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Just found this site and registered and this is my first post. So much great information and people here!

I can grill\bbq almost anything (fish, meat, chicken, veggies, fruit, etc...) but have never smoked a pork butt. I will have family in town for the 4th of July weekend and will be having a bbq at our house for approx 12-15 adults. I will also probably grill some chicken to give people another option.

I have a 4 burner Bull gas grill and a Weber charcoal grill. I know a smoker or charcoal is preferred but I can't be out changing charcoal every few hours for 8-12 hours. I'll probably only have about 3-4 hours at home in the late afternoon as I plan to be at the beach during the day. So can I start on gas grill with smoker box (indirect low heat - 250 degrees) in the early morning and leave it alone for 3-4 hours to go to beach? Plan to eat no later than 7pm so I hope it is done by around 6pm and can rest for an hour before pulling. I just can't take the chance of eating at 9pm if the butt decides to take its sweet time. Would rather have it done early and then just keep warm in a cooler. But also am afraid if I start too early then leave for a few hours it might get over cooked.

My plan is to rub with yellow mustard and add my spice rub I use for ribs. Then mop every 2 hours until temp registers 190-195 degrees. I am going to use soaked apple wood chips in a cast iron smoker box. I will use drip pan under the pork butt and was also going to add a small pan of apple juice on the grill over indirect heat to keep moisture in. Not sure how often I would need to add wood chips.

I make a great dry rub for ribs (garlic, cayenne, smoked paprika, brown sugar, cracked pepper, kosher salt, etc...) but also maybe want to use some ground coffee in the rub. Any experience with using coffee?

What size butt should I buy? Any specific "cut" (ie: Boston butt, etc...)? Does it matter if it is bone-in or boneless? I bought a 3lb Boston butt yesterday to practice with this weekend.

Is plain white hamburger buns the best bread to use? I have had it on a potato bun and it was good as well.

I plan to use Smokin Okies mop and serving sauces. Man they sound good... !

Sorry for all the questions... any suggestions are much appreciated! Thanks in advance!
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I'm not an expert. There is SmokinOkie's Pork But 101 article you should read, and gobs of threads on this forum.

I can't answer all your questions, but here are some of my thoughts:

1) Use plain white buns. I like the giant sized hamburger buns, but regular size will work better for kids and stretch your meat further for adults who want two sandwiches.

2) For 12 to 15 adults only (you don't mention how many kids) I would do no less than 16 pounds of pork butt. About 40 to 50 percent of the butt will render out as fat. If there are kids and especially teenagers, you'll need more than you might think. I count two young kids as one adult. Teenagers count as one adult unless they are male, in which case they count as two adults. Yes, really, they eat that much.

3) Figure on 1 to 1.5 hours per pound of pork butt, based on the heaviest one you are cooking, not the total weight. So if you have one that is 10 pounds and one that is 8, figure 10 to 15 hours.

4) Most stores will label a Boston Butt as Pork Shoulder. For a big group, stick with boneless pork shoulder. The picnic section has the bone in it. They work fine, but you'll need more of them to compensate for the weight of the bone, and consequently you'll need more grill space.

5) Avoid meat that comes pre-brined or injected with a solution. You want minimally processed pork shoulder, no additives.

That's about all I can think of. I tend to way overcook for parties and other moderate sized gatherings because I'd rather freeze or give away leftovers than run out of food. If I was planning for 15 adults, 8 young kids, 3 teenage girls, and 4 teenage males, I count that as 30 adults. I'd cook no less than 32 pounds of boneless pork butt. I'd be more likely to go for 40 pounds just to be sure. Say, five of the large half-butts you'll find at Costco.

And make lots of sides.
Skip - Thanks for the great info.

I read the PB101 but was not sure on "smoking" on a gas grill and timing as well as some of the other questions (coffee grounds in rub, when to add wood chips, etc..). I have read post after post and you are correct... lots of great info. Smiler

There are no teens or kids. Some little 1-2 year olds so I am not gonna count them. Half are girls and some are grandparents that don't eat a whole lot. I want leftovers for tacos and\or sandwiches and for people to take home. I was gonna get a 8lb PB (Boston butt) and grill chicken as well. I figured 4lbs cooked would be plenty as that is approx 1/4 pound per person but would leave no leftovers. Maybe I'll get two 5-6lb PBs so I ensure I have leftovers and I won't run out.

Should I double Smokin Okies recipes for the mop and sauce? Not sure how much mop I will need to mix into the pulled pork and how much people will drizzle on their sandwiches.
You're welcome boltsfan. I have not tried that mop sauce or finishing sauce yet, so I can't say. But I'd double the finishing/serving sauce. I wouldn't double the mop sauce.

I wish I could help you with your other questions. I've never heard of putting coffee grounds in a rub. That sounds interesting.
The finishing sauce will depend on on your on taste/dryness. I would say 1/2 cup per lb would be a good start.

I have heard of coffee added to beef gravy to help with color. Don't know if that's what is needed for pork thou. Probably couldn't tell their there with the other spices.

The meat will only take on smoke flavor till it hits 140* or their abouts, so you'll have to play adding more wood by ear. I'm not a fan of soaking wood or adding water to it, don't like the color of the smoke,white.

I like the cheap small white buns,myself!

Have FUN and good luck to ya.
To be safe am I better off to put two small boneless PBs (6lbs each) on the grill at 5am and that way it gives me 13 hours to cook (1 hour to rest PB) if we want to eat by 7pm.

Or... put on the night before at 9pm and have done by afternoon the next day? Then wrap in foil and place in cooler until ready to pull. How long can it sit in a cooler and maintain a safe temp?

I never grill cold protein. Does it matter if the PB comes right of the frig and onto the grill?
Originally posted by boltsfan:
How long can it sit in a cooler and maintain a safe temp?

I never grill cold protein. Does it matter if the PB comes right of the frig and onto the grill?

Holding time answee: depends on the size of the meat and temp it came finished at. Wrapped in a thick towel and set in an Igloo, you should be ok for 2-4 hrs. Your baseline safe temp is 160.

Cold protein, whether grilled or smoked will take a bit longer to finish but there's no harm in doing it.
Originally posted by boltsfan:
To be safe am I better off to put two small boneless PBs (6lbs each) on the grill at 5am and that way it gives me 13 hours to cook (1 hour to rest PB) if we want to eat by 7pm.

Or... put on the night before at 9pm and have done by afternoon the next day?

If you can maintain a decent temp, butts of this size should be done in about 6-7 hours max. I cook larger bone-in butts (8-10lbs)in about 6 hours on a daily basis. In a grill type environment, I'd cook at 300-325* to reduce the time the meat has to dry out.

Here's 8 cooking on my grill:
I think you'll have to determine how long it will take. Todd's cooker is very different from others, and the key is how well does you're hold temp.

I will disagree Todd, I'm not a fan of high heat pork, and dont' do PB over 250 and ribs over 275.

But, there are a 1,000 ways to cook that hog Big Grin
Yeah, I've been playing around with higher temps lately. Seeing those guys on TLC made me curious.

Overall, I prefer the texture and quality I get from my CS's, with the low and slow as is typical. But, I've have found, or am still looking I guess, for the sweet spot on my pig cookers and grill. They flow a lot more air, and while they'll hold low temps without a problem, they seem to shrink the meat a lot more, so I'm trying to speed things up.

The product I get when cooking at 325* chops great, but doesn't pull quite the same as meat cooked at a lower temp. Not bad, just different.

I'm cooking most every day, and for 2-6 butts, I'll use one of the CS's. For 8 or more I'll use the grill, or pig cooker if I've really got a load. Just depends. I'm playing a little.
Hey Todd:

What temp is the PB when you pull and chop? Have heard others with pig cookers using higher temps and chopping at lower PB temps.

I would like to make some chopped pork next time. My CS only goes to 250 though. Does the chopped pork freeze and reheat well? Should I chop, sauce, and freeze? Thanks
If I'm going to chop the pork, I look for an internal temp of about 185-190*. It still needs to come off the bone easily to be good chopping meat. Cooking at 250* won't change that, it will just take longer to get there.

You'll have slightly more fat left unrendered which aids with holding and flavor.

I chop, sauce and freeze with good results. Just squeeze as much air as possible out of the freezer bag, or better yet, use quart take out containers like soup comes in from the Chinese take out.
Update... first PB came out ok (I think).

I used foil pan underneath with a small amount of water. Used soaked hickory chips it cast iron smoker box. I did not mop. Temp averaged about 240.

It took a 3lb PB about 7 hours to reach 190. I wrapped in foil and let it rest for 30 minutes before chopping. Using two forks it did not "pull" as east as I thought it would. But was able to get some good pieces shredded. I cut off a lil of the bark and mixed in. Mixed in some of Smokin Okie's mop and tasted and it was very good. Wife (she loved it) thinks the mop might be a tad to spicy for my Mom and Dad so I might reduce the cayenne and red pepper flakes. Served on white hamburger buns and mage a jalapeno potato salad for a side.

I can see why you need to make a lot of PB as it does shrink by about half. Thanks for the tips...

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