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Pulled Pork Test #87 AKA Foil Vs. Butcher Paper This Weekend

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    Pulled Pork Test #87 AKA Foil Vs. Butcher Paper This Weekend

    Somebody mentioned I should do this for a pork shoulder since Franklin did it for briskets, and I love tests so let's get this right. I have 2 shoulders from the same cryovac, so I can test one versus the other, or I can split them and do either 2 separate tests, or I can do:
    1 Foil
    1 Butcher
    1 Unwrapped
    1 ????

    Ideas for the ???? Not sure we need the unwrapped but I guess it would be a good comparison, just adds 4 hours. Wrapping doesn't save you 4 hours? Well you're living your life wrong, crank it up

    Oh and inject or no? Are the parameters just taste, or do I need to weigh these suckers and find if more moisture is lost etc.?

    #2
    I love tests
    1. Major understatement
    2. You add another "e" by mistake into that word, and you got yourself another test to conduct

    Comment


    • _John_
      _John_ commented
      Editing a comment
      Not sure the porcine equivalent of Rocky Mountain Oysters.

    • Jerod Broussard
      Jerod Broussard commented
      Editing a comment
      PHOTB, Plenty Hanging Off The Back

    #3
    The only testing that I do is with my taste buds

    Comment


      #4
      Thanks John... I think bark comparison and taste of the different methods are good enough tests

      Comment


        #5
        I never inject butts.

        I never wrap unless I failed to plan properly or fail to control my cooking temp.

        I test the bark, moisture and taste.

        I keep it simple.

        Comment


        • FLBuckeye
          FLBuckeye commented
          Editing a comment
          Wartface Your buddy mucho over at Stella strongly disagrees with you. And he dissed Meathead too. I decided to stay out of the discussion because I just joined and don't want to get banned. You showed admirable restraint.

        • Breadhead
          Breadhead commented
          Editing a comment
          FLBuckeye. Hmmm... I learned long ago "it's not what you say but how you say it" that makes your opinion palatable with those that you disagree with.😎

        #6
        Wartface

        I have no traditionalist views so I don't mind injecting anything, though when wrapping I don't really think there would be a difference anyway.

        I wrap 8 out of 10 times. Almost everyone wraps at some point, it's just whether you do it during the cook or after to rest it, though they both have the same essential purpose. Everyone who has tried both of mine, which is all of my family and friends, prefer the wrapped (doesn't mean you or yours will, just like a pure salt and pepper brisket wouldn't go here). I do wish I could have a slightly crispier crust, which I may figure out, but a full cook with no wrap is too much.

        As far as simplicity, wrapping in foil a few hours early isn't a challenge for me, certainly less work than those buns i'll be serving this on!

        So the test is about wrapping specifically, which you don't do, but if I do a non-wrapped version is there a test you propose to objectively compare the two, or is it simply if wrapped bark isn't the same as unwrapped it fails? As in the Franklin video I fully expect to find differences in all 3 or what would be the point. Taste is always subjective, so what metrics/measures/attributes could I describe to compare them?

        A thought for the fourth was spritzing maybe?

        Comment


        • David Parrish
          David Parrish commented
          Editing a comment
          Wartface that was me. I've found ramping the heat up to around 275F while the meat goes from 150F to 175F speeds up the cook without too much impact to the final result. In a perfect world I cook at 225F for 17 hours. But how often are things perfect?

        • Huskee
          Huskee commented
          Editing a comment
          Wartface I'm the advocate of small butts. I like to encourage folks to cut them into 3lb hunks instead of doing the mammoth whole shoulders at 7-10lbs. I like small butts and I cannot lie. Pit Boss' temp spike, even once wrapped (if you wrap) is definitely a good plan of action too which I use every time.

        • boftx
          boftx commented
          Editing a comment
          There are a number of things to address here.

          First, I'm gonna call BS on Huskee liking small butts. If his picture is any indication his butt is anything but small.

          Now, joking aside, I always put my butts in a pan covered with foil so I can trap the drippings to use later for a sauce or to mix back into the meat while pulling. Lately I have been adding some rub to the drippings plus some extra when doing that to get more flavor into the meat despite having less surface area for bark. (I prefer cooking bigger cuts, it is my opinion that they turn out more tender.)

          I don't wrap or crutch so much as I braise for the run from 170 to 205 or so.

          Based on what you said further down I might try using butcher paper in a pan and see what happens. I can see how paper might "breathe" more than foil.

          As for powering through the stall, I have no problem with that at all. In my opinion, the real magic happens when you are running up from 170 to the final temp, that's when the fat starts rendering and the meat is getting tender. I like to keep the temp low for that stage, but I don't mind running hotter before it gets to that point.

          I don't wrap to shorten the stall, I cover to trap moisture and drippings. This means that I am usually already through the stall at that point.

          PS - I never inject a pork butt, if one were that dry at the end then I did something terribly wrong to start out with. A pork butt has got to be the most forgiving cut of meat there is. Hell, even I can cook one.

        #7
        I didn't wrap for the first time ever this past weekend. Results were dry for some reason. I had the pink butchers paper I just received; I should have wrapped the butts in foil and paper to compare. Oh well...next time

        Comment


        • _John_
          _John_ commented
          Editing a comment
          Mine are always a bit drier, which isn't a surprise really. I think I will like butcher paper because it lets out some moisture, even without injecting, and wrapping as tightly as possible, I can still hear the liquid boiling in the foil when I take it off. Foil is quite literally boiling and steaming it.

        • FLBuckeye
          FLBuckeye commented
          Editing a comment
          The ones I wrap in foil come out super moist

        • FLBuckeye
          FLBuckeye commented
          Editing a comment
          I am going to start injecting, just to prepare for comps

        #8
        So my pork butts were wrapped together in the cryovac and I separated them today for dry brining. Usually I just have fat trimming to do, and every so often there are little slivers of bone in silverskin on top. Today's butt #1 was just like this, probably about 9 pounds (I assumed they were both about 7) but the other looked butchered by Ray Charles. Pieces hanging off everywhere, they cut about 2 inches too much off of one side the whole way down. Since they are awkwardly sized, I think I am going to just do foil vs paper.
        Then the decision was which butt gets what treatment and I made an executive decision that since I have done like 75 of them foiled in the last 12 months, I have a pretty good idea what they are like and will know if the smaller one is like those. This will give a bit of a skewed test, but at the end of the day it is a test to find out if I should change the way I do things, so giving the paper wrapped butt the best butt gives me the best chance to do that.

        Oh and I hope I like it, only butcher paper I could find was a thousand foot roll.

        Comment


        • Huskee
          Huskee commented
          Editing a comment
          Jerod Broussard Thanks. I wonder if it's actually the same as kraft paper, which it is described as in the description. My old work contacts use rolls upon rolls of kraft paper for covering floors when texturing drywall & painting. I could probably get all I want for free or cheap, they order pallets of the rolls. Hmmm...

        • Huskee
          Huskee commented
          Editing a comment
          This website appears to confirm my wonderments. http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-butcher-paper.htm

          I think I shall be mooching off my pals for some kraft paper.

        • Jerod Broussard
          Jerod Broussard commented
          Editing a comment
          definitely better mooching.....my roll will be here in 10 years

        #9
        Jerod Broussard Mine is white and we often have 5-10 kids over when we BBQ, I said just roll it out and cover a table and BAM! coloring surface for 10 kids plus it is a built in tablecloth.

        Comment


        • Jerod Broussard
          Jerod Broussard commented
          Editing a comment
          Hilarious, I got the brown stuff they call pink.

        #10
        TL;DR at the bottom.
        So, as has been the case this year, things went a little wonky. Wife and kids wanted breakfast somewhere Sunday and by the time I got back there was 7.5 hours until people arrived, which was ok but a little tight, lighting a fire and hanging the meat gave me 7 hours of cook and rest time.
        Everything as usual to the wrap, then as is always the case when wrapping, the wind blows my paper and foil everywhere, but I get it wrapped and back on. I neglected to pick up tape, so I rolled the butt over again on some more paper which gave it 3 layers total. I pulled 1, then the other rebar to get more airflow and keep the temps up.
        Meat is on the grate but the temp doesn't seem to be moving quite as fast, I think this may have been due to the paper that ended up blocking airflow on half the grill since I couldn't tape down the ends. I knew the foil would be first, so that is the one I left the probe in, and it hit 200 right at 6.5 hours of cook time allowing me a 30 minute rest. 200 was the lowest temp, the money muscle area was 206.
        When I pulled the foil butt the butcher butt was 181, and the temps were dropping in the pit. A windy day combined with having to pull both rebar for a couple of hours meant I burnt through my coals too fast. I fired up another chimney of coals, dumped them in the Weber kettle and finished it there. Cook time for the butcher wrap was 9 hours, 2+ hours longer than the foil, just 1 hour shy of unwrapped.
        Since I pulled the foil butt and rested 30 minutes, I decided to do the same for the butcher paper butt even though most of my testers were gone. The foil butt had a good 8 oz of goodness in the foil (I did not inject, nor did I add liquid when wrapping), the butcher paper had about an ounce. We all agreed on the results which was that the butcher butt was more tender and juicy especially around the money muscle, but a little dry on the top. I think some more rest time would even it all out. One thing that stood out in particular was the flavor, the rub was much more present on the butcher butt, it almost tasted like I sprinkled another layer on just before eating, the foil butt after that tasted like the rub had been washed off, which it like had, steaming into that 8 oz.

        TL;DR and results
        The foil butt tasted like they normally do, this one was one of the better ones, but the butcher wrapped tasted quite a bit better.
        Butcher butt took longer than I thought, 9 hours vs 6.5 for the foiled butt.
        Butcher more tender near money muscle, a little drier on top.
        Butcher had much more pronounced rub flavor, this seemed to help every piece since it was pulled together.
        With an imperfect test, and 996 feet of butcher paper, I need to do another one given my time learnings and give it a proper chance to cook and rest before everyone goes home. So it's butcher paper with a win but an asterisk.

        Comment


          #11
          Whew... thanks John. That is an awesome test!!! And after watching that Frankin Vid, I thought it was gonna be worth it to try.

          It will help us all I am sure... I think I will try it soon.

          Thanks!!! 👍

          Comment


          • _John_
            _John_ commented
            Editing a comment
            I think I'm doing another pair this weekend, so I will allow myself the appropriate amount of time.

          #12
          Good Test and great report! I did a butcher paper test on brisket at a competition 3 weeks ago. Brisket needed about 2 more hours, which jives with your report. Debating whether to start brisket early at the Blues Hog BBQ contest in Jackson, TN this coming weekend. I sure did like the taste of the bark. I know now to start it earlier!

          Comment


          • _John_
            _John_ commented
            Editing a comment
            Yeah it seems to be a good middle ground, lot's of tasty bark, still plenty of moisture.

          #13
          Thanks for doing this test, John . I look forward to next weekend's rematch for foil vs. paper.

          Kathryn

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