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Help with Roasted Pork Butt

I am cooking 2- 8.5lb boneless pork butts with the intention of making pulled pork sandwiches for a group of about 30 or so. I was planning on roasting it in the oven at 300 degrees for about 45 min per pound or around 12.5 hours and then going from there. I made a carolina bbq sauce that is really good. My dilemma is that I was going to put it in the oven tonight before bed around 10PM with the expectation that it will be done by 10:30-11 tomorrow morning and if not I still have time to continue cooking before my guest arrive around 2PM. However if it is done at 11AM how do I make sure it is still warm past 2PM? After pulling the pork can I transfer to a slow cooker and add the BBQ sauce and set to warm without worrying about the meat continuing to cook? Any advice is much appreciated and I am happy to share my recipe if desired. Thanks!!!

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  1. A large cut of meat like that will stay warm for several hours if wrapped in foil and a couple of towels(or substitute other insulating material).

    I put some sauce into the foil wrap when I do this- works well with a real eastern NC sauce, which is really just vinegar and dry spices.

    I think your planned times are on the high side at that temperature, though.

    7 Replies
    1. re: Naco

      Thanks Naco. Do you think 275 degrees is better for 45 min per pound? Was just going to put it uncovered in roasting pan. Already sat for abou 24 hours in salt lick dry rub. Any other suggestion? Thanks

      1. re: mtreinish

        You've got well over 12 hours of cook time to play with, so I would be conservative with the temperature. You can always crank it up in the morning.

        1. re: Naco

          Thanks for your help. Was going to cook to 150 degrees in oven and let settle which should result in a finishing temp of about 160 degrees. Does that spun right? Thanks again

          1. re: mtreinish

            You'll need to take the pork to at least 190 deg to "pull".

            1. re: King of Northern Blvd

              King is so right about the 190 internal temp. It takes that much to disolve the fats and make it pullable and tender. We smoke it at 240 max temp. and you just can't time it. It gets done at it's own pace. Plan on 2 hours off the fire in foil or I use those turkey roasting bags. When you get to 190 put the roast in the bag, seal it with a clip and wrap it in towels and place in a cooler to rest. It will stay piping hot for 3 or so hours. This part we pour a small can of pineapple juice over the meat. (do the same with ribs) The result is soo good. Inside, I would do it in the oven, right on the metal shelf with a catch pan on the next lower shelf to let the whole roast be open to the dry heat. The drippin's will be mostly fat. Good Luck, hope it is great.
              By the way, the temp seems to stay at 160 forever before it climbs, just so you know to expect it.

        2. re: mtreinish

          Most pork shoulders take about 1-1.5 hours per LB at about 250. In my opinion 275 or 300 is too high. Unfortunately as you know, these times can vary a lot. You just have to wait until the internal temperature reaches 195 or so. That is ripe pork pulling temperature.

          Naco was correct. If your pork is done before you want it, wrap in tin foil, then bath towels and put into a picnic cooler. It will stay warm for 5 hours or so.

          1. re: poser

            It needs to get to 190º and then stay there for some time, to really melt down the collagen. An oven temperature of about 250º is optimal for this. If it were being cooked sous vide you'd want the water at exactly 190º, but the relative inefficiency of an oven environment calls for an extra 60º or so. And what we really need is just 190-ISH, otherwise known as Close Enough …

      2. To answer your question regarding whether you can shred & sauce the meat ahead and place in a slow cooker on warm, yes. I have done that before, it keeps the meat hot, probably at a higher temp than just wrapping it in foil & towels, and it is safer to keep it hot, than temperate or just warm. And if you think the slow cooker is just a bit too warm, you can always keep the lid askew, to let out some steam, since it will dilute your sauce a bit.

        14 Replies
        1. re: Phurstluv

          Thanks for your help. I was actually talking to a butcher who said to cook it at 200 degrees for 12 hrs which doesn't seem enough to me but I guess I can always adjust in the am if necessary. He also said I should cook it to an internal temp of 160 and not 190. Any thoughts?

          1. re: mtreinish

            With all due respect, and respecting the forum, the butcher is wrong. For a pork butt, 160 is only technically safe to eat, but nearly inedible. You need to go to 170 or 180 for a tender and sliceable butt, and to 190-200 for a pullable butt. That is simply proven math. I agree with much of what's said on this thread. I would cook at 250-275, as I do, expecting about 10-12 hours to get it to the 200. Wrap and into the cooler if needed for several hours is fine. Pull and sauce and serve.

            1. re: woodburner

              +1 on woodburner's advice who's expertise I have followed with great results. Thank you woodburner.

            2. re: mtreinish

              Well, you really need to get the internal temp high enough to melt the fat between the muscle fibers so that it is easy to shred, for pulled pork. The butcher is right, in that for a roast, 160 is high enough to keep the roast moist, without drying it out for slices, but for shredding, it needs to be high enough to melt the collagen within the meat so it's succulent.

              I've done them at 300, but for much less time. And I'm usually not cooking more than one at a time. It will probably take more time with two in the oven, but 200 seems awfully low to me. I'd probably take the middle road, and if you're planning on the 12 hour roast, start it at 250, then check them when I got up in the am, and adjust the temp accordingly.

              1. re: Phurstluv

                Good morning. I roasted the pork butts at an average of 240 degrees for about 11h 45m. The therm is showing the meat is about 183 degrees. Is it possible this is already done or close to it? 17.5 lbs of meat to start roasting at 240 degrees for just under 12 hours? I was going to crank up the heat to about 400 degrees once it reached 190 degrees to form a crust and then cook for another 10 min or so and then let it rest. Does this sound right? Thanks!!

                1. re: mtreinish

                  If you have a convection oven, definitely use that to form a crust faster. But if you're making pulled pork,you don't need a crust on it, that's only good for a roast like porchetta. Go ahead and bump up the temp, but it won't take more than 30 mins or so to reach and sustain the temp you need.

                  1. re: Phurstluv

                    Thanks very much. I actually don't need the meat for about 5 hours or so. Since I don't need a crust (thanks I had no idea) I will just leave it at 250 until it gets to 190 degrees. Then let it sit for about 90 minutes and then wrap to keep warm. Sound good? Thanks for all the help. Too bad you can't try some!!

                    1. re: mtreinish

                      Sounds perfect, glad it's not too late, I am on PST, so didn't know if my post may be too late! It sounds like it will be delicious, glad we could help you out!!

                      1. re: mtreinish

                        I would wrap it immediately after taking out of the oven.

                        1. re: poser

                          I wrapped it in heavy tinfoil and in a couple towels and then put it back in the oven. The oven is a little warm but I think it should be fine in there. How long to rest it?

                          1. re: mtreinish

                            How long until you want to eat? I've kept mine wrapped, toweled and in the cooler for five hours.

                            1. re: mtreinish

                              nevermind dumb question. It will sit until guests come and then I will pull it and transfer to slow cooker on warm setting and add BBQ sauce. Thanks for everyone's help it is much appreciated!!

                              1. re: mtreinish

                                Let each guest add their own sauce....Offer two or three different kinds/styles.

                                Enjoy!

                                1. re: Uncle Bob

                                  While we are on the subject of pulled pork, here is a recipe from the "Naked Whiz" which is fantastic. This version was cooked on a BGE, but can be done in the oven just as well.

                                  http://www.nakedwhiz.com/mojopork.htm

              2. Hope you come back and tell us how it was received...I got a real kick out of this thread as my SIL was cooking his first BBQ pulled pork this week to take on a skiing trip.

                I was talking him through it step-by-step over the miles, including one emergency cellphone call received while inside a cubicle in the ladies (me, not him). When I emerged ,all the other gals who were washing up were in fits of giggles over my graphic instructions.