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Fat cap on pork butt

CincyEggCincyEgg Posts: 98
Has anyone ever trimmed the majority of the fat cap off their pork shoulder before smoking it? I saw a competition tutorial and apparently that’s common for them to do but I’ve never seen it before that. 

Has anyone tried this method and if so, was the shoulder much more dry than it would’ve been leaving the fat cap in place?

Comments

  • JohnnyTarheelJohnnyTarheel Posts: 5,137
    I do trim my fat cap... result is double the bark.. it is just as moist... try it...
    Charlotte, NC - Large BGE 2014, Maverick ET 733, Thermopen, Nest, Platesetter, Woo2 and Extender w/Grid, Kick Ash Basket, Pizza Stone, SS Smokeware Cap, Blackstone 36"
  • dsrgunsdsrguns Posts: 355
    @JohnnyTarheel. I usually thin them down but haven't trimmed it clean. I like the idea of more bark. Plenty of fat throughout the pork itself for moisture so it makes sense.
      
    XL BGE
    MD
  • bgebrentbgebrent Posts: 16,458
    Trim if thick but don't remove it all. I like at least 1/4 inch and I'm fairly lackadaisical about it.  It renders if it's not excessive.
    Sandy Springs & Dawsonville Ga
  • northGAcocknorthGAcock Posts: 9,994
    bgebrent said:
    Trim if thick but don't remove it all. I like at least 1/4 inch and I'm fairly lackadaisical about it.  It renders if it's not excessive.
    How does Nicole do it?
    Columbia, South Carolina with a Medium, MiniMax & a 17" Blackstone

    Talk-in' 'bout, hey now! Hey now! I-ko, I-ko, un-day
    Jock-a-mo fee-no ai na-né, jock-a-mo fee na-né

  • dmouratidmourati Posts: 363
    +1 for trim. Usually takes me 15 minutes with a paring knife. Probably faster if I had a better tool for the job.

    More surface area means more places for the rub to adhere as @JohnnyTarheel
    said.

    Is possible it reduces the cooking time as well. Not certain.
    Mountain View, CA
  • bgebrentbgebrent Posts: 16,458
    bgebrent said:
    Trim if thick but don't remove it all. I like at least 1/4 inch and I'm fairly lackadaisical about it.  It renders if it's not excessive.
    How does Nicole do it?
    Just like I said, because that's what she said.
    Sandy Springs & Dawsonville Ga
  • Jameson19Jameson19 Posts: 326
    I don't trim the fat cap. I just season the pork shoulder and place it in the egg fat cap down to protect it from the stone where the heat comes from. 
    Large BGE, Adjustable Rig, Small BGE, 2 BBQ Guru's, 18" WSM, Rockwood, Stage 3 Roush Mustang, beautiful 2 year old daughter and a hot wife... 

    Las Vegas, Nevada!
  • bgebrentbgebrent Posts: 16,458
    Jameson19 said:
    I don't trim the fat cap. I just season the pork shoulder and place it in the egg fat cap down to protect it from the stone where the heat comes from. 
    To me this is a wives tale. If you have excessive fat, trim it.  If it's a modest rim of fat, render it.  Fat cap up or down is a joke. If you cook them well, they don't care.
    Sandy Springs & Dawsonville Ga
  • Jameson19Jameson19 Posts: 326
    bgebrent said:
    Jameson19 said:
    I don't trim the fat cap. I just season the pork shoulder and place it in the egg fat cap down to protect it from the stone where the heat comes from. 
    To me this is a wives tale. If you have excessive fat, trim it.  If it's a modest rim of fat, render it.  Fat cap up or down is a joke. If you cook them well, they don't care.
    Once the shoulder is done, I scrape the fat away or it stays on the grid. Fat cap down is what I like doing and it has given me the results I like. 
    Large BGE, Adjustable Rig, Small BGE, 2 BBQ Guru's, 18" WSM, Rockwood, Stage 3 Roush Mustang, beautiful 2 year old daughter and a hot wife... 

    Las Vegas, Nevada!
  • bgebrentbgebrent Posts: 16,458
    Jameson19 said:
    bgebrent said:
    Jameson19 said:
    I don't trim the fat cap. I just season the pork shoulder and place it in the egg fat cap down to protect it from the stone where the heat comes from. 
    To me this is a wives tale. If you have excessive fat, trim it.  If it's a modest rim of fat, render it.  Fat cap up or down is a joke. If you cook them well, they don't care.
    Once the shoulder is done, I scrape the fat away or it stays on the grid. Fat cap down is what I like doing and it has given me the results I like. 
    That works well, as does the contrary.  If you f up a pork but, you need to reed up more on the forum.  Glad you found a good way for you.
    Sandy Springs & Dawsonville Ga
  • Jameson19Jameson19 Posts: 326
    bgebrent said:
    Jameson19 said:
    bgebrent said:
    Jameson19 said:
    I don't trim the fat cap. I just season the pork shoulder and place it in the egg fat cap down to protect it from the stone where the heat comes from. 
    To me this is a wives tale. If you have excessive fat, trim it.  If it's a modest rim of fat, render it.  Fat cap up or down is a joke. If you cook them well, they don't care.
    Once the shoulder is done, I scrape the fat away or it stays on the grid. Fat cap down is what I like doing and it has given me the results I like. 
    That works well, as does the contrary.  If you f up a pork but, you need to reed up more on the forum.  Glad you found a good way for you.
    Haha very true. Pork butts are fail safe
    Large BGE, Adjustable Rig, Small BGE, 2 BBQ Guru's, 18" WSM, Rockwood, Stage 3 Roush Mustang, beautiful 2 year old daughter and a hot wife... 

    Las Vegas, Nevada!
  • GoooDawgsGoooDawgs Posts: 652
     I remove as much of the fat cap as possible.  I like the extra bark.
    Milton, GA 
    XL BGE & FB300
  • Jameson19 said:
    bgebrent said:
    Jameson19 said:
    I don't trim the fat cap. I just season the pork shoulder and place it in the egg fat cap down to protect it from the stone where the heat comes from. 
    To me this is a wives tale. If you have excessive fat, trim it.  If it's a modest rim of fat, render it.  Fat cap up or down is a joke. If you cook them well, they don't care.
    Once the shoulder is done, I scrape the fat away or it stays on the grid. Fat cap down is what I like doing and it has given me the results I like. 
    You have lost about 30% of your potential bark and have a mess on your grid.  If it’s doing nothing on your grill but manipulating your overall finish time throw it in the trash during prep. It’s not protecting the meat and not forming a crust. With that logic you could just as easily bake it in the oven. 

    And all the stuff that Brent said. Fat cap is Cold War propaganda. 

    "Brought to you by bourbon, bacon, and a series of questionable life decisions."

    South of Nashville, TN

  • Jameson19Jameson19 Posts: 326
    The oven sucks and the pork shoulders I get have a quarter inch of fat at most. 
    Large BGE, Adjustable Rig, Small BGE, 2 BBQ Guru's, 18" WSM, Rockwood, Stage 3 Roush Mustang, beautiful 2 year old daughter and a hot wife... 

    Las Vegas, Nevada!
  • CincyEggCincyEgg Posts: 98
    Wish I would’ve thought of this a few years ago, because most of the stuff I’d read online suggested to keep it on but the more bbq knowledge I get tells me that there’s no way more than a fractional amount of the fat cap can render. The last shoulder I smoked had a lot of extra fat on the cap and the consistency of the pulled pork as a whole, suffered.

    thanks for the great tips and opinions! Didn’t expect to wake up to 14 replies to a rookie question like this :)
  • pgprescottpgprescott Posts: 10,516
    bgebrent said:
    Jameson19 said:
    I don't trim the fat cap. I just season the pork shoulder and place it in the egg fat cap down to protect it from the stone where the heat comes from. 
    To me this is a wives tale. If you have excessive fat, trim it.  If it's a modest rim of fat, render it.  Fat cap up or down is a joke. If you cook them well, they don't care.



    While I don't think it makes much, if any, difference to the end results of a pork butt, I will always put the fat cap down on a brisket if for no other reason than a little insurance against the temps getting too hot. If I were to pick fat up or down on a butt, I would in fact pick down.
  • lousubcaplousubcap Posts: 16,760
    I run cap down for two reasons;  a heat shield and if anything stick its the fat and not the protein.  I'm sure it doesn't make much difference in the end-game.  FWIW-
    Louisville;  L & S BGEs, PBC, Lang 36; Burnin' wood in the neighbourhood. # 38 for the win.  Life is too short for light/lite beer.  
  • pgprescottpgprescott Posts: 10,516
    lousubcap said:
    I run cap down for two reasons;  a heat shield and if anything stick its the fat and not the protein.  I'm sure it doesn't make much difference in the end-game.  FWIW-
    This advice for fat down is more important on the egg which has the heat source directly below the protein. Other types of cookers it is less relevant.
  • I also trim the fat cap, we do like the bark, and cap down. 
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    Welcome to the Swamp.....GO GATORS!!!!
  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 22,980
    were i get them from there is no fat cap, always been fine with a low and slow. not sure how they would handle a turbo cook
  • dmouratidmourati Posts: 363
    You have to put the cap or at least he cap side somewhere now don'tcha? I find value in getting to know the protein before you put it on. 
    Mountain View, CA
  • CincyEggCincyEgg Posts: 98
    I generally get mine from Sam’s and they don’t have a huge fat cap on them but some I’ve bought at Kroger were very thick but they were selling them at 99 cents a pound at that time so I wasn’t gonna be too picky.

    I didn’t know if the fat cap trimming was just a competition technique or not but seeing the replies on here, I’m definitely gonna try to give it a go with no cap. I’m going to keep my flameboss set at about 225 so hopefully there won’t be any difference in moisture loss vs the cooks with the fat cap on.
  • CamadoCegCamadoCeg Posts: 15
    Ive become a cap trimmer. More bark and less grease to catch. And if you are cooking in the 200s like most, theres little concern of burning the underside.
  • jtcBoyntonjtcBoynton Posts: 2,103
    Always
    Southeast Florida - LBGE
    In cooking, often we implement steps for which we have no explanations other than ‘that’s what everybody else does’ or ‘that’s what I have been told.’  Dare to think for yourself.
     
  • Sea2SkiSea2Ski Posts: 2,642
    I trim it down to about 1/8-1/4” without giving it much thought or effort. I eyeball it and think to myself if I would want that much fat in a bite. If the answer is no, I shave more off. 
    --------------------------------------------------
    Burning lump in Downingtown, PA or diesel in Cape May, NJ.
    ....just look for the smoke!
    Large and MiniMax
    --------------------------------------------------
  • tarheelmatttarheelmatt Posts: 9,311
    I leave it on, no trim.  It's protection.  In fact, if I do PP, I'd rather do a whole shoulder, that has the skin (and fat obviously) on it.  Give the shoulder more of a whole hog taste and texture.   Then, you can take that skin and fat, place it back on the Egg, ramp up the temp, and you'll have a good crispy treat.  
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  • FockerFocker Posts: 8,261
    edited February 9
    I trim it completely off, and flip halfway.  More lovely bark(which is the best part IMO), no sticking to the grid.

    "Pro-tip":
    Dice up the cap, toss into the crockpot on low or cooktop's lowest simmer setting, add a little water to keep the cracklins from burning.  Render during the butt cook, water will evaporate.  Add the cracklin bits to the pork after chopping or pulling, good stuff.

    https://www.myhumblekitchen.com/2011/02/how-render-lard-the-right-way-snow-white/
    Brandon
    Quad Cities
    "If yer gonna denigrate, familiarity with the subject is helpful."

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