Pulled Pork BBQ - question on timing/technique
In the summer, my family and I go to a beach club where we do a lot of grilling and barbaque. We have a Weber kettle grill there. One of the things I'm dying to make and serve is a pulled pork (Butt or picnic roast) cooked slow (250 degrees) with smoke, pulled, and served with a vinegar sauce.
The problem is that I'd like to serve it at 6pm, but most of the info I've looked at says it may take 8-11 hours to cook and the beach club doesn't open until 9am so I may run out of time (and we usually don't go down there til the afternoon). What do you think my best options are? I was thinking:
1 - Just cook it fully ahead of time and serve it there
- If I started cooking at home 2am the night before, cooked it fully by noon, could I just wrap it in foil, bring it to the beach and then pull/chop and sauce it at 6pm? Would it still be hot and not full of bacteria?
- Or would it make sense to pull/chop it at noon and try and re-heat it somehow? I would only have the grill to heat, so I suppose I could put the pulled meat in a disposable pan and reheat slowly.
- Or if I cooked it one day from 10am-8pm and then served it the next evening, any ideas on storing and reheating
2 - Any advice on just trying to cook it quicker?
- Take the bone out and/or cut in half?
- Any other ideas (higher heat and wrap in foil to keep from drying?)
3- Cooking halfway at home and finishing at the beach
- Would it be possible to cook it 4 hours at home (with smoke), take it to the beach (30 minutes), start a fire (20-30 minutes) and cook it another 4-6 hours?
Or do I need to just bite the bullet and either break into the club before hours or eat at 8-9pm?
I made pulled pork for a lunch at a family reunion a couple of years ago. I smoked the butt the day before, and it was done by 9PM. Then I pulled it, set it in a roasting pan, covered it with foil and refrigerated it. The next day, I reheated it in a low oven, covered, for a couple of hours.
You could reheat it in an aluminum roasting pan on the grill using indirect heat. Keep it refrigerated overnight and in a cooler until you are ready to reheat it at the beach.
You want the pork shoulder, not the picnic roast. And by cutting it in half, will help cut the cooking time down as well.
And I'd take a glance over these results:
1. You'll want something to cook indirect/away from the coals.
2. And a small/medium sized aluminum loaf pan or similar, to fill with water for added moisture inside the grill.
And yes you can also smoke it at home, wrap in aluminum foil, thick towels and let rest in a insulated cooler and the pork will (and should be) still warm for many hours.
Furthermore, there is absolutely nothing wrong with pulled pork from the day before, or days before. Bring a slow cooker with ya if you plan on smoking in advanced.
And see these results for what to use when reheating pulled pork:
Good luck! Attached a couple pictures of a small shoulder I did not terribly long ago. A black, burnt, crust is absolutely expected if your smoking it for hours on end. And to boot, it tastes really good!
As mentioned above, cooking the night before into the next day and holding the hot pork wrapped in foil in a foil pan in a cooler works wonderfully .
As for cooking, there is only a general rule of thumb for cook times as pork is "done when it's done," meaning it needs to be cooked to an internal temp of 195 to 205 (I like 200) to be pullable. If smoked outdoors, size of shoulder/butt, ambient temp,, temp. of fire and many other factors push and pull cook times.
I personally like to cook at 225 to 250 degrees and use either hickory or apple wood for pork. I both inject the butts and use a dry rub. It really is a set and forget process, with the exception of adding wood chunks. Google "Minion method" on any one of several BBQ forums out there for the correct way to set up charcoal for a long even heat source while minimizing lifting lid and loosing heat and smoke.
Adding a pan of water ensures moist air and also helps hold the heat level steady inside the grill as it acts as a heat conductor and constant thermal mass.
Leave all bones in and remove when pulling. I'd personally try and cook it all at one place as cooking half way and moving and reheating takes a lot of time for a meat mass that large.
I agree with most of the post in this thread. I have found that a Weber kettle does not do a good job when it comes to low and slow cooking for 10 hours. I use my Weber gas grill for that task. I like to keep it a 225 and pull the shoulder at 195 or so. I use a smoking tray for wood chips that goes over the flam. You only need to add a few chips a few times. To much smoke taste like resin to me. I also brine the pork for 24 hours before cooking it.