No Bark ???

JYD-BBQ

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Good Morning from Long Island, NY

I did my first pork butt on July 5th and did another one yesterday. I can't get that beautiful bark that I see all of you have on your pork butts. Both were 3.5 lb. boneless butts from Butcher Box. I trimmed, tied and rubbed both exactly the same way, the first one was injected with apple juice and apple cider vinegar. They both sat at room temperature for about 45 minutes before they went on the smoker. The first one was on the Smokefire the second was on the WSM. Both smokers ran at 225-240 and both cooks took about 5.5 hours. I had water in the pan on the WSM and a tray with water under the grates on the Smokefire. I did not "spritz" either one.
Any help or suggestions would be appreciated.

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dudemcnally

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IME, bark production has a few variables.
1)time in smoke
2)amount of smoke
3)surface courseness

Given the small size of those butts, you can only smoke them so long...maybe you exacerbated the problem with the highish smoking temps for the small size? The butts I typically smoke are 10-12lbs, and I've been running them in the smoke mode for 3-4hrs, then another 12-16hrs at 225. I imagine if I pulled mine at 5.5hrs the bark would be on the light side too. Cooking them for 19-20hrs ends up with delicious dark meteorite bark.
The one other thing I've noticed is I seem to get better bark with a rougher surface, that means more pepper for me. I put an absolute crapload of pepper on anything I am trying to develop bark on. This means >1/4 CUP of course ground black pepper. 1/4 cup is the start of how much I use, sometimes quite a bit more.

This butt went 20 hrs and it was amazing, I think your biggest problem is lack of time on the grill. If you can't get a larger butt, next time run it on smokeboost for 2 hrs, then let it run at 200 for as long as you can. try to get 10+hrs

IMG_3246.jpg
 
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AHoneyman

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I noticed that you have a probe in the butt. What temp did you go to? The USDA now says that 140-145 is done for pork. It used to be approximately 165. Finishing at these lower temps will not give you a good, crisp bark. I generally run mine to around 200 internal temp to facilitate pulling a bone-in-butt. And it has bark.
 
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JYD-BBQ

JYD-BBQ

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IME, bark production has a few variables.
1)time in smoke
2)amount of smoke
3)surface courseness

Given the small size of those butts, you can only smoke them so long...maybe you exacerbated the problem with the highish smoking temps for the small size? The butts I typically smoke are 10-12lbs, and I've been running them in the smoke mode for 3-4hrs, then another 12-16hrs at 225. I imagine if I pulled mine at 5.5hrs the bark would be on the light side too. Cooking them for 19-20hrs ends up with delicious dark meteorite bark.
The one other thing I've noticed is I seem to get better bark with a rougher surface, that means more pepper for me. I put an absolute crapload of pepper on anything I am trying to develop bark on. This means >1/4 CUP of course ground black pepper. 1/4 cup is the start of how much I use, sometimes quite a bit more.

This butt went 20 hrs and it was amazing, I think your biggest problem is lack of time on the grill. If you can't get a larger butt, next time run it on smokeboost for 2 hrs, then let it run at 200 for as long as you can. try to get 10+hrs

View attachment 1183
Thanks for the info, I will keep experimenting.
 
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JYD-BBQ

JYD-BBQ

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I noticed that you have a probe in the butt. What temp did you go to? The USDA now says that 140-145 is done for pork. It used to be approximately 165. Finishing at these lower temps will not give you a good, crisp bark. I generally run mine to around 200 internal temp to facilitate pulling a bone-in-butt. And it has bark.
I pulled both at 203 internal, besides the probe I also checked a few spots with an instant read thermometer. The taste and he moisture on both were good.
 

Bruno

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IME, bark production has a few variables.
1)time in smoke
2)amount of smoke
3)surface courseness

Given the small size of those butts, you can only smoke them so long...maybe you exacerbated the problem with the highish smoking temps for the small size? The butts I typically smoke are 10-12lbs, and I've been running them in the smoke mode for 3-4hrs, then another 12-16hrs at 225. I imagine if I pulled mine at 5.5hrs the bark would be on the light side too. Cooking them for 19-20hrs ends up with delicious dark meteorite bark.
The one other thing I've noticed is I seem to get better bark with a rougher surface, that means more pepper for me. I put an absolute crapload of pepper on anything I am trying to develop bark on. This means >1/4 CUP of course ground black pepper. 1/4 cup is the start of how much I use, sometimes quite a bit more.

This butt went 20 hrs and it was amazing, I think your biggest problem is lack of time on the grill. If you can't get a larger butt, next time run it on smokeboost for 2 hrs, then let it run at 200 for as long as you can. try to get 10+hrs

View attachment 1183
Yep, the dude is correct!!
 

Bruno

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No, just the amount applied and the particular ingredients. Also the coarseness of the grind
Got it, I’ve gotten killer bark with just salt and pepper. I’ve also gotten great bark with a bunch of rubs with a lot of ingredients, I think dude was in to something with the time in the smoke. A big piece allows you to stay in a lot longer.
 

JpsBBQ

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Got it, I’ve gotten killer bark with just salt and pepper. I’ve also gotten great bark with a bunch of rubs with a lot of ingredients, I think dude was in to something with the time in the smoke. A big piece allows you to stay in a lot longer.
Many factors. The particular cooker and the humid level in the cooker etc etc.
 

Rickyjk619

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I do salt, lots of pepper and garlic. I smoke until the internal temperature is 165, I then wrap in foil or butcher paper your choice and continue until the internal is 205-210. I then rest it in a cooler with the wrap on, towel on top and on the bottom. I let it rest no less than an hour longer if I can. As you can see the bone is falling out. At this point it pulls very easily and melts like butter in your mouth.
 

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richfleek

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Good Morning from Long Island, NY

I did my first pork butt on July 5th and did another one yesterday. I can't get that beautiful bark that I see all of you have on your pork butts. Both were 3.5 lb. boneless butts from Butcher Box. I trimmed, tied and rubbed both exactly the same way, the first one was injected with apple juice and apple cider vinegar. They both sat at room temperature for about 45 minutes before they went on the smoker. The first one was on the Smokefire the second was on the WSM. Both smokers ran at 225-240 and both cooks took about 5.5 hours. I had water in the pan on the WSM and a tray with water under the grates on the Smokefire. I did not "spritz" either one.
Any help or suggestions would be appreciated.

View attachment 1178View attachment 1179View attachment 1180View attachment 1181View attachment 1182
What rub are you using?
 
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JYD-BBQ

JYD-BBQ

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I start with a base of Bad Byron's Butt Rub and add brown sugar and cumin. I run it through a food processor so it is a fairly fine consistency.
 
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JYD-BBQ

JYD-BBQ

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I do salt, lots of pepper and garlic. I smoke until the internal temperature is 165, I then wrap in foil or butcher paper your choice and continue until the internal is 205-210. I then rest it in a cooler with the wrap on, towel on top and on the bottom. I let it rest no less than an hour longer if I can. As you can see the bone is falling out. At this point it pulls very easily and melts like butter in your mouth.
That looks perfect.
 

RedGrave

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Give the butt a coating of mustard to make it sticky, then pile on a mixture of half salt/half pepper and another ⅓ paprika. Mix it in a bag or container and apply it thickly. You can’t really overseason a pork butt and the inside is bland without it.

Cook at 250 for 3 hours then gently spritz with an Apple juice/Apple Cider/water combo every hour for five hours. The bark will develop then split. Then you wrap in foil (add some apple
Juice and brown sugar inside foil) and cook the final 2 hours. So 10 hours total.

Probe for feel, should be soft like a bag of soft butter. Remove and let rest for an hour. Pull with tongs and mix in bark with everything.

this is Aaron Franklin’s method and it works like a charm.
 

Rickyjk619

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I use restaurant grade salt, the bigger size pepper and Kroger brand garlic powder. I use more pepper than the other two spices.
 

GriLLMaRksRseXy

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Oh this is a fun one!!
Everyone has given you great advice above. I see what you are working with and know what you are trying to do. What I can tell you is there is a ton of variables to getting bark/good bark. Surface texture, surface temperature, surface evaporation, time of cook, temp of cook, time of cook, fuel smoke production, etc.....etc.....etc....etc.....

All that being said....If I was working with the same cuts that you worked with I would try everything already mentioned above. I would also do the following....

1. Prep I would heavily season as some has said above. Black pepper is your friend. Maybe try something like Hardcore Carnivore Red Or Black (would use red on a butt. Either way I love this stuff. Look it up) Use some yellow mustard or another binder to help keep that seasoning on as long as you can since the smaller pieces will mean that temp will come up faster than a larger cut of meat. BUT most importantly...STICK all of that in the freezer for about 20 minutes before you take it to the Smokefire. The lower surface temperature will be your best friend to help with smoke retention/ring and slow your cook down a bit so you can work on bark. Finally you can also add a LITTLE sugar to your rub to help with caramelization.

2. Cook. Start well below your above cook temp. For smaller cuts I would start out at 200 for an hour or maybe two and may also try smoke boost. I would also stay on the low side for the rest of the cook to around 215 to 225. That will increase the time for surface convection which will not only increase bark but it is literally the engine that drives the car from turning that tough cut of meat into a delicacy (do not let anyone tell you different....yes the fat will render but it is the surface convection and evaporative cooling that does all the work and until that is done........the meat is not done...)

3. Moisture. Your cook seems sound. However I WOULD spritz a liquid of your choice every 30 minutes for the first 2 hours of your cook. Especially for the first hour or two at 200 degrees or during smoke boost.
 
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JYD-BBQ

JYD-BBQ

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Oh this is a fun one!!
Everyone has given you great advice above. I see what you are working with and know what you are trying to do. What I can tell you is there is a ton of variables to getting bark/good bark. Surface texture, surface temperature, surface evaporation, time of cook, temp of cook, time of cook, fuel smoke production, etc.....etc.....etc....etc.....

All that being said....If I was working with the same cuts that you worked with I would try everything already mentioned above. I would also do the following....

1. Prep I would heavily season as some has said above. Black pepper is your friend. Maybe try something like Hardcore Carnivore Red Or Black (would use red on a butt. Either way I love this stuff. Look it up) Use some yellow mustard or another binder to help keep that seasoning on as long as you can since the smaller pieces will mean that temp will come up faster than a larger cut of meat. BUT most importantly...STICK all of that in the freezer for about 20 minutes before you take it to the Smokefire. The lower surface temperature will be your best friend to help with smoke retention/ring and slow your cook down a bit so you can work on bark. Finally you can also add a LITTLE sugar to your rub to help with caramelization.

2. Cook. Start well below your above cook temp. For smaller cuts I would start out at 200 for an hour or maybe two and may also try smoke boost. I would also stay on the low side for the rest of the cook to around 215 to 225. That will increase the time for surface convection which will not only increase bark but it is literally the engine that drives the car from turning that tough cut of meat into a delicacy (do not let anyone tell you different....yes the fat will render but it is the surface convection and evaporative cooling that does all the work and until that is done........the meat is not done...)

3. Moisture. Your cook seems sound. However I WOULD spritz a liquid of your choice every 30 minutes for the first 2 hours of your cook. Especially for the first hour or two at 200 degrees or during smoke boost.
Thanks for all the great info. Going to try to another butt this weekend if I can find one local.
 

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