Well, the shower is over and we survived.  We ended up getting more RSVPs and had a count of 47 people that they were going to be there to celebrate the future wedding, and we had to feed all of them.  We were starting to worry about how it was going to work out.  However, we worried for nothing and it came off without a hitch.

On Tuesday I was about to call up the meat market and have them order the pork butts for us. Before that we got our mail and I found the ads for the local stores.  The meat market has some great looking meat but it was $2.19 per pound and we needed at least 26 pounds. The Krogers ad announced that “Meat Mania” was kicking off the next morning and they had Pork Butts for .99 a pound.  Yep…  one penny less than a dollar a pound.  We had to buy them in the “bulk pack” but it was still cheaper than what we were going to have to pay.  We ended up with 32 pounds of pork butt for less than $30.00.   They also had whole chicken on sale for $.88 a pound and we picked up 25 pounds of it.

We did most of our shopping on Tuesday and low and behold, the Lord had blessed us.  Just about every item we needed for the wedding shower was on sale.  It was amazing because every ad we opened had something we needed.

On Thursday I opened up the pork butts and dropped them into our “Brine Box.”  That would be a ice chest that we use to brine our turkeys in before we fry them for Thanksgiving.  I filled the box with water, salt, apple juice, cut apples, cut oranges (after squeezing the juice into the box) and some spices.  We let them soak in the box for around 20 hours.

I pulled them out of the box around 11:00 a.m. and rinsed them off and put them on the smoker.  I plugged in the temperature probe into the meat and set the alarms.  Last week I had noticed while the lump charcoal retains the heat better it still had trouble getting the smoker box up to around 225 where I wanted it.  If I opened up the door to the fire box and allowed more air in it would get up to temperature.  However, that also made the fire burn faster and there was less smoke.

I ended up getting a box fan and putting it a couple feet from the fire box.  I put it on high and pointed it at the air vents.  This not only allowed the heat to rise in the smoke box, it pushed the smoke into the smoker box as well. This also sped up the cooking of the meat.  It came up to temperature much faster than I expected.  The meat stalled in it’s cooking at about 145 degrees so I pulled it from the smoker, wrapped it in foil with apple juice and put it into the oven. I could have left it on longer but I did not want the smoke to make it taste bitter.   We turned the oven on to 225 and left it there for about 3 more hours.

While I was smoking all this meat I also had 48 ears of corn that we had to grill.  I put some lump charcoal in the charcoal grill and started to grill the corn as well.  That made for some awesomely sweet corn that had a great flavor.

This is what 32 pounds of pork butt looks like when on the smoker.

(Yeah I know, 20 more minutes in the smoker because I opened it up to take the photo.)

When the meat moved to around 185 I pulled it to let it rest.  After about an hour or so I was able to handle the meat and started to pull it.  we ended up with three of the foil trays full of meat and one pork butt that I never go to pull.  We ended up putting that one in the freezer after the shower since not all of the other was ate.  We actually ended up with quite a bit of meat left over.  We gave some away and put the rest in the freezer for later.

Cheri wanted a way that she could label what everything was on the tables.  She talked about a few things but we came up with a cool idea.  We had bought several pineapples for the fruit skewers.  I suggested we take the tops of the pineapples and use them as the stands for the labels.  We put some of the skewers into the pineapple top and Cheri made some flowers with the labels on them and stuck them onto the skewers.  They looked great and they fit in with the theme.

We had a great time giving the shower.  Only three people were unable to make it so we ended up having 44 people here at the house.  We fed them all and they were all happy with the meal.  Most people thought we had the dinner catered and were surprised to find that Cheri and I had done everything. We were told a few times that we needed to go into catering.

After every one started eating we were able to relax a bit and enjoy ourselves a bit more.  We watched as Lance and Julie opened their presents and visited with everyone.  I think we all had a great time.