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Thread: First time cooking for a crowd

  1. #1
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    First time cooking for a crowd

    First I want to say I've been reading this forum for several weeks and I'm impressed with how lively it is. The community definitely influenced my decision to buy a 22" WSM.

    Before I bought the WSM I was using a cheap offset smoker and was cooking small quantities of meat for my wife and I. Think 2 racks of ribs or a 5 pound pork butt. My first smoke on the WSM was a whole chicken and I was pretty impressed with the cooker. I used a half ring of charcoal with 3 chunks of applewood (maybe too much but I still enjoyed it) and no water in the pan (just foiled it). It kept temp around 250 for about 2 hours and didn't fluctuate too much after, with a little vent adjusting.

    Anyways, on to the purpose of this thread. I offered to smoke some ribs and pork butt for a small Fourth of July party with my wife's family. I'm thinking I may smoke around 6 to 8 racks of ribs and 2 pork butts. That's a lot more at one time than I've done in the past and on a different cooker. Anything I should consider? Do I need more fuel for more meat? Is it wise to smoke those meats together as they may need different amounts of wood chunks / temps? Water in the pan? (Not trying to start a fight :-D)

    Any advice is truly appreciated. Love reading this forum.

    Edit: I should mention I bought two 8-capacity rib racks. So I believe all the meat should fit. Ribs on one grate, butts on the other.

    Traeger Grills BBQ Rib Rack (BAC354) https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/A...H3SFGO/tvwb-20
    Last edited by Justin Kabbes; 06-21-2019 at 07:13 AM. Reason: More info

  2. #2
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    Sounds like your going to need another smoker or will have to do the Butts first then put into a cooler while you smoke the ribs, good luck and you will need more fuel as the butts will take a while to cook, make sure you allow plenty of time to get them done,good luck and have fun

  3. #3
    TVWBB Pro KevinJ's Avatar
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    Hey Justin, I agree with Mike and say to do the butts first and then the ribs. The butts will hold for a few hours and give you time to shred everything while the ribs are cooking. Also when the ribs are done you only need to worry about finishing them and not the butts also. Good luck with the cook.
    Lime Green 22, OTS 22.5 & 18.5, SJ, WSM 18.5, Silver B, Electric Q, Wood Handle SJ in Box

  4. #4
    TVWBB Honor Circle Timothy F. Lewis's Avatar
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    Second the above ideas and, you will need plenty of charcoal!
    The only thought I might offer on the ribs is the possibility of setting them up rather like a “spaced kebab” and stand them up. Finish them off while you pull the butts but, yes u are going to need someone to mind them while you pull.
    All is doable, it’s the timing you will need to watch. Think it through really carefully and you should be just fine, just keep in mind that the lower rack is going to run a little cooler than the top. Maybe ribs below and butts upstairs?
    I am not a water guy so, that’s a moot point as far as I’m concerned. Never used water, probably never will.
    Last edited by Timothy F. Lewis; 06-24-2019 at 02:21 PM.
    Distinguebant Sed, Ignoret In Particulari!
    "If brains was lard, that boy couldn't grease too big a skillet!" J. D. Clampett

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    If you are planning on wrapping the Pork Butts another option would be to use the oven as well. Once the stall has occurred wrap your butts and finish them in the oven. Your smoker will be free to set up and use for your ribs.
    18.5" 22"

  6. #6
    TVWBB Pro KevinJ's Avatar
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    Hey Justin, just wanted to see what you decided to do and how the cook went?
    Lime Green 22, OTS 22.5 & 18.5, SJ, WSM 18.5, Silver B, Electric Q, Wood Handle SJ in Box

  7. #7
    TVWBB Honor Circle Timothy F. Lewis's Avatar
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    Yes, inquiring minds want to know!
    Distinguebant Sed, Ignoret In Particulari!
    "If brains was lard, that boy couldn't grease too big a skillet!" J. D. Clampett

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    How did everything go? Did you take a photo?

  9. #9
    TVWBB Fan Tom Jordan's Avatar
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    I just cooked a four-meat BBQ for 25 on a 18" WSM and a 22" Weber kettle:
    2ea 10lb Prime Briskets
    2ea Pork Butts
    4ea Full racks St Louis Ribs, and
    a sh*t-ton of Smoked Chicken wings on the Weber Kettle with a Vortex.

    For a TUESDAY night dinner:
    * I smoked the two butts on Sunday at 275-300 from 8:00 AM - 7:00ish Rested for an hour unwrapped and pulled, then Vac-sealed and tossed in fridge.
    * I WAS thinking of doing a low & slow midnight smoke of the briskets starting Late Monday night, but my experience with prime briskets +/- 8 lbs after trim is that they cook too fast and would have to rest in a cooler too long. So I fired up the WSM early on Tuesday morning for a High Heat smoke. 2 1/2 hours to 165*, wrapped in foil and returned to 325 WSM. I was amazed that they were done in 5 hours! But they probed and temped butter-tender and 200-205*, so I wrapped in towels and placed in a cooler.
    * Now that the WSM was empty around 10:00 AM, I decided to do the ribs on that, rather then my original plan of the Slow n' Sear and the kettle. I did the ribs ala 3-2-1 so that they'd be ready for 5:30ish.
    * With the Kettle free, I set up the vortex and two rings of wings for a 45-50 cook at 4:30ish using @swampboysBBQ Original rub and Original BBQ Sauce.... F'enn awesome.
    * at 5:00, I tossed the BBQ packets into boiling water and waited for the guests.
    * we set up a buffet line of the four meats; pulled pork in a hotel pan, cut ribs on a platter, bowl of smoked wings and I carved the brisket to order and served it all along with a sheet of cornbread, hotel pan of BBQ Pork n' Beans, store-bought Mac n' cheese, my brother's (RIP) potato salad, cole slaw, pickles, wonder bread.
    17 of family are from the KCMO area and you CANNOT pass mediocre BBQ by them... I have to say THIS WAS AWESOME and an exercise in how to time multiple proteins for a big cook.

    Hope yours turned out as well.
    WSM 18.5" Summit E470 Black Performer Deluxe 18.5" WSM in storage at the beach rental in NC Lovin' Weber Life!!

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