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Pulled Pork Cook time (party)

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    Pulled Pork Cook time (party)

    I've done bork butts quite a lot, but usually only one at a time.. typicaly ~8lbs and it takes me about 8-10 hours.

    I have a party coming up for about 30 people, so obviously I need to do more.

    1) how many should I do?

    2) how should I adjust my cook time?

    My Primo XL has the capacity to hold a whole bunch of them, I've seen pictures with as many as 8 stood on end and tied together to stand up.. but I have no idea how long the cook time will change.

    If I only do 2-3 of them, I would think there is still pretty good airflow and since the thinnest part of the meat is still exposed to heat (despite touching the others on the edges) it shouldn't impact cook time very much.. but I could be very wrong about that, which would be bad.

    Anybody have experience doing this in a Primo XL or similar smoker? Other advice? This is my first time doing smoker food for a large group, normally when I get past 5-6 people I switch over and just make huge piles of burgers.. but want to do something different this go around.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciate.


    Depends on what other items you're planning on serving.
    I have done the Costco package that has two butts, close to 19 lbs for about 35 people. I did have other items on the menu.

    Cook time could be from 10 - 18 hours depending on cooker temp.
    If you have a vacuum sealer, smoker the but a day or two in advance, pull and vacuum seal. Taste even better than straight off the smoker.

    Another option would be to cut the butts and smoke a bunch of smaller butts.


      Others have said, finish a couple of hours early, put in a cooler wrapped and then you know the are done when you need them. The last thing you want to happen is they are not done and everyone is looking at you and they are hungry! Or as said above, cook them a couple of days ahead of time and vac seal the meat.


        I've got to disagree with cooking a day or two ahead. I'd cook about 20lbs of meat for 30 people (allowing for shrinkage) and allow at least 12 hours for cook time, maybe as much as 14. You can always put the butts in a faux cambro (or the oven) til it is time to pull, which will help the tenderizing process anyway. Three smaller cuts will probably cook faster than two bigger ones, but I don't have any experience your kind of rig. That said, I like to cook bigger cuts whenever possible, I think they turn out better. (I also use a COS for a stick burner, so what do I know?)

        It also makes a difference if you crutch or not. My son likes to crutch at about 150 - 155, whereas I like to put butts in a foil covered aluminum pan at about 170 and catch the drippings for a sauce.
        Last edited by boftx; May 30, 2015, 05:04 AM.


          I agreed with boftx 150% I will never cook PBs two days before.


            I would do 2-3x your normal, like you mention, but it depends on who they are. 15-20 lbs of meat should be more than enough for 30 people, unless it's 30 teenage football players, and pork is the only thing of substance there. For big eaters, go 1lb/person. For normal eaters or a mix, go 1/2 lb/person, for light eaters (including lotsa kids) or as an additional course with plenty of other sides go about 1/4 lb/person. When in doubt, go a little more. Leftovers are great, and you can share leftovers with guests too.

            If you can stack the butts with 2-3" between each, your cook time should be similar if not only slightly extended like Ernest says.

            What I personally would do, if I was in your shoes, is cut the ~8lbers in half. Do 4 or 6 ~3-4lb hunks. You'll get more flavor and more bark and the interior meat will still be as delicious as ever. Plus it will only shorten your cooktime if anything.

            Yesterday I did 18 ~2-3lbers on my stickburner. After 7 hrs I wrapped them individually (just after the stall, avg butt temp 180). After about 1-1.5hrs they were in the 205 range and I let the smoker temp wane, essentially turning it into a large cambro. I held them another two hrs. Pulled them off around the 9-10 hrs mark, butts had drifted back to the 180-190 range by this time. I could shred them with a spoon, they just fell apart but had a chewy bark. Juicy. Perfect. Here's my post on it if you're interested.

            Moral- if you have good airflow between each piece, and are able to keep your temps where they need to be, you are more than set for a good experience. Smaller pieces will only help!


              Thanks for the input everybody

              It's the only main dish for the party, but there will be plenty of snacks/etc. as well. Mostly adults, few kids.. I'm thinking 16-17lbs should be fine, I'll see what cuts I end up with and get somewhere around that. I love leftover pulled pork, so no worries if I go over. I usually make little sliders out of the pulled pork.. hawaiian sweet rolls with a sauce that has a bit of vinegar to it (like head country if you're doing off the shelf) make a very nice balance for the pork.

              Splitting to smaller chunks might be a good call.. more bark = more love That said, I've usually had better luck with larger cuts.

              I will definitely be cooking day of (or night before given the time required).. leftovers are great, but they aren't what I would serve given any other option.

              After reading through the thread I'm feeling pretty good about it. I think I can space them fine, and I know the primo will hold whatever temp I want effectively forever without much work.. I've gone as long as 14 hours with only a couple degree variance the entire time.

              I'll be sure to post pictures when I'm done


                Ok, so I put them on expecting 10-12 hours, they're done in 5. No idea what happened, temp was consistent at 225.

                Now I have to hold them 6 hours.

                I have an oven with a hold warm setting at 170.. Will this work or is it too high? Should I do a cambro instead?



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