Pulled Pork for a party

Dalton

New member
Been using the wsm for a couple of years now solely for the family. When the meat is done and rested we eat, I try to time it out as close as possible to lunch/dinner, but being off a bit is no big deal.

This weekend I'm doing a pulled pork for a birthday party. I'm going to shoot for it to be done 60 minutes before the party starts so it has time to rest and I have time to pull it. If I get it pulled early what is the best way to keep it nice and warm for when people are ready to start eating? Thanks.
 

Jeff Langer

TVWBB Fan
Once it comes off the WSM you can foil the butt, wrap it in a towel, and throw it in a warm cooler. It will stay warm for 2-3 hours if not longer.

Good luck!
 

Dalton

New member
Thanks for the input, I've got that part down. My question is once I pull it, is there a way to keep the meat from "losing its luster" so to speak and keeping it nice and warm while waiting for everyone to arrive. Thanks.
 

Phil Perrin

TVWBB Honor Circle
We catered our best friends daughter's wedding last year. I found a couple chafing dishes at Big Lots for $10 each. They worked great! Kept the pulled pork nice and warm. We also used them for Smoke Day. I think Party City also sells them.
 

Dave Russell

TVWBB Honor Circle
First thing I'd suggest for holding pulled pork hot for any length of time is a finishing sauce for moisture. The chafing pans Phil mentioned work great, but the pork will start to dry out if service is slow and the tops stay off much, and if windy the wicked chafing fuel cans don't always cut it. Been there done that, but hopefully you're indoors this time of year. Anyhow, they're a good way to go if serving for a big crowd, but another way is to keep smaller pans of pulled pork hot in a cooler, and then pull out one at a time so that it stays fresher that way.

Want to see pork that hasn't "lost it's luster", though? Check this out:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rj8M6KOkyw8

...And weather dependent, you can hold whole butts hot for a period of time on the bullet to preserve the bark. Timing is everything, though, and my wife isn't about to let me go to chopping like that in the kitchen! Might keep the bark snatchers at bay, though!
 
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Bill Farmer

TVWBB Super Fan
When it is done double wrap it in HD foil. Pre heat the oven to warm (yes the dirty "O" word), just before you place the butt in the oven turn it off. The oven will retain the heat and the butt will be good in there for 2-3 hours. Pull when ready to serve. You will probably still need gloves or bear claws to pull as it will still be hot.
 

Dwain Pannell

TVWBB Hall of Fame
I did a party a few weeks ago and I pulled one butt at a time as needed. That way the whole butts kept their warmth until I pulled them. I think doing this and keeping them in the chaffing dish is a good idea.
 

Dave Russell

TVWBB Honor Circle
I did a party a few weeks ago and I pulled one butt at a time as needed. That way the whole butts kept their warmth until I pulled them. I think doing this and keeping them in the chaffing dish is a good idea.
Thanks, Dwain. Glad someone else posted the pulling as needed preference, and didn't you mention using your bullet as a faux cambro somewhere recently?

I had to run after answering the OP last night and posting the Chris Lilly video, but I really wanted to stress that pulling just prior to serving is simply the very best way to go if you can pull it off, no pun intended. :eek: You can certainly wrap and hold as Bill suggested, but the crispness of the bark can be preserved if you can pull the butt off the pit and break it down right before your guests, as Chris Lilly demonstrates in the video I linked in my previous post. You can almost hear the oohs and aahs, but you don't have to break out a big blade and chop. Just break down with gloved hands or run Bear Claws through the butt real quick. I'd just put the butt in a pan and not even cover before pulling unless there's flies, because I really don't think it needs to rest very long. (It's more of a cooking issue if you're mainly resting to soften up bark, and I'd ask why not just foil during the cook to begin with if tough bark is an issue.) Anyhow, I find ten or fifteen minutes uncovered should be plenty to let some steam off.

Anyhow, I'm certainly not a pro at this kind of serving and and thankfully, still learning as I go. I've pretty much always used foil either during the cook and/or after. As I've mentioned before, my first wsm cooked butts were always done overnight on my old 18.5" at 225-250 with water in the pan for 14 hrs+, and held hot wrapped in foil in a hot cooler for however many hours needed. They weren't as moist as the ones that I remembered cooking by day off my old drum and offsets, though. So I started cooking by day and foiling them to speed up the cook, because it was simply hard to maintain more moderate temps with a full cooker on my 18.5", even without water in the pan. But then I started cooking on the 22.5" wsm last year, and especially with the extra top vent, more moderate temps and quicker cooks are now MUCH easier. No more getting up at 3 or cooking overnight unless cooking for a luncheon!

Timing and temp control is everything though if not wanting to hold long. Targeting 250* at the grate center seems to work pretty good for me and make for roughly a 12 hr cook. Not as predictable as cooking with foil, but obviously easier than at lower temps to get through the stall. (Yes, I monitor one butt with a probe.) Honestly though, I crank up the temp a bit if I think I'm behind, and then shut down the vents a bunch toward the end once I feel sure I'll get it all done on time. Obviously, a dry pan helps with temp control, and thankfully, the wsm holds moisture well, even with a dry pan.
 
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