Questions about Butt Foiling

Discussion in 'Pork' started by caveman, Feb 19, 2010.

  1. caveman

    caveman Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    OMG....that sounds so bad if you're from the outside world. Anyway, I have been going over the forum now for a couple of days trying to find an answer to my question & I keep running into funny, funny threads. All great information.

    My questions:

    1) Do you have to foil your butt at 165° ?? What if you don't & still pull it at 200-205° degrees to foil, towel & cooler rest? I am not sure if I read why we have to foil it at 165°. Is it to keep it moist & from drying out?

    1a) I just though of this as a side question. Won't the probe be a little hot to the touch? I mean, do your wrap the probe as well or wrap around it?

    2) I have seen that you "Keep smoking while foiled" in some of the posts. If the meat is wrapped in foil, how does the smoke permeate the meat? I thought we were to stop smoking meat at 140° & just keep the heart going.

    My understanding is that a dumb question is the one not asked.
  2. pineywoods

    pineywoods Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead SMF Premier Member

    1--You don't have to foil I suggest trying with foil and without and see which you prefer. The idea is that the meat will braise in the juices and be moist and tender.

    1a--The probe will be very hot and I suggest using a glove to handle it. If foiling I foil then insert the probe through the foil and into the meat near the top to prevent juices from leaking out.

    2--When the meat is in the foil it will not take in smoke so theres no sense in wasting the chips, chunks or whatever unless of course wood is your heat source.
    The amount of smoke people want is a matter of taste and of the type wood used. Some people will only add smoke for a certain amount of time or to a certain temp others will add smoke the whole time unless its in foil.
  3. caveman

    caveman Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    That helps me in my decision for this weekend. I thank you very much.
  4. slim

    slim Meat Mopper

    you hit the nail on the head[​IMG]
  5. deltadude

    deltadude Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I have been doing pork butts for a few years, and I have always foiled. However I have been a little frustrated with bark getting soft when foiled, as I usually put a small amount of some kind of liquid in the foil with the butt. When I used to smoke the butts on either my weber kettle or gas grill using the rotisserie and chip/smoke box, the bark was crisper and didn't break down like in the MES. So the butt I did for Superbowl, I let it go until about 190º before I foiled and I put no liquid in. I pulled the foiled butt at 200º. I made sure that I when I foiled I put the cap side down after foiling (cap side was up during cooking), and same when I stored in my holding cooler. When I opened the foil about 4 hours later, the cap side was sitting in natural meat juices, but the other side had its bark the way I liked it.
  6. bbally

    bbally Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Thought you might want to hear from a non foiler.

    I never foil pork butt or shoulder. I smoked it straight through to the finish. However I do pan the shoulders or butts after about 8 hours if I think they are losing to much moisture.

    I do not foil for several reasons.

    Makes the bark soften up.

    Foiling is a method that steam cooks the meat instead of dry roasting the meat. This affects the maillard reaction. I like complete maillard reaction. While steam still allows for it, it does not complete the amino acid sugar reduction.

    Smoke stops penetration. It will stop automatically about 155 F but if you use Adolfs properly you can get more penetration.
  7. rbranstner

    rbranstner Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    As it has been explained to me the meat will quit making a smoke ring at around 140-150 degrees (I have heard different temps but somewhere in that range) but the meat will still take on a smoky flavor. So if you want it really smokey then smoke it longer you just won't get any more smoke ring penetration into your meat after around 140 degrees.
  8. chisoxjim

    chisoxjim Master of the Pit OTBS Member


    very good post, explanation, and reasons behind not foiling.
  9. rbranstner

    rbranstner Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I was also going to mention that I have only ever foiled my butts. I foil at around 160 and take them to 200-205. But the past couple have gotten kind of mushy in the middle. So I am going to take some advice from my friends here and pull them at around 195 next time and see if that helps. I am also planning on doing one butt without foil and see how I like that as well. If you don't try both ways you won't know which one you like better. After all it only matters what you like best because as you can see either way works and there is no right or wrong way.
  10. olewarthog

    olewarthog Meat Mopper

    I typically only foil if I need to shorten the cooking time or if I have a stubborn butt that doesn't seem to want to break thru the plateau. If I don't foil a butt during cooking, I do foil it after taking it off the smoker for the resting stage. IMHO, it is the resting stage that really makes the difference between average results & great results.
  11. richoso1

    richoso1 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Jerry has delivered the good information, it's all up to you my friend. BTW, I follow his advised methods.
  12. I would like to add one thing and that is when I foil I leave a small opening for steam to escape this seems to cut down on the mushy bark and i put in very little AJ and last but not least I poke a hole in the foil let the juices escape into a container then foil tightly for about an hour pull and serve. I use the juices left over for my BBQ sauce.
  13. The one thing I do when I foil is to put in the foil pan !!
    This will keep all that juice for later , I heat the juice & put on the pulled pork.. What a great flavor
  14. triplebq

    triplebq Smoking Fanatic

    I'm cooking one tonight with no foiling planned . I might bet in a Qview if my dasughter lets me use camara long enough . Thanks for the great anwsers even though this ain't my thread . Pork is my weakness when it comes to smoking .
  15. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Now I am with Jerry (pineywoods) on this one too. I foil but you don't have to and if you don't you should have a deeper bark and yu can pull it around 195° also. Now as for your probe question it will get hot but it's made to. Now for your smoke question if you foil it will not except anymore smokey flavor. So personally I foil my butts and they seem to come out more tender and juicier to me.
  16. smoking gun

    smoking gun Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    I'm not sure how foiling is helping you with your method. You could just use a pan like Bbally suggested and get the same results. JMHO.
  17. mama's smoke

    mama's smoke Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    Is there a 3-2-1 method of Butts as there is for ribs?
  18. smoking gun

    smoking gun Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    No. Butts take MUCH longer.
  19. smokaholic

    smokaholic Fire Starter

    I do a 3-3-3...First three I just let it smoke and spritz every hour and let bark develop next 3 hours I apply a mop sauce every hour fairly heavily. Now by the second 3 hours or 6hrs total its usually around 165. So I foil the last 3hrs and that usually gets it close to 195 205 for pulling. Smoker runs from 225 to 250 in general. Once its 200 to 205 I pull it out and vent it for at least 2hrs before pulling meat. Its still about 180 internal after 2hrs.
  20. mama's smoke

    mama's smoke Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    Now that's what I'm talking about. I knew the time would be longer, but it's great seeing this kind of method laid out so succinctly.[​IMG]

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