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Pulled pork question.

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    Pulled pork question.

    Monday, I will be attempting to make a pulled pork for the first time. I am planning on using Meatheads recipe. It says to wrap the pork butt with string either butcher or kite, either way, just wrap it.

    I'm curious, is this a required step? At what point do I wrap it, and what point do I unwrap it?

    Also, I have seen the pulled pork smoked directly on the grates, I have also seen it put on a wrack then smoked over a cookie sheet. Are there advantages to doing it this way?

    #2
    I do neither and just place it on the grill grate. Not sure what the string is for unless your hanging it in a barrel cooker. Wrapping will speed up the process.

    Comment


      #3
      I didn't read the recipe but it's probably boneless? They tend to fall apart when taken from the package and need to be held together somehow. I have used skewers in the past but now I prefer bone in

      Comment


      • Troutman
        Troutman commented
        Editing a comment
        Yea what he said. I tie up a boneless one to keep it's shape.

      #4
      I have not seen the need to tie up the butt with string so I wouldn’t worry about that step.

      The advantage of the cookie sheet is that the juices will not fall into the smoker and require cleanup later. However, the disadvantage is that it may take longer to cook as you are shielding the butt from the heat. I would not recommend a cookie sheet or rack but instead perhaps a aluminum pan underneath the grates which will serve as the same purpose.

      Personally, if it is your first time, I would skip the pan and string because I would focus on the meat versus the extras which can mess with cooking times and temps. That can be stressful on a first cook. Once you have done the first one successfully and you will, you will know what you want to tweak if anything for next time.

      Comment


        #5
        The string is so you can shape the butt into a more uniform shape. This supposedly helps with even cooking. I used to and now don't. I think a pork butt is so forgiving it doesn't really matter. Like zero_credit says, just put it directly on the grate with a pan under the grate to catch the drippings to aid clean up. Pork butts are probably the most forgiving hunk of meat there is. Almost impossible to fail.

        I personally like to wrap when the IT hits about 160. You don't end up with a lot of bark that way, but I think it creates meat that is more moist as you don't lose as many drippings. Some like to wrap at 180 after the bark is set in an effort to preserve the bark. Others don't wrap at all. That's something you'll have to play with. Either way will end up with some good eats.

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          #6
          I also do not tie, even floppy boneless butts I just lump onto the grate best I can in a somewhat even shape and call it good. The meat doesn't care. If you were to hang it in a Pit Barrel Cooker though you'd want to prepare it better and make sure things were solid and sturdy.

          I like to wrap my pork butts in a very tight double layer of foil (Texas crutch), but I wait until after the stall, when the IT is about 180 or thereabouts. I find that gives a good amount of bark built up and still speeds up the cook nicely. At 225-250 grate temp this gets me at about ~7-8 until wrapping, and another 2-3 after wrapping to 200-205 IT, for ~10hrs cook time and then ~2hrs "faux cambro" (hold) time, for ~12hrs total until time to shred & eat.

          Some folks will cook overtop of a cookie sheet, this is likely to catch the drippings or to keep their smoker clean. Some will do it in a pan which works too. I do mine straight on the grate, letting that heat & smoke hit it with full power 360 degrees around.

          Comment


          • Troutman
            Troutman commented
            Editing a comment
            So can we call you lumpy?

          #7
          I personally never tie with string unless it's a boneless butt (which I rarely use). And I always wrap in foil once the bark is nicely formed, just because I want to have a timeframe that I can plan around.

          Having said that, I think you should just stick with the plan and follow Meathead's method precisely the first time. You will find your own style as you gain some experience.
          Last edited by Steve R.; September 3, 2021, 09:03 AM.

          Comment


            #8
            Originally posted by RDSBandit View Post
            Monday, I will be attempting to make a pulled pork for the first time. I am planning on using Meatheads recipe. It says to wrap the pork butt with string either butcher or kite, either way, just wrap it.

            I'm curious, is this a required step? At what point do I wrap it, and what point do I unwrap it?

            Also, I have seen the pulled pork smoked directly on the grates, I have also seen it put on a wrack then smoked over a cookie sheet. Are there advantages to doing it this way?
            I think Meathead is referring to cooking a boneless pork butt, as those often are sorta "loose" and tend to flap open where they removed the bone. It's an attempt to keep the meat in a single piece for smoking. If its a bone in pork butt, that's not something you need to do, and not something I've ever done. The fact his recipe mentions a 5 pound butt kinda indicates it may have already been deboned, as most I cook are 7-8 pounds at a minimum, with the average being around 8.

            I've never personally cooked a boneless pork butt, and I've smoked literally hundreds if not close to 1000 by this point in my life. I did 84 in a single cook once for a high school fundraiser when my daughter was a cheerleader, and rest assured, I would not have been tying and untying string on those.

            I also put my meat directly on the grate. Folks that don't want to get their smoker dirty may put it over a drip pan with a cooking rack, but to me that is just something else to clean after the cook. And I feel it blocks airflow and smoke around the butt during the cook.
            Last edited by jfmorris; September 3, 2021, 09:04 AM.

            Comment


              #9
              Thank you all.

              I won't use any string because it is a bone in shoulder. And I'll just cook it directly on the grates. I'll follow Meatheads instructions as they are and see how it turns out.

              It is 8.10 lbs, so I'm looking at around 12 hrs I think.

              Comment


                #10
                Here's what I do. If I can get the meat in a somewhat large single lump, I do not tie. If there is a part that just doesn't want to snuggle up to the rest, I may tie to prevent that part from drying out.

                Comment


                  #11
                  What kind of a cooker are you using?

                  I use a Weber kettle, and place a disposable metal pan in the middle, with charcoal run around the outside of the bottom grate (Snake Method, there are good videos online). I usually put water in the pan to 1) add moisture to the cook as it evaporates, and 2) stabilize the temperature. It makes cleanup easier too.

                  Comment


                  • HawkerXP
                    HawkerXP commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Plus the drippings in the pan can be added back into the meat after pulling.

                  #12
                  This is a Boston Butt we are talking about. You pretty much can’t mess this up. There are multiple ways to,success. I agree with others in that it is probably referring to a boneless or an attempt to make the butt as uniform as possible. When I cook bone in I never tie it.

                  Comment


                    #13
                    You'll do fine butts are a very forgiving meat so experiment with different tactics.
                    After a few you'll find what works for you and what doesn't.
                    While low and slow is the gold standard in smoking don't be afraid to up the temps to 300+, pork will take it.
                    Keep in mind not all butts are the same, some is tough old boar butts and some are soft and cushy Petunia Pig butts....you can do everything perfect and not get great results or do everything wrong and it'll be delicious.
                    Send pics or it didn't happen.

                    Comment


                    • Dewesq55
                      Dewesq55 commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Plus 1 on the pics or it didn't happen!

                    • RDSBandit
                      RDSBandit commented
                      Editing a comment
                      I'm taking pics. Where do you want me to post them?

                    • Dewesq55
                      Dewesq55 commented
                      Editing a comment
                      RDSBandit - Post food pics on Show Us What You're Cooking, usually abbreviated as SUWYC. It's usually hanging around somewhere on the Recent Posts page.

                    #14
                    String/tying is for a boneless butt to help give it a more union shape so some parts don't dry out while others aren't done yet. I don't see a need for cooking on a rack over a sheet pan. As for actual wrapping, I wrap my butts in foil after the bark is set - maybe 170 or 175° - which helps speed up the cook significantly. I also cut my butts into (usually) 2 smaller pieces of roughly the same size. This gives you more bark per lb and also helps speed three cook. For a bone-in butt, you will end up with one piece that has the bone and the other will be boneless. Due to the shape of the bone, I usually cut them into sort of a wedge shape.
                    Last edited by Dewesq55; September 6, 2021, 10:27 AM.

                    Comment


                    • smokin fool
                      smokin fool commented
                      Editing a comment
                      10-4 on wrapping
                      I add a coupla glugs of a red or dark beer when I wrap. Then finish the can so we both win.

                    #15
                    Like above. I only tie boneless butts. I use a foil pan under the meat with an inch or less of water. This will make it a moist environment during the cook and catch the drippings that could be used after pulling. If I wrap its after it has come out of the stall.

                    Remember its not finished by time, its finished when the meat is probe tender. I use my handheld thermometer to check internal temps of course but to also feel how tender the meat is. I start probing around 190* internal temp and when it goes in as smooth as a knife going through warm butter its done. Good luck!
                    Last edited by HawkerXP; September 4, 2021, 09:25 AM.

                    Comment


                    • Dewesq55
                      Dewesq55 commented
                      Editing a comment
                      I don't exactly share this opinion when it comes to pork butt. I think a butt is done at 198°F and always try to pull it off the cooker at that IT without testing for probe tenderness. I have never had it "not done" enough not to readily shred into pulled pork at that IT and I find it juicier/moister than at higher temps, such as 203°F. Different strokes for different folks, I guess.

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