Need a little math help

Discussion in 'Pork' started by musky, Aug 21, 2015.

  1. i'm cooking a large amount of Hogs and Boston Butts for our annual Labor Day Festival. This years process is a little different hence my question... We are cooking about 700# of Boston Butts, avg 8-10# ea. I'm assuming around 6-7 hrs cook time but that is not an issue since they will be done when they are done :) My question is how can i make a good approximation of the amount of space required to store these until they will be chopped the next morning?

    My math so far with this is as follows >>>> 700# raw weight should produce about 400 - 450# of cooked meat and thus i'm hoping these will fit in two large 110 qt coolers? is this close or am i way out of the ballpark?
  2. atomicsmoke

    atomicsmoke Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    So you got at least 70butts. In two coolers? I don't think it would work.

    Also ...your yield seems very optimistic 57%+. Last time I got 42% - it was a whole shoulder (smaller yield than butt) but still...57% seems high. I would count on 50%.
  3. Roughly a pound of chopped, packed meat will fit in a pint container.

    There are two pints to a quart.  

    You have 2-110 quart containers.

    2 containers * 110 quarts * 2 pints/quart = 440 pounds roughly.

    If you do yield between 400-450 lbs, you should be able to fit it with some tight packing, if you go ahead and pull/chop it up before packing.

    If you just drop the entire butts in to wait for the next day to pull/chop - no way will it fit! (that seems to be the implication from your post).
  4. Thx that feedback helps a lot _ it looks like it will be close depends on final yield but I just keep an extra 48qt or two handy just as backup _ I'm just the pit guy the group had decided to pull and chop the meat at 7am the next morning so my goal is to load the coolers when the meat gets to 170 and let it sit til then
  5. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Packing meat in a container that size could pose problems.... The meat has to be well above 160 and held there or below 40 before packing in the coolers.... food safety comes first.... and packed above 160 for only a couple hours max....

    Moist temps above 80 deg. F are a perfect breeding ground for food borne pathogens.....
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2015
  6. Don't forget that if you put the butts whole into the coolers, you don't get a lot of reduction in size/weight, especially if you don't pull the bones out.  At an IT of 170, the bones won't pull out easily, so you are essentially storing whole butts. So here is some different math.

    One 8 pound whole butt is roughly the same size as a 1-gallon water jug.

    You said you had 700 pounds, so 87-88 8 lb butts.  (10 lb butts will take more space, so just do the math with 8 lb butts to get the storage space needed) That is roughly 88 gallons of storage.  At 4 quarts to the gallon, that is 352 quarts storage needed.  You have 2 ea 110 quart coolers (220 quarts total).  two 48 qt coolers brings you storage space to 316 quarts.You would need 3 48 quart coolers in addition to your two 110 quart coolers on hand.  If you can get another 110 quart cooler - it packs better than the smaller ones, then use 3 110 quart coolers and a spare 48 quart.

    Also - the larger the cooler, the less heat loss usually (to DaveOmak's point on food safety).  If they are going to be more than a few hours in the coolers - put some thick blankets (doubled up moving pads are great - and they can be rented pretty cheep at U-Haul) under the coolers and then drape 2-3 of the pads over each cooler.  That will help keep the temperature inside the coolers.  I did this once with a Boy Scout camp cookout where we smoked 27 large briskets.  We put them into 110 quart coolers (a bunch of them) at around midnight and then started carving at 1:00pm the next day for dinner at 6:00pm (yes - we put the sliced meat in steam pan trays, covered with foil and in a large oven set on low to keep warm).  The briskets were still very hot (all over 180, center ones at 200) when we opened the coolers, but we had started with 190 degree IT's on the briskets.

    If you are going to store them for 6-8 hours, you might think about pulling them out of the pit at a higher IT - like 180-190, instead of the 170 you are planning on.
  7. Im totally following you except im not sure the math you shared accounts for shrinkage? In any case with the excellent feedback from one or two members so far i think the two 110 qts w two 48 qts as backup should cover the base - the blanket trick is also an excellent idea adding that extra insulation. Thx
  8. jckdanls 07

    jckdanls 07 Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    If you are wanting it to be pulled pork... the 170` IT you mentioned will be nowhere's near done enough to pull... you will need at least 200` IT for it to pull... 205` IT is even better....
  9. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    A single Butt, 5Lb cooked weight, at 200°F wrapped and held in a cooler stays above 140°F for 5-6 hours with ease. Now multiply that Mass times 40! Shy of storing the Coolers at 30 below zero and in the wind, I would be surprised if the next morning, what 12 hours later, that meat dropped 10°. After all, the center IT, as planned, is 170°, but 30-40% of that meats mass will be closer to 200° or higher depending of the temp the meat is cooked at, as high as 300°F+ possibly, we have not been told the proposed smoker temp.

    While I think an IT of 170°F may be a bit low, for the above reason, the IT of that meat will quickly rise and stay there a long time. Essentially, that meat will get near 200°F in the coolers and stay there, or close to it, for many hours after they hit the coolers. It will continue to cook and break down the Collagen from the Carryover Cooking. Collagen breaks down above 130° and does so more rapidly above 160°F. If that amount of meat went in at 205°F, the IT would climb a minimum of 10° and more likely 20-30°F and stay there quite awhile. Not only would the coolers be opened to find the meat already fell apart, the resulting PUDDLE of meat would have the texture of Baby Food.

    While Food Safety is a major concern, what some people fail to understand is Meat is a poor conductor of heat. A Butt takes 16 hours to get to an IT of 200° in a 225° Smoker it is not going to rapidly cool into the Danger Zone just because it is no longer being heated. Yes, it to takes longer to heat cold meat than it takes to cool hot meat because the higher energy state of the hot meat conducts heat more rapidly, but Hot Meat takes time to cool and this is A LOT of meat, maintained in a well insulated, quality cooler. Additionally, once the Bacteria are destroyed by heating, the small possibility of re-contamination, taking the meat from the Smoker and placing it in the cooler with clean gloved hands or tools, will result in continued destruction of any new Bacteria because the meat is still well above 140°F and will stay there more than long enough to maintain safe meat. Since many people will be eating this Pork, all involved need to pay extra attention to cleanliness. Any handlers must handle the meat with clean gloved hands, rewashing and re-gloving after touching any contaminated surface, face, hair, other food items or contact surfaces. As an added precaution the coolers need to be. Clean and Sanitized with a Bleach solution of 1 Tablespoon Bleach per Gallon of water and allowed to air dry. Lastly the cooked meat needs to be placed in the coolers and left Shut! No sampling, No admiring the work or showing others how good they look, No looking to see if some walked away. Serving this large quantity of Pork will result in large quantities being exposed to air and temps can drop below 140°F. Some type of Hot Holding equipment should be used to maintain the meats temperature at 140°F or higher.

    If anybody would like more info on The Thermal Properties of Meat and other foods and how the above is valid, below is some reading and the Formulas to calculate how long meat will stay hot for yourself...JJ Alimenti.pdf
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2015
    cats49er likes this.
  10. execellent info - and yup we sanitize and wear clean rubber gloves to handle - all excellent points! I cooked a half dozen butts and four loins for a small catering a few years back. i loaded all that into a 48 qt cooler and the meat was still above 140 when i removed it to prepare 12 hours later. Imagine my delight knowing that pulling and loading into warmers was all that i needed to do? That was quite a lesson on cooler use as i was quite concerned for temps over that period of time. Even had an extra butt to send home with a friend.....
  11. Thx to e1 for all the good feedback! I'll be sure to post some pics when the meat is getting Happy... 
  12. mummel

    mummel Master of the Pit

    Yeah man this is one thread that needs some serious Q View.  Subbing.
  13. joe black

    joe black Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Musky, I just got in on this, so I may be a little redundant. All of the math aside, my main concern is the same as Keith (post #8). The butts should go to 200-205* to ever pull right. This will also take away the cooling problem while you are holding them overnight. As far as the 300 qt. of total storage, another thing that will help with with space would to take a small amount of time and pull the bones, and get rid of any large areas of fat that did not totally render. Good luck. Let me know how it all works out for you. BTW, what is the festival for? Joe
  14. was a great success! One of the other guys found this tool called a Roman Pork Puller? Best device and method I've ever seen to quickly shred the butts into a nice "pulled" consistency. And you're right, the feedback from those using that tool also suggested 190-200 as an optimum temp for best results. As always.... many minds creates a better product.

    The festival was the annual Labor Day cooking we put on as a fund raising event. Been a tradition for many years and draws quite a crowd. Unfortunately one of the members of the group has promoted themselves to the chicken cooking crew portion of the process and really doesn't understand what real BBQ is! Sadly in his mind cooking 500 chicken halves on GAS cookers and drowning them in SAUCE is his idea of BBQ. Really? WOW! I'm not even a big chicken fan and was glad to get out of the chicken cooking business. But there is NO COMPARISON to the taste of a chicken cooked for 4-6 hrs over oak and hickory coals compared to one burnt on a gas cooker. Maybe I'm the one that is confused? But sometimes easier (Not even sure that's the case) isn't always better?
  15. And additional thx to Jimmy for all that good input. And i thought i mentioned temps, but always my target cooking temp for pit or smoker is 200-225. Sorry i thought that was a no brainer on a site like this? Its awesome to have suck a wealth of cooking knowledge shared in this forum!!! Thx again to everyone and Happy cooking.

Share This Page