Pulled pork, wood, and smoke

Discussion in 'Pork' started by felthorn10, Oct 15, 2014.

  1. felthorn10

    felthorn10 Newbie

    Hey guys,

    I've always been hit or miss with pulled pork and am looking for some feedback. Specifically relating to pork shoulders and using a "no foil" method, do you guys have smoke produced during the entire cook, or just part of it? My biggest concern is to get too much smoke into the meat and ruin it. A lot of times, however, I will undersmoke it and I rely on my sauce to "save" it. Also, I was wondering on your thoughts on types of wood. I've had success with hickory, but I see all the time that people use applewood with pork, but I just never seem to get enough smoke flavor into the meat with applewood.

    Any feedback is appreciated :)
     
  2. It's in the smoker, so it should be getting smoked. I use the pittmaster pellets from Todd which are Hickory, Cherry, and Maple. I get a nice smokey flavor that isn't over powering. If you smoked the whole time with only hickory, then it might get overwhelming, but if you combine the hickory with another fruit wood then you should be good to go for smoking the whole time.
     
  3. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I've had the same underwhelming results with apple. It's just too mild for heavily seasoned and fatty meat, in my opinion. By the same token I've also found hickory to be a bit too strong. My solution? Pecan. It has the sweetness of a fruit wood and the bite of hickory, but in a nice mellow balance. I don't know what kind of smoker you have but in my mini I start off with about 2 cups of chips or 3 or 4 medium sized chunks and don't add any more. It seems to produce good smoke aroma for most of the 6-9 hours it takes to smoke a pork butt at 300-325f.
     
  4. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    I would add a little Hickory and or Cherry in with the apple if you want a stronger smoke flavor. In my opinion the only way you will get too strong of a smoke flavor in a butt is if you use straight hickory or mesquite. I have never tried pecan as it is nearly impossible to get where I live but I know many pellet smoker guys love it. I love apple and good, well seasoned apple will give pork a great flavor all by itself as long as the smoke is thin, blue and present for the entire cook. That said, I like to add some cherry if I happen to have some. I refuse to buy smoking wood at home depot or wherever for the ridiculous prices they charge. My eye is always open to scrounge up some smoking wood no matter where I am headed.
     
  5. slipaway

    slipaway Meat Mopper

    I have found that pure hickory can be a little strong on pork. I use about 30% hickory; 30% pecan and 30% apple. I only smoke for the first few hours as I have been told that that is the time that smoke gets into  the meat. It seems to give me a good smoke ring without too heavy a flavor.  I was wondering why you are not going to foil if you are making pork to be pulled. I would think you would want that "fall off the bone" tenderness.
     
  6. felthorn10

    felthorn10 Newbie

    Thanks for the feedback, guys! Much appreciated.

    @Slipaway: I have been using the foil method, but it just seems like I always lack the smoke flavor so I am thinking to just smoke it the whole time, but with the right wood mix. I like the wood mixing idea, maybe split apple/hickory for the whole smoke. I may be thinking incorrectly, but it seems to me that old school pulled pork and a lot of top end bbq joints may not have foiled and still get great results so I thought why not give it a go.
     
  7. hickorybutt

    hickorybutt Smoking Fanatic

    The only reason I would wrap a pork shoulder is to speed up the cooking time...  My favorite wood for PP is hickory (as my name states).

    If you are worried about over-smoking, do a blend of woods.  Cook 75% with oak or cherry (or any other fruit wood) and 25% with hickory.  Pecan is also a good one (as the above poster stated).  It is somewhere in between oak and hickory.
     
  8. cliffcarter

    cliffcarter Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    The obvious answer is the one that gets danced around the most- if you want more smoke flavor use more wood. It is really that simple.

    How much apple wood are you using when you cook your butts?

    FWIW I consider apple and black cherry to be "medium" smoking woods, with well seasoned red oak and red maple "light" and hickory as having a "strong" smoke flavor.
     
  9. dave17a

    dave17a Smoking Fanatic

    When I do a butt on WSM, it is minion method. After my 3 or 4 fist size chunks of Fruitwood run out, which is 6 or 7 hrs. It cannot take much more smoke(will not perpetrate the meat any longer, she is sealed up. OK hate smart phone. Penetrate. Gonna do one tomorrow with big bobs injection. GO ROYALS.....oh its over
     
  10. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    the notion that smoke will no longer penetrate meat after a certain point is a fallacy, period. I don't know who started that crap but it is just false.
     
  11. Just put a nine pounder with the bone in on and it's my first, wondering what most use as a target smoking temperature?

    I'm sitting right at 262 degrees.

    I see I'm suppose to take it off at 205.

    And what temperature or time does one use foil? And should I.

    Using Pecan and Almond with charcoal. (Minion method)

    Sorry about all the questions!!!!
     
  12. Most say to smoke about 225°f. If you are going to, foil when meat reaches 165° As to time, depends. Don't be in a hurry, though, you're talking most or all day.

    Scott
     
  13. Thanks. Got my temperature down to 230 and holding steady. I think I'm going to just smoke it all day. And I see it is an all day process. Internal temp 105. Just added water to the pan so recovering temperature.
    Thanks again!
     
  14. Well 9 hours in and sitting at 157.
    How long can this be?
    Should I finish in the oven or just wait it out?
    Was hoping to eat around 6pm.
     
  15. cliffcarter

    cliffcarter Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    A long time if you are cooking at 230°, jack that temp up to 300° and blast thru the "stall". No sense in fussing about with "low and slow" if you want to eat in this lifetime.
     
  16. geerock

    geerock Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    You want to wait a day or better to get to finish temp then go ahead and smoke at 225. You want to spend less time cooking and more time eating....??...... then get your cook temp up. I do 'em at 280 to 290. Cliffcarter likes 'em over 300. No loss of flavor, tenderness, or anything else at higher temps. Try it. As for wood, try laying some heavy smoke of oak and hickory (or pecan) and keep it flowing for large pieces of meat. It can take the heat and smoke. Don't know how the default smoke temp got to be 225, especially for large cuts, but theres no reason for it unless you just like sitting with your cooker.
     
  17. aceoky

    aceoky Smoking Fanatic

    For pork butts,  "I" like 20% Hickory, 40%Cherry and 40% Apple (estimated) , I don't foil as I like the good bark (not mushy) and I usually smoke above 250* - get IT up to 205* and remember the rest (at least one hour) is crucial for good smoked eats .
     
  18. Sure wish I knew this 12 plus hours ago. I finally pulled the meat at 195 let it rest for 45 minutes. It pulled fairly easy, probably wouldn't do one that large for awhile. But the flavor was perfect the finishing sauce perfect. All in all not bad.
    Just a lot longer than I expected. Didn't realize that meat would or could stall. How frustrating. Well live and learn but it was an enjoyable experience. And the families enjoyed it!
    THANKS TO ALL FOR THE SUPPORT!!
     
  19. smokesontuesday

    smokesontuesday Smoking Fanatic

    If you can find pecan locally then get it*. It's my go to for pork. I keep the smoke going the whole time and blend wood depending on how I feel that day. For pulled pork though it's going to be 80% pecan if not 100%. If I do any mixing it's usually to throw in cherry or apple with a little hickory thrown in every third fill or so.

    I like hickory and mesquite but I prefer them on beef if they're going to be the primary wood.

    Never used much oak even though I know lots of people do. Maybe I'll give it another shot sometime.

    *I'm lucky enough to have an uncle with a pecan orchard and all the trimmed branches I can handle end up at my house. All it takes is a quick trip through the chipper and away we go.
     
  20. hartford nick

    hartford nick Newbie

    hi there, how often should i change out the apple wood chips from my smoke box? im smoking a pork butt and it smoked quite a bit for like 40 min and now its like you can barely see the smoke coming out the smoker, is this normal? im using a masterbuilt verticle propane smoker
     

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