how to get the best bark?????? on a pork shoulder!!!!

Discussion in 'Pork' started by bigharve, Jun 1, 2009.

  1. I need some advice on getting a really good bark on a shoulder. My butts turn out great but I am still new to this and cant get that deep black bark at the end. HELP!!!!
  2. fire it up

    fire it up Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Well first off, welcome to the site bigharve.

    Would help to know what kind of smoker you have and what you have tried in the way of smoking butts.
    Slathering with mustard and a good rub, spritzing during the process.
    Sugars, especially brown sugar, breakdown/burn quicker which creates a bark but with a butt you need to be careful.
    I'm sure you'll be smoking some greatness in no time, any info you can add will help us help you achieve the smoke you are looking for.
  3. erain

    erain Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    rub ingredients and adhesion are the two biggest things i can think of, along with the adhesion if your spritzing are you washing off the carmelizing materials in the rub by over spritzing???
  4. oldschoolbbq

    oldschoolbbq Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Well, adhesion is a good thing[​IMG] in addition one should keep his lid SHUT[​IMG]

    I do a lot of PP as the in-laws go through it like sauce through a Goose.
    Once I have the smoker to 220*F, I place the Butt(s) on to smoke and don't open the lid till my estimated time to cook is about an hour from done(1.5hrs./lb.). I feel that opening the lid delays the coking and allows the bark to cool just a little and get soft.I could be wrong, but it does make for a really nice Bark, with a SNAP[​IMG]!

    The interior is always juicy and tender(falls apart as I am removing it from the smoker)and the bone just falls out.[​IMG] My matra is STP-Smoke,Temperature and Patience. Get bored waiting?Drink more liquid[​IMG]
    Hope this helps and SMOKE HAPPY:)-
  5. tasunkawitko

    tasunkawitko Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    a couple of suggestions ~

    if you are mopping/spritzing, wait at least two hours after putting the meat on the grate before doing so - this will give the rub a chance to set up (you DID slather the pork with mustard first, right?) - also, use a fine spray and be gentle.

    don't foil during cooking. if the pork is wrapped in foil, it's not making bark - also, this traps a LOT of moisture in with the meat, and what bark you do have is going to be spongy and soft. foil when the meat's done, but not during cooking.

    hope this helps.
  6. rivet

    rivet Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Ezzactly. Well put!
  7. thebodyman

    thebodyman Newbie

    do you have to put mustard on it i am not really a fan of mustard is there something else that is good
  8. formerlyfatguy

    formerlyfatguy Smoke Blower SMF Premier Member

    You don't have to put mustard, but it helps the rub to "stick" better.
    You will not taste the mustard at all when finished.
  9. pignit

    pignit Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I put my rub on when I'm getting ready to put the butt on. I don't use mustard... tried it and compared and saw no noticable difference so I don't take the time. I don't open my smoker up until the butt is done. No spritzing. No mopping. They turn out nice and juicy with a nice bark. I also don't use sugar in my rub.

    The only time I spritz is when I'm doing ribs and have to open the smoker up anyway. I think that opening the smoker to mop or spritz does more harm than good. I always have a good bark in the electric or the gas. I just purchased my first stick burner so I don't have any experience with that.... yet.

    Remember.... you get to keep doin it until you get it right.... then you get to try and do it that good again.
  10. mikey

    mikey Smoking Fanatic

    Welcome to smf, bigharve. The first thing I do is whack all the fat cap off. No point in cookin' what you're not going to eat. There's enough fat internally to keep it from drying out. IMO, I feel it promotes an even bark all the way around the butt. I open my smoker lid twice, once to put the butt on and the 2nd time to take it off. No spritz or mop here either. Poppin' the lid every hour to spritz just adds time to the cook, imo.
  11. pignit

    pignit Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Yep... forgot to mention that. I always cut off any excess fat on butts or shoulders or brisket. I like to leave it on when I'm doing CB or Strami.
  12. linescum

    linescum Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    rub with evoo then apply rub let set for a couple hours and apply more rub..then during the last hour, hour and a half brush with a honey butter or maple syrup and butter glaze and turn up the heat a little
  13. tasunkawitko

    tasunkawitko Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    bodyman -

    i've heard of people using olive oil with some success.

    there is something about mustard that really makes a great bark, and i can guarantee that you will not taste any mustard when it's all over. the smoke, heat, cooking process or soemthing transforms the mustardy taste into something else entirely - absolutely guaranteed.

    give it a try, or if you prefer, give olive oil a try - just a light rubbing down. i am sure there are other things that might work as long as they don't contain an excess of sugar.
  14.  The rich deep black bark your looking for can only be achieved from hours on the smoker.  Sure you could get it black by just setting over the fire until its.... well burnt,  but that totally not the same thing.  I just happened across this when I first started just because I love standing outside with the grill.  Another tip is to paint it with bbq sauce,  this will be quicker due to the sugars in the sauce.  So when your pork has that bark but its not done just wrap it in tin foil with juice or you can put it in the crock pot (sometimes I do this) all night and have it ready to go in the morning like on a camping trip or whatever.  Hope this helps
  15. doomahx

    doomahx Newbie

    If you have eaten a fair share of BBQ from restaurants and other people then chances are you have eaten BBQ made with mustard :)
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2013
  16. cliffcarter

    cliffcarter Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    How come no one asked sparkimus prime to head over to Roll Call? Was it the crockpot comment?[​IMG]  On another note my favorite SMF pastime of reading threads resurrected from ancient times has been satisfied once again[​IMG]
  17. flash

    flash Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Temps are another issue. A higher temp will help set the bark more.

  18. I don't use mustard either - I tried it once & will NOT be using it again. I get great bark without it in my MES - Good coating of rub, no water in the pan, no spritzing & no foiling till it's done.  [​IMG]
  19. flash

    flash Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    My wife balked at me using mustard one time, but as stated, you will not taste the mustard when all is said and done. Only there to help the rub adhere. Does not help in the formation of bark.
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2013
  20. . Smoked with pecan wood temp 230 to 250 for 12 hrs no mopping or sauce dry rub 6hrs before I put on smoker but I do brine it in apple pine apple and orange juice for 6hrs then let sit 6hrs rubed with a lil brown sugar in the rub

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