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Need Help Achieving Good Bark!

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  • PitDoc
    Club Member
    • Nov 2018
    • 3
    • Mount Pleasant, WI

    Need Help Achieving Good Bark!

    I’ve been having trouble achieving good bark on pork butts. I’m using Meathead’s Memphis Dust rub recipe. Any help would be greatly appreciated!
  • HawkerXP
    Club Member
    • Jul 2016
    • 5925
    • Virginia
    • 2 Weber Performers, 1 kettle, 1 Smoky Joe and a PBC
      Thermopops
      Dot and Chef Alarm with probes
      Slo n Sear
      Cold beer

    #2
    What are you cooking on?

    Comment


    • HawkerXP
      HawkerXP commented
      Editing a comment
      I see a barrel in you're avatar.
  • HawkerXP
    Club Member
    • Jul 2016
    • 5925
    • Virginia
    • 2 Weber Performers, 1 kettle, 1 Smoky Joe and a PBC
      Thermopops
      Dot and Chef Alarm with probes
      Slo n Sear
      Cold beer

    #3
    I use a Weber kettle and PBC (Pit Barrel Cooker) I find that in the barrel because of its moist atmosphere my butts get less of that nice crusty bark. Still great but more moist.

    Comment


    • HawkerXP
      HawkerXP commented
      Editing a comment
      Welcome to the Pit!
  • RonB
    Club Member
    • Apr 2016
    • 13108
    • Near Richmond VA
    • Weber Performer Deluxe
      SNS
      Pizza insert
      Rotisserie
      Smokenator 1000
      Cookshack Smokette Elite
      2 Thermapens
      Chefalarm
      Dot
      lots of probes.
      CyberQ

    #4
    If you are wrapping, wait until after the stall at around 180* - 185*. I t would hepl if we knew what you are doing.

    What cooker?
    What temp?
    Are you wrapping?
    When are you taking it off the cooker? (By temp or time, or something else.)

    Don't worry - we will help you figure it out.

    Comment


    • BRic
      BRic commented
      Editing a comment
      I agree with your comment . A lot of people spray their butts to early, they don`t give their rub a chance to set and they wash it off . I wrap mind at around 180 f .
  • RustyHaines
    Club Member
    • Sep 2017
    • 728
    • Tiedeman's Pond, WI

    #5
    I have a Weber Performer with SNS and a PBC. It has been my experience if I want great pork bark I will not wrap during or after the cook; and, the Weber always produces the better bark of the 2 cookers. I cook to an internal temperature of 195-198, verify with a probe tender test, and pull the pork within 30 minutes of coming off the cooker. I do not spritz or inject. I just dry brine and use a modified Memphis Dust (I substitute Hatch chili powder for paprika) for the rub. For me, this consistently yields great bark and moist meat.

    Comment

    • AmosMoses01
      Club Member
      • Jun 2018
      • 187
      • Round Rock, TX
      • New Orleans born, Mississippi raised, empty nester, living in Central Texas for 20+ years - looking to buy my first pellet smoker. Awed by the info on this site already!

      #6
      Originally posted by RustyHaines View Post
      I have a Weber Performer with SNS and a PBC. It has been my experience if I want great pork bark I will not wrap during or after the cook; and, the Weber always produces the better bark of the 2 cookers. I cook to an internal temperature of 195-198, verify with a probe tender test, and pull the pork within 30 minutes of coming off the cooker. I do not spritz or inject. I just dry brine and use a modified Memphis Dust (I substitute Hatch chili powder for paprika) for the rub. For me, this consistently yields great bark and moist meat.
      I do just about the same, only difference in that I try to let it get to 203F before I take it off of the pellet smoker. No wrapping at 225F smoker temp means a loooooong time till it gets to 203F, so there is definitely bark, even on the pellet smoker. This one took 12 hours:

      Click image for larger version

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      Comment


      • BRic
        BRic commented
        Editing a comment
        Nice bark on the meat .
    • JoeSousa
      Club Member
      • Sep 2016
      • 925
      • Spokane, WA
      • Weber 22" (4 of them)
        Weber Ranch
        Weber 26"
        SNS Kettle
        PK Grill (40+ years old)
        Weber Jumbo Joe
        Thermoworks Smoke, DOT, Signals, Smoke X4, and Thermopop
        Slow n' Sear XL (2)
        Slow n' Sear

        http://completecarnivore.com is my site

      #7
      The last butt I did on my kettle I cooked it at 275 or so with the SNS without wrapping. Vert good bark on it. The but was dry brined overnight and then rubbed with Memphis Meat Dust.

      Maybe try bumping your temps up and waiting as long as you can before wrapping?
      Click image for larger version

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      Comment

      • JeffJ
        Charter Member
        • Feb 2015
        • 2426
        • Michigan
        • Jeff

        #8
        I sometimes have the opposite problem - too much bark, and by that I mean because I rarely wrap sometimes the exterior gets a bit over-done.

        Comment

        • fzxdoc
          Founding Member
          • Jul 2014
          • 5247
          • My toys:
            Weber Summit Charcoal Grilling Center (WSCGC) aka Mr. Fancypants
            Pit Barrel Cooker (which rocks)
            Weber Summit S650 Gas Grill
            Weber Kettle Premium 22"
            Weber Jumbo Joe Premium 22" (a weird little 22" kettle mutant on 22"-long legs) (donated to local battered women's shelter.)
            Camp Chef Somerset IV 4-burner outdoor gas range


            Adrenaline BBQ Company's SnS, DnG and Large Charcoal Basket for WSCGC
            Adrenaline BBQ Company's Elevated SS Rack for WSCGC
            Adrenaline BBQ Company's SS Rack for DnG
            Grill Grate for SnS
            Grill Grates: five 17.375 sections (retired to storage)
            Grill Grates: six 19.25 panels for exact fit for Summit S650 gasser
            2 Grill Grate Griddles
            Steelmade Griddle for Summit gas grill

            Fireboard Extreme BBQ Thermometer Package
            Fireboard control unit in addition to that in the Extreme BBQ Package
            Additional Fireboard probes: Competition Probes 1" (3) and 4" (1), 3 additional Ambient Probes. 1 additional Food Probe
            2 Fireboard Driver Cables
            Pit Viper Fan (to pair with Fireboard Fan Driver Cable)
            Pit Viper Fan new design (to pair with Fireboard Fan Driver Cable)
            Thermoworks Thermapen MK5 (pink)
            Thermoworks Thermapen MK4 (pink too)
            Thermoworks Temp Test 2 Smart Thermometer
            Thermoworks Extra Big and Loud Timer
            Thermoworks Timestick Trio
            Maverick ET 73 a little workhorse with limited range
            Maverick ET 733
            Maverick (Ivation) ET 732

            Grill Pinz
            Vortex (two of them)

            Two Joule Sous Vide devices
            VacMaster Pro 350 Vacuum Sealer
            Instant Pot 6 Quart Electric Pressure Cooker
            Instant Pot 10 Quart Electric Pressure Cooker
            Charcoal Companion TurboQue
            A-Maze-N tube 12 inch tube smoker accessory for use with pellets

            BBQ Dragon and Dragon Chimney

            Shun Classic 8" Chef's Knife
            Shun Classic 6" Chef's Knife
            Shun Classic Gokujo Boning and Fillet Knife
            Shun Classic 3 1/2 inch Paring Knife

          #9
          I double dog ditto what most of you are saying: dry brine overnight, rub with MMD before smoking, no injection, no wrap, no faux cambro. Smoke to probe tender, pull and eat.

          I get great bark on my PBC; I'd call it comparable to my SnS/WSCGC combo. The PBC often runs just a bit hotter than the WSCGC though.

          Kathryn

          Comment


          • BRic
            BRic commented
            Editing a comment
            I agree with you , All the butts I have done on the PBC , I got good bark on them ,even the brisket had good bark .
        • jfmorris
          Club Member
          • Nov 2017
          • 3225
          • Huntsville, Alabama
          • Jim Morris

            Cookers
            • Camp Chef FTG900 Flat Top Grill (2020)
            • Weber Genesis II E-410 w/ GrillGrates (2019)
            • Weber Performer Deluxe 22.5" w/ GrillGrates & Slow 'N Sear & Drip ‘N Griddle & Party Q (2007)
            • Custom Built Offset Smoker (304SS, 22"x34" grate, circa 1985)
            • King Kooker 94/90TKD 105K/60K dual burner patio stove
            • Lodge L8D03 5 quart dutch oven
            • Lodge L10SK3 12" skillet
            • Anova
            Thermometers
            • Thermoworks Smoke w/ Wifi Gateway
            • Thermoworks Dot
            • Thermoworks Thermapen Classic
            • Thermoworks RT600C
            Beverages
            • Whatever I brewed and have on tap!

          #10
          Not much to add, but I second the no wrap comments above. I don't wrap my butts, and set the high temp alarm on the meat to 203F and let it ride. I used to cook to 195F, but now know that "probe tender" is a thing, but like that most of the fat renders if I go to 203F. I get great bark on both the kettle+SNS and my offset.

          I also do not wrap after the cook, just let it sit in a pan for a few minutes on the kitchen counter, mostly to cool down, then get out my meat claws and shred it up.

          Comment

          • Troutman
            Club Member
            • Aug 2017
            • 7462
            • aka Troutman Taco - Hanging Free in Tejas

            • OUTDOOR COOKERS

              BBQ ACCESSORIES

              WOOD & PELLET PREFERENCES

              SOUS VIDE

              INDOOR COOKWARE


            #11
            Did some mini-center cut butts over the weekend, about 4# each. Got started late, did them on my kettle. My Fireboard grate probe kept reading between 175-200* but no more. I'm scratching my head, plenty of charcoal, burning nicely. Bi-metal thermo (which is accurate if you calibrate it to the Fireboard) was reading really hot. All of a sudden I get this spike on the graph that goes from 175* to 300*. Then within about 2 minutes it drops to 250* then settles back down to 175* again. I'm trying to cook at 275* for a hotter, faster result it's getting later in the afternoon.

            So I'm thinking, oh crap now my Fireboard is going crazy again. Only had this replacement unit for about 4-5 months. Luckily I had another grate probe that came with the original Ultimate package so I swapped it out and bingo, rock solid at 275*. Problem solved and I kissed my Fireboard for good luck !!

            So anyway, what's this got to do with achieving good bark? Well although I tend to agree that riding nekkid with every protein I cook is the preferred method, I'm not opposed to wrapping with butcher paper to power through a stall. It was almost 8 pm by the time I got things sorted in the cooker and my ITs were only around 170* so I wrapped. Bark by that time was set well. I didn't suffer any degradation to the bark in doing so and managed to get the meat done in about another hour as a result. Rested for about 30-40 minutes then pulled. Drug my butt to bed about 11:30 pm.

            So the moral to the story is give yourself enough time obviously, but also to let your cook go as long as you can. I like to spritz because I believe moisture is very key to bark formation and the polymerization of the upper layer of the meat. Also let it ride and get fully developed, go unwrapped if you choose but use butcher paper if you need to power through a stall. Foil is my last choice since it tends to braise too much and gives a pot roast like finish while softening your bark, exactly what you are trying to avoid.

            Comment

            • PitDoc
              Club Member
              • Nov 2018
              • 3
              • Mount Pleasant, WI

              #12
              Click image for larger version

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ID:	654733 Since my original post I purchased a Rec Tec Bull. Yesterday I smoked a 9# Pork Butt and had good bark forming. Cooked at 250 with combo of hickory and black cherry pellets. Spritzed with a mixture of Apple Juice, lil ACV and bourbon(not the good stuff) about every hour. This photo is after about 4 hrs. Wrapped in foil at 160.


              Overall cook took about 11.5 hrs. 2nd photo is at the end of the cook. Pulled at 203 and let it test for about 1 hr. Bark was a bit mushy so next time I think I’m going old school with no wrap or if I wrap it’ll be in peach butcher paper! Thanks for everyone’s input! God Bless!!!

              Comment


              • Troutman
                Troutman commented
                Editing a comment
                Man that’s a big old chunk of meat !!

              • jfmorris
                jfmorris commented
                Editing a comment
                Don’t spritz. That and the wrap both kill your bark. Butts have plenty of moisture, no spritzing is needed.

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            Meat-Up in Memphis 2021

            SOLD OUT! Secure your spot on our waitlist now. First-come, first-served!
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