Culinary Arts

How to Wrap a Smoked Pork Butt With Pitmaster Aaron Franklin

Written by MasterClass

May 17, 2019 • 2 min read

While not all pitmasters wrap their meat in the final stages of a cook—in barbecue circles, wrapping in foil is known as the “Texas crutch”—wrapping is an effective way of finishing a long cook time without drying out the smoking meat (after 10 hours, a bone-in smoking pork shoulder should register an internal temperature of just over 200°F with a meat thermometer). Wrapping also captures the meat’s fat, juices, and smoke flavor from the dry rub paired with apple cider vinegar, so it can all be reabsorbed once the meat is taken off the smoker to rest at the end of the cooking process, making for tender and juicy pulled pork. Award-winning Texas barbeque pitmaster Aaron Franklin wraps pork butt (a cut of meat alternatively called Boston butt or pork shoulder) using wide rolls of aluminum foil.

For the final two hours of the 10 hour cook of a pork butt, the meat cooks inside a tight wrap of heavy duty aluminum foil. Learn Austin, Texas barbeque pitmaster Aaron Franklin’s method for wrapping the pork butt piece of meat below.

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How to Set Up the Wrap

To wrap your pork butt, you’ll need two sheets of wide aluminum foil that are four times as long as the widest side of your pork butt.

  • Place one sheet on a clean workstation, shiny side facing up, with the longer edge of the foil running perpendicular to you.
  • Place the other sheet of foil on your workstation, so that it overlaps with the first piece by about half its width.
  • When you place the ribs back inside the smoker you’ll want the duller side facing out so it absorbs rather than reflects the heat.
  • Lay the pork butt on the foil, fat side up, about eight inches from the bottom edge of the foil. The longer side of the pork belly should run parallel to the bottom edge of the foil sheets.
  • Give the pork one last spritz, then lightly spritz the surface of your foil.

Aaron Franklin’s Step By Step Guide to Wrapping Pork Butt

1. Tightly fold the bottom of the foil over the top of the pork butt.

Aaron Franklin wrapping meat in tinfoil

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2. Tightly fold both sides of the foil at an obtuse angle to you so that the meat is wrapped tightly but the sides can still be folded in once more.

Aaron Franklin wrapping meat in tinfoil on wood

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3. Roll the pork butt over, then fold both sides of the foil inward again.

Aaron Franklin wrapping meat in tinfoil

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4. Roll the pork butt over one more time, then tuck in any excess foil.

Aaron Franklin smoothing out tinfoil on wood table

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5. Feel around the wrap, making sure the foil conforms tightly to the meat and there are no air pockets trapped inside.

Aaron Franklin wrapping meat in tinfoil with both hands

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Learn more Texas barbeque recipes and techniques in Aaron Franklin’s MasterClass.