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Smoking pork butt the day before the crowd?

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  • Willard
    Club Member
    • Apr 2018
    • 878
    • Leesburg, Fl.

    Smoking pork butt the day before the crowd?

    I’m planning on cooking a couple of butts for a crowd of 40 Memorial Day weekend. If I cook and pull the day before and reheat the next day, is this a good approach? I don’t like the idea of trying to finish cooking and pulling while there is a crowd. That said I want it to get lots of praise cause I have an ego 😎. I’ve cooked a couple of butts but that’s it. Thanks all!
  • LA Pork Butt
    Charter Member
    • Dec 2014
    • 5187
    • Grew up in New Orleans, lived in Texas for 20 years, lived in Mandeville, LA for 22 years. I now liv

    If you are eating at noon, I would cook it overnight and pull it when you are ready to serve.


    • Mr. Bones
      Mr. Bones commented
      Editing a comment
      ^^^^this^^^^ (y)
  • Willard
    Club Member
    • Apr 2018
    • 878
    • Leesburg, Fl.

    The target is to serve between 2 and 3.


    • rwalters
      Club Member
      • Aug 2017
      • 371
      • MAK 2 Star -- Blackstone Griddles

        I am not a vegetarian, but I eat animals that are

      From my experience, if you cook them the day before and allow them to rest and then pull AND then mix in this finishing sauce, you will have some fantastic reheated pork the next day. All I do is reheat in a 250° oven for about an hour to an hour and a half covered and toss the pork about every 30 minutes during the process to help with even heating.

      Finishing sauce:
      3 cups apple cider vinegar
      1.5 cups brown sugar
      1/4 cup ketchup
      2 tbsp salt
      2 tbsp pepper
      2 tbsp red pepper flakes (optional)

      Makes enough for 2 butts



      • sthomasaz
        Club Member
        • Jan 2019
        • 57

        First thing you have to realize is that most people are not real discerning. I've served up que that I wasn't happy with but the crowd thought was great. Guaranteed that whatever you produce regardless of when it is cooked will be better than most of the crowd would ever get from their local bbq restaurant.

        What I have done many times in the past and has come out just fine is I cook it the weekend before, after resting it I pull it, bag it, and freeze it. Then reheat the next week. Takes the stress off and 95% of the people have no idea that was how it was done.


        • rwalters
          rwalters commented
          Editing a comment
          In my opinion, more often than not pulled pork taste better after sitting for a day or more. As long as you reheat it correctly.
      • Keiferr
        Club Member
        • Jun 2018
        • 963
        • Southeast Michigan

        I've got 2 butts/18 pounds going right now for an early Cinco De Mayo taco lunch tomorrow. I put them on at 8 pm, planning 12 hour cook. When they are done i will either wrap them and put them in a 170 oven, or if it is close to 9:30 I'll wrap and put them in cooler/ faux cambro and transport. I plan on serving at noon, so about 1145 I'll unwrap, pull, and season for tacos. This process has worked for me many times. In the past when I've warmed leftovers I've added Apple juice with good results. The suggestions above are great too. Pick one and go for it. You'll be fine.


        • Mr. Bones
          Mr. Bones commented
          Editing a comment
          Agreed, here.
          I cook em, then into a pan sealed with plastic wrap, then foil, hold in a low oven, pull on site.
      • SmokeyGator
        Club Member
        • Jul 2016
        • 824
        • Miami, FL
        • Primo XL
          Cyberq controller
          Sierra Nevada IPA

        If cook overnight, timing the cook to end around noon. Then cambro and let it rest until it is food time.


        • Willard
          Club Member
          • Apr 2018
          • 878
          • Leesburg, Fl.

          My thought is to cook on Friday beginning about 8 a.m. and hopefully being done by 8 p.m. Then cambro until morning, maybe pull about noon. But it won’t be served until about 2. Is there a flaw in that plan?


          • Santamarina
            Club Member
            • Aug 2018
            • 674
            • Wildomar, CA

            I used to stress about cooking lunch for a crowd...no longer!!! After years of losing sleep during an all-night cook I changed my methods...

            Last year I did pork shoulders (for pulled pork) and cooked all day - started at 8am Friday for a noonish lunch on Saturday. By 10pm Friday the shoulders were beautifully black with a thick bark, and about 200°F (very nearly prove tender). I pulled, wrapped, and put in a warming oven at 170°F overnight. That was the longest and best rest ever!

            I pulled the shoulders just before everyone arrived for lunch on Saturday - moist and delicious - it was truly the best pulled pork I’d ever done. That’s the only way I’ve done it since!

            ***also doing brisket the same way...the overnight hold at 170°F is money!!! Zero need to cool and reheat!!!


            • Richard Chrz
              Richard Chrz commented
              Editing a comment
              Thank you for sharing this. I have yet to deal with serving anyone else besides my wife and I, but, now that I have started this process, I have friends that are itching for bbq invites. I have asked myself a few times why I have not read this approach of using our ovens as a natural warming oven, I am sure that stuff is just stewing in its juices and is so moist.
          • RonB
            Club Member
            • Apr 2016
            • 12337
            • Near Richmond VA
            • Weber Performer Deluxe
              Pizza insert
              Smokenator 1000
              Cookshack Smokette Elite
              2 Thermapens
              lots of probes.

            You have a lot of suggestions that will work, so go with what suits you the best. IF you decide to cook the day before and refrigerate, I suggest either vac sealing or double bagging with zipper bags. Then reheat in hot water starting several hours before serving time. Some will add butter or apple juice, or their own concoction to help with moisture, but that is up to you.


            • Willard
              Club Member
              • Apr 2018
              • 878
              • Leesburg, Fl.

              Thanks to everyone so far. I’m soaking all of these suggestions in.


              • Potkettleblack
                Club Member
                • Jun 2016
                • 1955
                • Beautiful Downtown Berwyn
                • Grill: Grilla Original / Weber Genesis EP-330 / OK Joe Bronco Drum
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                Sharing this concept again.

                Smoke to probe tender. Bag whole in vacuum pack. Shock cold.

                On day of service, give 3-4 hours in 140* sous vide. They should pull in the bag under manual manipulation. This method seems to retain more moisture in the pork.

                I would not pull much before service. Sliced brisket and pulled pork dry very fast. If you're going to sauce, it doesn't really matter, I guess.


                • Richard Chrz
                  Richard Chrz commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I have a friend that has a restaurant and a history of bbq, and has won a few competitions tell me that, they never pull more then butt at a time, unless say a immediate crowdsizie could consume relatively quickly. She leaves them in the cooler wrapped and pulls them one at a time when the one before is almost gone, just for this reason.
              • Willard
                Club Member
                • Apr 2018
                • 878
                • Leesburg, Fl.

                A couple of things that might help with suggestions that did not occur to me: If it matters at all I’ll be cooking on a WSM 18”, no mods; I do not have a vacuum sealer; I do not have sous vide capabilities (yet), at least nothing like a Jules.

                Also, I’ve known that Jack Soo does not use the water pan. Troutman recently posted that he gave up the water pan long ago. I’ll have to replay the the video interview with MH. I have used the water pan each time so far but will go pan-less this time. I’ve never wrapped while smoking either. Should I wrap at some point if not using the pan? Thanks.


                • Troutman
                  Club Member
                  • Aug 2017
                  • 7197
                  • Republic of Texallence

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                  Wrapping is a technique, plain and simple. It's used to speed up the cooking process by inhibiting evaporation and the thermo cooling affect which slows that cooking process. If you hit a stall and don't want to wait for the meat to power through on its own, then wrap. That doesn't mean you have to. Using or not using the water pan shouldn't have anything to do with that decision.

                  And it's Harry Soo not Jack. Or were you referring to his baby brother ???


                  • Willard
                    Willard commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Thanks Troutman I thought Jack was wrong but I was in too big of a hurry to look it up. Thanks for the correction and advice. Sorry Harry! Was it Jack that was on Barney Miller? Not looking that up either. A second ago I couldn’t think of my son-in-law’s name.

                  • Troutman
                    Troutman commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Don't worry brother, I forget my own name, hell at my advanced age I don't know if I'm going or coming. Barney Miller, lol, now YOU are showing your age.

                  • Willard
                    Willard commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Lol. Yes I am. (Aging) Damn proud of it, too. Yeah. Barney is a treat when I find it. Sgt. Dietrich is my man!
                • Huskee
                  Pit Boss
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                  Yes. Just store it in something you can toss back on your grill to reheat, like metal or foil pans or bowls. If you wrap in foil when smoking, save the jus! You might want it to add when you're ready to serve to ensure it's plenty moist. I have done this several times, and most often you can't tell you didn't just cook it.


                  • Willard
                    Willard commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Thanks. I’m starting to feel like a pro!



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