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Never done a hold on a pork butt.. need some advice

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  • Backroadmeats
    Club Member
    • Dec 2018
    • 485
    • Central mn

    Never done a hold on a pork butt.. need some advice

    Ok here is my deal.. at about two thirty on Sunday afternoon I have to serve about 45-50 people pulled pork for a first communion.. I plan on doing about 40 pounds of pork butts .. I plan to dry brine them this afternoo. i was thinking I would put them in late Saturday night so they are done Sunday morning. How long can I/ should i let them sit in a holding cabinet.. and at what temp.. if anyone remembers the smoker I built this winter was out of an old holding cabinet . I have the full size buffet pans and the ability to hold at any temp for any amount of time just not sure how to go about this.. I do not plan to wrap.. I also have a Maverick thermometer with an alarm that will beep if anything goes wrong temp wise or when my butts reach internal temp..
  • LA Pork Butt
    Charter Member
    • Dec 2014
    • 5177
    • Grew up in New Orleans, lived in Texas for 20 years, lived in Mandeville, LA for 22 years. I now liv

    Her is my index for overnight cooks at 225.

    1 hour to heat and stabilize the cooker
    12 - 14 cooking without wrapping
    2-4 hours in the faux cambro

    Since you are cooking 40 pounds you Amy need to alow more coke time. I once cooked 40# on my Big Green Egg and they took 22 hours.
    Also, I suspect that 40# in a faux cambro will allow you to hold the safely longer than 4 hours.


    • Steve R.
      Club Member
      • Jul 2016
      • 2215
      • Elizabethtown, KY
      • Current line-up of cookers: Weber 26" kettle w/ SnS and BBQ Guru adapter; Weber Ranch Kettle w/ Guru adapter.

      I would wrap them, or at least cover the pans tightly with foil. I do this in my kitchen oven and set it at 150, and they will keep like that for several hours.


      • MBMorgan
        Club Member
        • Sep 2015
        • 6101
        • Colorado
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        Hold above 140F for safety. Hold below the final IT of the butts to keep from cooking them further. Frankly, I'd just pick a good serving temp, seal the pans tightly with foil to prevent drying out, and hold until time to serve.


      • klflowers
        Club Member
        • Sep 2015
        • 3037
        • Tennessee

        I have finished pork butts at 7AM, wrapped and cambro'd in a coleman cooler until noon. When I went to pull it, it was still too hot to handle with bare hands (of course, I may be kind of a wimp about handling hot stuff). A better question is what is the name of the church, and can I join before Sunday (I am dodging lightning bolts as I type).


        • Backroadmeats
          Backroadmeats commented
          Editing a comment
          We have discussed this on sausage weekend!! Unfortunately you are a long drive for a good lunch 😁😁

        • klflowers
          klflowers commented
          Editing a comment
          We did, didn't we. Dang it, I am going to have to figure this thing out.
      • jfmorris
        Club Member
        • Nov 2017
        • 2806
        • Huntsville, Alabama
        • Jim Morris

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        I've pulled both butts and brisket off the smoker before church at 7AM on a Sunday morning, and dropped into either a 170F oven or a faux cambro, covered with towels, and had the meat still up above 160F at 1PM for serving. It was amazing how the meat would only lose about 10F per hour, maybe even less, in my Igloo Icecube 60 quart cooler. If you can time it to hit the faux cambro around 9AM, you ought to still be good around 2PM. I've held for 5 hours plenty of times.

        If you can't do that, I would just go ahead and pull the pork in advance, and hold in a couple of crockpots on warm until serving time, or in a low oven in tightly closed pans - I use the half sized foil steam table pans with the crimp on foil lids. Those hold about 1 butt per pan.


        • Steve R.
          Steve R. commented
          Editing a comment
          I strongly prefer the first option, FWIW. I once did a side by side comparison using both methods, holding both of them in the 150 degree oven for about 4 hours, and the pre-pulled one ended up kind of mushy and had an unappealing grey color. The smoke ring was almost completely gone when I opened it back up.

        • Mr. Bones
          Mr. Bones commented
          Editing a comment
          Steve R. I strongly agree, Brother!

          Even when servin In Quantity, My Goal #1 is to always(!!!!!) serve Quality!!!!

        • Backroadmeats
          Backroadmeats commented
          Editing a comment
          Thanks for the advice!! Greatly appreciated..
      • JPGators17
        Charter Member
        • Jan 2015
        • 450
        • Orlando, FL

        I just did this on a mini scale last Sunday. One butt, cooked overnight and put into the cooler wrapped in just one towel around 9am, took it to church, left it in the car, and then broke out the bear claws and pulled for the pot luck around 12:30pm. I didn't temp it when I pulled it, but it felt just as hot as when I took it off the pit, and pulled just as easily.


        • Backroadmeats
          Club Member
          • Dec 2018
          • 485
          • Central mn

          I have a holding cabinet. I will post pictures so everybody understands what I am talking about.. Steve R. sounds like I should just throw them in the hold and wrap tight and pull right before serving..


          • Steve R.
            Steve R. commented
            Editing a comment
            For the best quality, absolutely. Others who insist on crunchy bark may disagree with that.

          • Mr. Bones
            Mr. Bones commented
            Editing a comment
            I definitely second this approach, based upon my experience... Steve R.
            I've never been unhappy with th results, an I'm all about some bark.
            Yalls mileage may vary; please: try other methods, report back with yer results.
        • Backroadmeats
          Club Member
          • Dec 2018
          • 485
          • Central mn

          Here is a picture of my holding cabinet/ smoker with a full buffet pan in it and my make shift rack for smoking my pork butts. I can run any temp I want from 600 to air temp.. Click image for larger version

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          • jfmorris
            jfmorris commented
            Editing a comment
            You are golden then, and can hold a lot of butts, wrapped tightly in foil! I would just set the holding temp to something like 160F, and put the butts in as they are done, and hold until right before pulling and serving. I've held in a 170F oven for 5+ hours before, and no harm.

          • Mr. Bones
            Mr. Bones commented
            Editing a comment
            Please, Do Note:
            Ya'll git a better seal/end product, if ya plastic wrap yer pan(s), a layer or better yet two, then foil.
            Shiny foil side goes t'wards food, if yer interested.
        • Santamarina
          Club Member
          • Aug 2018
          • 674
          • Wildomar, CA

          For the last year I’ve been cooking during the day and holding/resting/SLEEPING overnight. Cook starts early in the day. By evening (pork shoulders usually take me 14+ hours) everything is ready to wrap (I don’t typically wrap during the cook).

          Then hold everything in a 170°F oven (the lowest my kitchen oven will go...I’d do 150° if I could) overnight until I’m ready to pull and serve. By lunch time everything is tender, moist, and delicious. Pull just before serving.

          Haven't had any issues with holding warm overnight. Never going to cook, cool, and reheat again. Just keep it warm (over 140°F) until ready to serve!


          • Backroadmeats
            Club Member
            • Dec 2018
            • 485
            • Central mn

            Thanks for all the replies this place never ceases to amaze me!! Mr. Bones it is 4:30 in the morning and I am looking for the shiny side of the tin foil .. I have never in 41 years of looking at tin foil noticed a shiny side till now!! Ok so why shiny side towards meat?? Click image for larger version  Name:	IMG_20190503_044114506.jpg Views:	1 Size:	2.79 MB ID:	673470


            • Mr. Bones
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