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FTC = Good, Texas Crutch = maybe bad - Help me understand foiling

OK, it seems everyone agrees that wrapping in foil, towels and sticking in a cooler for hours is a good thing for pulled pork, yet there seems to be an impression that using the Texas Crutch (wrapping the butt in foil to speed up the finish of the cook and push through the stall) is cheating and will 'ruin the bark'.  What's the difference.  Both are wrapped in foil with some moisture (apple juice), only the timing is different.  Why is one good and the other bad? By the time you wrap in foil for the crutch, most of your bark is already formed.  
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It's not a science, it's an art. And it's flawed.
- Camp Hill, PA

Comments

  • Fred19FlintstoneFred19Flintstone Posts: 6,310
    edited November 2012

    When I FTC, I don't put any additional liquid with the meat as I think it will stay moist by itself.  As far as wrapping up a butt in foil to push through a stall, I don't do that either.  If I need to push through a stall I turn up the heat.  If the foil thing works, go for it. 

    Back in the old days before portable BBQ grills, they cooked over an open fire.  Then someone invented the grill.  I bet the guys still cooking over an open fire thought the BBQ grill was cheating.  I think we can all agree that the BBQ grill has made life better.  Cheating schmeating!  The most important thing is the final product and if you're happy with it. 

    ........................................................................................

    Flint, Michigan.  If the lead bullets don't kill you, the leaded water will.

  • FockerFocker Posts: 2,792
    edited November 2012

    It's not that one is good and the other is bad.  Crutching shoulder is braising, allowing for more consistent results, and it speeds up the cook.  Wrapping shoulder in foil and towels after the cook helps give you a larger holding window when serving, allowing one to hold for hours if needed, which does sacrifice texture. 

    You could place the shoulder back on the pit after the braising stage to help firm up the bark, if that is a concern.

     

    Brandon
    Quad Cities

  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 18,985
    Roasts that are "overcooked" to break down the collagen, like pork shoulder, picnics, brisket, chuck roasts, etc are done and ready to go when they are done on the grill.  They actually benefit from cooling down immediately.  The FTC is just a way to keep them hot in the "safe zone" so you can serve hot food later.

    Steaks, on the other hand, benefit from the "rest" because they're cooked hot to a relatively low internal temperature.  The hotter outside parts of the steak need to cool down so the proteins, muscle cells and structure relaxes and they don't "bleed" moisture when you cut and eat.

    The TX Crutch - foiling, makes the meat cook faster by steaming it.  Steam conducts heat better than dry air.  At the expense of the bark, which people like dry.
    ______________________________________________
    This is my signature line just so you're not confused.
    Large and Medium BGE, Kamado Joe Jr., smoker with a 5k btu AC, gas grill, fire pit, pack of angry cats, two turntables and a microphone, my friend.
    New Orleans, LA - we know how to eat 

  • MickeyMickey Posts: 17,265
    it seems everyone agrees that wrapping in foil, towels and sticking in a cooler for hours is a good thing for pulled pork. Not everyone......
    Salado TX Egg Family: 2 Large and a very well used Mini, added a Mini Max (I'm good for now). 

  • TjcoleyTjcoley Posts: 3,457
    Roasts that are "overcooked" to break down the collagen, like pork shoulder, picnics, brisket, chuck roasts, etc are done and ready to go when they are done on the grill.  They actually benefit from cooling down immediately.  The FTC is just a way to keep them hot in the "safe zone" so you can serve hot food later.

    Steaks, on the other hand, benefit from the "rest" because they're cooked hot to a relatively low internal temperature.  The hotter outside parts of the steak need to cool down so the proteins, muscle cells and structure relaxes and they don't "bleed" moisture when you cut and eat.

    The TX Crutch - foiling, makes the meat cook faster by steaming it.  Steam conducts heat better than dry air.  At the expense of the bark, which people like dry.

    But doesn't FTC also end up steaming the bark?
    __________________________________________
    It's not a science, it's an art. And it's flawed.
    - Camp Hill, PA
  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 18,985
    Absolutely.  The roast is ready to go when it's done cooking and pulled off the grill.  I wouldn't FTC anything unless serving time was more than an hour or two away.  Let it sit out in the open, and PULL right before serving.   It takes at least a couple of hours for the temp to drop from 190-205 F to below the safe zone temp 140F without FTC. 
    ______________________________________________
    This is my signature line just so you're not confused.
    Large and Medium BGE, Kamado Joe Jr., smoker with a 5k btu AC, gas grill, fire pit, pack of angry cats, two turntables and a microphone, my friend.
    New Orleans, LA - we know how to eat 

  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 18,985
    I agree with Fred and Focker also.
    ______________________________________________
    This is my signature line just so you're not confused.
    Large and Medium BGE, Kamado Joe Jr., smoker with a 5k btu AC, gas grill, fire pit, pack of angry cats, two turntables and a microphone, my friend.
    New Orleans, LA - we know how to eat 

  • gdenbygdenby Posts: 4,992
    Let me toss in my .02

    The first time I heard about the "Texas crutch," was in regard to cooking brisket. The notion was not that it was bad, but that it was not traditional. It implied that the cook was rather lame, and needed more practice. But I don't recall anyone saying it reduced the quality of the product.

    As far as FTC goes, no, it won't improve the bark. Some period of rest will let the moisture equalize in the butt, and slow the evaporation some when the meat is pulled. And, there isd likely to be a pool of some very tasty fat at the bottom of the foil pouch, which should be added to the sauce.

    From the few experiments that I've done w. "turbo" method foiling, and from my previous practice of foiling ribs, I'd have to say it doesn't hurt the bark too much, but it doesn't improve it. If the meat surface remains moist, the smoke flavor will continue to penetrate the meat during the whole time, and more will accumulate on the surface. As far as I can tell, the bark improves, and the final product will have a better smoke flavor. It will also have a crisper outside. For me, that is important for ribs, not so much for butts.

    I can't comment on briskets, as I've done to few, and I do need the crutch.

  • henapplehenapple Posts: 15,554
    I've ftc for 4-5 hours with no bad aside effects. I wrap as tight as I can. It's tough to time one exactly on spot.
    Green egg, dead animal and alcohol. The "Boro".. TN 
  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 18,921
    i only ftc if im done way too early, dont see a need to if its done close to serving time. i prefer crunch to the crust without ftc
  • I FTC to hold if done way early or during transport. I do wrap in foil for resting or at least tent. I love foil.

    ........................................................................................

    Flint, Michigan.  If the lead bullets don't kill you, the leaded water will.

  • FockerFocker Posts: 2,792
    edited November 2012

    Foil is a great tool, when used properly.

    Echoing what Fred stated earlier....the most important thing is the final product, and you being pleased with it.  

    Brandon
    Quad Cities

  • EGG-zactly what Nola said. 

    There is nothing inherently "wrong" w/ foiling, except that it will soften / moisten / reduce / (add favorite adjective here) the bark. 

    My family & I love a lot of bark, and as such, I've developed (w/ the advice of those on the forum) techniques for both my pulled pork and my ribs where I just throw 'em on the cooking grid, naked (except for rub), and let 'em sit there for HOURS. 

    No mopping, no spritzing, no foiling - NOTHING.  In my opinion, these cooks are the most simple cuz you just set 'em & forget 'em & can STILL get incredible results!!
    Don't get set into one form, adapt it and build your own, and let it grow, be like water. Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless — like water. Now you put water in a cup, it becomes the cup... Now water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend. - Bruce Lee
  • FockerFocker Posts: 2,792
    edited November 2012

    A good read about crutching and steam.....

    http://www.genuineideas.com/ArticlesIndex/foil.html

    Brandon
    Quad Cities

  • @Focker that's a great link!  Thanks for passing it along.

    ........................................................................................

    Flint, Michigan.  If the lead bullets don't kill you, the leaded water will.

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