I keep trimming more and more of the fat cap off of pork butts...

Discussion in 'Pork' started by 3montes, Jun 15, 2016.

  1. 3montes

    3montes Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I started progressively trimming more and more of the fat cap off my pork butts before smoking. This started about 6 months ago. I cooked 8 pork butts last weekend and I trimmed more of the fat cap off then I ever have before. Seems the more I trim the better I like the results. I always just left all or most of the fat cap. on in the past. Often times after cooking and resting what was left of the fat cap would pretty much just peel off the top of the butt taking all that good rub with it.

    I'm getting much better bark left on the butt after trimming now and very good flavor but then again I never had a problem with flavor leaving the fat cap on either. Actually the last ones I did I pretty much trimmed all the fat cap off. Much of the raw meat was exposed with just spots and very thin less than 1/4" of fat cap left. Anyone else trimming most if not all the fat cap off?

    Oh. a side benefit has been much less mess in the smoker.
  2. smokesontuesday

    smokesontuesday Smoking Fanatic

    I'll trim some if it is really fatty but usually I just leave it alone. Most of it will render out taking the rub down into the pork anyway.
  3. Yeah, trim it off completely. Doesn't make any difference if you wrap and the bark is much better. 
  4. b-one

    b-one Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I take it all off more super tasty bark!!
  5. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    I got in the habit of leaving the fat on and everything gets pulled and mixed together. The fat adds flavor and moisture. This is especially important to keep the yield up in Restaurants and when Catering. For home use, trimming is a personal choice. You can trim and save it for adding to sausage. Or, cut the Fat Cap and 1" or so of Meat and make Buck Board Bacon. If cooking a bunch of Butts, you get a lot of Pulled Pork and a Bunch of BBB for other meals...JJ
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2016
  6. 3montes

    3montes Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I'm surprised you mix the fat cap in with the pork. I go to great pains to pick out the fat and other not so appetizing looking pieces out of my pulled pork. The yield suffers yes but the end product is better imo. [​IMG] I couldn't imagine leaving some of the fat caps I pulled off in the finished product and serving it to my customers. Don't misunderstand I'm not knocking your method your pork butts must not have some of the fat caps I'm getting around here.
  7. smokesontuesday

    smokesontuesday Smoking Fanatic

    Depending on how well rendered the cap is, there are lots of times I take it off then chop it up fine and mix it back in with the pulled pork. Most of time it is just like bark candy anyway.

    If it is still a fatty mess then I'll strip it out and keep it for beans or something else.
  8. smokeymose

    smokeymose Master of the Pit

    I admit I've never trimmed a butt much. If I'm cooking for pulled, I just pick the big pieces out while pulling, and when cutting up for sausage I throw out the bigger chunks while cutting.
    I like a good amount of fat....
  9. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    I only rarely had a Butt with more than 1/2" cap and after cooking it is half that. In every Restaurant that served Pulled Pork, I do remove sinew. Guess I am old school. The head Chef would put a Boot in your bottom seeing us trim the fat off...

    It's your Restaurant, but If you are removing ALL the internal and external fat, you are tossing 15 to 20% of the weight and money in the garbage. Done right it is not visible as all that Hot fat liquifies as the meat is pulled and mixed. Granted the meat has to be pulled or chopped fairly fine. The only food items that go in the garbage without further processing is Spent Coffee Grounds and Egg Shells. All veg trim, bones, sinew, the occasional excess fat, is made into Stock...JJ
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2016
  10. matchew

    matchew Smoke Blower

    I do the same thing, 3montes. The pork turns out fantastic with the extra rub and bark that comes from the trimming of the cap. It's been my experience that as long as there is good marbling in the muscle removing the cap doesn't hurt the finished product at all. 

  11. smokinal

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

    I'm with you, I trim almost all the fat off, & when I pull it I remove all that I see.

    I like my PP very chunky, so chopping it up with the fat is very unappealing to me.

    And having big pieces of fat in it would be unappealing as well.

    Just my 2 cents.

  12. jirod

    jirod Smoke Blower

    For pork butts I generally trim down the fat cap to almost bare meat as well.  To me there is generally enough internal fat it won't dry out, and actually end up picking out chunks of fat after I pull it too.  I get mixing some fat in helps with moisture, but I don't (and generally most of the people that I cook with/for) don't want chunks of fat in their meat/sandwiches.  If it would melt down then yeah that is tasty stuff, but personally not a big fan of hunks of fat.

    So again personal preference, but I also agree if you end up throwing away most of the fat cap after it is cooked, loose that rub and smoke flavor. 
  13. smokesontuesday

    smokesontuesday Smoking Fanatic

    Hold it, hold it, hold it!. What is the wide, wide world of sports is going on around here? You throw away spent coffee grounds?
  14. idahopz

    idahopz Smoking Fanatic

    Like Al, I trim fat - just about all I can and save it in freezer bags.  Once pulled, I pick out the big blobs of fat because I've never cared to have a mouthful of fat
  15. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    LOL...No " I " don't they get composted But your average Diner does not. I ran three...

    Guys I am talking about Options and what is happening in the restaurants that serve pulled pork. EVERY ounce of Meat, Fat, Trim, whatever, that goes in the garbage is MONEY going in the garbage. And compost makes you feel good but in a Business contributes little. This is just some FYI stuff. I am not trying to convert the Healthy Eater's to leaving the fat on! [​IMG]  If you were raised to dislike the taste and texture of animal fat, trim it away. That's ok. When I was a Kid in the 60's and a platter of meat went on the table, the old guys would fight over the Fattiest Cuts and yell at each other for taking too much... 

    Yes, if I was running JJ's Pulled pork and Health SPA, I would trim all the fat and Charge 3X the Price!. Ask your Grandparents what got trimmed and tossed away? There is a reason the saying, " You eat EVERYTHING but the Squeal... " has been around 100 years. Nose To Tail is the hottest trend in the rest Biz and LARDO, cured Pork Back Fat, is hugely popular with the Trendy Eater's...JJ
  16. lancep

    lancep Master of the Pit

    With shoulders and spares I pretty much trim all the outer fat but I don't bother with the internal when pulling. I just chop it up with everything else. Usually I like to trim some meat with it and I use that for beans and chili or greens. I will have to check into this buckboard bacon though, that's sounds good.
  17. bmudd14474

    bmudd14474 Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    How thick is your fat cap. The buts I get have had less then 1/4 fat on them?
  18. dstar26t

    dstar26t Fire Starter

    I've been trimming the fat to get more rub on the meat.  Also, last time I cut the butt in half for more smoke and less time...worked great.
  19. jirod

    jirod Smoke Blower

    Chef Jimmy, completely understand the difference you are talking about.  The average home smoker cooking 10-20 pounds of pork butt a month, throwing away some fat isn't a huge deal.  A restaurant that goes through hundreds of pounds a week, much different scenario/mind set.  

    Honestly not doing it to be healthier personally, just don't like the taste/mouth feel of big chunks of fat in pulled pork (or brisket), but love fatty bacon.  I'm a little weird with stuff like that I guess [​IMG].  When I vacuum seal leftovers, and they get cold you can see them swimming in the good liquid/melted fat that I love.  But its all personal preference, and as you said big difference when you're talking restaurants who are trying to maximize profit margins without over charging and scaring away customers.
  20. smokeymose

    smokeymose Master of the Pit

    Same here, bmudd. It doesn't seem worth messing with.

    The issue has been around a while, though:

        "Jack will eat not fat, and Jull doth love no leane.

         Yet betwixt them both they lick the dishes cleane."



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