View Full Version : Pork Butts - Fat Removal?

09-16-2011, 03:14 PM
I was wondering why it is necessary to remove the layer of fat on a pork butt. Thanks for your help!

09-16-2011, 03:15 PM
If you are talking about before it's smoked, it's not necessary. Definitely optional, but not mandatory.

Fatback Joe
09-16-2011, 03:20 PM
If you are talking about before it's smoked, it's not necessary. Definitely optional, but not mandatory.

Heck, I'll second that even for post cook.

09-16-2011, 03:23 PM
I didn't take any off of mine.

Hit 200. Pulled it. Coolered it for 40 min. Thing pulled like a beauty. n tasted fantastic!!!

09-16-2011, 03:30 PM
I like to trim mine off just because you don't get much bark where there is a lot of fat, and there's generally enough internal fat to keep it plenty moist!

On the other hand, we don't waste a bit. I freeze the trimmed fat, and when I have enough, I cube it, throw it in a big pot, add enough water to the pot to make it about 2 inches deep, and render it over medium heat (the water content keeps the fat from getting too hot)

Last time we did this, a few weeks ago, we got 3 1/2 pints of rendered lard, and a big pile of cracklins! GREAT with a little hot sauce! And the lard is great any time you want to saute anything in oil, or especially in pastries or bisquits!

09-16-2011, 03:36 PM
I will leave the fat cap on for the cook but I do not like to get a big ole mouth full of fat after the cook. Get rid of it imho. Its not seared and sweet like when you grill or quick saute pork fat.

Watch the Tastylicks 5 video series on pulled pork. It will teach you a ton about the fine art of cooking pork butt.

09-16-2011, 03:55 PM
...the fine art of cooking pork butt.


There is no fine art to cooking a pork butt. Sorry.

09-16-2011, 04:19 PM
I trim it, but don't remove it all. Some schools of thought is to place the butt, fat cap up and the fat will render down through the butt producing a moist product. Others say place the but, fat cap down and the fat will protect the butt from too much heat coming up and also producing a moist product. Personally, I go fat cap down. On the WSM, the heat is coming up the sides around the water pan and then refracting/bouncing off the lid and coming down on top of the butt, leading to a nice bark generation. At least that's what I think and I can sleep at night.

09-16-2011, 04:55 PM
I can't see trimming fat before the cook. For me anyway, it's better to leave it in place. My homemade gasser has one burner the length of the chamber, beneath a very thick steel angle piece that deflects heat very well. For now, my smoke results from fat dripping the 10 inches or so down onto that steel deflector, where it burns off and turns into smoke. I consistently get a smoke ring on my meat. But as we speak, a buddy is welding an offset firebox onto the smoker, so I'll have the option of using wood and charcoal. Don't know how I'll feel then, but for those like me including any woodburners who don't use offsets, if they have enough space below the grill to avoid flare-ups, fat is good!

Fat Freddy
09-16-2011, 04:59 PM
I leave the fat cap on my pork butt before cooking, and then after the pork butt is done cooking I cut off the fat cap and give it to my dog. He really likes when I cook pork butts.

09-16-2011, 05:01 PM
I don't trim at all. I use the fat cap as a heat shield like I do with briskets. Since I cook on the drum, the fat cap takes the direct heat. Most times, the cap stays glued on to the grate when I pull the butts off. Kinda like Mother Nature's version of foil.

09-16-2011, 05:04 PM
I've always left the fat on mine. May try it without once seeing that some do it that way as well. Any excuse to cook pork.

J'ville Grill
09-16-2011, 06:23 PM
I'm sure some people remove the fat cap to get more bark. I never trim or remove before the cook.

09-16-2011, 06:31 PM
I trim at home 'cause that xtra.fat is nice for sausage making otherwise no need

phatphingers like tapppytalk

09-16-2011, 06:33 PM
No trim before cook, hand pull to get large globs of fat out post cook

Frank Grimes
09-16-2011, 06:35 PM
I don't trim at all before cook, but remove it once its done.

09-16-2011, 07:17 PM
I'm a pre-cook cap trimmer. Me likey mo bark. Minus the fat cap I've never had a dry butt. There's plenty of fat inside the meat to make it juicy.

09-16-2011, 08:16 PM
It depends what I am smoking the pork butt on whether or not I cut the fat cap off. If I am smoking it on my UDS, I leave the fat cap on and down. If I am smoking it on my 250 gallon reverse flow smoker, I cut the fat cap off. And to tell you the truth, I like the cut off pork butt the best. I have no waste after cooking and I have more bark and flavor with the reverse flow smoking. Just my two cents.

Brian in Maine
09-17-2011, 07:04 AM
I brought pulled pork to work, and did a blind taste test. I didn't tell anybody what the difference between the 2 batches of pork was, and 4 out of 5 picked the trimmed butt.

09-17-2011, 07:23 AM
We trim it off only because it makes less mess in the pit.

09-17-2011, 04:49 PM
I leave it on for the cook (cap down while unfoiled, cap up while foiled) and discard any hunks while pulling. Cap trimming is much more important in comps than at home for me, I am a comp trimmer.

Theresa B
09-17-2011, 06:27 PM
I always trim. I've found that my rub penetrates much better and I get a good bark. JMHO