How long can you hold pulled pork?
Pork is safe to eat as long as the internal temperature is over 140 degrees.
As long as the internal temperature is above 140, you can hold a pork butt for up to 12 hours.
With that being said, if you are needing to hold the shoulder for longer than12 hours, go ahead and refrigerate until closer to eating time.
If you try to hold a pork shoulder for too long, you run the risk of the internal temperature going below 140, causing it to become cold and mushy.
What is a safe temperature to keep pork shoulder warm?
The food safe temperature for pork is 140 degrees – your holding environment needs to be at least this temperature.
If the temperature of the pork shoulder goes lower than 140 for any significant amount of time, it is considered no longer safe for consumption.
The best way to avoid eating unsafe pork is to hold the shoulder in the oven with it set on warm. For most ovens this will keep the oven’s temperature between 170-200 degrees allowing you to guarantee the shoulder to be food safe.
How do you keep a pork shoulder warm without drying it out?
After pulling the pork shoulder, keep the shoulder intact and wrapped with aluminum foil or butcher paper.
When the pork shoulder is left intact, it allows the meat to retain all of the juices and moisture from the meat that would otherwise be lost if shredded. In addition, when the pork shoulder is wrapped the meat is able to reabsorb any juices that leave the shoulder during the smoking process.
With the shoulder wrapped and given the chance to reabsorb the juices or moisture it might have lost, you are able to hold the shoulder for a significant amount of time without fear of the meat drying out.
How long will a pork shoulder stay warm in a cooler?
Pork butts can stay at a safe temperature in a high quality cooler up to eight hours.
This can become a huge question if the shoulder you are cooking finishes way ahead of schedule and service time isn’t for several hours. Luckily a shoulder holds its temperature very well and with a few steps, you can keep the shoulder safe and warm up to eight hours.
Before pulling the shoulder off the smoker, boil a pot of water and pour it into your cooler. Close the lid and allow the cooler to preheat. After 10-15 minutes, dump the water out, line the bottom with a towel, then shut the lid tightly.
At this point, remove the shoulder from the smoker. If the shoulder was not wrapped in butcher paper during the cook, do so immediately.
In addition to butcher paper, wrap the shoulder in a thick towel and place it in the cooler with another towel on top.
With these steps of preheating the cooler and wrapping the shoulder with towels, you can expect your shoulder to stay at a food safe temperature in a high quality cooler for up to eight hours.
Holding pork shoulder in ice cooler overnight
You can hold a pork shoulder overnight, but an oven would ensure your shoulder is above a food safe temperature all night.
If you are able to use a preheated high quality cooler and several towels, your shoulder will most likely be able to stay at a food safe temperature overnight.
However several factors could affect this and could make your shoulder drop below an internal temp of 140.
The temperature of the air around the cooler will have a significant impact on the temperature inside of the cooler. It may be hot during the day, but the coolness of the night will affect the cooler and limit the length of the hold.
The size of the shoulder can also determine how long the meat can be held for. A shoulder weighing 10-14 pounds can stay warm quite a bit longer when compared to a 6-9 pound shoulder.
Holding pork shoulder in oven overnight
When holding a pork shoulder overnight in the oven, set the temperature to warm to ensure your pork shoulder stays at an appropriate temperature.
The best temperature to hold your shoulder is “warm” which for most ovens is between 170-200 degrees.
Along with setting the temperature to warm, leave the shoulder fully intact, wrapped in butcher paper, and place on a baking sheet to catch any liquid that may leak out.
When you are ready to eat simply take the shoulder out, unwrap, and shred the meat immediately.
Can I leave pulled pork on warm overnight?
For most ovens, the warm setting is a temperature between 170-200 degrees which is a perfect holding temperature.
Holding a shoulder in an oven set on “warm” is perfect for holding your pork shoulder overnight anywhere from three to eight hours.
If you are looking to do an overnight hold longer than 8 hours, slightly lower the temperature of the oven to 150 degrees. This will allow you to extend the length of the hold up to 12 hours without overcooking the meat.
Can you let pork shoulder rest too long?
A pork shoulder can “rest” too long if the liquid it is resting in begins to simmer. The simmering liquid will cause the meat to break down, lose its bark, and change the texture to become mushy.
If you are looking to hold a pork butt for longer than 10-12 hours, it would be best to store the whole shoulder in the fridge unshredded then warm again closer to the time of eating.