How To Cook 50 Pounds Of Meat

Say what? 


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. 

pulled pork

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.   

pulled pork

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. 

pulled pork

Pork pulled and barbecue sauce ready to serve


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. 

pulled pork sandwich

Family approval

Our pulled pork sandwiches got a big thumbs up from the family. Goal achieved! 




  1. Perhaps it would have been easier to roast a pig on a spit :) Actually this is a really helpful post. My father in laws 80th birthday is coming up and if I can’t talk the family into going out to dinner I’m going to be stuck hosting and this is an excellent idea. I do think I will get a little help with the pulling though.

    • Kristin Glasbergen says:

      You said father in law, that means Craig is bound by birth to help pull. And it tasted so good I bet the kids would get into it too, for a minute anyway.
      They considered roasting a pig but I didn’t trust Ken or his brother to know what they were doing or how to butcher it and I’m not all that keen on watching the face of the animal I am eating.
      This let us enjoy the party while the meat heated up and it was really simple to serve.

  2. Sounds absolutely delicious and it would be a great idea for when I finally get a decent sized freezer.

    • Kristin Glasbergen says:

      Maybe not 50 lbs worth, that was a bit extreme but yes and really economical. I will make the rub again because we used it a lot. In burgers, meatloaf. And now that I have all that delicious smoked paprika!

Share Your Homemade Thoughts