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To truss or not to truss, that IS the question!

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
Picked up a pack o' butts from Costco yesterday, those of y'all that get these know there are 2 in the pack and they are deboned. Usually, the two are fairly equal in size. These aren't, but that's ok.

They've been brining all night, and I'm considering trussing them up to form them up as they would be if boned. I've usually just laid them out and have been pleased with the results. However, I believe if I truss them up they will actually be even more tasty! Thoughts???

I'm really trying to step my game, I think I may be really interested in starting to compete! After traveling to a couple competitions in the past month, we've been relatively disappointed with the Q we've tasted. I've got my sauce dialed in, now I want to get my pork dialed in, as well. Went to the East West BBQ fest in Greensboro, NC and took a sample of my sauce to a buddy that works that circuit. Here's what I found on my FB at 4:00am this morning from him:
post #2 of 20

Wowers! And  I thought I made a pretty good sauce. Clearly I've got much more to learn!  Is it getting hot in here? :icon_redface:


As for the truss We buy the stereo butts ( 2pack) at Costco as well .  And experienced uneven cuts. ( or cheeks)  So I'm enthusiastically watching the truss idea. In my simple mind it should work well and give  much better results than cooking 2 disproportionate cuts. 


post #3 of 20

Alecia, morning.......  Very nice revue....  


About the butts......  A salt brine "probably" did in the bacteria.....  It "should" be safe to truss and cook....  

As as additional precaution, for the interior meat contact area, you could rub with salt, let sit, and rinse the excess salt off or not.....    

truss and cook as if it was a whole intact muscle....


I have no idea if that would be considered a safe practice...  I would do it....  I'm getting pretty anal about food safety, since joining this forum.... 

post #4 of 20

I truss my butts and other large cuts including whole chickens and turkeys.  It not only provides more room in the smoker, but cooks more evenly.



post #5 of 20
FWIW I like those deboned butts because you get some deep crevices to get some rub into , so I feel like you get better flavor enhancement from the rub.....and I would def truss em up nice and firm with butchers twine to keep the meat solid and even. I think you will have good results here. I am curious if you feel like the brine adds very much to the finished product. I always felt like pork butt was so moist anyway that brining was MTTIW.....but I understand that you are trying to elevate the pulled pork to the next level. For a home cook like me , I don't know if I'd go the extra step. But that's just me and I hope your pork comes out great. grilling_smilie.gif
post #6 of 20

Interesting question. On one hand, it would cook more evenly and predictably. On the other, it'll lengthen your cook time and reduce the surface area (bark) by roughly 40%. On yet another hand, it's one more thing to worry about in an already harried and frantic competition setting.

Only real way to know for sure is to try it out and see which way you like best.

post #7 of 20
Thread Starter 
They're doin well after fightin with smoker temps, I'll supply a q-view shortly! I did a half pork loin last week that I did not have the opportunity to supply end results of, but it was awesome; Costco had while loins yesterday at a great price plus a $2.99 instant rebate, so I picked up a whole loin as well for $13 - so it's almost ready to go in (I cut it in half).

The plan is to pull out the sand pan, move my butts up a rack to put the loins on the lower rack (so the butts drip down on to the loins to help keep the juicy) and bump the heat up a bit. Last weeks' loin was shut the front door awesome. Not my favorite cut, backside it can get dry, but don't tell my loins that!

Brining has made a HUGE difference on the butts, the meat is sveltier... Is that a word?
post #8 of 20
Thread Starter 
Tada! IT is about 120 on both, I'll foil at 155, 160 til it hits 185-190 and then unfoil, adhering to a the Blonder method to push through the stall but preserving the bark you lose when using a Texas Crutch.

These butts really are completely uneven in size; but my smoker has a hot side, so for right now, both seem to be smoking evenly as a whole) - total weight was 16lbs.

post #9 of 20

Looken good so far.

Happy smoken.


post #10 of 20
Originally Posted by smokeusum View Post

Brining has made a HUGE difference on the butts, the meat is sveltier... Is that a word?

Ha! I don't believe it is , but I assume you are describing what the foodies call an "unctuous mouth feel"......velvety or smooth? Well , maybe I will go to the extra trouble. Can't hurt , right? grilling_smilie.gif
post #11 of 20
Doesn't matter about age or profession..... if you feel like you want to try the comp circuit you have to go for it. One of the worst things is never knowing from not trying. Sure sounds like you have the drive and dedication (and a great review) so why not?
As for trussing see how it works for you. I'll truss when I have a sloppy piece of meat but I try not to buy sloppy pieces, so see what works.
And that sveltier thing......I never heard that applied to meat but aint it funny that I know exactly what you mean? Kind of like kwan fron the jerry maguire movie. Best of luck to you.
post #12 of 20
OHHH BOYYYYY... can't wait... she's gonna show us her loins and butt (whistling).... as for the review of the sauce.... are you sure he was describing the sauce ? biggrin.gif
post #13 of 20
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by JckDanls 07 View Post

OHHH BOYYYYY... can't wait... she's gonna show us her loins and butt (whistling).... as for the review of the sauce.... are you sure he was describing the sauce ? biggrin.gif

Hahaha! You so funny! Butts wrapped up, Mac & Super Cheesy (much like Jck Dnls 07!) up top and the loins down low! Just added a bit o cherry to the pit!
post #14 of 20

You did a good job if this is you first attempt. Sometimes the cutter is sloppy and the shape on the butt will be wonky. However, the name of the game is achieving an evenly shaped hunk of meat. Tying simply takes a flat square and makes it into a somewhat cylinder shape. But the surface area is only reduced by anything that gets tucked in for uniformity. Practice tying in 2 directions, tucking in any odd shaped hanging small pieces. See the example from Google Images Below. Dave is correct, the Brine and Salty Rub in the space where the bone was, will greatly reduce or eliminate the need to worry about Bacteria. The Brine time, for full penetration, is lengthy in dense meat like Pork and Beef. Two days will season the outer 1" but that is it. You may consider Injecting. Washing the meat, in salt water if you wish, will take care of worrying about pushing bacteria in and poses no risk, short of a catastrophic smoker failure leaving the meat at 90°F for 12 hours. Injecting with a rest to equalize will get the flavoring and tenderizing effect of the brine completed in hours rather than days...JJ



post #15 of 20
Thread Starter 
DON'T TRUSS! That is the answer. Easily the 2nd worst butt outta the smoker, ever. The Salmon flavored butt still reigns as the worst ever (hubby thought he'd smoke in the middle of the week, on my salmon rack, ewww!)

I don't like the color, the taste, the overall texture. I've never tossed out so much (pound-wise) after a pull. Well, now I know!

The pork loin on the other hand turned out awesome. :)
post #16 of 20

Well... Dang Alicia...  What was the texture like?  Did it dry out?  I'd like to know why that wouldn't  work. After a truss that butt should have behaved as a single cut of pork. ...At least thats what I think it should do. :pot: 

post #17 of 20
Me too. I'm baffled.
post #18 of 20
Thread Starter 
Well I didn't truss it up like a single butt. I trussed it up individuals. But I don't thing that was the issue. Parts that normal dry out, weren't and vice versa. The color of the interior meat was a yucky almost grayish icky color... Honestly it tasted very crockpot-ish... Omg, thank goodness I fixed THAT auto-correct.

Yea, won't be doing that one again!
post #19 of 20

What was the smoker temp?

What was the final IT?

What was in the Brine?

How long was the meat Brined?

Any injection?

What Rub? 

What Smoke Wood flavor?

TBS, White, or other color smoke?

Uncured meat always turns Gray..How was it different this time?

The large muscle close to the bone is usually leaner and texturally more dry and the well fatted Coppa, Money Muscle, tender and moist...How where they different? 

What other ways was these Butts different?


This is an unusual situation. Add anything else you can think of that was different from your past work...JJ

post #20 of 20

I wanted to add my two cents here. I used Boneless Butts once!  Got a smokin deal on them so i bought a case of them. I did not like the uneven cooking I got on my meat, The tags, pieces around the de-boned area, cooked to fast. I ended up with pieces i had to throw away they were so over cooked. I also think the bone in adds to the flavor. Good luck with your adventure into competition,


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