- Joined Oct 3, 2009
when doing a pork shoulder for sliced or pulled pork, does anyone ever score the fat cap while smoking fat side up? and what difference does it make
It depends what I'm in the mood for, mostly. I guess if I'm feeling a bit lazy, I score it, then dry rub, and I actually will massage the seasoning into the scoring of the fat, then dust the whole thing all over...if I feel like spending a few extra minutes, I'll trim it dowm most of the way to bare meat. I have found that with a fairly heavy fatcap which is left unscored/untrimmed, there tends to be quite a bit more shrinkage of the perimeter of the fat cap than the meat later in the smoke, which can pull on the meat and cause distorted curvature (concave shape) on the fat side. This really is no big deal, it just looks kind of awkward.
Scoring also tends to make for a pretty cool lookin' butt when it's about halfway through the smoke...the cuts begin to open up as the fat renders down and shrinks, revealing a checkerboad pattern of dry rub in the cuts, and the forming bark on the fat itself...I do score it alot more now than I used to. The thing to remember is, where there's fat, there's no smoke ring...so, if you really want to see and taste the smoke, get rid of the fat.
And as mentioned, butts have plenty of interior fat to keep it moist during the smoke, even if you're running a rig without a water pan.
BTW, give your cousin a big welcome home from the crew here at SMF...I for one, really do appreciate those boys/gals having our backs, and I do know from past experience that it's not easy being away from home for extended periods...that alone deserves some merit.
Have a great smoke!