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tips on cooling Pork Butts safely

 
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auto5man
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 24 18 1:54 am    Post subject: tips on cooling Pork Butts safely Reply with quote

need tips on safely cooling pork butts after removing from smoker (without commercial type refrigeration). I routinely cook 3-6 cases of pork butts, and by routine I mean several times per year. The cool down part of the operation is always a little challenging. Anyone have any tips or suggestions?

thanks,

Dave
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Pit Boss
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 24 18 5:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

At the very least you should break them apart into smaller muscle groups. Then let them sit uncovered until the temperature drops to around 135...then start the chill process. You can do that in coolers with the meat in metal pans sitting on top of a bed of ice. But that's alot of coolers...you may think about putting the butts on in stages...like a couple of hours apart. Makes for a longer cook, but helps you stage your way through the cooling process.

The other option is to cool the broken down butts to 135, vacuum seal, and slip them into an ice bath...that can be done in a cooler as well. This is the best option. They will cool rapidly this way.

And yet another option is to go ahead and pull them. This will cool them even quicker from the pit. Then once to 135, vac bag, and let them swim in the pool of cool.

Chilling in an ice bath is very efficient & extremely safe.
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auto5man
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 24 18 1:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I appreciate the response, and I agree that would be effective, but not applicable to my cooking situations. For example, my last benefit cook was a band booster fundraiser where I donated my time and cookers, and gave all profit to the band. I cooked 48 butts and they are sold WHOLE, so not possible to tear down muscle groups and vacuum bag, then chill in ice water bath. I do staging for sure, butts vary in weight and finish at different times. The butts are sold as whole units so they cannot be broken down. I like the ice bath chill but vacuum packing 48 fairly hot butts seems daunting AND expensive? Anyway, would love to hear some more ideas and thank you for your input!
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Pit Boss
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 25 18 8:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

How far ahead do you cook these prior to selling them?
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auto5man
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 28 18 1:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pit Boss,

Usually one week-end ahead. Some folks buy ahead for a future event or a day or two ahead for an event, or same day for immediate consumption. So I can freeze some, chill some, and the others will be picked up hot.

So for this cook, the deadline to order was 3/24. I changed up my usual procedure a bit...instead of doing 6 cases on one day....I did 3 cases saturday and 3 cases sunday. Much more manageable in one cook as far as cooling. As they finished in stages I let them rest (weather was in the 50's - 60's so that was a definite plus) for one hour, then foiled them and placed in a large ice chest (max 4 at once). I leave them in the ice chest for about an hour, then moved them to either the freezer or fridge. I have two huge coolers, line the bottom with ice, then the butts go in long pans on top of the ice. This process would have been rough with 6 cases, but worked pretty well with only 3 cases per cook.

We actually oversold last minute(happens with multiple folks pushing sales), so next saturday I'll cook two more cases.
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auto5man
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PostPosted: Mon May 21 18 11:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

and by way of follow up, these butts were some of the best tasting butts I've ever done!
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SecretS



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PostPosted: Fri May 25 18 5:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ith proper packing and adding some hot bottles of water, I have held for six hours and the meat was still 180 after that time. Technically, as long as you hold the meat over 140 you are food safe. Once you drop below 140 is when you enter the danger zone. meat's held long periods at higher temps, like that six hours at 180+, will break down the connective tissue a lot, which in some cases can have undesirable effects on the meat, making it fall apart or mushy.

I like to hold at higher temps just a couple hours. Then, if you still need to hold, I suggest a warmer at 140
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Pit Boss
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PostPosted: Fri May 25 18 9:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you're using a commercial walk-in cooler, the most efficient spot is the top shelf. That allows the fans from the condenser to blow across them, robbing heat in a hurry. Sheet pans on the top shelf loaded with whatever you need to cool. Use sheet pans so that the product is well exposed to the moving air.

This is if you can't do a true ice bath. I agree with cooling them to 140-135 before putting them in the walk-in. The food safety danger zone clock starts ticking at 135. So your pans on ice in a cooler will work fine until you hit 135...at that time they need to be rapidly cooling...and the top shelf of the walk-in is perfect for that job.
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RodinBangkok
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PostPosted: Sun May 27 18 8:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You don't need to use expensive ice to cool, put the pulled pork in large bags, no need to vacuum seal either, just so the bags are water tight. Use large bags so that when laid flat the meat is less than an inch thick.

Use a large tub or in your sink run tap water over them, a slow trickle of water such that the tub/sink will overflow and continually maintain the water temp at the tap temp. You'll be surprised how quick these will come down to your water tap temp. At that point you can place the flat bags in one layer in the fridge bringing them down to above freezing, then transfer to a freezer, but don't stack them as that will create a thick layer that will not freeze quickly. Once frozen stack them up and your set to go, and they will defrost very quickly using the same technique with tap water.

If you use ice, you'll just quickly melt the ice and the stagnant water will come up to a temp well above what you want, by using a continuous flow of tap water you will reach your target much faster and cheaper!
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