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Behold My Butt! (2007– )

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I'm "catering" a graduation party for a friend's child (oh!  young adult!) who has requested butt, tortillas, and all of the fixings.

I'm trying to get a handle on how much folks will eat.  This will be a stand-alone graduation party, at dinner time, and I know we'll offer hard and soft shells.

Although I think I can get my arms around now much cooked meat I will need, has anyone weighed a butt after smoking to know how much loss there is?  I know that every butt is different (snicker), but anyone have any rough guidelines?

No help on before-and-after butt weight, but (heh) I can offer a single data point: 15 pounds of boneless, skinless butt provided pulled pork sandwiches and banh mi for twelve adults, teens, and near-teens with plenty of leftovers. If you have lots of fixings, a half-pound to 3/4 pound of raw meat per person should be sufficient (but go for the high end for "young adults").

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No help on before-and-after butt weight, but (heh) I can offer a single data point: 15 pounds of boneless, skinless butt provided pulled pork sandwiches and banh mi for twelve adults, teens, and near-teens with plenty of leftovers. If you have lots of fixings, a half-pound to 3/4 pound of raw meat per person should be sufficient (but go for the high end for "young adults").

Crap. I'm thinking 50 kids and 40 adults. Oh me, oh my! Can anyone guess what I'm doing this next week? I'm actually thinking about augmenting with a chuck roast braised dish from one of Bayless's books that is augmented with onions, tomatoes and lots of jalapenos. No reason not to do that with the mess of crock pots I can procure at a moments notice.

And, those teens can sure stash it away, can't they?

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And, those teens can sure stash it away, can't they?

Well- I am thinking that the quality of your product is going to generate major munching- so your skills are your enemy.... good luck!

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I've done a few pulled pork parties with my butts and have found that about 3/4 lb of butt pp is necessary -- so that's about 70 lbs if you go butt-only. The problem with augmenting it with anything else is that no one will want option two when there's butt to be et.

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No help on before-and-after butt weight, but (heh) I can offer a single data point: 15 pounds of boneless, skinless butt provided pulled pork sandwiches and banh mi for twelve adults, teens, and near-teens with plenty of leftovers. If you have lots of fixings, a half-pound to 3/4 pound of raw meat per person should be sufficient (but go for the high end for "young adults").

Crap. I'm thinking 50 kids and 40 adults. Oh me, oh my! Can anyone guess what I'm doing this next week? I'm actually thinking about augmenting with a chuck roast braised dish from one of Bayless's books that is augmented with onions, tomatoes and lots of jalapenos. No reason not to do that with the mess of crock pots I can procure at a moments notice.

And, those teens can sure stash it away, can't they?

For that big of a crowd have you thought of doing a whole pig? It won't fit in your kettle, but pig cookers are usually available for rental, at least around here they are. For 90 people though, even a whole P-I-G hog will come up short.

For 90 people I would think you need 120 lbs or so uncooked weight of butt. And that's a lot of pork to smoke.

I have total faith that you can pull this off in a positive fashion. But you will be smoking a long time to produce that much butt in the ol' kettle.

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I've done a few pulled pork parties with my butts and have found that about 3/4 lb of butt pp is necessary -- so that's about 70 lbs if you go butt-only. The problem with augmenting it with anything else is that no one will want option two when there's butt to be et.

3/4 lb per person may be a good average. Just don't expect ME to only eat that much. I would imagine there are a few non-meat eaters in Susan's crowd to help out the averages so that may be spot on but I would tend to think it may be just a bit low. However, I could eat smoke butt for a long time till I get tired of it

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I have found that when I do bone-in butts, I usually get about 1/2 the original weight in usable meat.

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I've done a few pulled pork parties with my butts and have found that about 3/4 lb of butt pp is necessary...

3/4 lb per person may be a good average. Just don't expect ME to only eat that much.

Oh, yeah, I was talking about innocent civilians, not me. And while we're at it, don't you have to add like a 3-4 lb buffer for "cook's treats"?

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I know its heresy but I think your best bet is to give the meat 2hours of smoke then transfer them to the oven and start over with more meat...and so on and so on

there is the theory that after a certain temp your not picking up any more smoke flavor anyway

T

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I know its heresy  but I think your best bet is to give the meat 2hours of smoke then transfer them to the oven and start over with more meat...and so on and so on

there is the theory that after a certain temp your not picking up any more smoke flavor anyway

T

If I remember correctly, I think that temp was around 140 degrees F.

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Actually, with the last butts I did, I pulled them at 1:30 am, as they were in the stall, foiled and fridged them and put them in the oven the next day. Once they were in the oven, they continued through the stall to that nice point where they emerge from said stall. They pulled beautifully. And, yes, I believe that magic temp is 140.

I'm borrowing my neighbor's smoker (one of those upright Brinckman's) tomorrow as I'll be doing 30 pounds of butt.

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Actually, with the last butts I did, I pulled them at 1:30 am, as they were in the stall, foiled and fridged them and put them in the oven the next day.  Once they were in the oven, they continued through the stall to that nice point where they emerge from said stall.  They pulled beautifully.  And, yes, I believe that magic temp is 140.

I'm borrowing my neighbor's smoker (one of those upright Brinckman's) tomorrow as I'll be doing 30 pounds of butt.

Good luck, Susan. My first smoker was a Brinkman and I hated it and soon discarded it. No way to regulate temps as it had no vents. Perhaps your loaner is an upgrade from the one I had. In any case, have fun! 30 lbs of butt is nothing to sneeze at no matter how it is done.


Edited by lancastermike (log)

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Actually, with the last butts I did, I pulled them at 1:30 am, as they were in the stall, foiled and fridged them and put them in the oven the next day.  Once they were in the oven, they continued through the stall to that nice point where they emerge from said stall.  They pulled beautifully.  And, yes, I believe that magic temp is 140.

I'm borrowing my neighbor's smoker (one of those upright Brinckman's) tomorrow as I'll be doing 30 pounds of butt.

Good luck, Susan. My first smoker was a Brinkman and I hated it and soon discarded it. No way to regulate temps as it had no vents. Perhaps your loaner is an upgrade from the one I had. In any case, have fun! 30 lbs of butt is nothing to sneeze at no matter how it is done.

I have opted for tried and true, the Trusty Old Kettle. I have two butts on, and maintained heat at 200-225 until they reached 160, and have opened up the vents to get those babies done, so I can get the other two butts on tonight, and hopefully go to bed at a civilized time. I know the Trusty Old Kettle, and it performs well for me.

QUESTION (yes, I'm shouting): I'm assuming I should freeze these butts for Saturday, pull them out on Thursday into the fridge to thaw, gently reheat and then pull late Friday night for Saturday's Soiree? My friend, BTW, says I'm catering, but doesn't that imply being paid :biggrin: . BTW, it's an honor to do this for the particular grad.

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I'd pull then just vacuum-seal them. That way you don't have to deal with defrosting them (and thus with even the slightest degradation from freezing -- and I know the degradation is slight) and you also get the pulling done earlier in the week. If it were me, I'd be running around like a nut Friday night and would be grateful for sealed bags that just need to be reheated in boiling water.

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I don't have a vacuum sealer. Any other suggestions?

Note: my butts are beautiful, although the fat cap cracked slightly. I have kept a household of little boys totally amused today with butt talk. Since they are boneless (read boy laughter), I tied them, which led to even more laughter.

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I agree with Chris based on the same considerations. When pulling I make sure all the juices are saved and added to the freezer bag. I also have no vacuum sealer, but heavy duty freezer bags, especially for the short freezer time you are looking at, with the air well squeezed out, should be fine. Hope the cook is snagging some crusty treats for herself!

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I agree with Chris based on the same considerations. When pulling I make sure all the juices are saved and added to the freezer bag. I also have no vacuum sealer, but heavy duty freezer bags, especially for the short freezer time you are looking at, with the air well squeezed out, should be fine. Hope the cook is snagging some crusty treats for herself!

Amazing, isn't it, how many beautiful bits just seem to "fall off the butt!"

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I'd pull then, freeze. You could wrap the pulled pork in foil first then into your freezer bags, but it doesn't sound like it's going to be frozen all that long.

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But why bother freezing at all?

Assuming the butts are going to be eaten this Sat, then I'd probably agree with Chris. Wrap them well in foil, maybe double wrapped. Unpulled. Re heat gently then pull. Much longer than that, and I'd pull and freeze.

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I'm fridging them, totally foiled, reheating and getting a mess of kids to have a wonderful time pulling butt!

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Did a skin-on 9# butt this weekend. It was the first time I did a non-brined butt. I picked it up Saturday afternoon on a whim, scored it on both sides about 1/2" or so, and then rubbed a ton of a salted, cajun-y rub into the thing. Overnight in the Bradley with hickory, finished off without smoke in same at about 225F. It was excellent.

I'm prepared to state definitively that, for pulled pork, a skin-on, bone-in butt (which includes, of course, a good fat cap) from Your Average Pork Supplier is superior to a boned Niman butt with barely any fat on it. (This is not true for other applications, especially sausage, and if anyone has connections at Niman and can get me a skin-on, bone-in butt, drop me a PM.) I am also wondering if brining is worth the trouble with said skin-on, bone-in butts.

Thoughts?

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I never understood the need for brining a skin-on, bone-in butt, or spareribs for that matter. Make's them almost too ham-my tastiing, imo. I doubt you'd see any pros brining - now, overnight with a rub with lots of salt, that's a different story.

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I forgot to post about this earlier, but I smoked my first butt of the season -- my first butt in many years, actually -- on July 4th weekend. My, my, what I have been missing!!

A bit of background: I lived in a one-bedroom apartment in Astoria for six years before moving to New Jersey 2-1/2 years ago. That apartment had no access to a courtyard, no balcony, nor even a fire escape on which to attempt barbecue of any kind. All meat was cooked in the oven or on a cast iron grill pan. It sucked, bigtime.

In Hackensack, we lived in a high rise that only allowed George Foreman-esque electric grills on the balcony, which I had utterly no use for. We bought a huge Char-Broil offset smoker before realizing this, but quickly got shut down by the fire department after an inspection. Apparently, my research into the Bergen County Fire Code wasn't extensive enough to include the part where you pay off the inspector. We couldn't even sneak our Smokey Joe out there for a quick burger because our neighbor, Smokey the Bear, reported us the one time we tried. :hmmm:

Fast forward to this year when we moved to our new townhouse, also a rental, in Central New Jersey. The official policy is no barbecues, but the accepted custom is to break this policy and no one actually cares. In this spirit, we purchased a large, stainless steel gas grill from Sam's Club and a Weber Smokey Mountain cooker. Fortunately, the big one didn't get delivered until after this year's fire inspection, while the WSM just hid in the garage. I started using it sometime in early May, for spareribs, and have been in ecstasy ever since. This thing puts that crappy K-mart purchased smoker I used to use upstate (Pine Plains) to shame.

For my first smoked butt of the season -- of the millennium, actually -- I purchased a 7-1/2 pound bone-in pork shoulder from Wegman's. I bought it over a month prior because I thought my eyes were deceiving me and that I'd never see one again. You couldn't find a butt in either Hackensack or Astoria to save your life. I vacuum-sealed it and thought about it every day since. I seasoned it with a generic rub mixture (coarse salt, black pepper, smoked paprika, etc.) that I made for the ribs and slapped it on the WSM at 7:45 a.m. Using the Minion Method, I burned two chimney's worth of mostly Kingsford charcoal with a bit of lump thrown in (because I ran out of Kingsford), a few fist-sized chunks of hickory and some apple wood chips from the local orchard that I wrapped in foil and poked holes through to prevent them burning up too quickly. Even though it was raining on and off all day, I had no problem maintaining a mostly 225-250 degree temperature for the 13+ hours it smoked. It took way longer than I thought it would, though. At 9 p.m., when we couldn't take it anymore, we pulled it, even though its internal temperature had only reached 188 at that point. Close enough.

Unfortunately, we were too starved to take additional photos of the finished product, which was served on homemade buns (Moomie's, modified with some potato flour) with Steven Raichlen's Carolina Vinegar BBQ Sauce with added sliced onions (per bilrus), creamy coleslaw, and twice-fried potatoes. After a half hour tented rest, the bone came right out and the pork pulled quite easily. It could have cooked even more as there was the slightest bit of sticky fat left inside, but that was easily scraped away. The meat was tender and extremely flavorful, with a nice rind. I read after the fact that you get more crust with the fat cap removed, so I actually did this with the butt already on the smoker. Not the easiest thing in the world, but I'm glad I did. I just rubbed in some more spice where the fat had been removed. The finished product was plenty moist.

Here are two crappy photos, one of my WSM setup and one of my butt at the nine-hour mark. Thanks for reading. :smile:

gallery_55703_6105_41342.jpggallery_55703_6105_453929.jpg

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