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I've always smoked my PBs with the fat side up to allow it to drip through the meat while smoking. It's always turned out great. Now, I've seen that some do the opposite. Could my great be better? I'm smoking multiple PBs for a church function in mid-August and I'm going to do a test run soon to make sure that I get it right. Any other tips? I have an Amerique and plan on feeding (along with pot luck sides and some dogs) around 60 people. Will serve with buns and slaw.

Also, the last PB I made, I injected with apple cider. Wow!!!! It was amazing. Worth trying if you have not done so before.
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I don't think it is a case of being better. Since we don't know where your heat source was coming from on your previous smoker, it is difficult to offer a comparison.

But we do know that the heat source on your Amerique comes from the bottom of the cooker. As such, it might be better to smoke it fat side down so that you provide a cushion on the meat against the ascending heat. But try it both ways if you would like and determine which you like the best.
I for one don't by the grease dripping through the meat keeps it moist. After some point in the cook, the proteins seize up enough that they won't allow ANY liquid, grease or otherwise to seep down through them. Can't prove it.... yet.

The only way is to try two, one up, one down and you decide.

Your food can always get better, that's half the fun of Q, experimenting with new ideas.
Suum Cirque - I have to agree that fat up or down is a mostly a matter of choice. My thoughts are pork butt is interlaced with so much intramuscular fat that it probably doesn't much matter whether pork butt is smoked fat-side up, down, or sideways. However, this complex muscular interlace also leaves space for top fat to fall down through the separated muscules as the fat renders out. More important is probably that the CS provides such a moist cooking envoronment that this is not critical. Also, I personally find it much easier to handle the cooked PB when cooked fat up.
Last edited by tnq
I guess it just may be me, but I'm having a hard time finding PBs that have much fat cap on them. It's like the meat cutter wanted me to build bark, maybe he has a CS himself?

Anyway, I'm with the guys on trying both ways and see for yourself how ya like them. I'm starting to learn that BBQ has sooo many options, but I've yet to get a bad meal out of my CS.

Let us know how it worked out.
Experimenting is always a good way to form an opinion.

One thought,over the years,the guys that are used to cooking a case of butts,or two,at a time,don't spend much time pondering it.

Comp cooks might cook fat down,and foil that way,and throw the fat out with the foil-but they aren't trying to save much.

Just a thought.
Last edited by tom
This past weekend I smoked 2 PB's. I've tried it both ways and find I prefer fat side up for a couple of different reasons. One, as TN Q already mentioned, when the fat is on the bottom it's difficult to handle. The other is that I like it Smiler Razzer

I FTC'd the PB's and pulled them in front of a large audience at a party I went to. The steam and smell permeated the air. All the guests said it was the best pulled pork they'd ever had. 14 pounds of PB was gone in less than 15 minutes. I just managed to snag a little for myself before it was all gone. Late arrivals at the party had to make do with just the story. Wink

I think a lot has to do with what type of smoker you use. Whether it is a moist or dry smoker. Whether the fat layer, be it partially trimmed or left intact, is necessary to protect the meat from the heat source.

Plus, being in a situation where you are cooking small numbers of butts can easily allow you to go through the trimming process. Now switch over to smoking 50 to 100 butts, and decision processes are definitely changed. Look at the discussion we had here a little while ago about the membrane on ribs.

In the end, do whatever fits your style of cooking.
Last edited by ribdog
To tag onto my teammate,Ribdog,the cooker can also alter your perspective.

A mentor to both of us,drbbq,always advocated that the longer the butts/shoulders stayed in the plateau,the better it broke down collagen and rendered fat.

We all cook on FEC s,among other things.I also love my traditional CS 160 for big meats.

We plan on the scheduled time,letting the cooker do it's own thing,when cooking full loads.

Running the cookers down around 225* all the way thru,seems to render fat well enough,that we don't consider fat much of an issue,when pulling butts.
Yes,we do serve very lean pulled pork-by choice.

Just a couple of thoughts.

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