Author Topic: Feeding a large group  (Read 12747 times)

Offline DarqMan

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Re: Feeding a large group
« Reply #30 on: June 12, 2010, 07:43:25 am »
If you use the big cooker my advice is to have a well seasoned bed of coals.  Burn the firebox for a good 4 hours before throwing any food on and you'll be able to more easily control the temps.
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Offline hdflame

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Re: Feeding a large group
« Reply #31 on: June 15, 2010, 11:44:44 am »
For pulling the pork, I don't think you can beat a set of "Bear Claws".  http://www.barbecue-store.com/Bear-Paws_p_63.html

They're great for pulling the meat as well as handling the HOT meat when removing from the grill.  Put one in each hand and think like a bear! ;D

Here's a thread on another board:
http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/showthread.php?t=6871

I would go with what some of the others have said.  Cook them all ahead of time, pull and add your sauce to all but 1.  Don't freeze, just put in the fridge in gallon ziplocks, they'll keep for several days just fine.  You could even ice in a cooler, just keep the water drained cause ziplocks DO LEAK!  When you're ready to serve, put them on your new cooker and heat them up.  Keep the heat low, 200* is plent.  Remember you're not cooking, just heating to eating temp.  Put the meat with some sauce in those big alum disposable pans and cover for foil.  You can pull the foil back occassionally to stir and make sure it's not drying out.  Be very careful not to dry it out or let it burn....remember, think LOW heat.  Save the last butt for pulling with your Bear Claws in front of the crowd, add your sauce just like the others you did and you'll be the hero to all those Yankees! ;D

Don't forget to have fun.....and post some pics!


Offline Sailor

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Re: Feeding a large group
« Reply #32 on: June 15, 2010, 11:56:58 am »
Yard and Pool has the Bear Claws for $7.99  http://www.yardandpool.com/Bear-Paws-Meat-Handlers-p/bpp-bearpaws.htm instead of the $11.86 that The Barbeque Store is selling them for.


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Offline SnellySmokesEm

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Re: Feeding a large group
« Reply #33 on: June 22, 2010, 08:54:39 am »
Looks like I am little late to the party.  Seems that the boys have got ya covered.  Here's my 2 cents.  Start them early, freeze and re-heat.  No one will know when you cooked them and they will all love the pork.  Then have the women in your life take care of the sides and you'll have a stress free smoke and a great 4th!  Good luck to ya!!!!  Cant wait to see pics!
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Offline TestRocket

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Re: Feeding a large group
« Reply #34 on: June 22, 2010, 10:55:52 am »
There’s a lot of good advice here for many of us think about. And keeping the stress level down the day of the cook is important (BLSH) to remember. Good Luck!

Offline Redneckinthecity

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Re: Feeding a large group
« Reply #35 on: June 25, 2010, 01:04:19 pm »
Uhh.  If he's gonna feed 200 people pulled pork sammies, he's gonna need more that 50 pounds of raw butt.  

40% loss on 50 pounds make 30 pounds cooked pork.  At 1/4 pound per sammie that's 120 sammies.  At 50% loss even fewer.  

If you have a lot of guys and growing boys in the mix, there are going to be seconds wanted.  I tend to go high with the seconds ratio and figure 50% seconds.  Some people won't want the bun, and a single serving is a little bigger say - 1/3#.  So that is also another reason for the 50% seconds ratio.  You might have leftovers - ok take it home or let others take it home or sell it to defray expenses.

So with a 50% seconds ratio you will be planning for 300 sammies - 200 x 1.5 = 300

300 sammies x 1/4# cooked pork per sammy = 75 pounds of cooked pork



75 pounds of cooked pork with a 40% loss (depends on bone in or bone out)   75 / 0.6 = 125 pounds of raw butt.

With your big rig, this should not be a problem, if you can maintain 225 deg.   If you can maintain the 225, then your butts should be done in about 1 1/2 hours per pound.  Say you have a 8# butt then that butt should take 12 hours.  Is your rig an off-set?  I suspect, if it is a pig cooker more often than not it is a direct heat rig.  That can be trickier in that there will probably be more hot spots and harder to keep 225.  Remember, it is 225 deg at the meat.  Suggest fire on one end and the butts on the other end.  Even with that set up, I would suggest rotating the butts around - the one closest to the fire will of course be cooking in hotter temps.  If the feed is at noon, then I'd plan on finishing in the relatively early morning and throwing all the butts, as they get done, (I check each one with an instant read thermometer) into a cooler until ready to pull and serve.  You'll need to anticipate some tougher butts that will take longer - that's the main reason of planning an early finish.  

Unless you are really sold on the brining, I wouldn't go to the trouble.  Not necessary and to me it changes the texture and takes time and space.  As far as rub.  Doing butt, especially that much, I'd probably only go with salt and pepper and maybe some cayenne.  IMO, with the bark to meat ratio of a butt, rubs are not a big part of the taste.   Sauce will give you more of a flavor impact.  But if you want to do rub anyways - check you local Sam's  - they generally nave the Emerils Essence.  Use that as a base for your rub - just add things you like such as sugar, garlic, onion powder, etc.....  Restaurant Supply stores will also carry bulk containers of spices.  Did some ribs Memorial Day and used the Bulk McCormicks BBQ Spice and the MrsDash Salt Free seasoning both sprinkled on.  Turned out pretty good - and not all that costly.

Beans are good for sammy feeds.  Usually start with baked beans as base, add either leftover chopped bbq or precooked crumbled bacon found in bags at Sams (or both like last night).  Then add a can or two of "no bean" chili and a can or two of chopped green chilies.  I'll also add some mustard (CYM or spicy brown) to give it that taste of yum - now what is that taste in the background.  If I have time to cook the beans for a while, I'll also add some dehydrated diced onions.  That might thicken them up as the onions hydrate - if that happens - add some beer.  


I'm getting ready for the big cooking next weekend.  I've decided to go with cooking on the big rig Fri/Sat.  As much as I agreed that several cookings on my BDS would be safest, I just didn't have the time to tend to it during the week while I work.

 I was re-reading all of the helpful advice today and wanted to say thanks and ask about Caneyscud's advice above - he said 1.5 hours/pound of meat (so a 8# butt cooks 12 hours).  At 125# of meat, can I just figure the average weight of each butt and calculate the 1.5 hours on that weight?  Does anyone have a good cooking calculation when cooking larger amounts of meat - is it as simple as adding a few minutes so that it's 1.75 hours/pound?

Thanks again, everyone.

RITC

Offline Caneyscud

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Re: Feeding a large group
« Reply #36 on: June 28, 2010, 10:54:38 am »
Sorry about not seeing this earlier, but I've been moving my daughter to her first house.  

In reality, we should be talking time per inch thickness of meat, but so be it.  Time per pound is close enough.  On a big rig, you don't usually have to account for any additional time for a big load unless you put them in icy cold.  I usually find out what my largest piece of meat is, calculate the cook for that piece.  Then add 2 or 3 hours for FTC (I just throw them into a cooler I have dedicated to the task) to be safe.  

If my biggest butt is say 8 pounds.   I'd plan on a smoke of about 13 to 15 hours.  8 * 1.5 hours per pound = 12 hours and then add 1 to 3 hours to make 14 to 15.  The 1 to 3 hours is safety if they actually take 2 hour per lb, which is rare in a big rig.  If they start finishing early, just chuck them into the cooler, they'll stay warm for several hours.  You could add 4 to 5 hours if you feel you need that much safety.  That 1 to 3 hours also allows me to pull, slice and get everything else on the table.  When cooking several pieces of meat, I periodically take the temp of each piece - especially near the end - and take out each piece as it gets done.  The timing doesn't include getting the rig up to temp.  I usually plan on preheating an hour or two on my rigs - some rigs take longer to stabilize.  

Often if your cooking temp is 20 degrees off for long periods of time or the entire time, then the you add 10 minutes per pound for higher, or subtract 10 mins per pound if lower for each 20 minute.  Each time you open the lid is also more time, but not as bad with a big rig as say a Bradley.  I usually don't open it up until several hours into the smoke - to check temps and to mop.  

If you use rub - go liberal with the application.  You are seasoning pretty good sized chunks of meat.  

Very important is that this is based on 225 deg cooking temp at the meat level.  If you go much below that for an extended period time - like if you fall asleep between 1:00 and 4:00 am (of course, I've never done that - now ducking the lightning)  -  the time will extend.  If I do an overnight - with the rigs I have left, I'll usuallly set my alarm for every hour on the hour.  Fall asleep then wake up each hour to tend fire, mop, take temps, etc......then set alarm again for one hour and fall asleep again.  Once you get used to it, it is surprising how much sleep you can get.  But you have to remember to set the alarm for every hour.  and have a loud alarm.

Let me emphasize again the cooking temp is at the meat level and does include the radiant heat from the fire - if not an indirect smoker.  
« Last Edit: June 29, 2010, 05:23:14 am by Caneyscud »
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Offline Redneckinthecity

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Re: Feeding a large group
« Reply #37 on: June 28, 2010, 01:23:11 pm »
Thanks -- exactly the detail that I need!  I'll post pictures along the way.

Offline BuyLowSellHigh

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Re: Feeding a large group
« Reply #38 on: June 28, 2010, 02:51:46 pm »
Good smoking and enjoy the experience !
I like animals, they taste good!

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Offline Redneckinthecity

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Re: Feeding a large group
« Reply #39 on: July 02, 2010, 01:04:34 pm »
Got started last night with mustard/dry rub on 16 butts.



I'm giving the big rig a dry run this afternoon with my new maverick to see how the temp varies.



I'll get started around 7 am tomorrow morning and hope to have butts on by 9. 

Offline Redneckinthecity

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Re: Feeding a large group
« Reply #40 on: July 03, 2010, 07:49:14 am »
Not sure if any of you pro's are online today, but if so, 2 questions:

1.  Should I mop these butts?  If so, with what?

2.  So far I'm averaging about 250 - but emphasize averaging - range has been 200 to 275.  Ended up covering most of the cooking surface, which made putting butts on one end and fire on the other not feasible.  So, I put coals on the far edge and plan to rotate butts on the outside in and vice-versa.  How often should I rotate, understanding that having the doors open isn't desirable?

Thanks everyone!

Offline FLBentRider

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Re: Feeding a large group
« Reply #41 on: July 03, 2010, 08:09:16 am »
Not sure if any of you pro's are online today, but if so, 2 questions:

1.  Should I mop these butts?  If so, with what?

2.  So far I'm averaging about 250 - but emphasize averaging - range has been 200 to 275.  Ended up covering most of the cooking surface, which made putting butts on one end and fire on the other not feasible.  So, I put coals on the far edge and plan to rotate butts on the outside in and vice-versa.  How often should I rotate, understanding that having the doors open isn't desirable?

Thanks everyone!

I don't mop butts. some do. I think most don't.

A 250F average is good. In the Bradley I rotate every four hours. I guess it would depend on how great the temp differential is to me. The greater, the often I'd rotate. I'd hazard a guess that if it's less than 20-25 degrees, I'd stick with four hours.
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Offline Redneckinthecity

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Re: Feeding a large group
« Reply #42 on: July 03, 2010, 12:29:09 pm »
So far....so good  6.5 hours in.  2 internal temps at 151 and 139.  Just put some new coals in and rig temp spiked a bit to 275.


Offline waterkc

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Re: Feeding a large group
« Reply #43 on: July 03, 2010, 12:32:48 pm »
So far....so good  6.5 hours in.  2 internal temps at 151 and 139.  Just put some new coals in and rig temp spiked a bit to 275.



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Offline Redneckinthecity

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Re: Feeding a large group
« Reply #44 on: July 06, 2010, 07:16:28 am »
Thanks to everyone for all the advice.  It couldn't have turned out better.  I didn't get as many pics of the finished product, but here's one before it got the Roman Pork Puller treatment (which saved me tons of time pulling 16 butts) and after.

The only complaint that I had was from the kids who were looking for hotdogs.  It took all I had to not squirt them in the face with bbq sauce....