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Pulled Pork - To Foil or not to foil - and a slight twist


Meat Mopper
Joined Oct 30, 2009
OK... I have been successfully smoking pork butts (thanks to many of you on this forum) for a few years now and I always smoke them at 225 in my MES30 until the IT reaches 165 and at that point I foil it with some apple juice until it hits 205 (or slightly less if I have extra time knowing that the temp will rise as it rests in the cooler).  This is the most reliable fool proof method I have ever used (along with 3-2-1).  The only downside to doing the foil is that you loose the great texture of the bark.  I also know that the primary reason it was suggested to foil was to assist in getting the butt through the stalling period.  Which leads me to my next question:  Has anyone ever foiled at 165 until the temp starts to climb on a regular basis and then remove it from the foil and throw it back in the smoker without foil until it hits 205 so that you get some of that wonderful bark back?  I would assume it would work but just thought I would throw it out there for others to critique.  I will not sacrifice the moist, delicious meat when foiling due to my bark fetish but thought I could possibly get the best of both worlds.  I will be throwing 2 8 pound butts in the MES tonight for a surprise birthday party for my sister tomorrow at 3:00 so I will most likely chuck them in at 12:00 tonight figuring roughly 1.5 hours per pound (and the fact that it will most likely take longer to get up to temp due to 2 butts in the smoker).  8*1.5=12hrs..  So it should be ready to roll somewhere between 12:00 and 1:00 and if it is I will have some time for resting, if not i have a little time to CMA.  Thoughts Anyone???




Master of the Pit
Joined May 12, 2013
Hello Jim.  1st,  I would say I would stick with tried and true for this party.  Experiment with a small butt when just cooking for yourself.  You don't want to serve guests something you feel is inferior; although it would probably be great.  We tend to be our own worst critics.

I won't go into the why but will just give you my experience and then my opinion.  Am sure others will have different opinions.  I don't do pulled pork.  I take my butts to about 180-185 IT without wrapping in foil and then rest in foil and a cooler.  I slice my butt like brisket.  I do not pull brisket either but that's another story.  I also never actively try for bark, most times I trim it off when I slice as I find it can be tough and dry.  I don't do burnt ends ( although they taste nice ) because you need to soak them in sauce to make them edible.  I'm not a sauce kinda guy.  Now that EVERY member KNOWS I am completely crazy I will try to answer your question:

Your method may well work fine but I think you may be trying to mix apples and oranges in your approach.  The idea of the bark and pulled pork is to create the bark for the flavour and then wrap with an Au Jus and continue to cook to soften the bark.  Then during pulling you have the flavour without any dry hard pieces. The bark will also soften to some degree during the wrap and rest stage no matter what you try.  Pulled pork is also usually served mixed with some sort of sauce so that is going to soften the bark.  If you like bark, you might be better served by slicing the butt and sauce on the side.  Just my thoughts.

So best advice would be, give 'er a whirl and let us know how it went.  Post Pics.  Experimentation is a good thing.  Good luck.  Keep Smokin!



Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
Group Lead
Joined Feb 28, 2010
My advice is to cook the butts at as high a temp as your MES will go, don't foil, don't worry about the "stall"(if your cook temp is high enough it does not happen) and cook until you get to your preferred temp. No opening up the cooker, no wrapping in foil and, most importantly, no loss of bark. YMMV, mine doesn't very much.

It's bbq, keep it simple.

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