Trial by fire

Discussion in 'Roll Call' started by porking, Jun 26, 2011.

  1. porking

    porking Newbie

    New member looking for advice.  I am planning to smoke 5 butts for pulled pork sandwiches for a large party and I have never done it before.  I have been reading much on this site for basics and find it all very helpful.  But I have a problem in that I will be preparing the meat at home, and then transporting it 200 miles to the party site.  Should I leave them whole until I get there, then reheat and pull them apart? Or should I pull them apart beforehand?  If so, is it ok to freeze the shredded meat and then reheat? I'm probably crazy for trying this, but I'm hoping I can pull it off (no pun intended! [​IMG]).  Any advice is appreciated.

  2. ellymae

    ellymae Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    1) Welcome to the party - head on over to Roll Call and introduce yourself.

    2) What you cooking on?

    3) When you cooking it?

    4) What kind of facilities are you going to have at the party site and what's your time frame while there?

    If it were me, I would cook it ahead of time, pull it while it is still warm then vacuum seal it and toss it in the freezer. You have a lot of ways to reheat it - many folks will boil it in the sealed vacuum bag, others reheat it in a slow oven, some folks put it in a crock pot or in chafing disheswith a little liquid of their choice. Nothing wrong with reheating Q.

    If you choose to cook it and leave it whole before reheating, then you have to get it back up to pulling temp and tenderness - somewhere north of 190 - that can take some time in a slow oven - and you run the risk of things drying out.

    That's my $0.02, I am confident someone more knowlegable then me will wander in and give you their thoughts. Good luck and have fun!
  3. fpnmf

    fpnmf Smoking Guru OTBS Member

  4. porking

    porking Newbie

    Well, I have a new Bradley digital smoker coming with hickory bisquits.  I'll be cooking it this Wednesday and Thursday and our party is Saturday evening (not sure if I can get all 5 in at one time).  We have a great commercial range at the site and a 18qt Nesco to serve it in buffet style. I'm envisioning a good experience - power of positive thinking!
  5. michael ark

    michael ark Master of the Pit

    Let me get this right 5 boston butts.200 miles travle time and you never smoked on this smoker before or smoked pork butts. Thats a little pressure. I would practice on one too get to know the smoker.Freeze it and add it to the 4 you do later.Good luck[​IMG]
  6. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    I'm with Elly, pull it, vac seal it, freeze it. Then reheat with finishing sauce on Saturday.
  7. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Considering this is a maiden voyage I have to concur with the above posts.
    • Smoke it
    • Shred it
    • Partially freeze in vac bags, to keep juices from sucking out WHEN VAC SEALING
    • Vacuum seal, place in freezer, Label and Date
    1. Place in cooler with ice for trip
    2. Pack a large pot, chaffing dishes and finishing sauce
    3. Arrive 2 hours early
    4. Boil large pot of water and drop in vac sealed PP bags, Turn off burner
    5. Prepare Chaffing dish with hot water, light Sterno
    6. 45 minutes to an hour later place pork in chaffing dish add a bit of finishing sauce.
    7. Sit back and enjoy.
  8. porking

    porking Newbie

    For those of you kind enough to offer some suggestions, I thought you might like to know how it turned out.  I smoked 5 pork butts in two flights to a temperature of between 145deg and 155deg in my new Bradley digital smoker, then wrapped in heavy duty foil to finish in the oven at 205deg +/-.  the whole project took 2 1/2 days!  I pulled them apart after letting them sit for an hour or so and it was a snap.  I then placed the meat in ziploc bags, froze them, and transported them in a cooler.  At the destination, they thawed for a day or so in the fridge before reheating them in boiling water, then to a Nesco for buffet service. (I couldn't believe how much natural juice remained in the meat.)  I had two kinds of commercial BBQ sauce on the side, but most just ate it naked.  EVERYONE was amazed at how good it was and superlatives flowed freely and endlessly.  Needless to say, it was the hit of the party.  The only thing I was disappointed in was that finishing in the oven in foil seemed to prevent the development of the "bark" on the outside.  It seems like the moisture from the meat kind of steams the outside so the bark doesn't develop.  Would finishing unwrapped fix this? (I like the crispy part.)  Would that dry it out? Here's a pic to prove I really did it.


  9. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Looks like bark to me, but with no rub.

    No foil = more bark

    Remove the fat cap and false cap = more surface area bark

    sugar = darker crunchier bark

    sugar can be rub and/or mop
  10. porking

    porking Newbie

    Actually, I forgot the part about the rub.  I used Jeff's Naked Rub recipe.  The color was great on the finished product, but there really was no crispiness to it.  Tasted great anyway.
  11. meateater

    meateater Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    Looks great, sound like it was a hit. [​IMG]
  12. oldschoolbbq

    oldschoolbbq Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Porking,Butts are sooo easy.I like to put 4-5 at a time to stock-up and for friends.[​IMG]  I Smoke with wood only and once my lid is closed,it stays closed until my estimated time is at hand,then I open and go from there:[​IMG]


    I would love to start a business but the regulations are too expensive for me[​IMG],but would enjoy being part of a Team.

    have fun smoking and...
  13. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I think butts are about as forgiving as anything I can think of to smoke.  With a new smoker, travel time and all the logistics problems, a maiden voyage would have been in my plans.  I hope everything turned out well.

    Good luck and good smoking.
  14. yea... right :)  If he's anything like me, that "practice" butt is getting ate!  He better plan on buying 6 if he tries that!  [​IMG]
  15. oldschoolbbq

    oldschoolbbq Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Porking,I may have a bigger pit than you,but this is how I go about it;rub the night before,start and heat pit to 225* to 250*f place them in and close the lid.

    Going by average weight of the bunch(5) mult. by 1.5 hrs. and leave the lid CLOSED until that time is up,here's how mine look just before the bones come out...


    and my pit...


    Havbe fun and...

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