install them upside down.
If you dont you will have instant mush.

04-08-2009, 06:53 AM
I just use the latex gloves and it all goes real easy. You might also want to consider the cut of butt you are using. I only say that because it normally takes me just two or three minutes to pull one with my hands.

All that said, my wife used the bear claws when we catered a golf tournament last year and in doing so she shreaded up the fat with the meat and it stayed very moist and had a great appearance. Myself, I had always tried to remove the fat.... man was I wrong. There were no complaints regarding the fat which you really couldn't detect. I do render the butts down pretty good and finish them in a pan for four hours or more after an overnight smoke on the rack. The pan will usually be half full of juices. I will add back some of these juices to the meat once it is pulled and also add a little of my mojo as well.

This past weekend, I did my pull on the butts using the larger pieces and definitely allowing for more bark... not that the customer cares about bark if the food tastes good. My thoughts are that with the larger pieces I can retain more moisture.... what do I know???

I really don't think you can go wrong with pork butt regardless of how you pull it, whether it be shreaded or chunks.....as long as it is moist and tastes good.