It takes a combination of experience, skill, and patience when smoking meats to juicy perfection, and it used to be that there was only a small window of time to serve the meat when it's at its best.
But now, barbecue restaurants and pitmasters use warming units with new technology that keeps the meat at a safe 140°F, but doesn't dry it out. This extended holding time also lets the meat rest for a longer period of time, and it turns out that the best barbecued meats benefit from this resting period. It's a win-win for all, with better-textured, tastier meats, and a lot more flexibility on serving time.
→ Read more: Pitmasters Embrace New Barbecue Truth: Rested Meat Is Sublime from National Public Radio