Butts -To foil or not to foil?

Discussion in 'Pork' started by buckeye024, Jul 30, 2009.

  1. buckeye024

    buckeye024 Smoke Blower

    ...that is the question.

    I've done several butts in the past two years since I got my first smoker. I'll be doing a butt early next week. But, I've always foiled around 160-170 degrees, and then put it in the oven to finish it off until 200 degrees. However this time I'm thinking of a change, I'm thinking of going the full distance...leaving it in the smoker without foil until 200 degrees. Is there a big difference? Is it worth it? Thoughts?
  2. rivet

    rivet Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I thinks butts are the easiest thing in the worl to smoke and BBQ, maybe since they were the first thing I learned to do. I have never foiled them and never finished them off in the oven either. Always go to 200 plus in the smoker over wood.

    I say you give it a chance, you;ll be surprised at how nice they come out and the bark can't be beat.

    Good smokes to you, bud!
  3. coyote-1

    coyote-1 Smoking Fanatic

    At a certain point, you no longer need smoke.... that's the point where you lose nothing by moving it to the oven. And if you foil it in a pan, you GAIN juices that otherwise would be lost.

    But you certainly could try to smoke it un-foiled the entire way. Maybe you'll dig the results! Can't hurt to try it once, right?
  4. waysideranch

    waysideranch Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    We foil about 90% of the time at 160 but the other times the pork turned out very good as well. The "oven", no. Never. Good luck.
  5. danbury

    danbury Smoking Fanatic

    I'm with Rivet on this one. I stopped foiling things years ago and short of a downpour that makes it impossible to continue to cook on my UDS, I'll never use the oven. I just have this thing about pork steaming in a puddle of something and I like the extra little bit of bark from no foil. You do have to try and shoot for that 225 - 235 pit temperature throughout though.

    Coyote-1 is correct though with regards to the smoke. The meat is only going to take on the smoke for so long and then other than a build up of creosote if you have "billowing yellow smoke", it's not going to take anymore.

    ** I'd be lying if I said I don't ever foil... there are a few things I do foil, but I always punch holes in the bottom so the liquid drips out. I think beef ribs is the only thing I do on occasion.
  6. flash

    flash Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Where's my beating the dead horse Icon [​IMG]

    If you have 12 to 14 hours go for it, if not, foil and get done sooner. [​IMG]
  7. bigsteve

    bigsteve Master of the Pit

    Sounds like you got good reports doing it either way. If you do go the no-foil route, please post your opinion and observations of the difference.
  8. ajky

    ajky StickBurners

    i like to place the butt in a pan and cover with foil at 160 to 170. i take a apple and orange juice mix and add to the pan. about 60% apple and 40% orange. took this ideal from doing ribs. and cook in the smoker till 205. I know that the smoke isn't going to help any more, but i dont like to heat the house up with the oven. butts turn out really good this way. on my next smoke i have been thinking of using some pineapple juice, in place of my apple and orange juice. not sure how this will work? here a lot of people use pineapples when cooking hams.
  9. If you don't foil you'll get more bark. We ALWAYS foil when we're in competition and so does most of the teams. We foil at about 160 or when we see we got enough bark. It comes off at 190 and "steams down". 1 more final baste of sauce then back on the smoker without foil to crust the bark back up. Pull it off at 200 and your set.

    When I'm making pork to vend I don't bother. Foiling 16 butts would take a while to do.

  10. bman62526

    bman62526 Smoking Fanatic

    My two cents is, I only foil if the stall is lasting more than 45 minutes for whatever reason...otherwise, no need to - love that bark!
  11. buckeye024

    buckeye024 Smoke Blower

    Now that's an idea I hadn't thought of, I might try that.
  12. The only time I ever foiled a butt and put it in the oven it truned to mush... tasted OK, but no texture at all...
  13. olewarthog

    olewarthog Meat Mopper

    I'm with Bman. I will foil when I get one of those stubborn butts that seems stuck or if I need to shorten the time to finishing. (generally these seem to go hand in hand) I probably foil about 50% of the time. My foiled butts seem to be a bit moister, but the unfoiled have better bark.
  14. eaglewing

    eaglewing Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    I would have to AGREE, my impatience makes me foil...
  15. I have to disagree with those who say the need for smoke ends at 140f. The smoke ring will not get any darker after the meat reaches 140 but the smoke flavor will continue to intesify.
  16. I've done both ways, and definitely prefer no foil. I love the thick crusty bark! Plus, if you start with a good fatty butt, it's never gonna dry out.
  17. fire it up

    fire it up Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I have foiled every butt I have done, but today I just might give no foiling a shot.
    Injected the hell out of the butt last night with chipotle so I'm not sure if I want to try something different while trying something new...
    Now I'm stuck with the dilemma, to foil or not to foil...Guess I'll make a decision once it nears 160.
  18. buckeye024

    buckeye024 Smoke Blower

    Since many of you don't foil, I assume you must mop pretty regularly near the end. What do you mop with? I saw the Food Network show about Memphis in May, one of the competitors said they mop with italian dressing. Anyone try that?
  19. bertjo44

    bertjo44 Smoking Fanatic

    Tried it both ways. My preference is not to foil but I didn't think the difference was huge, so now it depends on if I have the time. Just try it without, then you'll have be able to form you own opinion for future smokes.
  20. danbury

    danbury Smoking Fanatic

    Sometimes I spritz with apple juice, most of the time I just leave it alone and let it cook. I don't like raising the lid on my pit very much when I'm doing butts. I can usually tell how things are going by the temperature and listening to how much "sizzle" there is from dripping hitting the coals. The only thing I use Italian dressing for is to occasionally marinate chicken thighs in or a couple of ribeyes for a change.

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