Meats are done only when they are cooked to the proper published temperatures. No excuses!
For certain meats such as pork butts and briskets once the meat hits its safe temperature then we use feel but only to judge tenderness.
We monitor cooking grate temperature for an indication when the meat may be done and to ascertain if we are cooking too hot or too low. For example, an 8 to 9 lbs. pork butt will take 7 to 8 hours to cook at 275 degrees. Knowing this helps with planning.
General Anatomy of Meat
Meat is made up of 75% water which is myo water.
The reddish liquid you see in pre-packaged meat is not blood. It is myo water (myoglobin). Blood is drained from the animal at the time of slaughter.
There is good fat and bad fat, bad meaning it does nothing to help produce good results.
The fat that is in between the muscle fibers also known as marbling is good fat and for certain meats, it is an indication of its quality. The fat that is on top of a brisket or pork butt, for example, does nothing to help our cook.
What bad fat does is:
It extends our cooking time since we have to cook it along with the muscle.
Seasoning the fat cap does nothing but waste seasoning (I don’t know anyone that will just decide to eat fat because it’s seasoned).
The theory that the fat will “meld” and make the meat tender and juicy is an old wives tale. Fat is grease and the meat is water. Grease and water NEVER mix.
The fat cap will prevent the process of developing a smoke ring.