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Big Cook Anxiety! Help!

YEMTreyYEMTrey Posts: 2,572
edited May 2013 in EggHead Forum
My wife volunteered my Egg cooking prowess for a double graduation party this weekend.  Our son graduates this Thursday, and we are having a combined graduation party with his cousin on Sunday.

My wife when planning the party, suggested to others that I could make pulled pork for part of the meal. I've nailed most of everything I've done on the Egg, but haven't cooked in large quantities like this before.

The things that I'm concerned about are:

Multiple shoulder cooking.  I have an XL and just got the Woo/AR combo so I will have the room. But I have never cooked 5 or 6 pork shoulders at once.  Do I need to rotate them during the cook?  Put the temp probe in the smaller of the shoulders?

Timing. The party is at a park where we have reserved a shelter.  The food needs to be served by 3.  Which means again I'll be doing another first with this cook, starting it late and letting it go overnight.

Timing (again), I plan on shredding the pork and having it served in tin trays.  There will be no way to heat it at the park that I can think of.  Am I to bring all 6 shoulders to the park and shred there right before serving?

Thanks for any tips and suggestions.  I'm working myself up a little anxiety due to the unknowns and having people depend on this cook going well.  I'm sure I'll have a few beers, relax and nail the cook.  Can't wait to put the new rig to use!  Cheers all!
XL and a Mini Max Egg in Cincinnati, Ohio
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Comments

  • this is a snap- especialy with pulled pork. How many people are you planning on feeding?

  • Little StevenLittle Steven Posts: 27,408
    I can't help you on the adjustable rig cause my XL is the old style. I've done 6 butts on a large with the AR and there is no real issue with rotating them. Put the temp probe in the smallest but check them all with a thermapen when the first one is close. Smaller doesn't always mean it will cook faster. I would guess with all that meat you would get 6 - 7 hours in cooler time before your temp got down to 140 so you have loads of time. I would keep them whole and pull as needed

    Steve 

    Caledon, ON

     

  • henapplehenapple Posts: 14,687
    If you go overnight don't shy away from running at 250-270.
    Green egg, dead animal and alcohol. The "Boro".. TN 
  • Charlie tunaCharlie tuna Posts: 2,191
    On a ExLarge you can cook enough pork on one grid to feed 200 people.  Don't worry, cook it ahead of time, turbo cook it!  That way YOU can enjoy your son's graduation too!
  • YEMTreyYEMTrey Posts: 2,572
    There's going to be around 65-70 people at the party.  There is going to be other food offerings, meat tray, vegetarian food, etc.  However, I want to plan for the fact that once everybody tastes the pulled pork, it'll be the main dish and everybody will want it. So I'm trying to plan as if it is the only food there and can accommodate as many people as I can.
    XL and a Mini Max Egg in Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Charlie tunaCharlie tuna Posts: 2,191
    Thirty pounds of pork is all you will need ------  but left overs are always nice to have!!
  • OK- so you really only need 3-4 butts max. shoot for 20 lbs cooked. go 4 big ones and you'll have plenty of leftovers.

    If it were me, I would go to Sam's/Costco and buy a disposable chaffing dish (or buy a real one to have for the inevitable next time you are asked to do this). They are cheap and you'll use it way more than you think.

    Pull one butt at a time and serve from the chafing dish. Leave the others in a cooler to keep warm. As it gets low, pull another butt to replenish. As the line starts to slow down, just cover the dish and it will stay warm as stragglers come back for 2nds and 3rds. You can add a little sauce or a little liquid to the pulled if it starts to dry in the chafing dish. Last time I did this I had one full butt left over and it was still 150 degrees in the cooler 12 hours later when I got home from the party. 

    This is an easy one. No need for anxiety. You'll pull this off without a hitch. Hell, on an XL you could do this on one level like Charlie said........but I'd bust out the rig just for fun.



  • Just my thoughts:

    30 pounds of meat is right.  I would look for 4 8 to 9 pounds butts, a little extra never hurts and you can freeze leftovers or give goody zip lock bags to those whose love your pork at the party.

    Use butts rather than shoulders--the butt shape will allow you to fit comfortably on an adjustable rig.

    Plan on 1 1/2 to two hours per pound cooking time based on weight of one butt (I seem to find it takes closer to 2 hours per pound at about 225 dome temp). Cook to internal of 195 to 200 degrees. Plus, plan on once cooked, wrap them in heavy duty foil and towels, and then put in a cooler for 2 to 3 hours (so add this 2 to 3 hours in to figuring your staring time).  This will also allow you to transport them hot and pull on site as you are serving--I assume you have some bear claws for quick pulling, if not, order from Amazon today.

    I also would inject the butts--here is a link to a cook where I did 40# of butts for graduation party--and recipe is in there for injection--it will give you moisture and flavor.  I don't do butts for pulled pork without injecting.  After injecting, cover with yellow mustard, and then add your rub last. (if you put rub on before injecting, it washes off when injection fluid runs out of the injecting holes as you inject--don't ask me how I know this)

    Good luck, sure it will be great!!

    http://www.greeneggers.com/index.php?option=com_simpleboard&func=view&id=1240522&catid=1#

  • r270bar270ba Posts: 763
    edited May 2013
    OK- so you really only need 3-4 butts max. shoot for 20 lbs cooked. go 4 big ones and you'll have plenty of leftovers.

    If it were me, I would go to Sam's/Costco and buy a disposable chaffing dish (or buy a real one to have for the inevitable next time you are asked to do this). They are cheap and you'll use it way more than you think.

    Pull one butt at a time and serve from the chafing dish. Leave the others in a cooler to keep warm. As it gets low, pull another butt to replenish. As the line starts to slow down, just cover the dish and it will stay warm as stragglers come back for 2nds and 3rds. You can add a little sauce or a little liquid to the pulled if it starts to dry in the chafing dish. Last time I did this I had one full butt left over and it was still 150 degrees in the cooler 12 hours later when I got home from the party. 

    This is an easy one. No need for anxiety. You'll pull this off without a hitch. Hell, on an XL you could do this on one level like Charlie said........but I'd bust out the rig just for fun.


    While I hate to disagree with someone as popular as The Cen-Tex Smoker I would like to.  The problem with the chaffing dish and pulling one butt at a time is that you will be serving the entire time and missing out on what is most certainly a very important and proud day for you as a father.  While the chaffing dish looks cool from a presentation perspective, I would buy a bulk pack of tin pans from Costco (the deep ones) and a pair of bear claws (I actually use a different version of bear claws http://www.amazon.com/Charcoal-Companion-CC1130-5-Inch-Stainless/dp/B0067YBFQQ/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1369837270&sr=8-5&keywords=bear+claw).

    I would FTC the butts until you get to the shelter and then set out your pans a few mins before time to serve.  I think you can fit about 3/4 of a butt per tin pan, so set the butt in the tin and start shredding.  When the tin is full move what you have left over to the next tin and start shredding.  Continue until all the butts are pulled.  The $15 investment into the bear claws will be well worth it to be able to then sit back, relax, and spend some of the last days you and your wife have left with you son before he goes off to bigger and better things.

    Just my $.02.  I did a 30th birthday for my wife last year and we had around 40.  The method worked perfectly for me.  I did pull the pork ahead of time but I had a means to heat it where we had the party.

    Ron
    Anderson, SC
    XL BGE, Father's Day Gift 2012 (Thanks Fam!!!)
    Webber Kettle and Webber Summit Gasser
    Want List: Thermapen, Small BGE, Wok, Adjustable Rig, Food Saver, More $

  • PS--the NC elder ward sauce in the linked cook post is also simple and adds a nice flavor to the pulled pork.
  • jlsmjlsm Posts: 860
    +1 with Ron. You want to enjoy the party.
    *******
    Owner of a large and a beloved mini in Philadelphia
  • MrossMross Posts: 337
    Cook the day before. Shred and put in tin pans. Reheat on a 2 burner coleman stove as needed the next day. Are you sure the shelter does not have a free standing bbq grill? By having all your work done prior you can enjoy the day like everyone else as reheating takes little effort.
    Duncan, SC
  • That's a great point Ron. I was thinking of it as a straight catering gig, not his son's party. Let them eat luke warm sammies if they must. Enjoy the party and the day. Much more important than the food. Or have a platoon of folks who can help you out for the hour serving period. Take 15-20 minutes shifts to allow you to be present at the party. You've done the heavy lifting of doing the cook- don't be afraid to ask for help at the party so you can be there for your son.

    If you pull them all and do self serve, go get the cheap chafing dishes and lay them all out filled with pulled pork covered and heated. When one is empty, they can move to the next.


    Excellent call.



  • r270bar270ba Posts: 763
    That's a great point Ron. I was thinking of it as a straight catering gig, not his son's party. Let them eat luke warm sammies if they must. Enjoy the party and the day. Much more important than the food. Or have a platoon of folks who can help you out for the hour serving period. Take 15-20 minutes shifts to allow you to be present at the party. You've done the heavy lifting of doing the cook- don't be afraid to ask for help at the party so you can be there for your son.

    If you pull them all and do self serve, go get the cheap chafing dishes and lay them all out filled with pulled pork covered and heated. When one is empty, they can move to the next.


    Excellent call.


    So then I am not banned from the site  #:-S
    Anderson, SC
    XL BGE, Father's Day Gift 2012 (Thanks Fam!!!)
    Webber Kettle and Webber Summit Gasser
    Want List: Thermapen, Small BGE, Wok, Adjustable Rig, Food Saver, More $

  • r270ba said:
    That's a great point Ron. I was thinking of it as a straight catering gig, not his son's party. Let them eat luke warm sammies if they must. Enjoy the party and the day. Much more important than the food. Or have a platoon of folks who can help you out for the hour serving period. Take 15-20 minutes shifts to allow you to be present at the party. You've done the heavy lifting of doing the cook- don't be afraid to ask for help at the party so you can be there for your son.

    If you pull them all and do self serve, go get the cheap chafing dishes and lay them all out filled with pulled pork covered and heated. When one is empty, they can move to the next.


    Excellent call.


    So then I am not banned from the site  #:-S
    day ain't over yet...watch it :))



  • YEMTreyYEMTrey Posts: 2,572
    As always.  Excellent info provided!  Much appreciated.

    Looks like I won't be needing as much meat as I anticipated.  I do have the tins and bear claws.  There will be people there that will be more than happy to help pull/shred and set out.  I'll make sure I err on the side of having too much meat. There are a couple of family members there who are big BBQ fans and are looking forward to some Egg'd meat. Should be a good time.

    Thanks again everyone!  This helps clear things up immensely and gives me a solid plan of attack.  Should make for a good saturday night of relaxing, getting the Egg going and enjoying some beers!
    XL and a Mini Max Egg in Cincinnati, Ohio
  • r270bar270ba Posts: 763
    Have fun and enjoy the day!  
    Anderson, SC
    XL BGE, Father's Day Gift 2012 (Thanks Fam!!!)
    Webber Kettle and Webber Summit Gasser
    Want List: Thermapen, Small BGE, Wok, Adjustable Rig, Food Saver, More $

  • r270bar270ba Posts: 763
    r270ba said:
    That's a great point Ron. I was thinking of it as a straight catering gig, not his son's party. Let them eat luke warm sammies if they must. Enjoy the party and the day. Much more important than the food. Or have a platoon of folks who can help you out for the hour serving period. Take 15-20 minutes shifts to allow you to be present at the party. You've done the heavy lifting of doing the cook- don't be afraid to ask for help at the party so you can be there for your son.

    If you pull them all and do self serve, go get the cheap chafing dishes and lay them all out filled with pulled pork covered and heated. When one is empty, they can move to the next.


    Excellent call.


    So then I am not banned from the site  #:-S
    day ain't over yet...watch it :))


    Yes sir  ^:)^
    Anderson, SC
    XL BGE, Father's Day Gift 2012 (Thanks Fam!!!)
    Webber Kettle and Webber Summit Gasser
    Want List: Thermapen, Small BGE, Wok, Adjustable Rig, Food Saver, More $

  • TexanOfTheNorthTexanOfTheNorth Posts: 3,910
    I'd agree with @r270ba about enjoying the party but will just add that seeing your kids "off to bigger and better things" isn't so bad and, certainly, better than the alternative.

    Congrats and hope all goes well!
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Well, "spa-Peggy" is kind of like spaghetti. I'm not sure what Peggy does different, if anything. But it's the one dish she's kind of made her own.
    ____________________
    Aurora, Ontario, Canada
  • SmokeyPittSmokeyPitt Posts: 7,087
    I like the idea of the steam table/chaffing dishes.  I have seen these at BJ's and Costco and they are not expensive.  They have a complete set at Party City:


    I would cook the butts and put them in a cooler and FTC them and transport them to the the park.  I would pull enough to fill the pans to start, and then pull more as needed.  



    Which came first the chicken or the egg?  I egged the chicken and then I ate his leg. 

  • I did this last weekend, six butts (three Costco 2-packs.) Used AR, 3 on top, 3 on bottom. Started at 5:30 am, cooked at around 275 dome. I had some trouble with them cooking at different speeds, then when I was ready to turbo my lump was burned up so I had to take them off to add lump. I was in the weeds fot a while but they all eventually got up to temp. The saving grace was taking each one off as they got up to temp. and FTCing them til ready to pull. Then when I got ready to serve, I started pulling with the ones that had rested the longest. Ended up pulling four butts to feed 35 people. Found I could pull faster with forks than bear claws. Also, I sauced them all lightly with a homemade vinegar-based sauce before putting them out then put different store bought sauces on the table. It went by so fast that I didn't get pics but definitely got good reviews. The key to me was having plenty of time built in to allow for uneven cook times, etc. The FTC saved me. Good luck!
    "If you have the means, I highly recommend it." - Ferris Bueller
  • calikingcaliking Posts: 7,162
    Take a deep breath and soak in all the great tips provided already. Pork butts are forgiving in terms of cooking, so make sure you plan the logistics so you get to enjoy the big day too!

    About the FTC - multiple butts will keep the whole operation warm for several hours. You can heat up the cooler with hot water before hand to buy more time. Plus, after the meat hits 140°F after being in the cooler for a while, the gubment says you still have another  4 hours. 

    #1 LBGE December 2012 • #2 SBGE February  2013 • #3 Mini May 2013
    A happy BGE family in Houston, TX.
  • YEMTreyYEMTrey Posts: 2,572
    Going to pick up the shoulders today after work.  Weather is calling for severe storms and high winds to come through Saturday night.  Not perfect weather for an overnight pork cook!
    Might head out and pick up a canopy as well, but don't want it to get mangled in high winds.
    Gonna be interesting.
    XL and a Mini Max Egg in Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Fred19FlintstoneFred19Flintstone Posts: 5,667
    Results, my man! Do not forget to tell us how it goes! Since this is your son's party, it's understandable to not have photos, but they would be nice!

    ........................................................................................

    Flint, Michigan.  Named the most dangerous city in America by the F.B.I. three years running.

    We invented the U.A.W. and carjacking!

  • YEMTreyYEMTrey Posts: 2,572
    Got 40lbs of pork from my butcher tonight.  And stopped by Jungle Jim's for some rub and sauce.  Oh and 5 cases of beer for starters.
    The meat looks absolutely beautiful.  Can't wait to get this XL humming along!
    XL and a Mini Max Egg in Cincinnati, Ohio
  • fiver29fiver29 Posts: 519
    Yeah...... 40 lbs is probably about right.

    I was just looking up an old recipe with a calculation for pulled pork.  It says plan on buying 2.4 lbs per person.  Because it cooks down.  Calculation says to multiply the number of men by 2.  Because they are big eaters.  Women and children by 1.  Because they typically aren't big eaters.  And divide all that by 2.4.  Will give you the total number of lbs you need.  I've used that calculation for years and always have leftovers.

    For the Cook.  You have to decide if you want to do Turbo or a overnight cook.  That's up to you.  Either way I'd shoot for a finish time at home by noon at the latest if I were serving at 3.  If the butts were done even a bit earlier than that even better.

    Once done pull them off and wrap them in aluminum foil.  I take an old cooler and put beach towels on the bottom of the cooler.  Then layer my butts in the cooler with more beach towels on top to fill in all the space.  When you open the butts hours later they will billow steam like they just came off the grill.  I've had food hold in the safe temp range this way for up to 5 hours.

    Serving.  Pull it before its served or it will in some cases dry out.  For that many people I'd be pulling the butts about 2:30 for a 3:00 serve time.

    I do these kinds of cooks all the time with no problems.  Relax, don't worry, have a brew.  Cheers!
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Strongsville, Ohio

    Yes.  I own a blue egg!  Call Atlanta if you don't believe me!
    [I put this here so everyone knows when I put pictures up with a blue egg in it]

  • lousubcaplousubcap Posts: 6,913
    edited June 2013
    With all the eggcellent advice already, about the only thing I would add is that if running overnight, make sure you start your BGE at least 2 hours before you want to put the pork on and make sure it is stable for a good hour plus before adding the meat.  And LS's suggestion about monitoring them all as you get close is key-as they can finish hours apart.  Congrats on the graduation!
    Louisville   L & S BGEs 
  • YEMTreyYEMTrey Posts: 2,572
    The butcher gave me two 15lbers and a 10lber.  I'm thinking of cutting the two 15lbers in half.  Thus reducing the cook time and adding more surface area for bark.
    What's everybody's thought on this?  I usually buy 7 to 8lbers from them which is one of those cut in half. Not seeing too much harm in it.
    XL and a Mini Max Egg in Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Cutting would be good more bark better I say, congrats on your son. Hopefully all goes well and no stress.  
  • YEMTreyYEMTrey Posts: 2,572
    Hopefully I remember to take some pics.  This is gonna be a great cook.  Went to Bass Pro this morning and bought a Coleman pop up canopy with LED lights so I can stay out there as long as I want to with the Egg.  It's a 10x10 canopy and covers most of my poured patio.  I'm lovin the setup.
    XL and a Mini Max Egg in Cincinnati, Ohio
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