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Meat-Up in Memphis 2021

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To wrap or not to wrap

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  • JTW84
    Club Member
    • Apr 2020
    • 2

    To wrap or not to wrap

    Hey folks, brand new here. Just getting into smoking, and looking for some advice. What is the consensus here on wrapping butts during or just after the stall? Does it have any effect on the moisture in the pork if left unwrapped?

    Not sure If prep matters for this topic, but If so I’m planning on dry brine for 24 hrs then Memphis Dust prior to smoking. Smoking on a WSCG as close to 225 as I can keep it. Just got a fireboard in the mail so hoping that helps as well. Up to this point have just used the thermometer on grill and eyeballed the meats. Two prior butts haven’t been bad, but definitely room for improvement. Thanks for any suggestions!
  • jfmorris
    Club Member
    • Nov 2017
    • 3100
    • Huntsville, Alabama
    • Jim Morris

      • 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
      • Thermoworks Smoke w/ Wifi Gateway
      • Thermoworks Dot
      • Thermoworks Thermapen Classic
      • Thermoworks RT600C
      • Whatever I brewed and have on tap!

    Don't wrap unless you are just time constrained and need to shave a couple hours off the cook. 99% of the butts I've cooked (probably up over 1000 by now) have so much fat and connective tissue that renders, that they are self basting and very forgiving meats. I haven't wrapped a butt in 15 years, been smoking them for 30.

    If you wrap, you sacrifice bark, as you end up braising the meat in its own juices, and the bark will soften. If you don't like bark, that may be ok. I have a brother in law who hates it and picks out pork without any bark on it when I serve it for family get togethers. Most folks, myself included, love those tasty morsels. It's spice and smoke, attached to meat! What's not to love!

    With a butt, if you need to finish sooner, I would rather push the temp from 225 to 250 or 275 to shave time off the cook. I do wrap my briskets when they hit 170 though, to avoid drying them out and to speed up the cook.

    The WSCG is efficient and probably provides a moist environment when cooking in kamado mode. Your plan for dry brining and applying MMD is sounds and is what I do most of the time. Just plan on a long cook at 225. My last butt went 16 hours at 225, but then, it was a 9 pounder that despite "defrosting" for 48 hours in the fridge, had an IT of 25F when it went onto the smoker. I was barely able to get the meat probe inserted.
    Last edited by jfmorris; April 23, 2020, 01:04 PM.


    • RonB
      RonB commented
      Editing a comment
      Nuthin' left to say...

    • fzxdoc
      fzxdoc commented
      Editing a comment
      Great advice. Follow it, JTW84 , and you'll have some delicious pulled pork at the end of the cook.


    • Loren
      Loren commented
      Editing a comment
      Agree completely! Butts don't need wrapping! 😎
  • smokenoob
    Club Member
    • Dec 2017
    • 1027
    • Gulf Breeze, Florida



    • jfmorris
      jfmorris commented
      Editing a comment
      Enough about your cooking style. What about the pork?

    • smokenoob
      smokenoob commented
      Editing a comment
      not touchin' that one.....

    • RonB
      RonB commented
      Editing a comment
      smokenoob - at least not in public.
  • Donw
    Club Member
    • Jul 2017
    • 3126

    I do it a little different, a cross between wrapped and unwrapped. After I have good bark I pan it uncovered. The pan collects the renderings and juices which I add back, at least some, when pulling the cooked butt for added moisture in the finished product. I sacrifice a little bark but like the end product better. I also always cook at 275.


    • PBCDad
      Club Member
      • Jan 2016
      • 378
      • Seattle area
      • Pit Barrel Cooker - 2015
        22" Kettle + SnS - 2016
        Maverick ET-732 - 2016
        Thermapen - 2016
        Jambo 24x48 offset smoker (Big Tex) - 2017
        Camp Chef Denali griddle - 2018

      I agree as well for the WSCG, but I'd add if you use a different cooker in the future with more airflow, wrapping can help with more than just the timing. When I use my stickburner, if I don't wrap the bark can be so hard it is almost inedible. I've found that wrapping after the stall gives it the perfect balance.


      • Skip
        Founding Member
        • Jul 2014
        • 3376
        • Blue Earth, Minnesota
        • MAK Pellet Grill, Large BGE, Weber Kettle with SnS, Weber Gasser, Pit Barrel Cooker, Cast Iron Pans & Griddle, Grill Grates, Mostly Thermoworks Thermometers

        Welcome from Minnesota. Enjoy this wonderful site. I usually wrap because a lot of the people I feed are older and if they saw good bark they'd say that Skip burned this "again"!! My Wife and I like bark.


        • Hulagn1971
          Charter Member
          • Dec 2014
          • 1020
          • NC, The Triad
          • WSM 22.5", Pitmaster IQ110, Weber 22.5" Kettle with SNS, Weber 14" Smokey Joe.

          Me no wrap butts. Unwrapping on the other hand
          I too cook at 275.


          • JTW84
            Club Member
            • Apr 2020
            • 2

            This it great. Thanks for the welcome and the info, very helpful.


            • LA Pork Butt
              Charter Member
              • Dec 2014
              • 5420
              • Grew up in New Orleans, lived in Texas for 20 years, lived in Mandeville, LA for 22 years. I now liv

              I wrap after the cook and let it rest for a couple hours in the ice chest with old towels. The only other time I wrap is if I am pressed for time. The Boston Butt is a very forgiving piece of meat, so pretty much no matter what you do it will be right.


              • RonB
                Club Member
                • Apr 2016
                • 12846
                • Near Richmond VA
                • Weber Performer Deluxe
                  Pizza insert
                  Smokenator 1000
                  Cookshack Smokette Elite
                  2 Thermapens
                  lots of probes.

                Welcome to The Pit.

                We had some people a while back for some Q and one of the ladies asked for some without the burnt parts. There was a guy standing there, (we we talkin'), and we both said "Great - more bark for me!" at the same time. She asked for a piece with bark to try and her eyes lit up and she wanted bark. Me and my big mouth...


                • klflowers
                  Club Member
                  • Sep 2015
                  • 3329
                  • Tennessee

                  I have only wrapped once because of time constraints. I had to finish it in the oven. So the bark was compromised, but the purge I collected and added while I was pulling the pork was divine (wow, I used divine. this isolation thing is having strange effects on me). So now I try to remember to add a drip pan to catch that stuff.


                  • fzxdoc
                    Founding Member
                    • Jul 2014
                    • 5181
                    • 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)
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                      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

                    I've done many, many pork butts on my WSCGC. Never once have I needed to wrap. As jfmorris says, if you need to speed up the cook, you can always increase the temp to 250 or 280. I've done that on occasion. The WSCGC is so responsive to temperature tweaks that you can almost dial in your desired cooker temp.

                    Enjoy the cook!



                    • Troutman
                      Club Member
                      • Aug 2017
                      • 7268
                      • Tejas, Where Else?

                      • OUTDOOR COOKERS

                        BBQ ACCESSORIES

                        WOOD & PELLET PREFERENCES

                        SOUS VIDE

                        INDOOR COOKWARE

                      Lately I've gone back to the way I used to do it in comp cooks in another lifetime. I get to about 175-180ish then throw it in an aluminum pan and cover it and shove it back in the cooker and crank the heat. It essentially steams and lightly braises in it's own liquid. It's ready for the cambro when prob tender and it has it's own serving tray for pulling. The plus is all those juices mix right in with the meat. The minus is a little loss of bark texture. Since moisture is paramount for me in pork, I'll take the former and somewhat sacrifice the latter.

                      Click image for larger version

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                      • Rod
                        Rod commented
                        Editing a comment



                    Meat-Up in Memphis 2021

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                    Meat-Up in Memphis


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