Question about Maximizing Bark on my Butts

Discussion in 'Pork' started by rhankinsjr, Nov 3, 2009.

  1. I have been looking at everyone's q-views for their butts and have noticed that some people end up with a, for lack of a better word, *drier* and thicker bark than I normally do.

    I pretty much stick by the basic butt smoke over in the sticky section:

    Now, that calls for foiling at 165 and it never leaves the foil until it is time to pull. From researching the site, I believe this is where my bark loses the crustiness that I am looking for.

    The foil is there to help get past the plateau and help to keep more moisture in the meat from what I recall.

    Heavy mustard coating before rub. Rub has been "Pork Rub" from McCormick. I coat with as much as I can get to stick to all the mustard, then I re-coat it when I unwrap it.

    Spritz is s mix of 50% apple cider vinegar 50% apple juice.

    Gladly give any other information that may help.

    My questions are:

    What are the drawbacks of doing a method similar to the rib methods where you cook uncovered, foil, then cook uncovered again at the end. I think the open air time would allow my bark to firm up again similar to ribs.

    Has anyone ever mixed their rub and mustard together, slathered it on then put more rub on top? If so, what were the drawbacks? My thoughts on it were primarily focuses around getting more rub on the butt, but in a way it would minimize the exposure to the butt from the mustard.

    What else could I try? Maybe I need to change rubs or what I spritz with? Or would changing the foiling process be the fix?

    Any help is appreciated. Once I get done with the SNP mods I am wanting to get some butts and take them to another level.
  2. fire it up

    fire it up Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Never tried mixing the rub and mustard, mustard is basically your binder in order to get the rub to stick, you can also use olive oil which won't be as "wet" to begin with but one benefit of mustard is that you can get a lot more rub to stick.

    You don't need to wrap your pork, the foil will help it push past the plateau quicker but is also helpful for breaking down the meat and locking in moisture, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with bringing it to 205 without foiling during.
    If you choose to foil you can always put it back on the grates for its final hour to re-crisp the bark.

    Also, you can try changing up your rub and mix your own batch, when you buy a pre-made rub you never really know that amounts of the ingredients and things such as the amount of brown sugar can also affect the way your bark forms.
  3. dutch

    dutch Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    When you get ready to foil your butt, place it in a disposable foil pan and then cover the pan with foil. Cook until the internal temps reach 190-195* and then remove the foil cover. Leave the butt in the foil pan. Continue to cook until the IT reaches 200-205*. This will allow your bark to firm up and still retain the butt juice to incorporate back into your pulled butt.
  4. fire it up

    fire it up Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Now that is great advice if I have ever heard it.
    Biggest reason I usually wrap in foil as opposed to no foil till the end is so I can trap and add back those delicious juices, thanks Dutch!
  5. hog warden

    hog warden Smoking Fanatic

    I don't know that I'd get my panties in a bunch over this. Once you get it all pulled, it's going to get moist anyway.

    Now if you want to "present it" for a group and like the idea of a dry bark, I'd keep it unfoiled or even pop it in an electric oven for a few minutes to dry it out.

    Personally, I've found that if you pull one of these out from the cooler and plop it down in front of folks and that Q smell hits em and the spit starts running, they don't know wet from dry.
  6. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    lol... at that point I think it's all wet!
  7. Thanks Fire it up & Dutch.

    I will for sure try the foil and pan way next time. I will also try mixing the rub up with some more brown sugar which would be a play on Fire it up's suggestion.

    I promised myself I wouldn't attempt to mix up my own rub until I purchase the recipes to help support this site. Maybe next paycheck the misses won't spend it all.
  8. Hog Warden, That is a good point. I guess it is more for the cook's spoils than anything. If the wife didn't stop me there'd be no bark left when I am done pulling. :)
  9. jaxgatorz

    jaxgatorz Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Hey rhan, I use the same store bought rub as u do abd i always add a buch of brown sugar to it... Seems to make a nice bark.Good luck....[​IMG]
  10. bryon

    bryon Fire Starter

    I wrap the butts at 175" and put in oven in a roaster at 250" for one hour. I then wrap in an heavy towel and place in a cooler for up to 4 hours. I have never had any compaints. I always use mustard and my own rub. Everything else sounds just like you said (cider vinegar and juice).
  11. alx

    alx Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Either way the foil is called the- texas crutch- in the old days.Nobody foiled in them days cause they didnt have

    I foil when time is issue.As mentioned you can try to TIGHTEN UP,but if you never foiled then not an issue......Have had judges give similiar scores on foiled/unfoiled butts...Most folks can not tell difference after you sauce it etc.....
  12. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I have never used the rub your talking about but to get a good bark (I don't like it) you can just add some sugar to the rub and that will help to create the bark. Then don't wrap the brisket with foil just let it go and you can use the foil pan thing that Dutch and Fire said to do. The3y know their stuff too.
  13. captnroger

    captnroger Newbie

    I don't wrap my butts. I just leave them on the smoker until they hit 210 or so and by that time the bark is usually very crusty and very dark (burnt), which is what I like in my pulled pork.

    I'd suggest throwing in some sort of sweet liquor in with your spray. I always either use Captain Morgans or Southern Comfort in with my juice (50/50 mix).

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