ElToro.com – Thunder Over Louisville Party

While I acknowledge that hundred if not thousands of BBQ joints all across the nation cook several hundred pounds of meat on a day to day basis I must give myself a pat on the back for completing the feat myself. April 23, was the big kick off for the Kentucky Derby Festival aka Thunder Over Louisville. If you grew up in Louisville, KY or even if you’ve visited between the months of April and May you know just how serious this two weeks of festivities can be.

 

Thunder Over Louisville 2016

Hell, I just won the Kentucky Derby Festival Burger contest about four weeks ago. Needless to say a lot of work, preparation and good times go into making the next two weeks the most grand time in the region.

This years festivities coincide with my company’s move to a more premier location in the heart of downtown Louisville. With the move came the idea to throw a massive Thunder Over Louisville party and I was asked to provide smoked meats for the edibles. I quickly came up with the idea to do some of my all time favorite brisket and pulled pork tacos. Somewhere along the line we invited about 200 or so folks. As I set out a few nights ago on the quest for the highest quality beef brisket and pork shoulders I never really stopped to think of the magnitude of work I’d gotten myself into. Before this ordeal the most meat that I’d ever smoked at one time was just north of 40 pounds. For this affair I picked up right at 131 pounds!

It wasn’t until I was heading back from Boone’s Butcher Shop in Bardstown Kentucky with a cooler packed tight with seven whole packer beef briskets that I began to realize just what I’d gotten myself into. Luckily I had about a 45 minute ride to start specking out how I would manage to smoke 131 pounds of meat between my 55 gallon barrel smoker and my 18 inch large Big Green Egg. Nonetheless I figured it out and I started a day earlier than I normally would. I have this thing about serving my smoked meats fresh off the smoker but this time a little refrigeration and reheating was absolutely necessary.

It all started late on a Wednesday night and the following is a transcript of the next 48 hours of my culinary life….

Oak Hickory Peach Wood

4-20-16

10:30 PM – Fires Started

11:00 – 11:30 PM Hand Grind Black Peppercorns

Boones Butcher Shop Brisket

4-21-16

12:00 – 12:30 AM – Oil and Rub First Round of Beef Briskets

12:30 AM Four of Seven Beef Briskets placed on Big Green Egg and Barrel Smoker

Barrel Smoker Beef Briskets

2:00 AM – Two Hour Nap

4:00 AM – Fire Check / Apple Juice Spritz / Rotate Beef Briskets

Pork Shoulder Apple Juice Spritz

7:00 AM – Fire Check / Wrap Beef Briskets In Heavy Duty Aluminum Foil

10:00 AM – Fire Check

1:00 PM – Pull Beef Briskets From Barrel Smoker and Rest In Styrofoam Cooler

1:15 PM – Pull Beef Briskets From Big Green Egg and Rest In Styrofoam Cooler

1:20 PM – Rub Remaining Three Beef Briskets With SmoFried Brisket Rub

1:30 PM – Place Remaining Three Beef Briskets On Barrel Smoker

2:00 – 3:00 – Peel Ten Cloves of Garlic

Peeled Garlic

3:15 PM – Start Three of Seven Pork Shoulders In Molasses Brine

Pork Shoulder Brine Buckets

4:00 PM – Fire Check / Rotate Beef Briskets

7:00 PM – Fire Check / Wrap Remaining Beef Briskets In Heavy Duty Aluminum Foil

8:00 PM – Begin Slicing Cabbage / Purple Onion / Carrots For Bourbon Pickled Slaw

10:00 PM – Pull Remaining Beef Briskets From the Barrel Smoker

11:00 PM – Wrap Up Canning 20 Pint Sized Jars of Bourbon Pickled Slaw

Bourbon Pickeld Slaw

 

11:30 PM – Restart Barrel Smoker Fire With Hickory Wood

4-22-16

12:00 AM Rub Four of Seven Pork Shoulders with Memphis Dust Rub

12:30 AM – Place Four of Seven Pork Shoulders on the Barrel Smoker

Pork Shoulders With Bark

 

1:30 AM – Begin Slicing and Pulling All Seven Beef Briskets

2:30 AM – Wrap Beef Brisket Serving Trays With Heavy Duty Aluminum Foil – All Beef Brisket Complete

3:00 AM – Fire Check / Rotate Pork Shoulders / Two Hour Nap

5:00 AM – Fire Check / 2.5 Hour Nap

7:30 AM – Fire Check / Restart Big Green Egg Fire for Final Three of Seven Pork Shoulders

9:15 AM – Start Final Three of Seven Pork Shoulders On Big Green Egg

9:30 AM – Wrap Four of Seven Pork Shoulders in Heavy Duty Aluminum Foil and Place Back On Barrel Smoker

Foil Wrapped Pork Shoulders

11:50 AM – Fire Check / Temperature Check

1:00 PM – Fire Check / Temperature Check

2:00 PM – Pull Four Pork Shoulders Off Barrel Smoker / One Hour Rest

2:30 PM – Temperature Check

3:30 PM – Wrap Final Three Pork Shoulders in Heavy Duty Aluminum Foil

3:45 PM – Begin Pulling Four of Seven Pork Shoulders

5:00 – 6:30 PM – Prepare Basil Aioli and Horseradish Aioli

6:35 PM – Pull Final Three Pork Shoulders Off Big Green Egg

Pork Shoulder Deboned 2Pork Shoulder Deboned 3

Pork Shoulder Deboned 4Pork Shoulder Deboned 5

9:30 PM – Pull Final Three Pork Shoulders and Wrap Serving Trays

Big Green Egg Pork Shoulders

10:00 PM – Food Packed Into Car – Ready For Delivery

10:30 PM – Food Delivered

Smofried Catering

Notes:

*This is the first time that I’ve ever weighed food after it was prepared. I found some pretty amazing metrics on shrinkage. I started out with 65 pounds of Beef Briskets and 65 pounds of Pork Shoulder. After everything was smoked, deboned and trimmed I ended up with 24 pounds of Beef Brisket and 38 pounds of Pulled Pork.

*You can copy and paste the spreadsheet that I used to pick up all of the necessary resources for this cook here:
El Toro Thunder Party Spreadsheet

Recipes

Bourbon Pickled Slaw

Angels Envy Bourbon Pickled Slaw

Ingredients:

Cabbage
Carrots
Purple Onion
Apple Cider Vinegar
Woodford Reserve Bourbon

Directions: For best results make a day or two in advance.

1. In a large stock pot add one gallon of apple cider vinegar and a half liter of your favorite bourbon.

2. Add in one cup of turbinado sugar and one cup of kosher salt and stir until both are completely dissolved.

3. Turn the stove on medium heat and cook until the liquid begins to boil.

4. Peel off several outter layers of one head of cabbage. Thinly slice the cabbage into strips and place in a large mixing bowl.

5. Slice the carrots into thin medallions and add with the cabbage.

6. Slice the purple onion into eighths and then thinly slice each piece into match like sticks.

7. Mix all of the chopped and sliced vegetables in the large mixing bowl.

8. Stuff the mixed vegetables into one quart sized mason jars.

9. Once the bourbon and apple cider vinegar mixture has reached a rolling boil begin pouring the liquid into each mason jar filling until one inch from the top.

10. Place the lid on the jar and refrigerate over night.

Basil Aioli

Ingredients:

Basil
Mayonnaise
Garlic
Lemon Juice
Lemon Zest
Cracked Black Pepper
Kosher Salt
White Sugar

Directions: For best results make a day or two in advance.

1. Add one 64 ounce jar of Hellman’s brand mayonnaise to a large mixing bowl.

2. Combine the basil and garlic in a food processor and run until both ingredients are finely chopped. Add the pureed basil and garlic to the mayonnaise.

3. Juice one whole lemon into a container then add to the mayonnaise and garlic basil mixture.

4. Zest the outside of the the lemon over the large mixing bowl.

5. Finally, add in desired amounts of kosher salt, fresh cracked black pepper and pure white sugar.

6. Stir all of the ingredients together until a smooth and creamy outcome.

Horseradish Aioli

Ingredients:

Horseradish Root
Mayonnaise
Garlic
Lemon Juice
Lemon Zest
Cracked Black Pepper
Kosher Salt
White Sugar

Directions: For best results make a day or two in advance.

1. Add one 64 ounce jar of Hellman’s brand mayonnaise to a large mixing bowl.

2. Using a peeler, peel the skin from a large piece of horseradish root. Once all of the skin is peeled chop the root into several manageable pieces.

3. Combine the horseradish root pieces and garlic in a food processor and run until both ingredients are finely chopped. Add the pureed horseradish root and garlic to the mayonnaise.

4. Juice one whole lemon into a container then add to the mayonnaise and garlic horseradish mixture.

5. Zest the outside of the the lemon over the large mixing bowl.

6. Finally, add in desired amounts of kosher salt, fresh cracked black pepper and pure white sugar.

7. Stir all of the ingredients together until a smooth and creamy outcome.

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