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pork butt questions

mcockrell

Fire Starter
55
12
Joined Nov 9, 2012
Hi gang.

for christmas i smoked my first ever ribs and pork butt. (im way behind on my QViews but they will come shortly). both turned out very very good. my family raved about the pork butt and even i thought it was very very delicious. i did a little research on it here but i still have a few questions about it.

the main one for me was that when i opened the package i noticed a thick layer of fat on one side of it. i wasnt sure if i should trim this, remove it entirely, or score it and leave it on. so i trimmed it up a great deal because my gf really doesnt like fat mixed with her meat (she will literally cut every piece of fat and gristle of her steaks. thats the best part!). well in short i think i may have overtrimmed it a little bit because it sort of started to fall apart a little bit. i put mustard and rub on it and put in the fridge for a little while then put it on the smoker. it still turned out great but i was wondering what you guys do with the fat layer. the way it started to come apart makes me think that i probably should have left it on there or perhaps not trimmed quite as much of it.

secondly, i cooked to 195 IT and pulled it. wrapped in foil and put in a cooler for about an hour or so. but i didnt foil it during the smoke. do most people foil during the smoke? what advantages does that serve? it was already tender enough and falling apart anyway so i couldnt imagine it being more tender. it was very juicy as well so i guess im not really sure what foiling gives you that i didnt already get by not foiling.

thanks in advance.

Michael C
 

kathrynn

Legendary Pitmaster
OTBS Member
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Joined Jun 13, 2012
Michael....when I buy a butt....I look for the fat...and leave it on and leave it be.  It helps during the smoking process.  (My husband does the same thing with meats....I swear to the point it drives me nuts! 
) Any hoo.....I smoke to the 200 degree temps...just that 5 degrees more helps me.  Then down for a cooler nap for at least one hour.

You will find just as many folks here in the forum that "foil" mid way around 165 that don't "foil".  The foiling will help if you have a stall in your internal temperatures.  Not foiling helps make a better bark on the meat.  Foiling does make the bark softer. Its your tastes and what your family likes to have!

Again...this is my experience (my 2 cents) and I know some others will offer information as well.  Glad it turned out great for you!  It's fun!
 

humdinger

Master of the Pit
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Joined Jun 27, 2012
Mike,

Many guys will trim the fat cap for health reasons, but never completely take it off because you want that side to be facing up during cooking. The reason is b/c at the low&slow temps (225), the fat renders (turns to a liquid) and slowly drips down over the meat acting as a natural baste. I never trim, but it's a personal preference thing. Some guys feel it's all BS and put the fat side wherever, but you have to find out what you like.

If your girl hates fat, trim off what you can after it cooks but before pulling the meat apart. Scoring before cooking wouldn't hurt it, and may actually help get more rub and smoke to the meat underneath.

As for why it fell apart before cooking, you may be dealing with a boneless pork butt or picnic roast. It's a real chore to get the bone out, so sometimes the butcher has to "put the meat back together" before packaging. Just keep it as balled up as you can while smoking.

I also never foil during cooking (that's called a Texas Crutch), but there's nothing wrong with it and it helps push through the stall and make the meat a bit more moist and tender, but at the expense of a good crusty bark. Try it next time and see if you like it, but remember, every butt is different (ha ha very funny) so results may vary. Just do about a dozen before coming to any conclusions! lol jk Otherwise your finish internal temp and resting method is spot-on. no change there.

Sorry if this is redundant to anyone elses response. Took me long time to type. thanks.
 
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mcockrell

Fire Starter
55
12
Joined Nov 9, 2012
thanks you guys i appreciate the input! i think next time i will do both! personally i love the crusty crunchy bark, but i would love to do one foiled and one not foiled just to compare the differences (I.E. by eating both haha).

thanks for the tip on the fat as well. when i cooked this one i put the fat part down (what little fat was left) and i smoked two racks of ribs directly underneath it so at least the ribs got some delicious fat from it.

Kathryn it is very fun! i am enjoying myself very much, and so is the family. ive only been doing this since thanksgiving but everything that ive put in the MES has turned into gold. my family cant stop talking about it and they actually think i know what im doing! i havent the heart to tell them that everything that i "know" came from these forums.

the MES was definitely the best purchase i made this year. as i was typing this my AMNPS came in from Todd along with the new maverick. hopefully that will be by best purchase of this year!

thanks again you guys are the best.

MC
 

humdinger

Master of the Pit
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Group Lead
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Joined Jun 27, 2012
No problem, MC, glad to help. This is precisely why the SMF got started, to share info. Like most people, I lurked on the main website for about a year. Once I read everything there was to read, I joined the SMF. the ideas and inspriations coming from this are limitless.

Now that you have an AMNPS from Todd, research some cold smoking forums and techniques. Cold smoking is fun and very easy.
 

kathrynn

Legendary Pitmaster
OTBS Member
9,452
117
Joined Jun 13, 2012
I have a friend who does competitions...and that is how I started wanting to do things at home.  He hasn't taught me very much...but boy has this Forum!  You will learn from everyone here...and more by just diving in and just doing it!  Glad you popped in here...and glad you are having fun.  My family likes what I do here too! 
 

wrwoelfel

Fire Starter
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11
Joined Nov 11, 2012
Its just nice coming to a forum and people don't think you are idiot for asking. Great people d great foods.
 

dward51

Master of the Pit
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Joined Nov 24, 2011
Now I do mine different. 

I trim the fat cap off my shoulders for a low and slow smoke.  Also try to get as much of the hard fat off from the are under the cap too.   Never had a shoulder come out dry as they still have a good distribution of fat throughout the shoulder.  I pull mine at 200 to 205 and foil them to rest for at least 30 minutes in a cooler and have held them as long as 5 hours in the cooler before pulling.  Still too hot to handle with your hands after 5 hours.  I only foil as I put them in the cooler to rest, not during the cooking process.

Shoulder is very forgiving and is great eating too!  Photos below are from my last Christmas smoke (4 shoulders).

Trimmed and rubbed - just going on the WSM. Yes those are 4 shoulders in a 18.5" WSM (two on each rack).


Mid-way through the smoke


And done - ready to foil and rest in the cooler (ice chest).  That is not "burnt", it's bark and it tastes wonderful


Pulling for sandwiches

 
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