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Holding a butt in the oven…. How long?

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    Holding a butt in the oven…. How long?

    Ok. So we are having a holiday potluck tomorrow at the office and it was requested that I smoke a butt for pulled pork. I’ve never done one mid-week for service at a pot luck the next day. Usually I get up early, smoke all day, then put in a faux cambro for a few hours prior to pulling and serving.

    I came home early and smoked the butt on the kettle for about 7 hours. I have now pulled it off the kettle, wrapped it, and am finishing in the oven given the outside temp. I’ve got one probe showing 203 and the other is showing 186.

    I’m seeking Pit Master Wisdom on how to handle it from here….. my initial thought is to turn the oven down low, (170-180ish?) and let is sit there until morning where I will transfer it to a cooler and take it to work where I will pull it before service. Any other recommendations or do you think it will be ok this way? All advice welcome!
    Last edited by RickyBobby; December 7, 2021, 09:19 PM. Reason: Clarification

    Good question. I'll be watching for an answer.


      When you say pulled it, did you shred it already?


      • RickyBobby
        RickyBobby commented
        Editing a comment
        Ah! I should proof read my posts better! No, I have not shredded it yet, it’s still intact. I meant to write that I pulled it off the kettle.

      • smokenoob
        smokenoob commented
        Editing a comment
        I have put one in the oven (unshredded) at 170°-180° for 6 hours, haven’t gone longer. Placed it in a deep ss tub and double topped with heavy aluminum foil to keep moisture in.

      Wrap tight, no problem. 170 degrees. Make sure any purge gets mixed back in when pulling. Franklin holds some proteins 12 hours or more in his warmers.


      • zzdocxx
        zzdocxx commented
        Editing a comment
        Hey if you don't mind, what do you mean by "purge". Is it rendered fat and juices? If so, where are those collected?
        Or is it the stuff that dribbles out when you put it on your cutting board and start pulling it apart?
        Or ?

      I maybe guilty of bringing this up too often. I’d give it an hour in the oven then I’d pull it, add all the liquid trapped in the foil back, and refrigerate it. Tomorrow morning put it in a crockpot on low, add a little butter, and head for work. Unless there’s no place to plug it in at work it will stay moist and be at a good temp to serve when ever you’re ready for it.


      • smokin fool
        smokin fool commented
        Editing a comment
        +1 on this method, in my case along with the juices I add a bottle of BBQ sauce and a can of root beer or Dr Pepper, Coke in a pinch.
        I've never added the butter but can't see why that wouldn't work either.

      If you leave your house at 0800, you should arrive at my house shortly after I get up. I'll be able to give a better opinion after I have tasted it.

      Seriously, tightly wrapped and held at 170 should be fine.


        The other option would be to pull it, mix it well in all the juices and then vacuum pack it in appropriate sized* batches. You can then take them with you, boil the bags in a big pot and then open and pour the pulled pork into a tray. It is definitely not the most beautiful way to present and serve, but it works great. Using this method I've cooked days in advance (and it's a great way to save the extras when you "accidentally" pick up and smoke two pork butts at the same time!).

        *When I say appropriate sized I mean bags that are big as you can, but still fitting in the pot you can get access to.


          I'm a little late to the show with this now but I wouldn't have any issues holding a finished pork butt in the oven at those temps. I would however, as noted above, make sure to catch every last drop of the purge so it can be added back into the mix when pulling. Holding it at 170F for several hours can cause it to dry out just a bit so having those juices handy to add back is critical. Might even have a little apple juice handy as well!!


          • HawkerXP
            HawkerXP commented
            Editing a comment

          Obviously you already did SOMETHING with this butt. I would have seen no issue holding overnight at 170F. My approach though would have been to pull at home into a crockpot, take the crockpot to work, and set it somewhere on the WARM setting to hold the meat for serving. That is how I hold and serve pulled pork for gatherings and potlucks.


            I would make this and bring it with: https://noblepig.com/2010/01/east-ca...r-pulled-pork/

            Just in case it dries out, you'd have an authentic, home-made sauce to serve it with. It's quite easy to make.


              You have been given plenty advice and all I will add is that this is a great use for a sous vide setup. Shred, bag, and refrigerate a day or more before the event, then plop it in the hot tub a couple of hours before serving. I do this often with very good results.


              • Razor
                Razor commented
                Editing a comment
                Literally thawing some pulled pork now via sous vide as I write this. 😄

              • Tomaron
                Tomaron commented
                Editing a comment
                As above this also works with a pot of boiling water, although if you have a tub for sous vide you'll be able to do a lot more at the same time! The other disadvantage if you just boil is that you won't know the exact temperature.

              I’ve held both brisket and pork butt in a 170°F oven for 12 hours. Wrap TIGHT and save the juice. This has been my method for a few years when I need to serve lunch but also wanna get some sleep.


                Thanks to all for the advice! I ended up wrapping in butcher paper and putting it in a disposable foil pan in the oven at 170 for the night. I don’t know if it helped or not, but I added a loaf pan with water in it because it couldn’t hurt, right? It sat in the oven for about 8 hours until I woke up this morning. I took it out and left it as it was but put the plastic cover on the pan and then put the whole thing in a cooker bag to bring to work. About 30 mikes before chow was served, I opened her up and started pulling it by had. The meat was absolutely tender, flavorful, and retained a whole lot more moisture than I thought it might. I had my own critiques of the final product, but the 10 pound butt is completely gone and I’m not certain, but someone may have licked the pan clean of juices. I guess it was a success. The pictures, in no particular order because I have no idea how my phone will decide to arrange them on the post, are of the butt after I applied the Memphis Dust, the butt on the kettle, the butt when I pulled it off to wrap it, and the butt after I removed the bone clean and began to pull it for service. It basically fell apart. Click image for larger version

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                • Santamarina
                  Santamarina commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Looks delicious. Meteorite is how I like my butt bark too!

                Awesome job! Leftovers are always great after all that work, but no leftovers is a wonderful compliment.


                • Tomaron
                  Tomaron commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Definitely the double-edged sword of cooking. lol

                Very nice!! Now, if you need to learn how to hold a butt AT the oven then feel free to ask. With me that usually involves BBQ tongs, but that might be a story for a different time...


                • RickyBobby
                  RickyBobby commented
                  Editing a comment
                  That was probably one of my favorite parts of the day today. I kept referring to “the butt” and all of the work I did to it and had yet to do. Most of my co-workers weren’t savvy enough to understand what I was talking about until I explained it. I do it for the dirty looks. Lol.

                • CaptainMike
                  CaptainMike commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Soldiers, cops, firemen, we all have that touch of gutter humor, love it!

                • RickyBobby
                  RickyBobby commented
                  Editing a comment
                  That is an absolute fact brother CaptainMike !


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