Who in their right mind would want to cook 50lbs of meat? I’ve never claimed to be in my right mind and I don’t intend to start now. So ya, I cooked up 50 lbs of pork shoulder to serve at my mother in law’s family reunion, which I guess is my family reunion too.
I started this whole pulled pork endeavor by googling “how to cook 50 pounds of meat”. Nothing. Not one blogger had a post on how to cook obscene quantities of pork. That changes today. If I can help one person cook themselves into a pork overdose I’ll have done my job as a blogger. OK, now the details.
But a warning: this is not for the faint of stomach or vegans. This project requires either a huge oven or a huge fridge, preferably both.
How to Cook 50 lbs of Pulled Pork
You can’t just walk into the grocery store and order 50 lbs of meat, you need a butcher who can do a special order. I asked for the pork to be cut into manageable chunks, which in my head meant 3-4 lb roasts but in the butchers head meant 1 lb chunks. I had a momentary meltdown over it but in the end it worked out for the best. Maximum flavour and less cooking time.
The hardest part of the whole process was multiplying the recipe to cover our 50 lbs. We mixed up Tyler Florence’s Dry Rub recipe, times 7, and let the meat sit overnight to marinate.
The next morning I fit all 50 lbs into my oven and roasted it for about 6 hours at 300. I was so very happy to have such a big oven and do it all in one shot. After about 2 hours I covered the pans with foil to prevent the meat from drying out.
Once the meat was fork tender and falling apart easily I hauled it out to cool. It was at this point that we started tasting. The rub was superb and the pork was delicious. Thus began the overdose.
Ken and I spent a romantic Friday night pulling and shredding all 50 lbs of pork. Nothing says I love you like spending a night with your hands covered in pork fat.
Saturday brought the cooking of barbecue sauce. Here things went a bit off the rails. I used a barbecue sauce recipe from The New York Times, not sure if it was the original recipe or I messed up the multiplication but we had a very vinegary barbecue sauce.
Ken took one for the whole family team and stayed up until well past bedtime tinkering with the sauce until it was to his satisfaction.
We mixed up the pork and the barbecue sauce the day of the big family shindig and heated it all up in the oven. It took about 3 hours for it to be heated all the way through. Also covered in tin foil to keep the meat from drying out.
Our pulled pork sandwiches got a big thumbs up from the family. Goal achieved!