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Pan under butts from the start or add later?

Discussion in 'Pork' started by viper, Jan 5, 2011.

  1. viper

    viper Smoke Blower

    my last run, I used a pan from the start to capture all juices from the meat.  I did not think there was enough smoke flavor even with all mesquite wood.  Curious if you guys typically add the pan later?  This is not the drip pan, but a pan that the meat actually sits in.  Or maybe this can be left out all together?
  2. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    Now I need alittle more onfo here. Is this pan you are talking about come with the smoker?? If it did you should put water or sand in it for that will help regulate yopur heat inside the smoker. Now you can also smoke your butt in a foil pan (I don't) and then you will have a bunch of the liquid that your butt created while it smoked. Then you can add some flour and water ixture and make a gravy or you can throw it away like I do. the other questions I have for you are what type of smoker do you have gas, charcoal, or electric?? 
  3. viper

    viper Smoke Blower

    Smoker is electric MES.  Pan would not be one with the smoker, but rather one that I add and set the meat in.  I am specifically looking for more smoke flavor.  I guess maybe I can start with a lower temp and allow the raw meat to take in the smoke flavor better.  I do use a sear on the grill so that might be creating some problems in smoke infusion.  
  4. les3176

    les3176 Master of the Pit

    i have never used a pan to catch the dripings...starting al lower temps is fine,just remember the saftey rules 140 in 4 hours.
  5. Yeah don't put the meat in the pan. You can put one underneath on a lower rack. Usually I don't bother with the drippings at first because you don't really need that much. I simply collect the drippings at the end. I take the butt out of the cooler after resting and put it into a large aluminum pan to pull. You can collect a ton of juice when you place it in the pan. Take it and stick it in the freezer for a bit, separate the fat, and mix it back in with the pulled pork and some sauce.
  6. rbranstner

    rbranstner Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I do the same thing. I just collect the juices after it has been resting in the foil. But then again I foil mine around 165 so there is plenty of juice in the foil by the time they go from 165 up to around 200 then rest in the cooler.
  7. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Group Lead OTBS Member


    If you are going to put a pan under it, put it on the next shelf (like Steve said). That way you won't be blocking any smoke from the bottom side of the meat. And I agree with Steve & RB. You should get plenty of juices during the 165˚ to 205˚ foiling period, especially if you add a little bit of your own when you wrap it at 165˚.

  8. eman

    eman Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member

    I have smoked butts and briskets in a pan like you are talking about doing. It seems to smoke a little faste3r that way . But if you dont flip the meat a few times during the smoke it will affect the ammount of smoke flavor you get.

     Also , If you want bark on the meat do not use a pan  .  It will not form a crust as it's sitting in liquid
  9. viper

    viper Smoke Blower

    I do a high temp sear to form the bark before smoking.  I did roll my meats around in the pan to expose all surfaces to smoke but they just did not take much up IMO.  I REALLY want to infuse that flavor. 

    I am also concerned about foiling.  I hear many people doing but that it makes a nice, crisp bark into a soggy one because of the steam.  I have heard mixed opinions on injections but my way of thinking is injections should help.  More moisture from the start will mean more moisture when you finish. 

    I realize that if a surface of meat is exposed, it should soak up the smoke, but mine really did not IMO.  I mean, the flavor is certainly there, but I just want more of it...
  10. ondagawood

    ondagawood Smoke Blower

      No pan here too............... I know it takes time and $ to do, but experiment and document times & temps to get what you really want, etc......

    Good luck,

  11. deannc

    deannc Master of the Pit

    No pan here either.  

    If you haven't tried foiling one from 165° to 200°, you may want to give it a try.  You'll get more than enough juices foiling but I rarely use the juices unless I'm going to crock pot it to serve at pot luck or something.  A good substitute is water and/or apple juice for that too. Remember when you collect the juices in a glass or container, put it in the fridge or freezer and when the fat gathers at the top, scoop it off before reintroducing the juices to the meat. 

    As you said, foiling does soften the bark a bit, but it's all a personal preference.  The only time I've experienced the bark getting "soggy" is if I have to leave it wrapped and resting in the cooler for more than a couple hours.  But I haven't found it soggy after resting an hour or so, soft yes.

    In the past I was completely against injecting butts, however, I decided to do some experimenting and have had some outstanding results with rave reviews.  If you're interested in given it a shot (haha) give this a try;

    3/4 cup apple juice

    1/2 cup water

    1/2 cup sugar

    1/4 cup salt

    2 tablespoons Worcestershire

    A great tip for injecting shared sometime ago by eman is to do your injecting while the butt is wrapped in plastic wrap.  Definitely keeps the mess to a minimum.  When you remove the wrap some of the rub will have washed off, just sprinkle more rub on and you're set.
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2011
  12. That may be another reason you aren't getting good smoke flavor. That will block smoke absorption. Trust me the bark will form without searing first. If you like a good crusty bark, don't foil the butt. As far as injecting goes it really isn't necessary in my opinion. If you cook the butt correctly it will be tender, falling apart and juicy.
  13. meateater

    meateater Legendary Pitmaster SMF Premier Member

    I use a  drip pan always, I like to keep my UDS clean #1, I don't care for hard bark #2, and I like to use the drippings for gravy or soup #3. This is just my personal opinion, I only use a second pan to foil after 140 ish.
  14. deannc

    deannc Master of the Pit

         The point of injecting is not because a pork butt isn't juicy or moist.  It's an extremely forgiving cut of meat and rather difficult to not cook properly.  The advantage of injecting pork butts is you      

         are adding flavors deeper into the meat where rubs and smoke will never reach.  Stepping out of the more traditional forms and/or processes can sometimes yield surprising results.  [​IMG]

          And of course like all things smokin', it's just a matter of personal preference.  [​IMG]

          I don't think searing is going to keep your smoke from penetrating, searing is common practice with some folks.  I'm not familiar with the MES, but isn't the A-Maze-N-Smoker so popular with      

          the MES owners because it delivers a more consistent longer smoke etc?  
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2011
  15. I'm not knocking injecting, I think its fine. As for searing a pork butt on the grill before putting it in the smoker, I can't see how that wouldn't inhibit smoke penetration. I'm no scientist but it makes sense that smoke would have a harder time getting through a crust that searing produces. My point was that the bark will come on its own. [​IMG]
  16. Oh and to add to that, I see tons of people here that ask about injecting pork out of fear that it won't be moist enough. That may not be what Viper was thinking but many do. I don't inject because I like the flavor as it is. I want to taste pork and spices that compliment pork not DR Pepper and whatever. Just my opinion.
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2011
  17. scarbelly

    scarbelly Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member

    I have to beleive that the searing is doing what it designed to do. It is forming a seal on the outside of the beef. If you sear the meat you are installing a barrier to the smoke penetrating the surface as you have formed a crusty barrier.

    I agree with the others here who have suggested using a pan underneath the meat to capture the juices. You don't have to use the juices if you don't want to. I usually put beef stock and onions in the pan and capture the drippings for the most incredible au jus you have ever had.

    Give this method a try as others have suggested and let us know YOUR thoughts. I think you will be pleasantly surprised   
  18. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Group Lead OTBS Member

    Warning to those who inject:

    Injecting is fine, if that's what floats your boat, but don't forget, "If you inject any kind of roast, be it Pork or be it Beef, or if you insert a meat probe prior to smoke/cooking, that piece of meat is now subject to the Danger Zone Rule of getting the center of that piece of meat from 40˚ to 140˚ in no longer than 4 hours".

  19. SmokinAl

    SmokinAl SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    I agree with Scarbelly, beef stock & onions mixed with the drippings then refrigerated to skim off the fat makes the best au jus. It has a great smoke flavor and when tossed with the pulled pork adds another layer of flavor. Sometimes I also put a couple of tbs of rub in the pan also.
  20. deannc

    deannc Master of the Pit

         I agree 100% with what you're saying about folks thinking they may have to do it because it may not be moist enough.  And is not needed at all, agree. [​IMG]

         However, I'm not talking about injecting with anything that doesn't compliment the taste as most of the ingredients I listed are common rub or spritzing ingredients.  I was hardcore against it before I began experimenting with it and I'm finding it does compliment just as a rub does.  I'm also finding it adds a tremendous amount of moisture, more so than without, if you can imagine that.  Is it needed, well, that's going to come down to personal preference just as whether to add sauce or a rub etc.  

         Now come on down and we'll throw one in the drum and throw down a few cold ones! LOL  [​IMG]