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Foil to Cooler?

It seems that popular opinion on this forum is that some FTC time is a necessary step in a good pork shoulder cook.  After doing a lot of pulled pork both ways, I think FTC does nothing good for taste or texture.  The bark gets soft, and the meat can over-cook and get mushy.  

For me FTC is only a tool for holding meat that comes off egg too early.  If I want the very best pulled pork I try to time it so it comes off the egg with about an hour or so to rest uncovered. Once it cools to 150-160, it's ready to pull.  I think the biggest mistake I you can make is pulling it when it is too hot.  Pull it when its too hot and all your moisture steams away leaving you some nice dry pork.

If you haven't skipped the FTC step in a while, try it and see if it does not make a better sandwich.

Comments

  • gdenbygdenby Posts: 4,305
    I agree. FTC not a necessity.
  • Charlie tunaCharlie tuna Posts: 2,191
    edited April 2013
    I turbo cook my butts, and when they come off the grill wrapped in foil, the liquid surrounding the butt usually fills the foil up about 3/4 of the way to the top.  I have to be careful not to force or squeeze it too hard for fear of forcing the liquid out the top of the wrapped butt.  It goes in a small cooler for "AT LEAST" one hour.  During that period, that liquid level drops to about 1/4 of the way to the top.  As Myron Mixon say's, "any meat not allowed to rest, ain't worth cooking" or something to that effect, and i believe him.  Biggest example is a steak!  Cut into it early and watch the juices pour out!! 
  • dpittarddpittard Posts: 126
    Personally, I like bark with a little bite to it, so I try to avoid a FTC.  I do think the resting period is important, though, so I'll let it rest with a loose tent.  I haven't found that the tent messes with my preferred bark texture.

    Ford vs Chevy, I guess.

    LBGE with a massive wish list
    Athens, Ga.
  • CowdogsCowdogs Posts: 470
    Charlie you and I 100% agree about the resting time.  Cut or pull any meat too hot, including ribs, is a big mistake.  

    I do what I call "floating temp" turbo cook.  I start with dome 300 (grid 280), and when the pork hits 160 I will start pushing the temp up higher, sometimes to 300, and as high as 350 and to try to time the finish about 1.5 hours before dinner.   I am not always successful, but that is my plan.  However for best results, I am now skipping the foil unless I am really in a hurry.
  • Charlie tunaCharlie tuna Posts: 2,191
    Without the foil, you have to face the effects of "the stall" around 170 to 180 degrees, and i think you loose too much liquid during that period from 160 to your pulling temperature at your 300 to 350 degree cooking temperature.
  • CowdogsCowdogs Posts: 470

    Without the foil, you have to face the effects of "the stall" around 170 to 180 degrees, and i think you loose too much liquid during that period from 160 to your pulling temperature at your 300 to 350 degree cooking temperature.
    Based on my last 6 butts, I am blaming all my dry pork on early pulling.  I pull the pork and put it into a pan to catch juices during the rest.  I am finding as long as I let the butt cool to 150 before pulling, then all the liquid I need is there.  The buns get soaked thru before I can finish the sandwich.
  • Charlie tunaCharlie tuna Posts: 2,191

    " I am blaming all my dry pork on early pulling."   Are you talking about "pulling the pork off the grill?"  or "pulling(shreding) the pork?"?  

    I have three different size coolers - so the butt fits in the smallest cooler with minimum space around the butt.  I keep the butt whole(unshredded) during the rest period.  It will continue to cook on the inside as the outside cools down, but it will absorb about one third of the liquid inside the foil.

    Try using Cabotta(sp) rolls by Artisan Breads for pulled pork sandwiches.  They have a crisp outside crust that will hold all that(or most of it) liquid flavor from the pork and the slaw if you use slaw!  We toast the rolls before serving.  This makes a whole lot of difference in the entire meal. 

  • SkiddymarkerSkiddymarker Posts: 6,084
    We enjoy pulled pork two ways: Sammies and as a meat entree. If served with sammies, the family vote is soft bark so we FTC for an hour or so. If serving with taters and veggies, a loose foil tent to preserve the bark "crust" is desired. 
    Like Charlie - use a high gluten bun with a thick crust to keep all that juice inside. Italian ciabatta rolls are ideal. 
    Delta B.C. - Vee-Gan: old Indian word for poor hunter. 
  • milesbrown4milesbrown4 Posts: 314
    Good call on the Ciabatta rolls - need to try that next time.  Usually use potato rolls and it can get soggy....
  • Charlie tunaCharlie tuna Posts: 2,191
    Cibatta rolls hold very well in the freezer - and defroast quickly as needed -- don't forget to try them toasted or grilled with butter on them... ;)
  • BjorgBjorg Posts: 233
    I did a turbo butt at 350 til 160 internal then, then foiled to 200 and rested for one hour in a cooler. It was my first turbo butt and I missed the smokiness and the bark. It sure was moist though. 


    Quebec - Canada
  • CowdogsCowdogs Posts: 470
    edited April 2013

    " I am blaming all my dry pork on early pulling."   Are you talking about "pulling the pork off the grill?"  or "pulling(shreding) the pork?"?  

    I should be more clear.  Here is what I noticed this a couple of times.  

    Many times I would cook 2 pork butts, and FTC them.  A couple of hours later when everyone was ready to eat, I would get the butts out of cooler, and they would still be really hot, like 180+.  I would pull the 1st butt immediately and it would be really tender and moist, but 10 minutes later it would be kind of dry. Then I would resort to the usual tricks of adding a finishing sauce to restore moisture.  

    Sometimes the second butt would sit out a couple of hours whole (not pulled).  It would cool down to 150 before I pulled it, and again it was tender and moist, but this time the pork stayed moist without me have to add finishing sauce.  Finally it occurred to me that the long rest with a significant temp drop was key to moist pulled pork that stayed moist.

    So for my past 6 butts I have pulled them off the egg, let them sit until they cool down a lot.  The results have been perfect moist pulled pork that stayed moist.  

    As for bread.  I like all sorts of bread including Cibatta, but my time in Texas made me appreciate the softest, blandest, white bread and buns with my BBQ.  In Texas, the very best BBQ is often served with plain grocery store white bread on the side.  I think they would say it's all about the meat, and the bread is just there to keep your hands a little cleaner.
  • EggcelsiorEggcelsior Posts: 9,784
    Both sides of the debate have correct points. Do you have to FTC? No. Does resting help maintain moistness? Yes.

    Pulled pork(or anything pulled) is a completely different animal than a steak or roast cooked to lower finishing temps. 

    All organisms are mostly made up of water - this is the key point.

    When you cook meat, you are dealing with muscle and connective tissue(fat, cartilage)

    When you cook pork but for BBQ, you are going way beyond well done. Almost all the water is cooked out of the muscle fiber itself and it is nearly dessicated. However, the collagen has gelatinized and the fat has melted so it coats the muscle fibers, making them seem tender and juicy. The gelatin and fat give the unctuous sensation on the tongue, coating the mouth and making it easy to swallow.

    Cook a steak properly, but remove the fat - you have a juicy, less flavorful steak. Cook pulled pork properly, but take away the fat and collagen, you have dry, stringy pork.

    Mr Tuna is right in the sense that he sees the fluid level change during the rest. The meat is now a "loose matrix" of fibers so the fluid can move back around(not into) the muscle fibers. When you pull the pork in a pan, you wind up with a pan full of liquid. When you mix this back in, it does the same thing as resting the pork. 

    When you go to a restaurant that serves you dry stringy pork, they likely pulled it all and let it sit in a water tray to keep it hot. This just evaporates all that fluid off. By not pulling it, they would have kept it moist. If you are going to pull it, it needs to be eaten right away or have the evaporation arrested. 

    Also by letting the meat rest, this gelatinous fluid "coagulates" on the meat, allowing it to adhere to the fibers and stay "moist" longer. This is the benefit to the long rest. It is not necessary and sacrifices bark. If you pull relatively quickly, it just needs to be eaten quickly and "stirred" to redistribute fluids. This saves the bark.

    It's all a matter of preference; the world won't end one way or the other.
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