Pork Butt Fat Cap or No Cap?


 

Mike_S

TVWBB Member
I trim it. Like you said - plenty of inter-muscular fat. I've never noticed it being too dry.
 

Darryl - swazies

TVWBB Wizard
The butts I purchase come fairly trimmed, there still is some fat left on it....I put this fat side down when I smoke it.
all bark on all other sides. The fat tends to stick to the grill a bit but brushes off......when picked at and tasted ( I am the chef ) it is so soft like cotton candy......yummy....I just have to make sure its good for everyone else....right?
 
Some folks (see chef Tom video on Carolina pulled pork) leave it on and smoke fat cap down. Which turns out like crunchy crackling that gets chopped and mixed into the pp.

Personally, I trim and butterfly to get max bark.
 

Darryl - swazies

TVWBB Wizard
Some folks (see chef Tom video on Carolina pulled pork) leave it on and smoke fat cap down. Which turns out like crunchy crackling that gets chopped and mixed into the pp.

Personally, I trim and butterfly to get max bark.
I'm telling you, the big debate about fat down or up isn't a consideration to me at all.....the benefits of fat down outweigh everything. The cut is so fatty that the thought of the fat basting the cut as you cook isn't a consideration to me at all. We could talk brisket here, I am sure there are more stern thoughts about the beef.
 

MartinB

TVWBB All-Star
I'm telling you, the big debate about fat down or up isn't a consideration to me at all.....the benefits of fat down outweigh everything. The cut is so fatty that the thought of the fat basting the cut as you cook isn't a consideration to me at all. We could talk brisket here, I am sure there are more stern thoughts about the beef.

I'm telling you, the big debate about fat down or up isn't a consideration to me at all.....the benefits of fat down outweigh everything. The cut is so fatty that the thought of the fat basting the cut as you cook isn't a consideration to me at all. We could talk brisket here, I am sure there are more stern thoughts about the beef.
Same here. I rarely even spritz or even wrap a butt. Just cook it . Don't worry about it. I don't want it to be mush I want to have a little meaty stringy texture and a good bark. Never use any kind of finishing sauce or keep it hot in steam pan or anything like a restaurant does they just turn it to mush. You can outperform any restaurant with little trouble
 

Jeff Boudman

TVWBB Wizard
Same here. I rarely even spritz or even wrap a butt. Just cook it . Don't worry about it. I don't want it to be mush I want to have a little meaty stringy texture and a good bark. Never use any kind of finishing sauce or keep it hot in steam pan or anything like a restaurant does they just turn it to mush. You can outperform any restaurant with little trouble
My method exactly.
 

EricV.

TVWBB All-Star
Well it looks like I may be going against the grain here, but I have always gone fat side up. If the cap is really fatty, I may trim it back for sausage needs. But that fat is flavor & moisture. In addition, I trim brisket accordingly & que it fat side down. This isn't rocket science, & if it works, no need to get overly complicated. In the end its all about low & slow & the the taste profile. Enjoy!
 

Brad Olson

TVWBB Diamond Member
I can't remember the last time I bought a butt that was "too fatty" but I don't trim, I score the cap all the way to the meat, and really work in the slather (if I'm using one) and rub. At lower cooking temps I haven't noticed a difference between cap up and cap down.
 

Bob Bailey

TVWBB Pro
If it's going on the rotisserie, I remove the fat cap, otherwise I trim it down to ~1/4" as needed. Always fat side down and most of it renders out.
 

Mack Manning

TVWBB Fan
For me, depends on the day and the mission.

If I'm trying something new, I'll follow the recipe, trim it and go for all around bark.

If I'm just making staple Carolina pork the family loves, I can be lazy with minimal cleanup. Fat cap down in a foil pan, 275-300F. Extract excess juice from the pan with a turkey baster a few hours before finishing. When pulling or chopping, discard any nasty fat and add in the reserved juice. Serve from the foil pan, leftovers go directly into freezer bags.
 

Jim Weber

New member
I'm all about trimming the fat cap --- I want the seasoning and the bark. I take the time to put the rub on the night before to give it time to work and then add another layer in the morning before it goes on the WSM. If you've been following Mad Scientist BBQ with his quest for Aaron Franklin's secret to the best brisket --- one of the untold secrets is to toss a piece of fat on the fire every so often --- I've been doing that with pork butts and it really does add a deeper 'fatty' flavor to the meat.

I'm also one that - after wrapping and finishing the butt in the oven - drains all the juice off and separates the fat out - but I always add some back --- it seems like ~1/8-1/4 cup seems to be the right amount. Some butts give you 1/2+ cup of fat, some only 1/4..... anything more than 1/4 cup on a 8# butt makes for really greasy meat and dishes later IMO.
 

TonyUK

TVWBB Guru
..........one of the untold secrets is to toss a piece of fat on the fire every so often..........
I've been doing that for years, when grilling! Toss a little fat cube you've trimmed along with a piece of wood straight onto the coals. Smells epic! Everyone in the neighbourhood knows someone has their grill fired up!
 

Jim Weber

New member
Fat is okay ---- I don't particularly care for the mesentery tissue or the vessel that is always hiding in a butt.....
 

 

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