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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, Equipment and just outdoor cookin' in general, hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures... but stay on topic. And watch for that hijacking.


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Unread 10-29-2012, 03:52 PM   #1
SmokeFan
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Default Smoking Butts for 80, help with the plan!

We're hosting the neighborhood Halloween Party for the second year in a row. Last year we did about 75-80 hot dogs, some on the BGE, and some the kids did over the firepit. It was relatively easy, and since dogs are already cooked, pretty stress free.

This year I got a wild hair and decided I wanted to do Q. For 80. My plan consists of cooking 8 ~8lb butts and serving them as sliders on the little Hawaiian dinner rolls with some fixens like onion or whatever. All the sides are being provided by my neighbors.

To cook with, I've got a XL BGE, an oven, and a couple of crockpots. I have a DIY second grate for the BGE, a bunch of foil pans, and 950' of red butcher paper. I'm out of town until tomorrow evening, and the party is Wednesday evening.

Here's my plan:

1) Get the butts all rubbed up with a real simple homemade rub of salt, pepper, garlic powder, and a little splash of cumin, cinnamon and fresh ground chipotle. I may also mix in some SM cherry, or SM Season All.

1) Get the BGE up and running to about 250, indirect, around midnight. Will put 1 large foil pan and 2 half pans under cooking grid to catch all the fat so it doesn't flood out the bge with rendered fat.

Cook 4 butts, (2 or 3 on the main cooking grid, and 1 or 2 on the DIY one depending on how they fit on there), on the BGE at 250 until they hit ~160, or 5am or so.

The main point being they are getting 5 hours in the smoke. Then remove them, wrap in butcher paper, and stick in foil pans. Put em in the oven at about 230 until done. Trying to stretch the cook out into the safety window for sticking them in the cooler.

2) Put second batch of 4 butts on the BGE at 275, and cook until done. Wrap in red butcher paper to hold. By done I mean the bone pulls out easily.

3) Depending on how the timing works out, if inside of 3-4 hours, then put butts in cooler to hold. If they get done sooner than that, lower oven temp to 200, and keep in oven for however long until in 3-4 hour window. Then stick in cooler. More worried about this for the butts going on at midnight. I think the ones going on at 5 am will be right where I need them.

4) Sometime around 4pm wed, I'm gonna pull all the butts, mix with saved pan juices, a little bit of sauce and rub, and place in large foil pans for serving.

I'm thinking it'll probably take about 4 pans for the 8 butts once they are shredded. By 5:30 have all the now pulled pork sitting in pans. 2 foil pans over burners on serving line, the rest inside in oven on warm, replacing outside as needed.

Ok Brethren!

This is my largest cook to date. Am I on target here, or set up to be the laughing stock of the hood? What am I missing?
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Unread 10-29-2012, 04:10 PM   #2
Pyle's BBQ
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So, math tells me that if you are planning 3 oz. sandwiches, you will get about 250 sliders. I would get as much done as soon as possible before hand. You can always reheat. Your time seems about right, but I would want things done so if I ran into problems I would be able to come up with another option. IMO start things when you get home and have the extra time to get things done. I would hold the butts whole until about an half hour before the event. I have held butts for up to 8 hours in a 200*F oven at the restaurant and they have held really well. I don't think you will need all the fat you save, there will be a lot, but some is good to add to the meat.
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Unread 10-29-2012, 04:12 PM   #3
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Just a thought . . .

You're in Fort Worth, Texas. Surely one of your neighbors has a cooker they could use to help you out with that load.
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Unread 10-29-2012, 06:18 PM   #4
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Pyle's, Thanks! Maybe I'm buying too much for 80, I figure 2/person would average out nice, as a good number are kids that will get full off one sandwich, all the sides, and candy. Maybe I could cut it down to 6? In which case I might be able to do it all in one cook.

That's good to know about letting them sit in the oven on 200 for so long. I'll probably just go with that. I was starting at 4pm on the pulling the butts figuring it would take me a while to actually accomplish that x 8.

QansasjayhawQ, Sadly none of my friends cook Q, at least not like we think of it... I really need to make some good local Q friends!

I do have one friend with a cheap offset, but I've never used one, and think I could do better just using my BGE since I'm comfortable with how it cooks. I've got a Auber ATC, so once the meat hits the grate, it's pretty hands off until it's done.

I almost bought a WSM a few weeks ago, but then it seemed like there were only gonna be about 40, and I knew I could handle that on the BGE. It seems the size of the group has doubled in the last 3 days...so much for RSVP's.

I do have a caja china, but that flavor profile isn't what I'm going for, plus it's kinda labor intensive to use it.
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Unread 10-29-2012, 07:54 PM   #5
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I usually figure 1/4 lb portions. For 80 people that would mean 20 lbs pulled pork. With a 40% loss, that means about 33-35 lbs raw pork to start with, or about 4-5 butts. That's just my math anyway.


As far as the plan, sounds like you've got a good one.

IF you have a vacuum sealer, you could cook ahead of time and vac seal to reheat later.
Even without a vacuum sealer, as Pyle said you could easily cook ahead of time, pull the meat, DOUSE with apple juice and then slowly reheat in the oven later. The AJ keeps it from drying out. You could just do 1/2 of the butts that way and do the other 1/2 day of and then mix it all together at the party.


Just a couple of suggestions. Main thing is to just do what you know. Even though it's a lot more Q, it's still Q. Take it one step at a time.

Nothin better than that feeling AFTER dinner when you get to hear all the compliments.



Good luck!
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Unread 10-29-2012, 08:21 PM   #6
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Wampus, thanks! I don't have a vac sealer, but it's on the xmas wish list. I've only got about an 22 hour window from when I walk in from being out of town, to serving the meal. I'll probably try to hold out on pulling them until the last possible moment.

The wife just called. It seems she decided to get some things done, and I've got 7 butts. I don't think I can get 7 on the BGE at once. But I can do 5, maybe 6.

In line with your mixing it all together suggestion, do you think putting 1 or 2 in the crockpot and mixing in with the others smoked in the bge, would significantly(or even moderately) adulterate the flavor?

I know the purists are grabbing for their pitchforks, but it would cut me down to one cook, and allow me to get a good nights sleep... :) Weak...I know. What do you think?
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Unread 10-29-2012, 10:50 PM   #7
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I don't see a problem with doing one in the crockpot. If it will get you a good night's sleep go for it. I would cook it with the sauce and rub. After you mix the CP butt with the other meat, taste it and see if you actually need to add more seasoning and sauce.
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Unread 10-29-2012, 11:09 PM   #8
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One thing I have learned is that if 1/2 or 1/3 of a pound of cooked PP per person only works out if you serve people. if you let it be a free for all you need about a pound of PP oer person. As far as the CP butt, I dont know if I would do it. The average person (at least here in utah) has no idea what the difference is between real and fake Q.
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Unread 10-30-2012, 06:15 AM   #9
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Im not a big caterer or anything but Ive kind of found through my years is a pair of butts is good for @40 people. I think the estimate of 4-5 butts would be spot on. Sometimes the physical act of BBQ'ing is a great addition to the party. In that case, Id have 3 butts done the day before, pulled, wrap the pans up tight and reheat those the day off the party in the oven and then just live cook a very manageable pair of butts for show.
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Unread 10-30-2012, 06:18 AM   #10
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Or Plan B. Start having a nervous breakdown and tear up in front of the wife and tell her how you just want this party to be great and your going to need a second smoker to get it done. It will pay off in the long run and pick up a WSM22
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Unread 10-30-2012, 07:26 AM   #11
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My plan on cooking sammies is this.... 1 pound raw makes 2 sammies. That's about a quarter pound. so 80 people is 40 pounds of meat. I don't know how much meat you plan on putting on a slider, though...
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Unread 10-30-2012, 07:57 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SmokeFan View Post
Wampus, thanks! I don't have a vac sealer, but it's on the xmas wish list. I've only got about an 22 hour window from when I walk in from being out of town, to serving the meal. I'll probably try to hold out on pulling them until the last possible moment.

The wife just called. It seems she decided to get some things done, and I've got 7 butts. I don't think I can get 7 on the BGE at once. But I can do 5, maybe 6.

In line with your mixing it all together suggestion, do you think putting 1 or 2 in the crockpot and mixing in with the others smoked in the bge, would significantly(or even moderately) adulterate the flavor?

I know the purists are grabbing for their pitchforks, but it would cut me down to one cook, and allow me to get a good nights sleep... :) Weak...I know. What do you think?
Me, worst case, I'd put 1 or 2 in the oven (not the crock pot). What if you start out with 2 or 3 on smoke and let them smoke for 2 hours, THEN move them to the oven (perhaps foiled), and then put on the major load of meat? In the over, have 'em right at 240. They'll all be done just about the same time if your BGE is running in the 260-270 range, plus they'll have at least a couple hours of smoke on them.
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Unread 10-30-2012, 08:14 AM   #13
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I like your plan. I also think you're cooking too much PP for the party, but I completely understand. I'll cook an extra butt or two just to put my mind at ease that there will be plenty for everyone.

As far as the cooking goes. Forget that 230-250 and crank the grill up to 300-325* The butts will take a lot less time, and my best PP has been cooked at 325*.

Load 4 up in the BGE (no point in overloading if you don't have to). Let them run for 3-4 hours, then move to the oven at 250. Refill your fuel, and put the other two on the BGE at the same temp. This should get all 6 done within an hour or two of each other. As they get done, foil and cooler them. Then pull them as needed during the party, starting with the ones that have been in the cooler the longest.
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Unread 10-30-2012, 09:09 AM   #14
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Perhaps this post by FastEddieM on a 75# butt cook on an XL Egg may help you visualize how you'll load up your Egg: http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/sh...d.php?t=129106
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Unread 10-30-2012, 10:11 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lake Dogs View Post
Me, worst case, I'd put 1 or 2 in the oven (not the crock pot). What if you start out with 2 or 3 on smoke and let them smoke for 2 hours, THEN move them to the oven (perhaps foiled), and then put on the major load of meat? In the over, have 'em right at 240. They'll all be done just about the same time if your BGE is running in the 260-270 range, plus they'll have at least a couple hours of smoke on them.
That's what I'd suggest as well. If you think about it, putting smoke to a butt for a few hours, then foiling is the EXACT SAME THING as smoking one for a few hours and putting it in the oven. All you're doing is removing the smoke from the equation. I'd do like LD says and start a couple (or 3) on the egg and let em get some good smoke, then move them to the oven while loading up the rest on the egg. If the ones in the oven are done well ahead of the others (as they probably will be), just hold em in a cooler and pull with the rest of em when they come off. They'll likely be EXACTLY the same as the ones you cooked on the egg.
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