I cant get the bark black

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Smoke Blower
Original poster
Nov 6, 2005
Spring Hill,Fla
I never can get a dark or burnt bark on my pork butt or shoulder. I smear with mustard, and then use rub, and cook at 225 untill temp reaches 165, then wrap in foil, and cook till 208. What am i doing wrong. It never does turn out real tender either. Can anyone help?
Hey Dave,
As Cajun had said before, he usually never wraps. Also...are ya moppin' thoughout the cook? I used a combo of apple juice and jack daniels 3 to 1 as suggested in former threads and got great bark. The apple juice's natural sugars carmelize the outer surface while cooking :P
No bark? Try not wrapping.
Ok I have one on right now. I mop but only about every 1 1/2 Hrs.Ive been using pineapple juice and some rub mixed together for this one. I was going to try and cook this one without wrapping, Im just worried about it drying out on me. I guess Ill have to mop it more. Like you ,I like a dark or burnt bark for my beans, and it taste good too. What do you feel the finished temp should be? Is 208 too high? I can slice it or pull it it dont matter to me. I guess I could put some pancake syrup right at the end.That might help.
Try skipping the mustard.

Its a myth that you need it to make the rub "adhere" to the meat.

In all my years of cooking, never once, not a single time, did mustard ever touch meat. I have never had a problem with rub adhereing to the meat.

Use turbinado sugar along with your rub, and don't wrap, and spray or mop with something with sugars to get that bark you want. There's no sugar in mustard, so its doing nothing for you.

WOW!! Fast replies! Thanks guys. I will do what you suggested and post pictures if it comes out wrong LOL. Sometimes I ask questions on this board that seem stupid to me after I get the right answers. Everything you guys say makes sense. Thank you.
Isn't it GREAT here 8) Yes, try moppin' more often. And remember when you take the roast off to wrap, your carry over temp will rise about 10 degrees! So 208 is too high ( IMO ) good luck! :D
If you're cooking to 208 and not getting tender, I would first check you thermometer. At 200+ a butt should just fall apart when you open the foil.

Try a little more heat. There's nothing really special about the # 225 except you see it a lot on the internet. 235-250 will help caramalize the sugars.

Don't get too carried away with the mopping thing. Mopping is ok if you're in the pit anyway but I would never open the cooker just to mop. Every time you open the cooker you add 15 minutes minimum to the cook time. If you're lookin' you ain't cookin'.
Most of the bark comes from the sugar in your rub. I don't use any sugar in my rubs (wife is diabetic) and if you look at my pics my meat does not have any bark. It gets nice and brown but it does not have the caramelized bark that you get with brown sugar rubs.

Everyones help has been great! I waited till about the last two hrs, and poured some pancake syrup on top of it. It got a nice bark on it then.When it reached 170, I foiled it and cooked till about 185. It came out good.Still not as tender as the ones ive seen on some bbq shows.But good gust the same.
Dave, I foil at 165, and bring to 195 before removing from the cooker. I then place in a cooler with a towel on top, and let sit for 1 to 2 hours. The meat will just fall apart! Give it a try.
Next time Ill do as you and Scott suggest. I" ll cook till 165 At 235,( with some suger in the rub) Then wrap in foil, and cook till 195 and try that. Everyone has some great advise, but I dont want to try to many things at once. That way maybe I can get it like I want. I think Ive only cooked a butt maybe 4 times in the past year or so. It seems like about the time I learn to cook one cut of meat to perfection, and move to another, and play with it for a while, Ive forgotten what Ive done to the last peice. I guess thats why I should write things down. :oops: Either that, or I have A.D.D. bad! :D Or senility is setting in!
Thanks again ,Dave
Dave, It's always a good idea to jot down what you do so if you have great results you can do a repeat performance and get the same great results. Someone awhile back posted a link in which you could download and print out pages for a smoking log. (IIRC, it was in the General Discussion thread).
Dave, I searched, but I can't find it in the forum. So here is a link that will take you to it. You can us the cooking log in Excel or Adobe format.

Cooking Log
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