Monday, June 17, 2013

Pulled Pork For 100

Printable version
My cousin Tammy is a cancer survivor and every year she organizes a Relay for Life to help raise money for cancer research. Last year she asked me to make the main course for a special meal for survivors at the relay. I must have done ok because she decided to ask for my services again.

This year I not only donated the time to make the food but the cost of the food also, it was the least I could do to help in her effort to help stop the disease that effects all of us one way or the other.

The dinner this year was for 100. Tammy told me there had been a huge donation of rolls so something for a sandwich would be plausible. (Last year I made sliced tenderloin). A few months back I made a slow cooked loin that made for delicious pulled pork sandwiches and I thought it would be perfect for making the large amount needed for the dinner. I found the meat on sale at Kroger and snatched up 25 pounds. All I had to do was prepare, cook and deliver it. I’m happy that I was able to contribute to this great cause that Tammy works so hard at making happen each year.

Over the last year I have really branched out on my own when cooking for crowds. I have learned much from working with my Mom at private catering events and helping the Ragin’ Cajun, John Maxwell, cook for the masses at the Shiloh reception hall last summer. I feel confident enough now to do it myself. Mostly it’s understanding what and how to prepare things that work for large groups.

I would still have trouble creating individual plates for a massive sit-down dinner, but putting out a spread on a table for 60 to 100 is something I can embrace. It’s a lot of work, but it’s fun to do. Catering is not something I want to do full-time but for extra money on the side, or for a great cause like Tammy’s Relay for Life – I’m happy to do it.

Eat well, cook often ...

Makes 100 4 oz servings or sandwiches; 12 hours
1 C Brown sugar
1/2 C Cocoa powder
6 Tbs Chili powder
4 Tbs Cumin
6 Tbs Salt
4 Tbs Black pepper
25 lbs Pork loin, boneless
5 cans Diced tomatoes (28 oz)
5 Onions, diced
100 sandwich buns
1 gallon BBQ sauce

Make rub, season loin
In a bowl mix together brown sugar, cocoa powder, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper. Sprinkle over and rub into loin with hands until loin is completely covered, set aside for 30 minutes and let marinate.

Sear loin, prepare cookers
In a large pan over medium-high heat sear loin in olive oil (1 or 2 at a time). Mix together tomato, onion in large roasters or crock pots.

Cook loin, shred
Place seared loin on top of vegetable mixture in slow roasters or slow cookers. Cover and cook on low for 10 hours. Remove lid and shred loin with a fork, then stir together meat, juices and vegetables.

Make sandwiches
Place a portion of pork on a sandwich bun and dress with barbecue sauce for serving.


  1. I love pulled pork and would like to make it for my daughters graduation but I am on the fence about the tomatoes. I have never had it with tomatoes before. Can it be made without them?

  2. You can leave the tomatoes out, but I would add a cup of water or some other liquid. Try a small batch of the pork for dinner one night before making a huge batch. This recipe was adapted from a smaller batch of pork I made for pork tacos, find it here:

  3. Hey Justin! Great looking recipe! I'm cooking pulled pork for 100 in a month and you've made it look easy! I've made small batches using shoulder before but I'm nervous about using loin as from what I've read its too lean to stay moist after so much cooking. How do you get around this and would there be any problems substituting shoulder or picnic cuts?

  4. Thanks Cooking Man Dan!
    You can use this same recipe with shoulder or picnic cuts. The loin stays moist from its own fat and the juice and liquid of the tomatoes. The final product will be lean like shredded chicken and less fatty than using the shoulder and picnic cuts.

  5. This is great! I'll be cooking lunch for 100 people in a few weeks. Since my crock pot isn't large enough, I'd like to adapt the recipe to cook in my conventional oven. What temperature should I roast the meat at and for how long?

  6. For oven roasting I would use a pork shoulder instead of loin, roast at 275 until center of roast reaches 190, rest then shred ...

  7. Hi Justin how many crock pots did you use?

  8. I used a large roaster to cook the meat. If you go the crock pot route you will need at least 3 six quart slow cookers to cook the 25 pounds.

  9. Did you serve the sandwiches warm or cold?

  10. Did all 25 pounds fit in the roaster? Did you pack them in?

  11. CAVH - I used two roasters to cook. Then combined everything into one for service.

  12. Thank you very much for this recipe. I wondered if you had either much positive response to the pork or if it was too spicy for anyone? Thank you.

  13. Debra - There is was no heat in this recipe. The chili powder was very mild ...

  14. So, 25 pounds of pork loin fed 100 people?

  15. Regina, Yes. 4 oz = 1 person, 1 lb = 4 people, 25 lbs = 100 people!

  16. Hi Justin! I'm cooking pulled pork on Saturday for 133 people. I have 36lbs of loin. Did you cook the pork in a single layer in the roasters, or can you layer the meat?

  17. Mrs. Meesh - I cooked it in a single layer, and that's what I recommend. I've never cooked meat in layers in a roaster, so I don't recommend it. The meat on the top layer my turn out different than the bottom because it won't have any juice or fat to simmer in.

  18. Hi Justin!
    If I were to cook this in an oven overnight, what temperature do you suggest/for how long?
    Thanks so much

  19. Kailey - I have never done it that way, but if I had, I would make sure it was in something covered and at a real low temp. 225 to start with? But I would want to check it periodically, so I wouldn't do it overnight if I were attempting it for the first time in the oven. I'll have to drum up a party that wants a ton of pulled pork and cook a batch that way, then I'll be able to answer your question definitively! :) Just being honest ...

  20. Does the rub measurements make enough for all 25lbs of meat? Did you just divide it up amongst the loins? Thank you for your help... :)

  21. Yes. The rub is for all 25 lbs. Just distribute over the loins!

  22. I am cooking 25 lbs. of pork butt for pulled pork in the oven at 275 degrees, how long will it take?

  23. Terri - You'll want to cook the pork butt until the internal temp is at least 180°. I would guess 6 to 8 hours. Make sure you monitor it regularly. If it's not shredding with a fork it needs more time.

  24. I just made this recipe for a big party/event I'm hosting soon. I bought 12 pork sirloin roasts from Costco=approximately 25 lbs. At $1.99/lb you can't beat that. I used the exact same rub but added extra cumin, a bit of smoked paprika and Mexican oregano. I seared the roasts two-three at a time in a dutch oven on the stove top, but used my 22 qt Oster oven roaster to cook them in. I had to cook the roasts in two batches so the entire recipe took two days. The roaster held six roasts perfectly for each batch. I used the sauce exactly as Justin said, but strained some of tomatoes and added two cans of beef broth instead to equal what I strained out from the tomatoes for extra flavor. The roasts shrink quite a bit during cooking, and the sauce is more than plentiful. I cooked the roasts at 250 degrees for 10-12 hours in all, and they shredded perfectly. When the first batch was finished I refrigerated it, then after the second batch was finished I combined them all in the roaster, added about three qts BBQ sauce, strained the broth from the solids, and added some broth to the shredded barbecued pork to give it the right consistency, and simmered it all for about 30 minutes. What I had after cooking were two loaded 2-gallon storage bags, double-bagged for the freezer. Oh, and did I mention that it is delicious!! This recipe is easily cut in half, use six roasts, and decrease the liquid of course. That only thing I would do differently is to saute the onions before adding to the roaster. It would be easy to do in the oven. I think it would add more flavor. But it was great the way it was. Thank you for this recipe, Justin! It was just what I needed for this party.

  25. I'm going to try this recipe at a food tasting event.