Soggy Bark on My Pork Butt

Discussion in 'Pork' started by tjohnson, Mar 28, 2010.

  1. tjohnson

    tjohnson Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Insider OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Did pork butts 2 times in the past couple weeks. First one came out with very nice crispy bark and the second came out with dark, but kinda soggy bark. I followed TasunkaWitko's recipe for both, and the only difference was the first one I put on a finishing glaze on. Both were finished up at 190+ degrees.

    Any ideas on how to make sure the bark is nice and crispy next time?

    Maybe finish it off in the oven at 350 degrees for the last 30 minutes uncovered?


  2. fourthwind

    fourthwind Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Typically soggy bark is excess moisture from foiling.. Yes removing foil for 30 minutes at the end will help, you can also remove water pans.
  3. rdknb

    rdknb Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I agree, that is one reason I do not foil my butts. It does make them very moist but I love the bark.
  4. wingman

    wingman Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    Remove the foild at 200 and then put them back in and take them up to 210. When you pull them and remove the foil the temp will drop. When they go back in they will cook another hour to 1.5 hours. This will dry out the bark. It works for me. I don't worry about 210 iether. I fell asleep one time and my butt's reached 225. I thought Oh my god I hosed them! But they were some of the best I have done.
  5. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Now I have foiled and not foiled my butts and I like them foiled myself but then thats me. Now really like a softer bark then most I guess but I'm pulling it and that my way.
  6. tjohnson

    tjohnson Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Insider OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    At 200 degrees, I foiled, wrapped in towels and "Rested" meat in a cooler for about 6 hours. Will this cause the bark to get soft? Tasted good, just a soft texture to the bark.

  7. deltadude

    deltadude Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Make sure when you do your butts that you try to trim the fat cap on each butt to the same thickness. I personally try about 1/8 to 1/4" max. If you don't pay attention to the fat cap thickness then your results will vary. In fact in the MES with a water pan you can even try eliminating the fat cap. Besides foiling a soft spongy bark is often the fat cap hasn't dissolved completely.
    Next try foiling at a higher temp 175-185º, by waiting you will have a pretty good crusted bark. Next when you foil make sure the fat cap is down when you place the butt back in the smoker to finish at 200-205º. This way if any more fat has to cook out only one side will be softish. Finally if you still are not happy you can either remove the foil and put back in the smoker for another 30-45 min. I wouldn't worry too much about over cooking, or if in hurry try in the oven.
  8. eman

    eman Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member

    I use the MES 40" and have had problems w/ bark on most everything i smoke . Finally figured it out.
    It's the water pan. If you fill the pan w/ water it creates alot of steam.
    the steam keeps the good crusty bark from forming. Fill your pan w/ clean sand cover w/ foil and try it again. I bet you notice a big difference in your bark. You will notice a little change in your temps also.
    Worked for me.
  9. tjohnson

    tjohnson Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Insider OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    It's making sense now!

    Lots of moisture was coming out of my MES this time.

    Also, I did notice the 2nd pork butt had a larger fat cap. Next time, I'll trim down the fat and maybe only use water in the pan for the first few hours, while actually smoking. After that, I'll try finishing it off without the use of water in the pan.


  10. deltadude

    deltadude Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    The water pan is in the MES for a reason, it stabilizes the temp and helps avoid hot spots. If you have a new MES with the higher watt elements it is even more critical than before. Can sand do the same, well we know it won't provide the moisture, and both can work as a heat sink. I will point out that even big Smoking rigs the pros use have gone to using water pans, there must be a reason...

    As I pointed out I have no problem developing a bark by keeping the fat trimmed to almost nothing, and letting the butt get to a higher temp so the crust is hard & thicker.

    Another problem would be fat buildup that could ignite.

    Just offering a cautionary note...

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