Pulled Pork Test This Weekend

dflaher

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I've never cooked a pork butt unwrapped, and have always wondered what the diffrences between wrapped and unwrapped might be. So...i plan on cooking two this weekend, one wrapped at IT of 165F or so, and the other unwrapped through the entirety of the cook. I plan to pull both off at an IT of 200-205F and rest for an hour or two. Smoker at 200F until wrapping, then 250F.

Both of the shoulders are about 9 pounds, and I plan to rub them with the same rub to eliminate variables. Any other tips for the test? I guess I should expect the wrapped one to finish sooner. Should I cook them on the top rack, or bottom? Do you recommend a pan underneath for dripings? A water tray?

Thanks!
 

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Okay first off, for years, the proven, and IMO, best way to do any BUTT is to cook unwrapped till 203° then WRAP in foil, towel, and in a cooler for at least 2 hours...

SO, again, IMO, if you are trying one unwrapped, then at least try that method so you can actually imitate the way it's been done buy hundreds for years.

BOTH, should get wrapped in foil and towel in cooler for the 'REST'.
The real science and mechanics happens in that cooler!

Me? I'll never wrap a BUTT during the cook... but that's me.
 

Timmy

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I’ll NEVER wrap a pork butt again. NEVER! Bark is awesome and so juicy. I even cut them in half for more bark. ( @Slimpicker suggestion)
 

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Now I'm wondering if I should abandon the test and cook both unwrapped!:)

Well, we weren't trying to dampen your adventure but you might wanna consider it.


I’ll NEVER wrap a pork butt again. NEVER! Bark is awesome and so juicy. I even cut them in half for more bark. ( @Slimpicker suggestion)

And if you have the room dflaher, I'd give this a consideration as well... MORE BARK, MORE FLAVOR.
Yes, you will have 4 small butts to keep an eye on all their internal temps... they will all finish at different times, this I am quit sure of.
 
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dflaher

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Do (Did) you all find that a wrapped butt cooks faster than an unwrapped one?
 

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Do (Did) you all find that a wrapped butt cooks faster than an unwrapped one?
dunno, I never wrapped one... 😁

Sorry, I know that Q was for the others.
 

Timmy

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I really didn’t find a difference between wrapped and unwrapped.
 

Timmy

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I will add, put a temp probe to monitor temp and don’t poke it again till it’s almost done.
 

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I’ve done them every way possible for years and the best way is to wrap at 165-180. Don’t just wrap the butt though. First put it in a foil pan and wrap the top of the pan. This captures all the renderings. Then after resting, set butt aside from pan and pour the contents of the pan in a fat separator. Return the butt to the pan and pull. Once pulled reincorporate the seasoned juices from the fat separator to the pulled pork. This is a whole other level from regular wrap vs unwrap butts. This how comp guys do it and there is a reason they do. You can thank me later. 😁
 
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dflaher

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Test complete. Both were awesome, but I have to admit the wife and I preferred the wrapped butt slightly over the unwrapped. The bark on the unwrapped one was very well formed, but too much IMO. It ended up with the texture of jerky, versus the more easily consumable bark from the wrapped butt. Also, we did find that the wrapped one was just a tad juicier that then unwrapped one.

I know...it's just personal preference, but we did lean toward the unwrapped. A few other observations:
  • This was first time using my newly acquired Fireboard, other than a test run on some steaks the other night. I love it.
  • The grill temp as reported by the FB was on average about 12-15F higher than on Traeger's ambient probe.
  • The left to right grill temp differences were not as large as I had anticipated. 3-5 degrees normally, with the left side being higher.
  • Possibly because of this, the butt on the left side had a higher IT for most of the cook (about 8-10 degrees), until I wrapped the one on the right. The butt on the right slowly caught up right at the finish line, with both hitting 204F at the same time.
  • I rested both for 90 minutes. I would have preferred a little longer but we were getting hungry.
Thanks for all of your inputs!
 

JPSBBQ

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Test complete. Both were awesome, but I have to admit the wife and I preferred the wrapped butt slightly over the unwrapped. The bark on the unwrapped one was very well formed, but too much IMO. It ended up with the texture of jerky, versus the more easily consumable bark from the wrapped butt. Also, we did find that the wrapped one was just a tad juicier that then unwrapped one.

I know...it's just personal preference, but we did lean toward the unwrapped. A few other observations:
  • This was first time using my newly acquired Fireboard, other than a test run on some steaks the other night. I love it.
  • The grill temp as reported by the FB was on average about 12-15F higher than on Traeger's ambient probe.
  • The left to right grill temp differences were not as large as I had anticipated. 3-5 degrees normally, with the left side being higher.
  • Possibly because of this, the butt on the left side had a higher IT for most of the cook (about 8-10 degrees), until I wrapped the one on the right. The butt on the right slowly caught up right at the finish line, with both hitting 204F at the same time.
  • I rested both for 90 minutes. I would have preferred a little longer but we were getting hungry.
Thanks for all of your inputs!
A wrapped butt should finish waaay faster than an unwrapped one. Should push right though the stall steadily. Unwrapped generally will take at least an hour longer if not hours longer. Interesting.
 

Slimpicker

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The bark on the unwrapped one was very well formed, but too much IMO. It ended up with the texture of jerky, versus the more easily consumable bark from the wrapped butt. Also, we did find that the wrapped one was just a tad juicier that then unwrapped one.

You should have done a little more searching here, or maybe it was my mistake, but I always use a good finishing sauce on my unwrapped butts, which adds tremendous flavor and moisture

Just smoke your pork butts as usual and make a good vinegar based finishing sauce. Here's mine.

Directions Take a 1/2 liter (16.7 oz) bottle of water. Pour the water in a glass, drink the water. Using a funnel, add the following ingredients to the bottle.

3 tablespoons sea salt
2 tablespoon turbinado sugar (sugar in the raw)
1 teaspoon ground Chipotle Pepper
1 teaspoon ground Cayenne Pepper
Top off with Heinz apple cider vinegar (use the real stuff, not flavored).

Put cap back on and shake till sugar and salt dissolve. Let stand as long as possible, at least 1/2 a day, but the longer the better. Poke a hole in the cap with a clean nail and you have a squirt bottle.

ALSO, the longer you REST, the more moisture comes back and bark gets moister also.
A BUTT can rest up to 4 hours

GOOD JOB tho... Yes, it's all about YOUR OWN taste, no one else's.
 

Slimpicker

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What I might do is 'test' my Butt in a foil pan later in the cook to dampen the convection air flow but I still won't cover till the REST. Traeger's air flow could have caused you to have a drier butt on your uncovered, but at the same time, Traegers air flow skins over almost every meat it cooks so if left undisturbed the meat should have held it's juices.

I liked your 'test', but in the future, try a finishing sauce, you are missing out on a real treat.

I posted GM's recipe above... mine is:

A FINISHING SAUCE!!!! that takes care of all your juicy meat needs the 'day of"!!!
Per/10lb butt
1 Cup Cider Vinegar
3 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
1 good squirt of Ketchup
1 Teaspoon Course Black Pepper
1 Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes

Warm the Vinegar up enough so that it dissolves the Sugar well. Then add the remaining ingredients.
 

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