So if anyone has tried searching 'Foil vs No foil' in the search box lately you will get an impressive quantity of threads that relate to the topic. Last week I was following another foil/no-foil thread in regards to pork butt (http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/167027/boston-butt-to-foil-or-not-to-foil). This led me to stop off at my butchers on Friday and picked up two butts in order to test both methods and compare results for myself.
Here we go;
Both butts were about 10 lbs each (less then 1/2 lb between them) and both were given a thin layer of mustard (thanks to my smokin' buddy Daniel);
Next, they were rubbed down and ready for the smoker (unfortunately, no time to sit in the fridge overnight...it was 11:30PM Saturday at this point and was planning on using some of these butts for Sunday dinner).
Both butts went on my WSM at midnight on the top grate. We were smoking these at 235F with Hickory and Apple. To ensure a constant temperature, Daniel volunteered to monitor temps throughout the night (he was very excited about this!).
During the night, I asked Daniel to spritz (apple juice and spiced rum) both butts every hour after each butt had reached 100F. At about 7AM here's how they looked (Daniel...pretty exhausted at this point);
My turn to take the reins now...as Daniel headed off to bed LOL
Both butts hit 165F around the same time (give or take a few degrees). I placed one in a aluminum pan, and poured a half batch of Chef JJ's finishing sauce (awesome stuff!) over it. Covered with heavy duty foil and back in the smoker it went;
I continued to spritz the unfoiled but every hour or so.
Finally after 14 hours, my foiled butt reached a pulling temp of 205F...non foiled butt was sitting at 185F. Without adjusting the temperature, it took the un-foiled butt 3 more hours to reach 205F.
PROS & CONS
WOW, this is a tough one for me...the taste of the foiled butt was out of this world right out of the smoker, but I did miss that wonderful bark that the unfoiled one had.
IMHO, I would vote for the foiled butt..the PROS simply outweighed those of the unfoiled butt. However, I am the kind of guy who thinks that you can have your cake and eat it too...
So when I smoke my next butt, I will be attempting a variation of both methods (still not sure what yet). I am also hoping that some of the 'unfoiled' smokers chime in to provide some variations that help moisten up the meat a little (and I do not mean juicing it after its pulled).
Anyhow...this was fun and I have over twenty pounds of pulled pork to make meals out of...unfortunately with my size family...this is no more then 2 meals