Need advice on holding a pork butt warm. It is done too early and no cooler!

Discussion in 'Pork' started by mavven, Jun 28, 2014.

  1. mavven

    mavven Fire Starter

    Hi all, As the title states... I have a 8 pound butt in the smoker since 1;30 PM and it looks like its going to be done sooner than I thought. I have company coming for a BBQ tomorrow at noon. I know how to keep it warm in a cooler, only problem is I forgot I LENT MY COOLER TO MY BROTHER IN-LAW!!!! So I'm stuck with no cooler, which leads me to my next question. 

    Can I hold it warm in the oven at a certain temperature? Has anyone done this? If so... What temperature and technique? Will this dry it out? I'm really frustrated. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks
  2. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Keep it warm until tomorrow afternoon or evening ?????
  3. mavven

    mavven Fire Starter

    Company coming tomorrow (Sunday) at 12:00 Noon est.
  4. seenred

    seenred Smoking Guru Group Lead OTBS Member

    Kinda depends on when it gets done, but you could foil wrap it and leave it in a warmish (say, 100*) oven for 2 or 3 hours and it'd be fine. If it was gonna be longer than that, I'd probably go ahead and rest it, pull it, and cover and store in fridge until tomorrow. Pulled pork reheats nicely in the oven. Splash some apple juice over the meat in an oven safe covered dish (or cover with foil) and put in a 300* oven for 30-45 minutes.

    Good luck! Let us know how it turns out...

  5. mavven

    mavven Fire Starter

    Well she's at IT of 187 right now. gonna pull at 195-200 so gonna guess it will be done in 2 hours at most. My oven only goes as low as 170 degrees, not sure if that is too high a temperature that will continue to cook the meat. Thanks for the response and advice!
  6. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    You could put it in a covered roaster at 190 overnight.... It will get tender enough to pull by tomorrow.... I have cooked many butts overnight at 190....
  7. I 'm thinking your going to have to bite the bullet and just reheat tomorrow .I doubt you can leave it on some type of heat that long without  drying it out or by adding apple cider would make it to mushy.
  8. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    No disrespect Red, but it can be risky to hold meat or any protein at temps below 140°F. 100°F is in the optimum range of temps, 90 to 110°F, where Bacteria multiply super rapidly reaching dangerous levels in as little as 1 hour.. While pro holding cabinets maintain temp and humidity at 140°F and 90% RH, most home ovens can only be set to 150°F and frequently run hot. This is fine for a couple hours of holding but if the temp is closer to 160°F the Collagen in the meat will continue to breakdown and you can end up with Mushy meat. 12 to 13 hours is A LONG TIME to hold that meat and is difficult to do well in a home oven. I strongly recommend finishing the smoke, pulling, bagging, gently flattening the bag for rapid cooling, and reheating before service. You can reheat as described above with apple juice or your choice of Finishing Sauce. Below are two of mine that are popular around here and you can add any Meat Drippings to either one. I would suggest choosing the Finishing Sauce that is the opposite flavor profile of any BBQ Sauce you plan to serve. I really like the Tangy Vinegar based finishing sauce topped with the Sweet KC Style BBQ Sauce...JJ

    Foiling Juice / Sweet Pulled Pork Finishing Sauce

    Foiling Juice

    For each Rack of Ribs Combine:

    1T Pork Rub, yours

    1/2 Stick Butter

    1/2C Cane Syrup... Dark Corn Syrup...or Honey

    1/4C Apple Cider...or Juice

    1T Molasses


    2T Vinegar, 2T Mustard and 1/4C Ketchup to make it more KC Style Glaze.

    Simmer until a syrupy consistency.

    Allow to cool for 5 minutes, pour over foiled Ribs and

    run your 2 hour phase of 3-2-1. For the last phase return

    the ribs to the smoker BUT reserve any Juice remaining

    in the Foil. Simmer the Juice over med/low heat to reduce to a saucy thickness. Glaze the Ribs for presentation or service.

    For a Sweet Finishing Sauce for Pulled Pork:  Make a Double batch, Butter optional.

    Add 1/2 the batch to the Foil Pack or place it in a Pan with your Butt, when the IT hits 165*F.

    Cover the pan with foil and continue to heat to 205*F for pulling.

    At 205* rest or hold the Butt in a cooler wrapped in towels until ready to serve.

    Pull the Pork and place it back in the pan with the pan Juices and any additional reserved Foiling Juice to moisten and Serve...OR... Bag and refrigerate until needed.

    When re-heating place the Pulled Pork in a Pan or Crock pot and add reserved Foiling Juice or Apple Cider, as needed to make up the Juice that was absorbed while  the pork was refrigerated. Cover and re-heat in a pre-heated 325-350*F oven or on High in the crock pot to 165*F and Serve.

    Note: the addition of the reserved Foiling Juice or Apple Cider should make the PP moist but not Swimming.

    I was AMAZED...No additional sauce needed. ENJOY...JJ

    Tangy Pulled Pork Finishing Sauce

    This is more of an Eastern North Carolina style Finishing Sauce...

    2 C Apple Cider Vinegar

    2T Worcestershire Sauce or more to taste

    1/4C Brown Sugar

    1T Smoked Paprika

    2 tsp Granulated Garlic

    2 tsp Granulated Onion

    2 tsp Fine Grind Black Pepper

    1 tsp Celery Salt

    1 tsp Cayenne Pepper or Chipotle powder. Add more if you like Heat.

    1/2 tsp Grnd Allspice

    Combine all and whisk well. This is a thin sauce, bring just to a simmer and remove from heat. Adjust sweetness by adding Brn Sugar or additional Vinegar as desired...Makes about 2 Cups.

    For a Lexington Style Dip  add, 1/2C Ketchup and 1-3tsp Red Pepper Flakes...JJ

    KC Bubba Q Juice

    2C Ketchup

    1/2C Brown Mustard (Gulden's)

    1/4C Apple Cider Vinegar

    1/2C Molasses

    2C Dark Brn Sugar

    1T Tomato Paste

    1T Your Rub

    1-2tsp Liquid Smoke

    1tsp Worcestershire Sauce

    Combine all and warm over low heat just until it starts to bubble. Simmer about 5 minutes, stirring very frequently, to combine flavors and to thicken slightly.

    Use or pour into a sterile jar and refrigerate for up to 4 weeks.

    Makes 3 1/2 Cups.
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2014
  9. Wondering what you ended up doing ?

    Gary s
  10. seenred

    seenred Smoking Guru Group Lead OTBS Member

    It's all good JJ...I always have big respect for your advice and opinions and don't take it as disrespect at all. Lord knows I'm not always right! The idea behind my advice was to allow the butt to rest for a couple hours or more at a warmish low enough that it wouldn't continue to cook into a mush. Your advice makes me wonder if I need to rethink allowing a roast to rest in a cooler for 2-3 hours. It could conceivably end up at an IT below 140 for long enough to be dangerous...what are your thoughts on that?

  11. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Howdy Red, Ok I see where you are coming from. Yes, for a short couple of hours, 1-2 meat covered tightly, the 100°F Oven is fine. But remember Convection, natural or fan generated, in the Oven will be moving 100° air around the meat. This will sap the heat energy out of the meat and the whole system will quickly become 100°F...Not Good. This is why Holding Ovens are set to 140-150°F The OP wanted to hold for 12-13 hours so no way would a 100° Oven be a good idea. Next," The Cooler "...Why a Cooler works is because we are taking a 200 to 205° mass and wrapping in a Blanket, good Insulation, then we are putting it in a Cooler, great insulation to rest. It has been shown that in the Blanket/Cooler combo, it will take at least 5-6 hours for an average 8Lb Butt, longer for larger and multiple butts, to cool to 140°F. So, it is actually safer to go in a Cooler than a 100° oven. Collagen breakdown is most rapid at an IT of 160° or higher. This is again the reason for holding any length of time at 140-150°F or why guys usually only smoke to an IT of 195 to 200°F for a Butt that will be resting in the Cooler a long time. The time the meat rests above 160° continues to tenderize it and if already smoked to the point it is falling apart the cooler will just make it more so or even mushy. I hope this helps...JJ 
  12. mavven

    mavven Fire Starter

    Hey sorry for the late response, just got around to checking this. I ended up pulling it off the smoker at 2:40 AM with a IT of 201°... Let it rest for about a hour, pulled it and let it cool. Once it was cool I stuck it all in a big zip lock bag and put in the fridge. Here is what I decided to do with it, instead of the traditional pulled pork sandwiches.

    I ended up making pulled pork Taquitos. Which came out unbelievable because the pork was cooked perfect. It was served with a homemade salsa verde that I made and sour cream. Everyone went nuts over them.

  13. mavven

    mavven Fire Starter

    Oh and BTW I did not foil for the first time ever, despite what the photo shows. I just put foil under the grate so no drippings got on my stove. I have to say this butt was more moist than the butts I have foiled in the past.
  14. Hey looks great, we do pork tacos with leftover pulled pork Last summer I smoked two shoulders so my wife and her friend could make tamales 

    Gary S
  15. ibbones

    ibbones Meat Mopper

    Dang....I need to make those.  Why have I never thought of it.  They look amazing.

    P.S.  I (usually) do not foil my butts either.  Makes a batter bark.
  16. mavven

    mavven Fire Starter

    Hey thanks for the compliment bones! They taste amazing when done right and are extremely easy to make. Let me explain what I mean by done right.

    Some people deep fry there Taquitos which I think is a mistake when using "smoked" pulled pork. Reason being... I feel deep frying the meat takes away the smoke flavor of the meat because it will sit there and soak up all the vegetable oil. Here is what I do.

    I use Yellow corn soft corn tortillas. I throw them in the microwave for 20 seconds to get them even more soft, I feel this helps me roll them better. I then put a generous amount of the smoked pork on them and roll them. Stick 2 toothpicks in each one to keep them rolled nice and tight while there soft. I fill a medium size pan with just a thin to medium layer of vegetable oil. Just enough to fry the tortilla without the meat absorbing much of the oil. Fry to your desired liking.Place on a plate with a paper towel to absorb the oil. DONE AND TASTY!

    Here is the link to the Salsa Verde that you see in the picture. It's amazing. You have to tweak the recipe and add 2 cloves of garlic and lime juice. AND DO NOT ADD THE WATER that the recipe calls for, it will be way to watery.

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