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I love the outside bark on my pork butts, and was thinking that a good way to get even more would be to cut the butt in half, therefore having more rub and bark at pulling time. I know it's 'done when it's done', and usually just leave the butt in the smoker until my remote thermometer beeps that we're at 195, but I usually plan on 12-14 hours as a rough target. Would cutting it in half reduce smoking time significantly, or not enough to really bother with? Thanks in advance!
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to some degree it will depend on how you half the hunk of meat. it will be reducing the mass of each piece and depending on which direction the cut is made will reduce thickness more or less. Either way there should be a noticable reduction of cook time with 2 smaller pieces over 1 large piece. also the total load in the smoker will have some affect as well.
I am dying to smoke some butt, but my Doc has me restricted from pork for the time being.
I just did a 23 lb chuck roll in my AmeriQue.
It was suggested I cut it up because of the 40-140 rule so I quartered it.
That cut my estimated smoke time from 23-30 hours to 8 hours 15 minutes.
More surface area equals more flavor from the rub and more bark
I don’t see why the same wouldn’t apply to a butt
Unfortunately, it's not a straight, cut it in half, cut the time in half.

First, if you want more bark, I'd cut the fat cap off to expose more meat. Cutting it in half it give you more bark BUT it also creates more area for it to dry out.

I'd do the fat cap trim, cook it whole to see how that works.

PB's are cheap enough, just buy two and see how much time it saves.

I know people who chunk it up into even smaller chunks because they want more bark.
Thanks! All good advice. I honestly didnt think it would half the time if I half the butt. Figured maybe a 25-30% reduction, but I wasnt sure. I would half it vertically, not horizontally, leaving fat cap on the top of each peice while smoking, cuz thats where all the gooey goodness comes from! Wink
I'm with Smokin' on this. IF bark is what we are after then cut off the cap and build bark. I have done one this way and liked the results.

Fact is now when I look at the package instead of only making sure they are the same size, I look for the ones that are trimmed closer. It seems to help on more bark with less work.

These, to me, would dry out less than one split in half...maybe? Guess a person would have to try.
Like Smokin' says about splitting and taking good notes for comparison.

Butts have enough internal fat to render,that they will make you look good.They are cheap,so play with them.
Worst case,make enchiladas,green chiles and pork NM chili,burritos,hash,etc.

Nothing says you can't split/unroll a butt to cook it.

When you hit,maybe 185º ?, open up the cooker and squeeze the butt-even cut thru a piece and study it.Can you pull it yet?
Is it good eatin' when you slice some?If it has the bone still,can you twist it?

Does it still need another 5º?

Think about your goal and what YOU want the pork shoulder to do/be.

Just a few thoughts.

Remember,cooking something helps us learn,and even a mistake from a Cookshack is still pretty fine dinin'. Wink
Originally posted by jfl1964:.. so I will try the fat cap trim next time. I just always thought you were supposed to leave it on until pulling time. Thanks for all the input!
For my own test, I trimmed 60 - 80% of fat cap off, leaving very thin layer fat and several spots of lean. Cooked trimmed fat side down. They've all came out fine. Easy to pull - most of remaining fat had rendered - with more bark. Less mess for sure. I've been doing this way for last 3-4 PB w/o noticing any drying out of meat. BTW, these were larger 8-9# butts with lots of internal fat.

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