Pork Butt Fat Cap

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bobwatts
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2012/08/23 09:01:05 (permalink)

Pork Butt Fat Cap

I do mobile food service. Mainly festivals and non-profit events as well as the occasional catering gig.
 
One of the areas I cover is BBQ. I have a big rotisserie smoker that will hold 70 or so pork butts. I don't put that many in as the heat is not evenly distributed between the middle of the grate and the ends. But that isn't my question and is beside the point.
 
When I prepare my pork butts, I cut off the fat cap so the rub can get in closer to the meat. I have not found that the spices can penetrate though it, so off it comes. Next week, I have 2 dozen butts coming that my supplier had a special on. I will smoke them all at once, meaning that I will prepare them all at once - and all those beautiful fat caps will come off....and be thrown away.
 
Anyone have a suggestion as to something that can be done with all that "waste"?
#1

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    kevincad
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    Re:Pork Butt Fat Cap 2012/08/23 09:55:37 (permalink)
    bobwatts

    I do mobile food service. Mainly festivals and non-profit events as well as the occasional catering gig.

    One of the areas I cover is BBQ. I have a big rotisserie smoker that will hold 70 or so pork butts. I don't put that many in as the heat is not evenly distributed between the middle of the grate and the ends. But that isn't my question and is beside the point.

    When I prepare my pork butts, I cut off the fat cap so the rub can get in closer to the meat. I have not found that the spices can penetrate though it, so off it comes. Next week, I have 2 dozen butts coming that my supplier had a special on. I will smoke them all at once, meaning that I will prepare them all at once - and all those beautiful fat caps will come off....and be thrown away.

    Anyone have a suggestion as to something that can be done with all that "waste"?

    Save it to be used to put some fat in ground venison or for sausage making.
    #2
    rjb
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    Re:Pork Butt Fat Cap 2012/08/23 10:08:30 (permalink)
    Use in in sausage or render it for lard.  If the latter, save the cracklings & use in cornbread.
    #3
    Rusty246
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    Re:Pork Butt Fat Cap 2012/08/23 11:01:17 (permalink)
    I HIGHLY recommend making the lard.
    #4
    chewingthefat
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    Re:Pork Butt Fat Cap 2012/08/23 12:05:33 (permalink)
    Why in the world would you cut off the "bark" before you smoke it? As you know, if smoked slow and low, the fat renders into the meat providing flavor and moisture. What your doing IMHO, is akin to throwing away burnt ends!
    #5
    KurtSara
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    Re:Pork Butt Fat Cap 2012/08/24 20:27:54 (permalink)
    chewingthefat

    Why in the world would you cut off the "bark" before you smoke it? As you know, if smoked slow and low, the fat renders into the meat providing flavor and moisture. What your doing IMHO, is akin to throwing away burnt ends!

     

     
    of all the butts we have smoked we have never trimmed a single one, why waste the time, it will disappear.
    post edited by KurtSara - 2012/08/30 05:28:03
    #6
    pnwchef
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    Re:Pork Butt Fat Cap 2012/08/24 20:57:28 (permalink)
    chewingthefat

    Why in the world would you cut off the "bark" before you smoke it? As you know, if smoked slow and low, the fat renders into the meat providing flavor and moisture. What your doing IMHO, is akin to throwing away burnt ends!


    I agree with Chewy, and I never agree with Chewy. You want the fat on the pork to melt down into the meat and keep it moist. The Butt is fatty, but, when ever I cook low and slow the cap is always on......................pnwc
    #7
    RodBangkok
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    Re:Pork Butt Fat Cap 2012/08/24 21:40:59 (permalink)
    To the original question, you can render or freeze and use in sausage, I'd never throw it out.  If your buying primal pork shoulder cuts, that have not had the skin and excess fat removed, then you should be trimming them, leaving a fat layer you want, most in the grocery store are trimmed this way.  I would not smoke them with the full fat layer from the primal, but how much you trim is up to you isn't it?
    #8
    bobwatts
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    Re:Pork Butt Fat Cap 2012/08/27 19:43:00 (permalink)
    Indeed it is. Since I first posted this thread, I have doubled my order - the price was really exceptional.
     
    My experience has been that the rub seasoning does not penetrate the fat layer nor does the smoke. I am not an expert though and will listen to those who are which is why I posted the question here!
     
    With all I have coming in this week, I will likely smoke in two batches. I may do one with the fat on and the other with it removed. I do smoke low and slow. Yes, much will render off and in theory, some could "flavor" the meat. But the butt has a lot of fat it in already that will add to the flavor.
     
    I am meticulous when pulling the meat. I want any fat that has not render out to be removed. Never do I want a customer to take a big bite of a sandwich and get a mouthful of fat. That would be unspeakably embarrassing to me.  So getting a lot off before I start the smoke seems like a good plan.
     
    I am grateful for the suggestions of what to do with the fat. Unfortunately, I do not make sausage, and lard....I would not begin to know what to do with that!
     
    The coyotes may be well fed before the end of this week.
    #9
    Foodbme
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    Re:Pork Butt Fat Cap 2012/08/28 03:25:59 (permalink)
    bobwatts
    I am grateful for the suggestions of what to do with the fat. Unfortunately, I do not make sausage, and lard....I would not begin to know what to do with that!
    The coyotes may be well fed before the end of this week.

    Don't feed the Coyotes! Let them find their own dogs & cats!
    I operated a smoked meat business doing Hams, Bacon & Sausage.
    We would trim our Hams. I would sell the trimmings to locals who would render the fat for lard and the skins for cracklins.
    Put a small classified ad in the paper or just put the work out that you have trimmings and you'll be able to sell it all for a small price. Especially in the area you're in.
    Make a little beer money.
     
    post edited by Foodbme - 2012/08/28 03:27:35
    #10
    ScreamingChicken
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    Re:Pork Butt Fat Cap 2012/08/28 09:34:06 (permalink)
    bobwatts

    I am meticulous when pulling the meat. I want any fat that has not render out to be removed. Never do I want a customer to take a big bite of a sandwich and get a mouthful of fat. That would be unspeakably embarrassing to me.
    On the other hand, I'd consider that an unexpected bonus!
     
    Just spitballing here, but what about keeping some fat (cooked, obviously) off to the side and offering it as an option?  Or maybe having 1 pan of lean pork and 1 pan of not-so-lean?  Kind of like how some places serve brisket.
    #11
    edwmax
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    Re:Pork Butt Fat Cap 2012/08/28 16:37:11 (permalink)
    Fat sells for a $1 a lb in this area.    I would use it to make sausage.   Use a pork butt and add fat until about 60% lean to 40% fat, season and grind.
    #12
    rjb
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    Re:Pork Butt Fat Cap 2012/08/28 17:07:54 (permalink)
    bobwatts

    Indeed it is. Since I first posted this thread, I have doubled my order - the price was really exceptional.

    My experience has been that the rub seasoning does not penetrate the fat layer nor does the smoke. I am not an expert though and will listen to those who are which is why I posted the question here!

    With all I have coming in this week, I will likely smoke in two batches. I may do one with the fat on and the other with it removed. I do smoke low and slow. Yes, much will render off and in theory, some could "flavor" the meat. But the butt has a lot of fat it in already that will add to the flavor.

    I am meticulous when pulling the meat. I want any fat that has not render out to be removed. Never do I want a customer to take a big bite of a sandwich and get a mouthful of fat. That would be unspeakably embarrassing to me.  So getting a lot off before I start the smoke seems like a good plan.

    I am grateful for the suggestions of what to do with the fat. Unfortunately, I do not make sausage, and lard....I would not begin to know what to do with that!

    The coyotes may be well fed before the end of this week.

    You're doing it the right way trimming the excess external fat before you cook.  External fat does nothing to "penetrate" the meat  -- it just renders off.  And if your temperature is appropriately low, a lot remains unrendered, so unless your customers like to eat copious quantities of hog fat, you'll wind up trimming it when cooked, thereby losing the bark that you worked so hard to create. Its the internal fat and, more importantly, the collagen, that yields the juicy texture.  
     
    Trim your butts judiciously, save the fat and learn to make sausage -- its a no brainer if you pay minimal attention to what you're doing (especially the part about keeping the meat & fat ice cold).  And you can smoke that and add a new item to your menu that is very cost-efficient.
     
     
    #13
    3 Olives
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    Re:Pork Butt Fat Cap 2012/08/28 18:22:28 (permalink)
    Leave it on and put it on the rack with leaner on top. The fat cap has very little meat under it.  Oh. and it's never going to render into the meat.
    #14
    chewingthefat
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    Re:Pork Butt Fat Cap 2012/09/01 17:09:26 (permalink)
    3 Olives

    Leave it on and put it on the rack with leaner on top. The fat cap has very little meat under it.  Oh. and it's never going to render into the meat.

    Actually some of it will.

    #15
    Sundancer7
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    Re:Pork Butt Fat Cap 2012/09/01 18:28:58 (permalink)
    chewingthefat

    3 Olives

    Leave it on and put it on the rack with leaner on top. The fat cap has very little meat under it.  Oh. and it's never going to render into the meat.

    Actually some of it will.

     
    Chewie:  I think you are absolutely correct.  Without the fat, the lean becomes very dry and to my taste, somewhat tasteless.
    I saw a BBQ pitmaster a few months ago trimming the fat off and throwing it in the trash.  I thought, "what a waste"
     
    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN

    #16
    Lost Nation
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    Re:Pork Butt Fat Cap 2012/09/02 09:28:21 (permalink)
    I have always trimmed both fat layers off butts and removed the gland next to the money muscle. The fat caps will never render and prevent smoke penetration to that side of the butt. There is enough fat in pork butts to keep them moist with out drying out and trimming gives you more bark.  IMHO as a caterer, vendor and a KCBS cook with half dozen pork wins including a perfect perfect score
    #17
    kevincad
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    Re:Pork Butt Fat Cap 2012/09/02 10:49:09 (permalink)
    chewingthefat

    3 Olives

    Leave it on and put it on the rack with leaner on top. The fat cap has very little meat under it.  Oh. and it's never going to render into the meat.

    Actually some of it will.

    You bet it will!
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    bobwatts
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    Re:Pork Butt Fat Cap 2012/09/04 15:36:38 (permalink)
    It is great to have this sort of feedback at my finger tips! Thanks again to each one for your contribution.
     
    I did smoke over the weekend. 81# total and it yielded @ 37#, 45%+. I was happy with that. When I have smoked full shoulders, I was yielding closer to 35%.
     
    When prepping the butts, I compromised. I trimmed the fat cap back, but left it in place. That way the rub as well as the smoke could get up in under it and penetrate that side of the meat. Another thing I did this time was to cut the butts in half so that I was dealing with 4 - 5#er's rather than 8 - 10#er's. That did two things for me, gave me more surface area for rub and smoke as well as made them easier to cook. They stayed in the smoker for @ 7 hours and reached that magic temp of 205 or maybe even a little above on some of the smaller ones.
     
    I pull and chop. My BBQ is moist and never dry. I want the customer to never have to put sauce on it (sometimes it doesn't matter, they still grab it and dump sauce on top, which drives me crazy). I wish I could share it with you to get your opinion and advice.
     
    I used Wild Cherry for this smoke, rather than just straight Hickory/Oak. I did supplement quite a bit of small Hickory/Oak to boost my temps as I was dealing with rain all day. My smoker is a large rotisserie with very thick steel. The rain did not hurt me like I anticipated. Wild Cherry really imparted a wonderful and unique flavor that I was very pleased with. I have enough Apple for a couple of good smokes that I want to use next so I can compare the two. I keep hearing how different wood can make a difference. I want to taste it for myself. Hickory and Oak are a lot easier to come by than some of the other woods.
    #19
    3 Olives
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    Re:Pork Butt Fat Cap 2012/09/04 17:45:19 (permalink)
    kevincad

    chewingthefat

    3 Olives

    Leave it on and put it on the rack with leaner on top. The fat cap has very little meat under it.  Oh. and it's never going to render into the meat.

    Actually some of it will.

    You bet it will!

     
    Nope - it never will - renders right off.

    #20
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