Author Topic: Feeding a large group  (Read 12715 times)

Offline Redneckinthecity

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Re: Feeding a large group
« Reply #15 on: June 11, 2010, 02:48:37 pm »
Thanks, all - and esp. appreciate the double-check on the math.  It was pre-coffee for me, too!

I concur with skipping the brine for that much butt.  My brother in law has been experimenting with a brined butt on a big green egg and swears by it, but this adventure is going to have enough experiments for one cooking, that's for sure! 

My big rig is a direct heat - I had hoped to add a side box to it, but like so many other things, just haven't gotten around to it.  Honestly, I haven't cooked on it much, so any advice on cooking on it will be welcome.  I let a buddy borrow for a Boy Scout camping trip.  He dumped 30# of charcoal in it and pegged the thermometers at 700!   Thing must've been glowing.  I'll post a pic from when I bought it, in case it helps with advice.

Really appreciate all the advice.  Please keep it coming.  Seems like I've gotten myself into a fine one here.  I think I've got a bad case of battleship mouth....rowboat a$$.

Offline classicrockgriller

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Re: Feeding a large group
« Reply #16 on: June 11, 2010, 03:05:25 pm »
You do have 3 weekends before the 4th weekend.

You could do 4 butts every weekend (your Bradley will hold that).

Smoke them in the Bradley for 4 to 5 hrs and put them in the oven till done.

Pull them and freeze them till the 4th. Or leave them whole and freeze them

and after re-warm in oven, pull them.

You can DO IT!

Offline FLBentRider

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Re: Feeding a large group
« Reply #17 on: June 11, 2010, 03:10:52 pm »
Can you regulate the temp on the big rig? you are going to need 225-250F for 14 to 24 hours.

I'm not sure you have the oven space to use the "Bradley to oven" method.

That would be as follows:

Put four butts in the Bradley for four hours of smoke. (you might have to get creative with meat origami)

When the smoke is done, transfer the butts to the oven. Cook @250F until an IT of 195-200F

Put four more butts in the smoker for four hours of smoke. Continue to cook in the Bradley to an IT of 195-200F

I realize this gets four butts done a few hours before the 2nd batch - maybe - but that way you can get smoke on butts twice the capacity of the Bradley.

If you had access to a friends oven, you could do three rounds.
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Offline FLBentRider

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Re: Feeding a large group
« Reply #18 on: June 11, 2010, 03:13:05 pm »
You do have 3 weekends before the 4th weekend.

You could do 4 butts every weekend (your Bradley will hold that).

Smoke them in the Bradley for 4 to 5 hrs and put them in the oven till done.

Pull them and freeze them till the 4th. Or leave them whole and freeze them

and after re-warm in oven, pull them.

I have done the frozen - thaw - pull and the pull - freeze methods.

I MUCH prefer the pulling before freezing method. Much easier to just defrost and re-heat.
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Offline Caneyscud

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Re: Feeding a large group
« Reply #19 on: June 11, 2010, 03:43:17 pm »
Pic would be helpful

I generally use lump charcoal (its usually oak and I like it much better than briquettes - but if that is all you can get - no prob.) with sticks  (log splits - I buy mine at Academy Sports or a firewood guy, but other places have them)  of flavoring wood (probably hickory).  The combo, for me is easier to control than just hickory splits - it doesn't seem to burn as fast.  The wood should be seasoned and not green.  

Lots of ways of doing this, and everybody has their own way which might be much better, but this is one way.  I think I'd definitely give the temp thing a whirl before the big day.  I'd likely try two big chimneys of lump for the test - might not take that much, but the first 1/2 hour to hour is to heat up the rig anyways.  Start one chimney, and when it's going good, dump another chinmey on top.  If big enough, fire in one end, the meat will be on the other (no meat for the test is necessary).  You'll want the meat at the end where your exhaust chimney is.  OR if the cooking grate is a pretty good distance from the fire, you might be able to spread the coals out and maintain 225 at the cooking grate.  Probably have some hot spots, you'll have to watch out for.  Monitor the temp. on the meat side.  You might buy 2 or more cheap oven rack thermometers to place around your grill to see the different temp zones.  Once the temp stabilizes  - quits rising, you can adjust the amount of coals less or more or open or close the vent.  Start with vent half open.  Add a split or two of hickory to the coals - then see what happens.  I like to put them 1/2 off the edge of the coals, so it just doesn't burst into flame and get burned up quickly.  As they get used up, I replace them with new.  And then since you have the rig going your direction put on some racks of ribs for supper!  

Ideally, you would have another small fire box of coals going and add coals as needed to the smoker.  Easier to keep tighter control of the heat and you tend to get the more ideal smoke - thin blue smoke.  If you just add new charcoal to the top of the pile already there, it will smolder and spit for a while, combust, and make "dirty" (billowy white smoke) smoke before it turns into a coal.   It can be a harsh smoke, but with butts I don't always mind the strong smoke since there is such a small ratio of bark to meat.  

Don't freak if you can't hold 225, its good if you can average 225 without going too high or too low - say 30 degrees plus or minus.  Too long too low and you extend your cook time.   Too long too high, you might cook too fast and not get the magic of low-n-slow.  

Big cooks aren't all that much harder than cooking two butts.  You do much the same thing - just in a bigger way.  Might have to move the meat around the grill more for more even cooking.   Now, when you start doing cooks with a variety of types of meats, then it gets fun!

Make note of your fuel consumption during the test run and try to judge how much charcoal and wood you will need.  
“A man that won't sleep with his meat don't care about his barbecue” Caneyscud



“If we're not supposed to eat animals, how come they're made out of meat?”

Offline Redneckinthecity

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Re: Feeding a large group
« Reply #20 on: June 11, 2010, 04:44:24 pm »
Alas, I don't have picture posting privileges yet!

Offline classicrockgriller

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Re: Feeding a large group
« Reply #21 on: June 11, 2010, 04:47:56 pm »
Try this link to get your pictures going.

http://www.susanminor.org/forums/showpost.php?p=768&postcount=11

Permission granted. ;D

Offline Redneckinthecity

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Re: Feeding a large group
« Reply #22 on: June 11, 2010, 05:00:17 pm »

Offline Redneckinthecity

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Offline classicrockgriller

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Re: Feeding a large group
« Reply #24 on: June 11, 2010, 05:04:57 pm »
That is NICE!

Offline FLBentRider

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Re: Feeding a large group
« Reply #25 on: June 11, 2010, 05:05:47 pm »
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Offline Redneckinthecity

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Re: Feeding a large group
« Reply #26 on: June 11, 2010, 05:07:58 pm »
Thanks.  I bought it at a dinner-auction for the National Wild Turkey Federation. 

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Re: Feeding a large group
« Reply #27 on: June 11, 2010, 08:16:27 pm »

Geez!  What is that thing??

Offline Sailor

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Re: Feeding a large group
« Reply #28 on: June 12, 2010, 05:04:16 am »
That rig looks like it will do the 1/4 mile in under 5 seconds.  Whoot....nice looking smoker


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Offline BuyLowSellHigh

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Re: Feeding a large group
« Reply #29 on: June 12, 2010, 06:24:21 am »
Looks like a good pig cooker!

I think Caneyscud pretty much covered the important stuff.  I'll just add my $0.02 worth ...

First, your main enemy or barrier will be the work and stress load.  Try to keep it simple and the closer you get to the magic time the less you want to have to do.  I would have as much cooked well ahead of time - like the day before -  as possible.  The good news is that pork butts and pulled pork not only keep amazingly well but most feel they improve with a day or more of rest and then rewarmed. So, if it were me I would have the butts all done 24-48 hours before.  Whether you pull then or later is a matter of preference, but think again of timing, work and stress load.  Keep it simple and easy. 

Along those lines, unless you feel very comfortable regulating the temp on that big rig and cooking butts for the long haul, I would pass using it as a cooker for this big gig.  Trying to manage a new cooker while pulling the food together will just add to your stress and introduces a potential for error that would hard to recover from.  Instead think about doing as CRG suggested - use your Bradley and kitchen oven, freeze 'em and then have 'em ready for service on the day.  Or, if you really want to use and try that new cooker, then do it, but start a week or two or more before so that you still have time for a Plan B. 

A great way to rewarm the pork is to put it in large disposable aluminum roasting pans, add a splash of liquid (canned chicken broth, apple juice, reserved pan drippings, whatever you like), cover tightly with aluminum foil sealing the edges, then place in a low oven (225 °F) for a 2-3 hours to get temp up to ~150F.  This last rewarming  would be a great time to use that cooker.  You'll have plenty of time to fire and play with it to get a good low and stable temp to use it as a warming oven and show it off.  You can bet that the crowd will be thinking that's where you cooked all that pork.

Finally, on sides, again keep it simple.  That's where the rest of the neighborhood comes in  - pot luck, or you decide types and ask.  Add desserts to that too.

However you do it, be comfortable and relaxed through the process so you enjoy it too.  And do takes pics - lots of pics - and show us how it went!

I like animals, they taste good!

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