1st attempt at smoked pork shoulder - BBQ Central

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Old 05-19-2014, 07:03 AM   #1
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1st attempt at smoked pork shoulder

Hey everyone!

My apologies for not posting in a while.


Anyhow, as the title suggests, I will be attempting my first pork shoulder on Memorial Day (around 11 lbs.). I was thinking of a hickory/apple wood combo for the smoke, with a simple rub and injection.


Will definitely post pics before/after!


Anyone have suggestions/comments for a first-timer?
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Old 05-19-2014, 07:06 AM   #2
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It's done, when it's done. Don't try to rush it. Keep the temperature consistent, and it should turn out fine.
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Old 05-19-2014, 07:13 AM   #3
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Suggestion #1


Listen to Max.......
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Old 05-19-2014, 08:30 AM   #4
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It's done, when it's done. Don't try to rush it. Keep the temperature consistent, and it should turn out fine.
Was planning on smoking @ 225. Believe me, no rushing here!

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Old 05-19-2014, 12:20 PM   #5
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To clarify what I am cooking: it is a pork shoulder PICNIC, not the "Boston Butt" - my local market did not have the latter. Is there any additional time I would need to tack on to the cook due to this?
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Old 05-19-2014, 01:11 PM   #6
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It's all derived from the same piece of meat. It is just half of it. One side has the knuckle bone, the other does not. You cook it the same way.
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Old 05-19-2014, 11:36 PM   #7
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Old 05-20-2014, 12:23 PM   #8
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Picnics are lovely and that is a nice size. Managed to snag a 15 pounder one time and it cooked up great. I would jack the heat up to around 250-260 and pull at the sliceable stage which usually happens around 185-190 and passes the poke test. Pretend it is unsalty ham. I like to skin it and rerub the wet spot about its been in the heat about 3 hours. Much easier than when its raw. Cook the skin separate.
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Old 05-21-2014, 01:03 AM   #9
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Listen to Bosco.

the Boston Butt is the part of the shoulder that includes the shoulder blade. The picnic is the other half of the shoulder that contains the upper part of the forearm. They're both good meat. The picnic can have the consistency of ham if you just cook it long enough for slicing, but without curing it won't have the color or taste of ham.

For my own eating, I usually like the picnic better.
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Old 05-21-2014, 12:38 PM   #10
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When I smoke my butts, I run between 225° and 250°. For my smoke times are usually between 12 and 18 hours for a 12-14lbs butt. Remember the time does not really matter, it's done when it is done.
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Old 05-21-2014, 03:26 PM   #11
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When I smoke my butts, I run between 225° and 250°. For my smoke times are usually between 12 and 18 hours for a 12-14lbs butt. Remember the time does not really matter, it's done when it is done.
Thank you for that. The recipe calls for laying the shoulder fat side UP in the smoker. Is this supposed to help keep the meat moist (I guess in place of spritzing)? Should I spritz anyways?
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Old 05-21-2014, 03:39 PM   #12
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I have ALWAYS been told to keep the fat between the meat and the heat. Unless your heat is coming from above, I don't think I'd put the fat up.

Never ever had a need to spritz. Meat's always juicy unless I undercook and the collagen hasn't broken down, or unless I overcook by a LOOOOOOOOOOOOONG ways.
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Old 05-22-2014, 08:21 AM   #13
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Get a remote meat thermometer and watch for a temp in the middle of 190 to 200. That's when it is done. The temp will rise steadily until near the last 10 to 15 degrees, then it will stall for what seems like an eternity. It will then rise to the target temp. This will make the difference between "fall off the bone" tender and "done but tough" meat texture.

Make sure to allow yourself a couple of hours flex time if you plan to serve that afternoon , cause you are slow cooking and it will take its own sweet time. You can't just goose the fire near the end and hurry it along. ( Ben there done that after two hours we sent out for pizza)


NO LOOKING INSIDE DURING THE COOK! If you are lookin you ain't cookin. Don't open the cooker unless you have to add fuel, and try to start with enough fuel that will last a long time.
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Old 05-22-2014, 09:14 AM   #14
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Get a remote meat thermometer and watch for a temp in the middle of 190 to 200. That's when it is done. The temp will rise steadily until near the last 10 to 15 degrees, then it will stall for what seems like an eternity. It will then rise to the target temp. This will make the difference between "fall off the bone" tender and "done but tough" meat texture.

Make sure to allow yourself a couple of hours flex time if you plan to serve that afternoon , cause you are slow cooking and it will take its own sweet time. You can't just goose the fire near the end and hurry it along. ( Ben there done that after two hours we sent out for pizza)


NO LOOKING INSIDE DURING THE COOK! If you are lookin you ain't cookin. Don't open the cooker unless you have to add fuel, and try to start with enough fuel that will last a long time.
I do have a Maverick ET-73 remote thermometer. Just had to order a new food probe for it, as it was acting wonky (temps way off). Dinner is usually served at 5:00 PM, so I was planning on starting the smoke at about 5:30-ish in the morning. My smoker has separate doors for the food and fire (ECB vertical), so no looking until it's time!
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Old 05-22-2014, 11:25 AM   #15
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I cut the fat cap off of butts. Still plenty of fat left to cook itself. No spritzing or mopping needed.
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Old 05-23-2014, 01:31 AM   #16
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If you are worried about the meat drying out (which you should not have a problem) inject it with apple juice, pork bullion, or some other liquid.

I have never had a dried out pork shoulder. I used to use a mop, but in reality you don't need too. But if you want to my recipe will follow. It is great for pork shoulder.

Michigan Rib Mop

By the way, WE WANT PICTURES!!!!!!
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Old 05-23-2014, 10:29 AM   #17
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If you are worried about the meat drying out (which you should not have a problem) inject it with apple juice, pork bullion, or some other liquid.

I have never had a dried out pork shoulder. I used to use a mop, but in reality you don't need too. But if you want to my recipe will follow. It is great for pork shoulder.

Michigan Rib Mop

By the way, WE WANT PICTURES!!!!!!
I may have to try that mop when I do ribs again...sounds good!

With respect to the highlighted above, I was going to do an injection of apple juice, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce and Kosher salt. However, the pork shoulder is "enhanced" with a saline solution. My plan now is to do the injection without the use of the salt (juice, Worcestershire sauce and sugar). My fear is that the shoulder would be too salty with the added Kosher salt.
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Old 05-23-2014, 06:40 PM   #18
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Butts dont need injecting. Just cook it. Tune out what yankees have to say.
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Old 05-23-2014, 10:18 PM   #19
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Don't listen to the Texan's.... The only thing bigger is Texas is BW ego...

Remember, all of this is great advice, but do what you want, it is your cook, and your are in charge.
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Old 05-26-2014, 01:08 AM   #20
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If you cook a pork button fat side down, you will find a treasure suspended right in the fat cap. It is a bunch of strands of the best stuff on the whole shoulder.
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