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Unread 12-18-2012, 12:04 PM   #1
sweetheatbbq
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Default Trouble with Getting the Rub to Set

The last few cooks I have been having some issues getting the rub to set and getting a good bark. I currently use a water smoker and I am wondering if there is to much moisture that is causing it. At first I was the rub I was using (Chris Lilly Pork Rub Recipe) but I also did some pork butts with just salt and pepper and noticed the same thing. I put a pretty good amount of rub on and even tried using less to see if that would help. It did a little but still not getting a great bark. I see some people using sand instead of water in the smoker, will that help? Thanks so much for any input.
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Unread 12-18-2012, 12:11 PM   #2
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Water shouldn't matter unless it is crazy humid in there but sugar does. If your rub does not have any, try adding some.
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Unread 12-18-2012, 12:14 PM   #3
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I learned in the Slap Yo Daddy bbq class to not add any water or else the bark will not form. Works great for me every time.
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Unread 12-18-2012, 12:15 PM   #4
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I always cook with water (at home and in competition) and never have a problem with bark.
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Unread 12-18-2012, 12:23 PM   #5
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I also always add water, I think you have to have moisture to get the meat right. I wonder what you mean by rub set. If you mean building up a bark, you need sugar and salt in your rub. Not a whole lot of sugar, but at least some.

I also find that you need to let the meat run in the heat for a while unmolested, you need a smoker that is drafting well and it is better to now wrap too soon, if you wrap at all.
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Unread 12-18-2012, 12:32 PM   #6
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Are you foiling or putting the meat in a pan? I had troubles during my first several cooks to get any decent bark, but I only had issues when wrapping or panning before the bark was set. I've been skipping the pans and foil with great bark as a result. An unfortunate side effect is I get to scrape the mess out of my water pan afterwards.
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Unread 12-18-2012, 12:36 PM   #7
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Are you wrapping at some point during your cook? If so it can cause you to sacrifice bark.
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Unread 12-18-2012, 12:42 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fo Sizzle My Nizzle View Post
Are you foiling or putting the meat in a pan? I had troubles during my first several cooks to get any decent bark, but I only had issues when wrapping or panning before the bark was set. I've been skipping the pans and foil with great bark as a result. An unfortunate side effect is I get to scrape the mess out of my water pan afterwards.
Cover the water pan with foil.
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Unread 12-18-2012, 01:01 PM   #9
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What I mean by getting the rub to set is when I go to foil at the end for resting the bark basically wipes off. I have only been wrapping in foil at the end basically while resting or holding temp.
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Unread 12-18-2012, 01:09 PM   #10
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What I do...

First off, all of my rubs have a little sugar and a fair amount of salt. About 5% of sugar is needed for what I do.

Second, I apply rub to dry meat, never wet meat. I start with cold meat, rinse and dry it. Then apply the rub and let it sit at room temperature for a minimum of 30 minutes, with a ceiling fan moving air. I am looking for the salt and sugar to pull moisture and create a 'glue' of protein, salt and sugar between the meat and rub.

I like to put the meat on the cooker around 225F and leave the vent open to rise to 275F to 300F, this time allows the 'glue' to cure onto the meat and rub. My bark does not rub off and does not come off when wrapped in paper.
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Unread 12-18-2012, 01:14 PM   #11
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Are you letting it sweat before cooking? It's basically as landarc describes - putting the rub on and letting it hydrate before cooking.
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Unread 12-18-2012, 01:15 PM   #12
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In my keg moisture does matter. I never add water to my keg, however if I over inject anything, bark suffers, especially if I don't cook hot enough 300*+.

One time I smoked 2 pork loins, no injection or brine - great bark.
A couple months later, I brined 4 pork loins, no injection, same rub and temp - mushy bark. In the end you gotta experiement and find what works for your setup.
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Unread 12-18-2012, 01:18 PM   #13
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landarc, that's a good tip about starting with dry meat, I'll have to remember that. Thanks!
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Unread 12-18-2012, 01:21 PM   #14
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JS-TX, the type of cooker does matter, as you mentioned. I often forget that not everyone cooks on a UDS. A Keg or BGE is going to be a much moister environment than my kettle or UDS
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Unread 12-18-2012, 02:02 PM   #15
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I've noticed that with my Backwoods, I have to leave the meat un-foiled for longer than if I'm cooking on our team's Lang in order to get the same quality of bark. I've also noticed that if I put the meat on the top shelf (where the smoke enters the cooking chamber) I get a much better bark.
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