Need to Get This Right - Four Butts

Started by oneminer, May 24, 2011, 12:30:03 PM

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Hello fellow BOS Users.  I have a graduation party this weekend and need to have some boston butts ready for pulling at 3 pm sharp.  Expecting about 50 adults and want to have left overs so I was planning on four butts.  I have never done four before, so could use some advice on my plans.  With 4 butts in the BOS how can I maintain a temp of 225F in the cabinet?

day before
11:00 pm remove butts from refigerator and dry rub.  let come to room temp.

1:00 pm place butts in preheated BOS.  Use maverick temp probes.  Apple pucks.

7:00 pm remove puck from smoke generator.  Clean out old pucks.  Add fresh hot water.

10:00 pm rotate racks

day of party
6:00 am rotate racks

10:00 am to 2:00 pm  remove and FTC as temp of each butt reaches 185F

3:00 pm  pull pork from each butt as needed and keep warm on steam table.

Several sauces on the side, and many happy guests.

Advice appreciated, especially with regard to the length of time, need to rotate butts, etc.


This is just my opinion and others more knowledgeable than me will come along to give you better advice but I would back up your schedule by 6 hours or so.  I would start much earlier.  If you finish early, you can always FTC those butts.  4 butts is a load in a Bradley and it will take a long time for the Bradley to come up to temp when you put the butts in initially and will also take a long time to recover each time you open the door for anything.  The major variable you haven't mentioned are the butts themselves.  I've had them to finish in 16 hours and I have had them take as long as 26 hours.  If you need to serve at 3 sharp, you need to allow yourself some wiggle room.


timing is very difficult with one butt. You are doing four so it will be even harder. I would plan to finish the day before and refrigerate them after pulling. Reheat in a crock pot with some apple cider/juice or vaunted vinegar sauce. It actually tastes better after the rest. Plus, you can eat when you want to with no stress.

Ka Honu

A couple of semi-random thoughts...

     - If I'm making pulled pork, I don't take the butt out till the IT reaches 195-200o.

     - I don't know how much "four butts" weighs.  I'd make sure the total is about twice what you want at the end.  In other words, for fifty people (depending on what else is being served) and some leftovers, I'd want 15-25 pounds of pulled pork.  That translates to 30-50 pounds raw.  I'm guessing you're talking about butts in the 7-pound range.  You need more than 4.

     - One of the great things about pulled pork is that you can make it whenever you have time and serve it reheated whenever you want.  It stores wonderfully in the fridge (short term) or in the freezer and you can reheat it without any problem in a number of ways (crockpot, oven, microwave, etc.).  I just served a batch I smoked several months ago and it was just as good as it was right out of FTC.  Cook it early and avoid the pressure of having it ready on time. That also allows you to make more than one batch if you have to.

     - The OBS should be able to maintain 225o.  Just remember that anytime you open the box, it'll take a while to get back up to temp and that will impact on your total cooking time.  Also remember that after the pucks run out, the OBS is no longer a smoker; it turns into an oven for the rest of the cook.  At that point many people continue the cook in their house oven, feeling it gives them better temperature control.  Some are also more comfortable leaving a 225o oven unattended for long periods of time than a smoker.  I do it both ways for pork butt and have never noticed a significant difference in the end product.


I am in the same boat i have just under 40 pounds i am doing i am going to do them friday night and reheat for sunday grad. just so i have time
i am going to use a roaster to heat it back up with a vaunted vinager sauce to keep it moist. also doing 16 racks of ribs ;D
1 Smoke Daddy
1 Brinkman smoker grill
1 Green Mountain Grill


ditto - I would make it the night before. I have had 2 8lb butts that have taken 16 hrs one time and 22 hrs the next time.
"It ain't worth missing someone from your past- there is a reason they didn't make it to your future."

"Life is tough, it is even tougher when you are stupid"

Don't curse the storm, learn to dance in the rain.


Double ditto - do it all in advance.  Perhaps you can grab a 5th (not a fifth  ;)) to do by itself, so you can pull it out of the smoker and pull 'live' in front of everyone for the WOW factor.


I normally use the crock pot after im done to keep it warm, but never considered using the oven after the smoke is done. I think Im gonna use try it this weekend, thanx for the tip Ka Honu!


Partner you are getting some great advice here on getting the pulled pork done ahead of time and relieving the stress on yourself, it is just so much easier to warm it up with the recommendations you are recieving here...good luck..
Digital Bradley Smoker with Dual probe PID
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Thanks for the great advice.  I wanted to have them " just in time" but  doing it ahead of time sounds like the safest bet.  Also, might as well do six butts.  The wife will nevef let me live it down if we run out of meat.  I just started smoking 3 butts.  Will do 3 more when the first batch is done.  Will be finished well ahead of crunch time and will reheat with vinegar.  I usually splash on some cider vinegar when reheating but the vaunted vinegar looks gooood.  Never tried it before.  Sounds great.

thanks for the sage advice.


Quote from: oneminer on May 25, 2011, 06:20:13 PM
thanks for the sage advice.
Dere you go!  Dat's why you came here.  These folks will always have your back.

Indy Smoker

Sounds like you came up with a plan.

I usually do 2 butts at a time and go to 190.  I just finished 2 yesterday and they took 28 hours total before the FTC.  I have done 4 at a time only once and since cook 2 at a time in 'shifts' as you are doing with 3.  As previously stated they reheat amazingly well.  I usually place in a foil pan with a little apple juice and reheat in the oven, turning thru frequently.

Let us know how it all turned out !!