Butt Question

Discussion in 'Pork' started by northwet smoker, Jun 26, 2008.

  1. So I'm going to attempt my first pork butt on Saturday. It looks like most folks here foil at 165 and take the butt to 200 wrapped in foil. Does anyone not foil during the cook? Just curious about the pros and cons of foiling during the cook. Thanks.

  2. richtee

    richtee Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    If you foil correctly..IE: no leaks in the foil, you will get a higher yield of juice for one thing. Some say foiling messes with bark formation tho.

    I rarely finish a butt on the smoker. It hits 170-ish and I put them in a roaster, cover with foil and into a 250° oven to bring to 200°.

    I always get alot of juice for use, and a good bark.
  3. The main reasons to foil:

    1)It prevents the smoke from further flavoring the meat. Sometime too much smoke can taste acrid or bitter

    2)Tenderness - the meat will steam itself and it will be falling off the bone tender.

    The main reason not to foil is you want more bark.

    Make sure to spritz with apple juice, beer or stock before wrapping in double lined heavy duty foil. Also be sure to give it at least another hour without the foil before finishing as this will serve to crust the bark back up.

    Good luck and send pics!

  4. Foiling does several things.... first and foremost, it braises the meat which will make it nice and tender. It also gives you more juice (like Richtee said) by trapping all the juices inside the foil.... which in my experience helps speed things up (going from 170 - 200 in foil is quicker than if I just leave it in my smoker unwrapped).

    As far as bark formation, once you're bark is set (gets nice and black) then you really don't have to worry about losing it unless you're rough with the exterior of your meat. Wrapping it in foil will "soften" the bark back up, but it's still there, you've just made it soft by locking in all that moisture. But there's several ways you can dry the bark back out.

    Personally... I take mine to 160-170, remove it from the smoker, put it in a roaster or casserole dish and cover with foil, and then finish it in the oven at 240 degrees. Once it gets to 200, I take it out and uncover with foil and let it sit on a cooling rack for a while. By letting it sit on the cooling rack (rather than in the hot juices you'll have), the bark dries out enough to firm it back up to my liking and I can pull it sooner without burning my hands! Another tip if you're worried about bark, put it fat cap down in the foil (or roasting pan).... while you're waiting for it to get to 200, you don't want the bark to be sitting in all those juices. Since you'll discard the fat when pulling, it doesn't matter that it sat in the juices.

    But good luck with your first one, they are kinda hard to mess up so you'll end up with good results.... then you can change things to fine tune it to your personal preference.
  5. abelman

    abelman Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I'm with Richtee. In addition, some say you don't get anymore smoke in a meat after 140 degrees. On the flip side, I love a good bark and the juices as well. Plus, I find the meat more tender for pulling. So, foiling lets me get both and the oven makes things much easier especially if you're in Jan/Feb is a cold weather climate.

    I've also gone strictly the smoker until done without foil. I prefer the foil and the oven.

    End of the day, neither way is wrong, just preference.
  6. daddio

    daddio Meat Mopper

    i never foil mine,i usually cook aleast 4-5 at once most of the time 20-30 at a time,and i've never had a problem with mine.as quick as i do pull them,i spritz with apple juice and wrap tight and set on the counter for about and hour they will still cook for a few more degrees that way and produce really tender q. my take on it any way. oh i usually pull mine at about 190 degrees
  7. meowey

    meowey Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    There is no wrong way, just lots of choices. Do two butts. One with foil and one without, then decide which you like better. I've done them both ways, and my personal preference is to foil.

    Let us know how you make out.

    Take care, have fun, and do good!


  8. walking dude

    walking dude Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    i believe, abel, its no more of a smoke RING after 140.........the meat will continue to acquire smoke, if you use it thru the entire smoke...........

    i foil at 170, just to soften up the barq. Sometimes, before i was foiling, the barq would get so HARD, i had to take a hammer and chisel to it.......heheeh.....j/king...........but it was close
  9. blacklab

    blacklab Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Yeah I never foil mine either. Bring interal temp to 200 or so wrap tight in foil set in a glass bowl for about 20 to 30 min then pull. I've also heated up my DO to 200 in the oven then turn if off add butt and rest that way. Takes longer to cool but seems to work pretty well. G L and enjoy [​IMG]
  10. abelman

    abelman Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Walking Dude, good catch, you're right. Points off for lack of clarity for me, LOL.
  11. Thanks for the replies everyone. It sounds like either way works good. Just a matter of personal preference. I'll probably follow the method in Meowy's sticky as this seems to be a proven performer. After I've got a few under my belt I'll feel more comfortable with experimenting. One more quick question for all of you experts, is the finishing sauce after pulling a must have or will the meat be fine without it? This might be another personal preference thing but I would like to hear a few opinions. Thanks again.

  12. walking dude

    walking dude Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    dave.........my very first one, was fine without.....my second one i saved the juices and poured over, after pulling..........my third one, i used soflaquers finishing sauce, and it was fine...........so to me, its a matter of personal preference.
  13. capt dan

    capt dan Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Its indeed a matter of taste and tenderness preferences. I have read a couple things here that I don't agree with, but that doesn't mean they are wrong. You will have to give it a try either way and decide what your taste buds and guests/family/ friends like.
    I think there is as much diversity in taste from the smoker that you use as is the rub, injection, or foiling temps.I have done a few different ways and continue to experiment when I cook for my self, when I cook for others, then I stick tough to my proven methods for me, my cooker, and my preperation techniques.

    If you go by Meowys' sticky, you will have a wonderful tasting pulled pork.Then you can change it up a little if you want to try and get something else from it or an additional taste. They are pretty forgiving, and not too many folks could ruin one unless they really tried.

    As far as the finishing sauce, I add it sometimes, but most of the time I don't. I just add a few ozs of the juice(fat removed) and a couple shakes of the rub. Adding too much vinegar to very tender pork risks turning it to mush, especially if its warm when you add it. If your pork is not as tender as you would like, I would suggest trying a vinegar based finishing sauce to loosen it up a bit.

    Thats the fun part of this hobby, just smoke more meat and do a few taste tests, and make your best friends the guinea pigs![​IMG]

    We all develope certain techniques or tricks to make our smokes easier, or tastier, or different from everyone elses.I have found that cooks who do 10-20 butts at a time probably won't inject them, or baby them as much as a guy who does 2-3 at a time.Just not enough time and patience to do it, yet they have made some changes to their technique to make their pork as excellent as the guy who babies his all day![​IMG]
  14. bhille42

    bhille42 Meat Mopper

    For the longest time I didn't foil. Recently I was doing 3 butts for a get together and needed room on my smoker for some ABT's, so I decided to foil at 170 and put the meat in a 250 degree oven until 200 internal meat temp. The butts turned out to be the most tender I've done. I'll be foiling from now on.
  15. Thanks for all the advice everyone. I appreciate it. Now one more newb question. Cap up or cap down? This is probably a matter of preference as well. Any thoughts on this?

  16. pineywoods

    pineywoods Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead SMF Premier Member

    You got it a matter of preference. I have always done mine cap down but seeing Capt. Dan's Qview has me ready to score and try cap up
  17. blacklab

    blacklab Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    For me fat side up. When the fat starts to melt it runs down over your meat for moister and flavor. Just another belly buttons opinon [​IMG]
  18. walking dude

    walking dude Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    i always do fat cap down........at least till the barq has set.......fat cap up, had to much chance to wash off the rub as it melts
  19. Thanks for all the advice everyone. Got it all rubbed down and put to bed for the night. Will post Q-View tomorrow once I figure out how to post pics.

  20. flash

    flash Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Fat cap down during the first part of smoke (until wrapping in foil) allows for a better bark formation.



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