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Jtmeredith83 10-14-2016 08:17 AM

Cooking for Neighborhood
My neighborhood/HOA is having a fall festival and I volunteered to make some BBQ pulled pork. 20 people have confirmed attendance, so planning on cooking up 15-20lbs of pork,which would cool down to 12-15lbs, I think. My plan is to get 4 or 5 bone in Boston butts, shooting for 4lb each. If they are wanting to serve food at 5, what time should I put meat on to start smoking? My guess is meat should take 6 hours to reach temp, and then give it an hour or so rest, would put me starting cook at 8am? Am I far off? Be my first time cooking this quantity of meat at once. Plan is to wrap it at 160 degrees til it reaches temp of 195-205. Any thoughts, advice would be appreciated.

Smoking Piney 10-14-2016 08:22 AM

What temp are you planning for the cook?

Badgerjacob 10-14-2016 08:36 AM

I never wrap my buttts and I would allow at least 10 hours for cook time.

Smoking Piney 10-14-2016 08:43 AM

6 hours is very tight. I would start them early to give yourself a pad of time. Butts cook at their own pace. You can always FTC them when they're done and hold them for serving.

Smoked Bayou 10-14-2016 08:45 AM

In my experience, I get about a 60% yield from bone-in pork butts. So I would probably cook 20-25 lbs if you want to end up with 12-15 lbs of cooked meat. I usually cook 8-10 lb butts, so the cooking times may differ with 4 lb butts.

I normally cook butts at 300-325 and wrap them at 160. They are usually done around 6 hours. But sometimes they are done quicker, and sometimes they take longer. My advice is to start 2-3 hours earlier than you think you need to. Throw them in a cooler with some towels or blankets, and they will still be too hot to touch in 4-5 hours. There is nothing worse than a cook taking longer than you expected when you have people waiting on food.

BDAABAT 10-14-2016 08:58 AM

It seems that most of the time when I have a hard deadline for a meal and think that I have a clue about how the meat will behave, the dreaded stall rears it's ugly head. Sometimes, the cook turns out fine...the butts break down beautifully and everything comes together perfectly. Sometimes, the stall hits and you end up keeping people waiting for food. To me, people waiting for food can be really frustrating for everyone.

I prefer to have things prepared and ready to go rather than wait around anxiously watching the thermometer. That to me isn't a fun time and the point of the experience is to have a good time and to provide something special for people.

All of which means that like BadgerBob, I try to allow for at least 10 hours of cook time (preferably 12) for bone in butts. If they get done early, no problem! Pull and keep in a warm cooler or a low temp oven for a couple hours. They'll be really easy to break down. And, if they take longer than you expect to cook, you have some buffer time built in.

Good luck with the shin dig! Post pics!


Jtmeredith83 10-14-2016 09:29 AM

Thanks for all the advice. Usually end up cooking around 275-300. Looks like illl be up dark and early. No rest for the wicked.

aawa 10-14-2016 09:41 AM

If you are serving at 5pm you can get a good nights sleep and get the meat on at 7am if you are cooking between 300-325.

I have had plenty of 5pm dinners and this is my timeline typically.

Night before trim and rub butts and into the fridge
6am - wake up and fire up the smoker to 300-325
7am - put on the butts
10:30am - 11:00am - check color on the butts. If they are where I want it or close to the color I want it, wrap in double layer of foil.
12:30pm - 1:00pm - check butts for doneness. If they pass the bone wiggle test, take them off the cooker and open the foil to vent off heat for 15 minutes. If a pork butt isn't done, I let it ride and check back every 30 minutes. (typically cooking at 300-325 a 7-9lb butt or 12-16lb brisket will be done anywhere between 5.5 - 7 hours)

After they are done and vent off the heat for 15minutes, wrap back in the foil and place in cambro or cooler w/ towels and hold until service.

4:45pm - take butts out of the cambro/cooler and pull for serving.

All the time inbetween I focus on making my sides, cleaning, and getting some video games in.

aawa 10-14-2016 09:53 AM

I just realized that I have to cook for 35 people for my fiances son's 18th birthday, people start arriving at 4pm, food served between 4:30-5pm depending on how many guests have arrived. I'm doing 2 8lb pork butts and a 10lb pork picnic, mac and cheese, coleslaw, and beans. Here is my exact time line for it.

Night before
Make sauces and rub
Make coleslaw sauce
Make beans "dump"
trim pork and rub

6am - wake up and fire up smoker to 300-325
7am - put pork butts, picnics, and fatty on smoker
8am - cook off pasta for mac and cheese, shred cabbage/carrots/onion for coleslaw and salt them to leech water. Any time left over, relax check emails, video games, whatever
9:30am ish - Take fatty off smoker, put the beans recipe together so I can throw it in the smoker.
10:00am - mow the lawn
11:00am - check pork butts to see if they need wrapped.
11:30am - start cleaning the house
12:30pm - 1:30pm - check pork butts for doneness and pull and rest where necessary
2:00pm - make cheese sauce for mac and cheese, combine coleslaw veggies and sauce, put beans on smoker.
2:30pm - clean or relax depending on what is left
3:00 pm - put mac and cheese on smoker, set the food table
3:30 pm - shower
4:00 pm - take mac and cheese and beans off the smoker and put on food table
4:15-4:30pm - pull the pork and put it on food table.

Pstores 10-14-2016 11:25 AM

Think I would get 2-3 more butts If your going to do bone in.... I doubt 4-5 will be enough..... Just my thoughts...

aawa 10-14-2016 12:23 PM


Originally Posted by Pstores (Post 3666680)
Think I would get 2-3 more butts If your going to do bone in.... I doubt 4-5 will be enough..... Just my thoughts...

20 people, and 15-20lbs of raw pork will be enough. The rough safe estimate is that you get a 50% yield per pork butt. Also with sides the average person will eat 1/4lb of meat. So if the party has a bunch of sides, he can safely get away with cooking 10lbs of raw pork (5lb yield). Cooking enough to produce 7-10lbs of cooked pork will feed 20 people without blinking an eye and having plenty more for leftovers.

Bob Ivey 10-15-2016 11:06 PM

Are you the only one providing food? If not, then that would be something to take into account.

CT-Mike 10-16-2016 02:48 AM

Everyone else's advice is spot on, start earlier to give yourself some cushion to ensure the food is ready to go on time. Also, I've never seen 4# butts, they usually are in the 8-10# range.

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