advice for pulled pork at tailgate

Discussion in 'Pork' started by rudy2262, Aug 11, 2014.

  1. hi everyone.

    I’ve read a bunch of different methods of reheating pulled pork. But I have a little bit of a different situation that is coming up next week. In advance I thank you for your tips and advice. I know some of the below is not the traditional approach. will probably get a 7lber for next week.

    I throw an annual tailgate party for Jimmy Buffett down at the beach. I normally arrive between 5am – 6am to set up and start having some beverages. Last year I brought my smoker (Brinkman Vertical Propane Smoker). I had done a pulled pork on it in the actual parking lot. it definitely had challenges such as security keeping the lot closed till 7 or 8am, high temperatures and sun, and wind from the beach. All in all it came out good, and every one enjoyed it (I attribute some of that to the drinking). It finished around 5pm. In order to get it done I pushed the heat up a little after I foiled it at 165. but I managed.

    I’ve gotten more comfortable with my smoker over the past year. But I was wondering what options I had this year. how I could do this the day before. I was thinking of the following options. to my disposal I will also have a Coleman Road Trip Grill, two portable table top grills, and sterno trays.

    A)     Option 1=Business as usual and do the whole smoke at the parking lot. I tested a method this weekend of smoking it un-foiled till 165. then I put it in a roasting pan and triple foiled the top and pushed the temperature up to about 300 for about two hours till it hit 203, kept it wrapped in foiled for an hour than pulled it. was thinking of placing it back in the smoker for 30 minutes un-foiled to harden the bark back up but didn’t (at a lower smoker temp).  It came out ok, and my wife said she didn’t notice a difference. The juices in the pan burnt up so I did not have much to mix back in. The bark was also softer but still had the flavor. I figure if I’m running short on time I could do this

    B)      Option B=Cook it completely the day before shred it and put it in the fridge, and re-heat the next day. I’ve never done it before. without having an oven re-heating it in there is out. Unless I bring the smoker to act like an oven (which I don’t mind doing). Can I re-heat on the grill in a pan with some water or apple juice in a covered pan? I won’t be able to close the lid though on the grill. I’ve read people using food saver bags and re-heating in water as well. I wonder if I can do that with the sterno trays or just on the grill?

    C)      Option Cooler Method: Set up the smoker up over night at let it finish around 5- 6 am. pull it off and place it in the cooler. since most of the guests won’t show till 10am-noon. I probably wouldn’t start serving it till at least lunchtime (12-1) at the earliest. How long could I keep the butt in the cooler (for safety purposes).

    thank you everyone
  2. pineywoods

    pineywoods Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead SMF Premier Member

    Personally I would cook it ahead of time pull it,  put it in a disposable foil pan with foil over the top, day of pull the foil off the top and add a finishing sauce put the foil back on the top and into a 225-250 degree smoker. While it is going you could do some Dutch's Wicked Baked Beans or some ABT's or both  [​IMG]   If your starting out that early maybe a fatty for breakfast
  3. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I agree with Piney on this. Cook it ahead of time and reheat.

    Depending on your timing you could reheat, then transport in a cambro or other insulated cooler. Then maintain temp at the event with your chaffing dishes and stereo.
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2014
  4. flyin'illini

    flyin'illini Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    What Piney said..   I did (C) earlier this year with 10 butts and they held great but I had wind/weather issues where I had to prep them. Never as good as your usual environment.  good luck.
  5. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Make it unamious! The day before, but I like option "B". Have it done ahead of time

    Seriously, you know how beans are better the next day? Gumbo is better the next day? Stew, yep better the next day too. Cook, pull, add some finishing sauce, in the reefer. Haul out the next day, reheat. Less smoking problems, of course you'll miss that I just smoked smell, so you'll need to double up on your aftershave. Or maybe just rub your hands on the smoker before you leave.

    Reheat there however is easiest to slow and slow warm. Set a warming pan using sterno warming a water bath? Double wrap in tin foil with only 1/2 dozen coals, Whatever is best for you. I like it all done up and with some spices like a finishing sauce incorporated before hand.

    When he plays the Mandolin song I would burn the meat though.... I just loss track of time.

    Last edited: Aug 12, 2014
  6. yotzee

    yotzee Smoking Fanatic

    This ^^^

    Pulled pork does well being prepared the day before and reheated.  I wouldn't fuss with trying to do a game day cook when you wont see any noticeable difference in taste.  The pork cooked the day before will be just as tasty!
  7. Option B!!!!!   Always re-heats well!

  8. autoferret

    autoferret Meat Mopper

    I agree with everyone on the cook the day before!  that way u can do it nice and slow and hit your temps.  But when i do it and i do this quite frequently to trick people into thinking i did the whole smoke that day i leave the butt whole and then once i reheat I'll pull in front the people so they feel like there getting it fresh! 

    but i second the fatty for the AM, ABT's, beans, maybe some wings for a snack!  I cook on my smoker all day when i'm smoken just adds to the experience! 
  9. I agree with everyone, do it the day before. I've done this countless times for my football tailgates (SEC!). I cook it the day before and pull it and reheat it the next day I'm foil pans or casserole dishes covered in foil. I'll throw it in a 350 oven till it's steaming hot and wrap the containers in towels and they stay nice and warm until the crowd gets there.
  10. I've done what I call twice smoked pulled pork. I smoke and pull the day before, then put it in an open pan in the smoker the next day. I usually reheat pulled pork in a roaster/slow cooker with just finishing sauce, but for twice smoked I usually sauce it with BBQ sauce and let it cook down a bit.  Dutch's Wicked Baked Beans are a great companion for this scenario as are things that cook fairly quickly ABT's, brats etc.
  11. Thank you all for the help! Definitely feel better about doing it the day before. I was/am worried about it drying out.... Ive actually never used a finishing sauce before. How much should I add? Ive used the juices from the foil. Do I do both?
  12. I use both the juices and finishing sauce. You don't need a lot of finishing sauce, most are vinegar based, so a little goes a long way. I generally put a pan under the butts with some broth in it. It then catches the drippings from the butts. I then put the butt in the pan and cover it during the last stages of the cook instead of foiling. I then de fat and mix back as needed. This way I wind up with plenty of juice to keep the butt moist.
  13. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I just use the Finishing sauce because...... I want all that spice flavor. I just use a little like a maybe a tablespoon on a what started as a 10# butt. Don't use too much. You can add more, its hard to take it out. You don't want people asking about your finishing sauce, you want people wondering why your pulled pork is better than everyone elses. Minimalistic approach.  If you warm in a crock pot you'll need very little, it warms low and slow and as long as the lid is on the moisture stays in the pot. The same way if its enclosed in foil.

Share This Page