Foil or No Foil? (specifically Boston Butt / smoking for pulled pork)

Discussion in 'Pork' started by hardwoodalchemy, May 15, 2015.

  1. YES - it's the right way to do it

    0 vote(s)
  2. NO - it's an utter waste of time and effort

    0 vote(s)
  3. SHRUG - I've done it both ways, same diff

    0 vote(s)
  1. It seems like there are a fair number of folks in both camps, but I'm wondering if there's a majority one way or the other that's large enough to be convincing.

    I have done a total of two (maybe three?) butts, and have not foiled. They came out moist and flavorful, and no one complained in the least. That being said, I'm always on the lookout for ways to produce a better meal.

    So, do you foil or not? If you do and if you add liquid, would you mind including what kind of liquid you use? If you do foil, was it experience or a well respected person that convinced you it's the right way? If you don't foil, why not?
  2. scorchedporch

    scorchedporch Fire Starter

    From my perspective, there's a need for another option.  "It Depends"  - if the bark is set early and you are happy with it, foiling at around 160 is Ok by me.  It'll help power it through the stall.  It won't take much more smoke anyhow and the bark won't suffer if it's set.  There are tons of other opinions, but this is just what I've found - take it for what it's worth.  People will complain about the fact that it ruins the bark, but if it's set I've never found that to be the case.
  3. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I suggest you try one or two with foil and see which you like better. Knowing what everybody else does won't change the way you like your pulled pork. I've done both ways and have found I like the hot and fast no foil method. Partly because it produces pulled pork that my family and I love ( light crispy bark and incredibly tender and juicy meat), and partly because it's WAY faster and easier.
    But that's just me.
  4. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I don't know if you can still change the wording in your Poll or not, but There is no such thing as "The Right Way".

    I personally prefer foiling at around 165°, and adding a few ounces of Apple Juice, then pulling at about 205°, but that doesn't mean it's the right way---That's just My Way.

    I like Bark, but I don't need a thick hard bark on my Butts. I like a nice moist Pulled Pork with some nice Bark to mix in with it for extra flavor.

    My Way (Step by Step):

    Pulled Boston Pork Butt  

    Last edited: May 15, 2015
  5. oldschoolbbq

    oldschoolbbq Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I don't foil anything . JMPO , I feel it imparts a (too soft) texture , the rest will do the job as good and is definitely a better Bark.

  6. I hear what you're saying, Bear. I wasn't trying to make it into an "I'm right, you're wrong" kind of thing, but rather to use a little hyperbole to clarify the positions. Also, I recognize that I'm trying to jam this issue into a yes/no black/white right/wrong box. In reality, I know it's not that way, but I was trying to get some useful numbers about how many do/don't without rehashing the million other foiling threads.

    Certainly no offense intended to either camp.
  7. frosty

    frosty Master of the Pit

    I respect Old School and BearCarver completely and they have taught myself many others.

    BUT that there is what is called  the dilemma!  

    Webster's = "a situation in which a difficult choice has to be made between two or more alternatives, especially equally undesirable ones.

    So do what is best for you and best of luck doing it.  That is the real lesson. While each of us has our own opinion, we each make our own effort.

    Looking over others shoulders to learn is totally normal.

    In my case. . ."She that must be obeyed" [​IMG]  likes a softer pulled pork with minimal finishing sauce, while I prefer a bit o the bark.  So compromise is a constant.  Essentially I compromise.  Hey, I still get to eat pulled pork.  Not too shoddy.

    Keep experimenting, and let the rest of us learn from your success!  Eat your failures, the dog deserves better!

  8. I have never foiled, but now I am curious.  Since joining this forum, I have noticed that many do.  I've never had any issue with my pulled pork, but I think I'll give it a try. 
    Last edited: May 15, 2015
  9. chewmeister

    chewmeister Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    No foil for me as I like the bark. I do wrap in foil after removing from the smoker and adding some of JJ's finishing sauce for the rest period.
  10. foil. Until it's done and resting of course.

  11. bmaddox

    bmaddox Master of the Pit

    Recently I did two shoulders side by side, one foiled and one not. Here is what I found: Yes it makes a huge difference in the cook time (foiled is way quicker). Yes foiling at 160-165 softens the bark (but does not eliminate it by any means).

    But which way was better?? I have no idea! By the time it was pulled and eaten I couldn't tell the difference between the two. So I have continued to foil around 165 simply because I love all the delicious juice that collects in the foil.
  12. tom02

    tom02 Fire Starter

    I like to foil at about 165 I have done them both ways and really the only reason I foil is to speed up the process. I no for me not saying it's the right or wrong way but why would I spend 11 or 12 hours cooking when I could do it in 8 or 9 and taste the same. Just my opinion though
  13. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Definitely no offense taken at this end!!

    I was pretty much trying to get the point across that these are only opinions. Nobody is Right or Wrong!!

    I do this because I have been accused of saying my way is the only way in the past, which I never have done. Some think my Step by Steps are saying that my way is the only way, even though I include a disclaimer to the opposite. My Step by Steps are mostly for Newbies to get the confidence up to try something new. After that they can keep doing the same thing or definitely try other things.

    Well anyway---My Vote was to foil.

  14. joe black

    joe black Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I'm right in there with Bear. I like a good bark, but not like a red oak tree. I foil my butts through the stall and finish out with some apple juice. I don't ever foil anything else unless I'm braising.
  15. I like a good bark, my wife doesn't.  Therefore, I foil.  Pretty simple in my case.
  16. That's how it works. Though I was able to convert my wife from a well done type to a medium rare type. It took some doing, but I no longer have to turn her steaks into leather.
  17. joe black

    joe black Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Well Bert, A wise man once said

    "Yes Dear"
    nickthebeast likes this.
  18. Nice , looks great   

  19. cliffcarter

    cliffcarter Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member



    The only way I cook butts, 300°-325°, no foil, start an 8+ pound butt at 9 AM for dinner at 5 PM and always a great result.
  20. bdskelly

    bdskelly Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


Share This Page