Lately I’ve had a lot of people asking me about cooking full loads on their smokers for benefits and fundraisers.
And I’m happy to help out with information here. Especially when you are raising money for someone in need or to help kids raise money.
When my cooker is loaded, I kick up the temps about 25 degrees to compensate, and I always rotate the meat. My typical time for butts is 8-9hrs but for a fully loaded smoker it’s about 12-13. Give yourself ample time and it never hurts to hold them if they get done a little early.
It’s just about guaranteed that you’ll have areas on the grate that cook hotter, so keep an eye on things and you’ll be fine. It probably won’t be necessary to rotate until you wrap.
I like to start everything cooking for 4-5 hours then get ready to wrap (look for color and internal temp around 150-160). The butts that are ahead internally can then be easily moved to a cooler zone to give the rest time to catch up. You may need to rotate one more time half way through the wrapped stage. Placing the wrapped butts in aluminum pans makes this job pretty easy if you have room for that many pans on the grate.
The only real issue after that is making sure the butts stay out of the danger zone before you can deliver them to the folks that bought them. You need to make sure the butts stay hot in a dry cooler or cambro (up to 4-5 hours after cooking). After that point they need to get chilled below 40 degrees.
Believe me, it’s much easier to deliver your butts – or have your pickup times – scheduled so that everyone can pick them up hot. This means you don’t have to worry about cooling them down and keeping them cold.
And if you are looking for some reheating/storage directions to give people, you can model this one I created for our fundraisers: Killer Hogs Reheating Pork Butt