1. Some of the links on this forum allow SMF, at no cost to you, to earn a small commission when you click through and make a purchase. Let me know if you have any questions about this.

Getting the ideal bark for pork shoulder

Discussion in 'Messages for All Guests and Members' started by southgadawg, Jul 17, 2018.

  1. southgadawg

    southgadawg Newbie

    I've had to do quite a few butts here recently for get togethers and people asking me to make them one. I've had all types of different finish times requested and so forth and because of this have run into all sorts of different cooks than I would normally prefer. The good thing is that I have learned a ton through this process. I think I've come to the conclusion that I prefer to cook a butt unwrapped all the way through from a 220-250 cook temp to an IT of 205, then pull and rest for an hour in cooler. Seems to get better smoke on my cooker the longer I leave it unwrapped while cooking. The last few I had to wrap to avoid the stall, just turned out with less bark and almost too tender IMO. Definitely less flavor will the less bark.

    Have you guys experimented with this. If I absolutely have to wrap to speed up time, I'm wondering if wrapping just after the stall to cut down on a couple hours of cook time would yield a solid bark with the "sweating" already have taken place, thus keeping the bark from sweating off too much inside the butcher paper or foil. Which form of wrap seems to keep better bark, etc? I've also considered trying out a higher cook temp and if that negates the stall, but wondering how they will turn out. Also would it be better to rest unwrapped, wrapped loosely, or wrapped tightly? Just wanting to find the best of both worlds, I nice firm bark with loads of flavor and still keep it pull tender. I've never seemed to have a problem keeping it tender, but have run into my bark seemingly sweating off with sitting wrapped too long or having to crutch.

    Any experience is welcomed!
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2018
  2. hillbillyrkstr

    hillbillyrkstr Master of the Pit Group Lead

    I never wrap butts. It kills the bark in imho. I smoke from beginning to end with no wrapping. Great bark every time.

    I pull between 202-205 depending on feel.

    Scott
     
  3. Rings Я Us

    Rings Я Us Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    I'm not sure what flavor or what exactly it is that you lose when wrapping takes place.
     
  4. southgadawg

    southgadawg Newbie

    Have you ever tested out different cook temps and see how this does on cook time? I'd rather not have to put a butt on at 3-4am to have it ready for dinner if I can avoid it and thinking maybe a higher cook temp will do the trick, but unsure if it will turn out right.
     
  5. southgadawg

    southgadawg Newbie

    The last two I did (both on the same cook) I had to wrap at an IT of 155 after 5 hours of smoke. Wrapped in butcher paper and finished to 205 IT. One I gave to a friend and one I kept for my family. I had to leave mine in the cooler for about 3 hours and when I went to pull it, noticed the color was no where near as dark as it was when I originally wrapped it. There was quite a bit of dark juice in the bottom of the paper. It was extremely tender, but the bark flavor just wasn't there, very bland overall, had to sauce it. It wasn't the rub, because I used the same rub on one the day before for my parents (cooked unwrapped all the way through) and it tasted amazing. Just not sure what could have happened.
     
  6. hardcookin

    hardcookin Master of the Pit

    Myself I like to smoke butts 275-300. The amount of bark depends on what is wanted. Some people like not much bark, some people like a heavy bark.
    I have cooked butts at 300 without wrapping and they were done 6-7 hours.
    A lot of times I pan with a little apple juice @ 170. And pull when I got good bone wiggle.
    Every brand of pork butt is different when they are done some are done @ 195, some 205.
    If you over cook they can get a little mushy.
    Buying by the case gets you the cheapest price. But I like to put together my case. I like my butts around 8.5 - 9lbs if you just buy a case sometimes the sneak them 5-6lb PB' s in on you.
    Sounds like your on the right track, all depends on what you want.
     
  7. Rings Я Us

    Rings Я Us Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    I don't care about how hard or crispy the bark is but I save and strain fat from the liquids left in the pan I foil over. I mix bbq sauce in the juices and thicken that up to mix in the shredded meat. I don't like plain pulled pork without sauce. I also like Cole slaw for crunch and coolness.
     
  8. hillbillyrkstr

    hillbillyrkstr Master of the Pit Group Lead

    I do mine at 225-250 every time. Not saying hot & fast isn’t good, I know a few people who use that method. I just follow what’s worked for me for 15 years. No reason to change now. I believe smokin al is a big fan of hot and fast Pork butt.

    Scott
     
    southgadawg likes this.
  9. Rings Я Us

    Rings Я Us Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    IMG_20180705_174818.jpg IMG_20180705_174950.jpg IMG_20180705_175240.jpg

    See the jell from the pan I saved? Makes good sauce. I put it into the crock pot to add in the bbq sauce and meat
     
  10. gmc2003

    gmc2003 Master of the Pit

    To me bark is bark, It's whether you like a soft bark or a crunchy bark. I foil at the stale for two reasons. One: it speeds up the cooking process, and two: my family likes a softer bark. I've done it both ways and haven't really noticed any difference in flavor - just crunchiness(word?). I believe you said you rested yours in a cooler for a few hours. That's probably were you lost your flavor. I let mine sit loosely covered on top of the stove until it's cool enough to pull. Also like foiled ribs after the stale I put it back on the smoker until finished. This is just what works for my family and myself. Everybody has a different approach - it's all part of the fun.

    Chris
     
  11. Rings Я Us

    Rings Я Us Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    Sauce and cole slaw so not much crispy bark matters
     

    Attached Files:

  12. hardcookin

    hardcookin Master of the Pit

    I agree...if that works for you I would mostly certainly stick with it.
    Where hot and fast has an advantage is where time is money. 6 hour smoke vs 10-12 hour smoke.
     
    southgadawg likes this.
  13. hillbillyrkstr

    hillbillyrkstr Master of the Pit Group Lead

    Yup couldn’t agree more. I always plan ahead with the time and give myself plenty of extra hours.

    Honestly if I didn’t like great bark I probably would wrap and save myself some time. Then again I guess I’d just be saving my smoker time because when I put a butt in I walk away and do whatever I need to do that day anyway. Lol!

    Scott
     
  14. zwiller

    zwiller Smoking Fanatic

    Just did 7 over the last few weeks for daughter's grad party and developed some strong opinions on butts after trying most of the debatable stuff. IE 225F vs 275F absolutely no difference other than time. Also strange the rub itself was not critical. Last one I did I didn't even use a rub and bark rocked... Overnight pellicle is critical for me on the MES. Average @275F was still around 14-16hours.
     
  15. SmokinAl

    SmokinAl Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Well I don't wrap my butts & I do them hot and fast.
    I run the smoker at 270-280, and they are usually done in about 1+ hours per pound.
    No stall & terrific bark.
    For us it's all about the bark.
    That is where the flavor is & mixing it in with the PP, just gives you a burst of flavor with every bite.
    Of course you want to use a finishing sauce & the pan drippings mixed in with the PP too.
    Al
     
  16. hillbillyrkstr

    hillbillyrkstr Master of the Pit Group Lead

    I agree 100% on the bark part Al. Finishing sauce or light Q sauce on top for me. Just enough to enhance the pork.

    Maybe about 5 years ago I did a butt fast on one of my stick burners. It was between 275-300 the whole smoke. Came out good but I’m still an old school, low and slow guy.

    Scott
     
  17. zwiller

    zwiller Smoking Fanatic

    You guys getting short smoke times, are you bringing the butt out of the fridge early or warming it up or something? Reveal your secrets! :p Would be nice to be done in 8-10 hours.
     
  18. southgadawg

    southgadawg Newbie

    agreed, what are the short smoke secrets out there besides wrapping!
     
  19. SmokinAl

    SmokinAl Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

  20. southgadawg

    southgadawg Newbie

    that looks tasty! Aaron Franklin cooks most of his stuff at higher temps of around 275 (think he does brisket around 250) So I've been wanting to give it a try, but haven't had the chance to cook something that wasn't for other people. Didn't want to try something new when what I normally do has been working out great. I have experimented with making different rubs and not sure I'm a fan of the last one I made. could be one reason the bark didn't have as much flavor.
     

Share This Page