Smoking meat is a not-so-complicated yet delicious dish that wins many food lovers’ hearts.
When it comes to what kind of meat to cook, pork butt and shoulder are among the most popular go-to ingredients.
However, not many people are able to bring out the perfect juiciness and tenderness of the dish despite it being “not so complicated”.
So, what step have they missed? The key lies in resting the meat.
Here, another question arises: How long to let pork butt rest? It can be hard to answer for beginners with little experience.
But don’t worry! We’ve got you. Our article is going to save you from this headache. Scroll down to find out!
Why Do We Have To Rest The Pork Butt?
First, does pork need to rest? The answer is yes.
When you smoke the pork, the fibers inside it firm up. At the same time, the heat also squeezes the water out towards the surface of the meat.
If you slice into it right after cooking, all the juicy water will gush out into the cutting board, leaving you with a rather dry texture.
Letting the food stay outside for a while before eating allows the moisture to soak back, and your dish will be much juicier.
How Long To Let Pork Butt Rest?
This part of the pig is often cooked at a 205°F temperature, which is hot enough for a great amount of water to run out. Therefore, you need to let it rest in a proper amount of time to avoid it getting tough.
Many famous chefs recommend that the time needed for the piece of meat to rehydrate is between 2 and 4 hours. If you’re in a rush, you can reduce that time to the minimum point – 1 hour.
Now that we’ve told you this, next time, don’t forget to wrap up the food and drink preparation early to have enough resting time.
Since the butt and the shoulder parts are pretty thick, the same resting period can apply to “how long to rest pork shoulder”.
What about other kinds of meat?
There will be instructions for different meat dishes that you can easily find on the Internet or in cookbooks.
However, if you are just grilling the common thin, small slices of chicken, fish, steaks…, don’t worry about “how long to let meat rest”.
If you leave them outside for too long, they’ll even get cold and hard. In this case, serving them right after grilling will be okay.
How To Rest Pork Butt?
Knowing the time needed to rest is not enough to have a perfect dish. You need to combine it with the right resting process to get the best results.
That being said, let’s see the cooking techniques on “how to rest pulled pork”!
Faux Cambro/ A Dry Cooler
The optimum appliance for this task is a Faux Cambro. Faux Cambro is a well-insulated box that maintains the temperature of your food for a long time.
If you don’t have a Faux Cambro, you can make do with a dry cooler or your hand-made Cambro.
One thing you need to keep in mind when choosing the appliances is that their size has to fit the meat. If it is too big, there will be empty space surrounding the pork butt, which will speed up the cooling process.
Wrap The Pork Butt
The common way to do this is to use aluminum foil or butcher paper. Since aluminum foil is better at trapping the heat inside than butcher paper, it is more advisable than the latter.
However, if you just have the butcher paper, don’t worry because it still does the job well.
Spread two sheets of aluminum foil on the counter, place the food in the middle after it is pulled off the smoker. The number of sheets will vary depending on the size of the butt.
If it’s big, you’ll need more aluminum foil to cover the whole chunk. Last, wrap the foil tightly around it.
Grab Some Towels
The purpose of those towels is to take up more space in the cooler, keeping the butt warm for a longer time. You can either wrap the towels around the pork butt or place them underneath the meat in the cooler.
Food can stay in the cooler until the temperature is 140°F. According to the USDA, that’s when you need to put it in the fridge.
If it gets any colder than that at room temperature, bacteria might grow, making your food unsafe to eat.
A Faux Cambro can keep the meat warm and good for about 5 hours. You can rest and then serve the dish within that period.
Don’t leave it there all night, or else your money and cooking effort will go to waste.
However, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to make your pork stay good for a longer time. Keep it in the fridge at a low temperature, and it’ll last up to several months.
How To Know The Meat Is Ready To Rest?
Before jumping to the “how long should pork rest” step, you need to get the “when to pull pork shoulder off smoker” step right.
So how to tell the food is ready to rest? Check the temperature with a thermometer. Penetrate the thermometer through the meat and see if it’s cooked enough to pull off the smoker.
Pork cushion meat needs to be above at least 145°F to get rid of all the dangerous bacteria. In fact, you might want to cook it to a much higher temperature to achieve a succulent texture.
The ideal internal temperature for pork shoulder is 195°F. You can push it up to 201°F or 203°F to let the protein fiber uncoil even more.
However, your meat will become dry and lose nutrition once the temperature gets past that, so be careful!
Can You Rest The Pork Shoulder Without A Cooler?
If you don’t have either a Faux Cambro or a dry cooler, an oven can help you with the task. With it, the pork shoulder rest time is about 2 hours.
The step to rest the food is the same with a Faux Cambro: place the meat snuggly inside the foil and leave it in an unheated oven.
If your target pork shoulder needs a longer resting period, you can heat the oven to 150 degrees and turn it off before putting the food inside.
Why Is Your Meat Dry After Resting?
Skipping the resting step is not the only reason that causes your food to lose moisture. Even if you let it stay for a while before eating but get the other steps wrong, the dish can still come out unappealing.
Overcooking is a very common mistake that many people make.
As we’ve mentioned, the longer you cook it, the more moisture gets pushed out and evaporates. If you leave the meat on the smoker for too long, all the juicy water will eventually evaporate.
Even if you rest it after cooking, there’ll be nothing to reabsorb, and the food is still hard to eat.
Forgetting to wrap the pork butt can also make your meat dry. What’s the point of resting the meat if there’s nothing to prevent the steam from coming out?
That’s the job of the aluminum foil; therefore, don’t skip this small step!
So, we’ve revealed our key to fine cuisine in this article. Preparing an excellent smoking (cooking) feast is not an easy task, but definitely not impossible if you pay a little more attention to some cooking tips.
We hope that this “How long to let pork butt rest” is helpful to you. Thank you for reading.