What is your longest pork butt rest in a cooler?

Discussion in 'Pork' started by nicefly, Jul 12, 2017.

  1. nicefly

    nicefly Fire Starter

    Hi All,

    Just spit balling here.

    A victim of past success I have been asked to make pulled pork for my Wife's birthday party.  We are having it at a friends house.

    The party starts around noon on a Sunday.  I am wondering if I can smoke it during the night/evening before and rest in a cooler until then.  I know a few hours is ok, after that I do not know.

    I want to avoid reheating it.  Just because.

    So what is the longest you ever rested in a cooler and how did it turn out?


  2. sauced

    sauced Master of the Pit

    I've never let it rest in a cooler, just in a pan on the stove top for 40 minutes or so. Then pull it and jump in!
  3. I had a potluck for work and did about 18 pounds. I did it overnight and it completed at 4 am. I rested it in a cooler with my wireless thermometer in it from 4Am until 10:30 or 11:00. It dropped from 200 to about 150 in that amount of time. It was still too hot to handle it seemed like. Pulled it at work, went fine.
  4. smokinal

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

    I don't use a cooler anymore.

    Just double wrap it & it will stay hot in a 170 degree oven all day long.

  5. I kept two in a cooler for 6+ hours and they were great...I noticed no difference between those and others that only rested a couple hours..I did however pre warm the cooler...boiled a big pot of water, let it cool a bit and poured it in the cooler and closed the lid while I was foil wrapping the butts.
    I drained the cooler wrapped the butts in an old towel and plopped them in the cooler and 6-7 hours later they were still too hot to pull bare handed.
    I'm not all that sure heating the cooler is/was necessary but I know for certain that worked for me...and of course what Al said...after you wrap it throw it in a warm oven.
    Happy smoking.

    Last edited: Jul 13, 2017
  6. myownidaho

    myownidaho Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    I did 30# for the 4th last year and had them wrapped in towels in a cooler for about 15 hours. When I pulled them to reheat, they were still at 145.

    I think the safer route is to smoke them, wrap them well and refrigerate them. Put the still wrapped butts in aluminum roasting pans the morning of the lunch and reheat them in a 300 degree oven until they come to temp. You can start them early and hold them at temp so you have plenty of leeway on time. Figure 2-3 hours for reheating. Unwrap and pull them in the roasting pans with the accumulated juices just before service.
  7. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Just a note on Cooler Safety...The Butt is going in foil at 165-205 and is 100% Sterile. It is Wrapped in Foil, Towels and inside a Clean Sealed Cooler...At what point can that Sterile Meat become contaminated with bacteria? It can safely sit there for many hours, even until the IT hits the ambient temp...AS LONG AS NOBODY OPENS THE COOLER OR TOUCHES THE MEAT! (Emphasis not Yelling at y'all.[​IMG]) Realistically an 8 pound butt will stay Hot, 140+, 5-6 hours in a cooler, longer in a high quality, preheated cooler that is only slightly bigger than the package inside. Double that time for 2 Butts, the more thermal mass, the longer the meat stays hot. Even down to 120, it is too hot for most folks lips...JJ
  8. Thanks chef...good info...
    Especially about a CLEAN cooler and no peeking.
    That's why I like the boiled water idea for pre heating...it also helps steralize the cooler.

  9. smokebuzz

    smokebuzz Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    If you have it wrapped in foil, fill a cooler with butts, and towels,then cover cooler with a old blanket.  I've had them still hot after 8-10 hours. If you shove the cooler into a black garbage bag, set in the sun, it will hold longer, but may continue to cook.

    If i have to hold in a cooler i pull them off early, say 10* sooner.
  10. nicefly

    nicefly Fire Starter

    Thanks for the replies.  Looks like some pretty long rests.

    I like the idea of maintaining it in the oven too.

    After some thought I think I will do them the day before and reheat instead of jerking around and screwing it up.


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