Pulled pork tastes like pork roast

Discussion in 'Pork' started by macdad, Jul 12, 2009.

  1. macdad

    macdad Fire Starter

    I have made 3 pork butts over the last month. Overall, they have all been quite juicy, but the flavor is lacking. If I eat it the same day, it smells smokey, but it tastes like a roast.

    I made the second butt a day ahead of time, pulled it and put it in the fridge. I put the juice in a jar and put that in the fridge, too. The next day, I heated it all up, separated the fat from the "juice" and added it to the meat. This was night and day different from the first one. It tasted smokey and full of flavor.

    Is this common, or am I missing something. I don't like a lot of finishing sauce, because the vinegar is very strong. FYI, I smoke it on a GOSM until it reaches 165 then foil and into the oven until it is done.
  2. danbury

    danbury Smoking Fanatic

    It's been a while since I've used my GOSM for pulled pork and it was one of my gripes about it was that there was a tendency for the meat to have that pork roast taste. I've cooked a great deal of wonderful things on one but I was never impressed using one for pulled pork. I did learn to work around a few things to get the pork to have a better smokey taste to it, but eventually just stopped using it for pork all together.
    I can't much help you on the sauce part as I love vinegar and all of my main sauces that I do make are vinegar based in one way or another.

    What you may want to try in the future is this. Remove the pork butt from the refrige and and pat off as much moisture as you can. I always, no matter what kind of meat EXCEPT chicken, set the meat out and and let some of the chill get knocked off of it on the counter top for about an hour. (wet cold meat will not take smoke very well)
    During that time I load up the cast iron box with the wood and turn on the fire. Don't even think of putting that meat in the GOSM till you start seeing some smoke, then put it in and then just cook it the way you have been. I'm not sure if you can look up some of my posts but if you do, you'll find quite a few pictures where the first picture is "Knocking the chill off" and I go so far as to put a small fan blowing on the meat while I'm getting my pit going.
  3. danbury

    danbury Smoking Fanatic

    Found a couple pics of what I'm talking about. The ones of the pork butts were a few years back when I use the GOSM. The chuck roasts were put on my UDS.
  4. herkysprings

    herkysprings Smoking Fanatic

    You can try 2 things,

    One use the foiled separated juice, and 1/2 of a vinegar sauce to make it flavoured. Add more or less vinegar as you like. Apple cidar vinegar works very well with pork

    Or, brine the butts before smoking. The foiled juice will have much more flavour, equal to that of something with a sauce.

    I do either a brined butt with juice for a BBQ / salty flavouring, or a regular one with Vingar sauce. Both taste great.
  5. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I've been foiling pretty much every meat with a blend of OJ/Lime, OJ/Lemon, or Pineapple Juice. Flavors added to the meat are very good, and it aids in further tenderization as well...it cuts down on the long waited resting periods and brasing times. The citrus fruits seem to go well with any meat or smoke wood I've tried it with. I seperate the fat from the juices after pulling/slicing and toss it in with the meat as well...no finishing sauce needed.

    Your rub may have some effect on the smoke flavor. If it is a milder smoke, the rub may be covering it up somewhat. I don't know what seasonings your using, but you may want to try rosemary, chili powder, garlic powder and onion powder as a base, and light on the salt. Rosemary really brings out the flavor in pork. I grind it up to a fairly fine consistency for a nice even coverage.

    One last thing: try adding a few charcoal briquettes or small lumps to the smoke box for additional flavoring...something about having some carbon based solid fuel seems to really carry the flavor of the smoke wood very well...I like the coal/wood smokes alot better myself, even though I'm a die-hard gasser for hot smoking.

    Just some thoughts for you.

    Good luck with your upcoming smokes.

  6. macdad

    macdad Fire Starter

    Thanks for the input, guys! I may do some experimenting with the rub, although it is fantastic on the ribs I have made. It seems like the flavor doesn't get inside the meat. I guess that is the other side of BBQ, experimenting with flavors.

    Herkysprings, I will have to try adding vinegar to the juice. That is a good idea, since most of the rub is in the juice.

    forluvofsmoke, I have used the charcoal/wood combo before. Then, I just started using the charred wood chips as a base, and adding fresh chips and chunks on top. It seems to give me a much better quality smoke. It seems like the smoke just blows right past the meat though. I know it is only supposed to be "kissed" by the smoke, but I not sure it is even getting a peck on the cheek :) I have seen somewhere that someone made a baffle on the top damper of their GOSM. I may try that.

    danbury, I usually let the chill off the meat a little bit, but never for that long. The butts that I have smoked all have a good smoke ring inside, but I don't know if that also means the flavor has penetrated. I love your avatar, too!
  7. dmack

    dmack Smoke Blower

    Without exception my pork tests the best when reheated. It seems that right out of the smoker when pulling its okay. But when I pull it and refrigerate or freeze, thaw, and then add finishing sauce its awesome. I like finishing sauce but I know not everyone is a fan of vinegar. I try to add just enough finishing sauce to bring out the flavor-you really don't get much of the vinegar taste. If I use my gosm I add the juices (minus the fat). When using the Horizon I don't have the juices to add.
    The other night while doing a big smoke with several other smokers I reheated some pulled pork in a crock pot, added some finishing sauce that I kind of concocted on the spot. We were at a campsite so I didn't have access to a stove and a full kitchen. I got rave reviews. Later when they were done I tried it. It wasn't my best but it was good. Use SoFlaQuers finishing sauce (cup of cider vinegar, about a tablespoon of brown sugar, some cajun spice I believe, and some cayene pepper-check the recipe) warm it to dissolve the brown sugar. Add carefully if you aren't a huge vinegar guy. I also found another recipe in my Steven Raichlen book.

    Funny thing is chicken, turkey, brisket seem to all come out of the smoker full of smoke, pork just needs a little assistance I think. By the way, if you haven't done a chicken or turkey yet-try it. Poultry is like a confidence booster.Once you do you will be strutting around thinking that nobody can smoke like you do. It is absolutely fantastic. I don't think a restaurant can come close to what we can do with our own little smokers.

  8. flash

    flash Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Well, it looks like you have a good bark. Bark is were alot of the pork flavor comes from. So good bark is a must.
    Next day pork is always better, as it is with spaghetti, ABT's and Lasagna. Most pasta dishes serve up better the second or third day.
    I think my taste buds have waned over the years. Probably all those hot sauces I eat. At any rate, I found I need stronger woods (oak, mesquite) to even notice the smoke flavor on some meats.
  9. the dude abides

    the dude abides Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    The first couple of things I thought of...
    1) A butt is a pretty thick piece of meat so the actual smoke never really permiates all of the meat. Make sure you're pulling it instead of slicing it and make sure it all gets mixed together. This way the smokier outer edges will mix with the "just cooked" meat in the middle.
    2) Try using a "heavier" wood to smoke with, like a mesquite.
    3) You can inject the butt with a brine or marinade. This doesn't make it smokier, but it will put more flavor into the depths of the cut. Maybe add a little liquid smoke to this injection.

    Good luck
  10. ronp

    ronp Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    After rubbing try searing, it should add some good flavor.
  11. I used to have the same issue. Try one without foiling. I did this and it made the difference. Now the flavor is where I want it. Someone else mentioned and I agree more bark=more flavor that will help the roast flavor. I also use a vinegar based sauce that I think is really good and simple to make. Here is a link to my no foil shoulder thread with pics. The sauce recipe is in there as well.

  12. johnnyreb

    johnnyreb Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    one other thing is that while your cooking and smelling that smoke all day you may not taste the smoke in the meat since youve been in it all day?

    dont know just my 2 cents
  13. bigwayne

    bigwayne Smoke Blower

    Couple notes from what I see you saying....

    On the rub...a rub you like for ribs is too weak for a butt. If I use my rub for butt on ribs (mistake one time) the ribs are inedible. Think about the amount of surface area rubbed vs. the volume of meat.

    Also, on the GOSM, did you do anything with the baffle on top? It has preset tabs that keep it pretty wide open. Mine worked better after I bent those out straight and could limit the airflow more severely.
  14. blaken

    blaken Fire Starter

    I do a lot of butts on the GOSM. I just don't like the chip box at all. Get yourself a cheap 10" cast iron skillet and use it instead. I like to put 3 good size hickory chunks right in the middle of the skillet and then I fill the outer edge with apple chips (I can't find chunks here). When I was using the chip box I didn't get anywhere close to enough smoke. My model only has the single top vent and I run it full to 3/4ths open. There is still enough smoke inside to sting my eyes when I open it up. I replace the chunks about every two hours.
  15. herkysprings

    herkysprings Smoking Fanatic

    I get this a lot. I have a hard time tasting my food as my heads been in the smoker all day. I usually dont get the full smokey goodness until I bring it to work a few days later.
  16. macdad

    macdad Fire Starter

    I have been thinking the same thing. It makes sense to me.

    The funny thing is, I actually threatened to not foil this one, but I caved in. I think I will definitely try one without foiling next time.
  17. alx

    alx Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Consider injecting the foil juices into Butt and then do the whole wrap and rest.......

    Injecting the butt in beggining and the end has won a few awards.

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