First time Pork Shoulder

Discussion in 'Pork' started by jkbrooksj24, Apr 1, 2014.

  1. jkbrooksj24

    jkbrooksj24 Newbie

    Hey All,

    First time doing a pork shoulder this weekend.  I hear the boston butt is the best one to do.  I am looking for a good rub recipe, wood type, etc. 

    All tips and tricks are helpful. 

  2. Well I would marinate that roast to begin with, that adds a ton of flavor to it

    I used the search term 'Boston Butt' in the search bar on the top this page to find these two post, but there are thousands more, take look

    And if you use the term 'Pork Rub' in that same search engine above, you will find lots of entries.

    Or just use you favorite search engine that you use on the internets, you will find many more
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2014
  3. Here is how I do mine. I start two nights before I plan to smoke:

    1. Inject the butt with a brine solution (learned this while watching the BBQ nationals):

    In a 2 Cup measuring cup:

    1/4 C salt

    1/4 C sugar

    Equal amounts water and apple cider vinegar to bring level to 2 cups. Stir until salt and sugar are dissolved and inject into the meat with a Cajun injector and refrigerate until the next evening.

    Note: I've started adding about 5 drops of BBQ bitters to this marinade, really gives a good flavor to the pork:

    2. The next evening, rub the butt with your favorite rub (I use Salt Lick, a rub sold here in Texas). Refrigerate over night.

    3. Next morning, get your smoker ready: heat to about 250-275. Wrap the butt tightly in foil and cook for an hour per pound. Unwrap carefully and save the juices for basting (will be almost a quart - use leftover for making beans, etc). Get a very smokey fire going and smoke the butt at about 200-225 for one hour, basting with the juices every 15 minutes. This pork will be so tender that the bread you serve it on will be tough in comparison.
  4. cliffcarter

    cliffcarter Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Really? I mean, Really?[​IMG]  IMHO foil is for making hats.

    Keep it simple for your first one, no injecting or brining, most butts have had a brine injected as part of processing anyway.

    You don't say what you have for a pit so this next comment may need to be adjusted to fit your circumstances- cook at 300°(or as close to it as you can. I like to stay between 290°-315°)YMMV.

    The best method for a first butt is to start the fire and get the pit up to temp, while you are waiting prep and rub the butt. Once the pit is up to temp put the meat on the grate and close the pit. Cook for 6 hours(5 if the butt is under 7 pounds) after 6 hours take its temperature, if the temp is in the 195°-205° range you're done, if not close the pit up and cook another hour and temp again. And so forth until you hit the desired temperature. Then take it off the pit, rest for a 1/2 hour or so and then pull. Don't try to jump thru too many hoops on the first time for anything, remember the KISS Rule.

    I like a spicy hot rub on my butts, some people like just salt and pepper, what do you like?

    As for wood, most any will do, I use maple, apple, cherry and I have used hickory in the past. Again, it's really a matter of what you like.
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2014
  5. hambone1950

    hambone1950 Master of the Pit Group Lead

    well , I see nothing wrong with foiling if it gives you the result youre looking for (such as a quicker cooking time) , but my preferred method is to smoke the butt in a foil pan , thus saving the juices , which I defat and add to the can tent the butt with foil in the pan too.

    I do agree that simple is better. I have never brined a pork butt and I only ever injected one. didn't feel like the end result was worth the bother. Pulled pork ALWAYS comes out good. Its as close to foolproof BBQ as there is.( IMO) 
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2014
    58limited likes this.
  6. Right on. I have made pulled pork many ways and it is all good. My recipe above can be cooked anyway you chose, I just wrote out what I have found to work best for me. I do pork butts much more often than brisket (I do not use foil for brisket). I settled on the foil method because I can leave it unattended (I don't always have a free day to spend tending a smoker but still like to cook a butt)  and not worry about a water pan going dry or basting/mopping to keep it moist (probably don't need to worry about that now that I have a Bayou Classic Cypress grill, it does a good job of keeping the moisture in).
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2014
    hambone1950 likes this.
  7. jkbrooksj24

    jkbrooksj24 Newbie

    Great notes everyone.  If I am looking to feed 4 adults.  What is a good size to do? 
  8. hambone1950

    hambone1950 Master of the Pit Group Lead

    I bet a 5 pounder would do ya with leftovers. PP Is great leftover.
  9. I second a 5 pounder would be plenty
  10. jkbrooksj24

    jkbrooksj24 Newbie

    I have just added two more adults with 2 additional kids.  May have to bump it up to a 8 pound range?  Now that just means longer smoke time and getting up earlier and drinking more. 
  11. worktogthr

    worktogthr Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    You can always cut it in half and smoke each piece. Will cut back on how early you have to wake up and will give you more delicious bark! I agree with the keep it simple statement. Rub it, smoke it, pull it, eat it and all your guests will be happy.
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2014
  12. waterinholebrew

    waterinholebrew Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Hell yeah, just start slow with a butt.... Gotta lot of time to observe... Haha I'd start with a little Baileys & coffee... Bout noon maybe a brewsky... then can creep into the more stout stuff if that's your thing !! 8 lb'er just be prepared depending on what temp ya wanna cook at.... probably a 12+ hr. Smoke.... Anyway, that's the way I like em, real low & slow... (225-250) Makes a great butt, juicy & tender with a great bark.... Dang I love that bark...
  13. Okay, this is easy.

    1) buy a 9 pound blade in Boston butt. You will want the leftovers.

    2) The day before you plan to smoke, rub the butt down with yellow mustard. Plain yellow mustard. Then apply the rub you want heavily. If you make it that's fine, but most store-bought pork rubs will work. Put it in a pan, Cover it with saran wrap, and refrigerate overnight.

    3) this will take probably 12 hours to cook. So make sure you pull your meat out of the refrigerator in time to come to room temperature. Heavily inject the butt with equal parts apple cider vinegar and apple juice with a splash or two of Worchester shire sauce

    4) heat your smoker to 225°. Put your meat on the smoker with out a pan fat side up. Don't foil it yet. Cook until you reach an internal temp of 175°. Put your thermometer in the thickest part of the meat and make sure it does not touch the bone.

    5) once you reach 175°, pull the meat off of the grill and place into an aluminum foil pan. Pour one half of a cup of equal parts apple cider vinegar and apple juice into the pan and cover with aluminum foil. Put the meat back onto the smoker and take it off when you reach an internal temp of 205°

    You will know if it's done when the bone blade pulls free. Make sure you let the roast set for at least 30 minutes before pulling it apart.
  14. I'm gonna jump in here & second what was already said. Since this is your first butt keep it simple so that you can focus on an easy smoke. No need to brine it, no need to inject it & definitely no need to let it sit out & come up to room temperature thus putting it in the danger zone longer. It will warm up a lot faster in a hot smoker than it will on your counter  [​IMG]

    After you get a couple smokes under your belt & feel comfortable then you can worry about injecting, brining etc. if you want to experiment. There's also no need for the mustard - the rub will stick just fine without it. If you want to use it go ahead but if you check around a little you will find that most don't use it & get along just fine.

    The main thing to remember is to relax & enjoy the smoke - the meat will be done when it decides to be done...  [​IMG]  
  15. demosthenes9

    demosthenes9 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Smoke doesn't penetrate foil, so there would be no reason to stick a foil wrapped butt into a smoker for 1 hour per pound as it would be a waste of smoking wood and whatever fuel you would be using (propane, charcoal or wood).      Additionally, steaming/braising an 8 lb butt for the 8 hours you recommend would basically turn your pulled pork to mush.

    Not to be harsh, but you might as well put your butt in a crock pot for 6 to 8 hours based on your method.  
  16.   Quote:
    There are many ways at arriving at a good pork shoulder, do what works for you. The method I posted above works for me with my time schedule. Maybe I should have explained every step in detail. I am quite aware that smoke doesn't penetrate foil, for the first several hours the pit/smoker is being used as an oven. I choose to do this for two reasons: 1. I live in the South and don't like to use my oven and heat up the kitchen during warm weather. 2. As posted above (in reply No. 6) I have a Bayou Classic Cypress grill, which is a kamado. These are very efficient: if I fill it with lump charcoal I can cook a pork shoulder as above, close the vents when I'm done, and have plenty of charcoal left to cook another and even a third pork shoulder later. The charcoal is inexpensive and may be less than the gas used in my kitchen stove for the same process (I haven't bothered to calculate it out and don't really care). Obviously I'm not using good smoking wood while the pork shoulder is wrapped in the foil. I don't add good smoking wood until I unwrap the pork shoulder at the end, then I usually use cherry wood. Even in the short time I actually smoke it, it comes out with a good smoke flavor.

    As I said there is more than one way to arrive at a good product. And, maybe the Cypress Grill's thermometer doesn't read correctly or I'm just lucky every time, but I have yet to have one turn out as mush:

  17. Has anybody bought a pork shoulder from costco? Im curious of the quality? Looking to do my first one. But i want to trim it myself and want the money muscle to be there. When trimming do you cut the muscle off or cook the entire shoulder whole and at the end cut it off so it seperate?
  18. I have bought a picnic from Costco but not a Boston....actually I'm not sure I've ever seen a boston at Costco but then again, I haven't looked much. I usually get my shoulders at the grocery; I ask the butcher for a whole bone in boston and they usually have it (around 9 pounds). But with Costco I get where you're going. 

    I did buy a picnic at Walmart once and it was good, and cheap. No boston's there that I have seen.

    Now, with the MM. It has been MY experience that if you cook a shoulder to 203 IT, which is what I LIKE to do, the MM will fall apart. It will be very good but won't slice like you see tenderloin medallions in competition.  Regardless, you cook the whole shoulder with the MM on it. I don't know if you have done a lot of shoulders, but you will not find any MM on a picnic shoulder. Only the boston. Do you know where to find it? Look for the side with marbling shaped like this.... >>>>>>>>>

    If you cook your shoulder to an IT of 195 you should be able to separate the MM by hand with hot gloves, carefully and then slice. The rest of the roast will be fine to pull as well. 

    JUST MY TWO CENTS. And I'll point out in advance that I capitalized a few things because I'm sure that someone will come along and tell me I'm wrong. After all, this is BBQ and we are all pro's and champions in our own minds. Good luck!

  19. Cool man thanks

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