Looking good so far.
And its very nice of you to cook for your employees.
Just an FYI and may not apply to your MES
I want to touch on something, but before I do I want to point out that this is from my experience on a stick burner AND MAY NOT APPLY TO ALL PITS/SMOKERS.
Many folks will say don't foil or you won't get a good bark, this is ludicrous. Some even say you wont get any bark.
I'm not sure how many of these folks just jumped on the "no bark when foiling bandwagon" or have really done their homework, but for any of you folks that really get no bark foiling, please post your type of smoker as this may be indicative of a certain type of smoker.
I do my homework and try to post my findings as accurately as possible.
I'm not saying to foil or not to foil as this is purely preferential however, I need to clear things up, YES YOU WILL GET A GREAT BARK FOILING.
Then there's that say once you foil your bark gets mushy, again, ludicrous, however it will soften a bit, but no more that once its pulled and put together.
The main difference I noticed between foiling and non foiling (other than cook time) is that when using High Sugar rubs, the bark is usually black, to the point of loosing some of its flavor profile.
I don't like to foil ribs because it changes the texture of the meat but I foil anyway because most folks like it that way, it does not seem to change the texture of butts/picnics though.
Sometimes I foil sometimes I don't foil.
What surprises me is no one says anything about less smoke during foiling. But to be perfectly honest, the first 4-5 hours is more than enough smokie goodness FOR ME.
I experimented with foiling butts and picnics and prefer the results from a foiled butt/picnic plus it helps get me through the stall quicker I average 60 -80 minutes a pound on these cooks on my stick burner and I always have a good bark.
If you want even more bark formation, trim off the fat cap and false cap, you can even half larger butts
Another option is once through the stall you can remove the foil for the rest of the cook.
To be more specific about why I prefer the results of foiling is usually in the case of the higher sugar rubs, the bark has a better flavor profile being foiled than taking it all the way up to 205°F un foiled.
You can bump the temps up once foiled, you really can't do that with a high sugar rub, yes I tested this out, you can read my article The Sacrificial Picnic"
I was averaging temps from 275° to 325° sometimes dropping to 225° it was an intentional reckless cook.
here's a few pics, you judge for yourself.
This is where I like the bark and will be foiled at this point.
Oh and make sure to save those drippings. I think more emphasis should be on the finishing sauce than on the bark.
And if you do foil, don't forget the pig gold in the foil.
I would love to hear from those of you that have done testing, in another thread of course.
I hope this helps someone and as I stated before, this is my experience on a stick burner AND MAY NOT APPLY TO ALL PITS/SMOKERS.
I just wanted to be clear on that.