Recommended way to thaw Pork Shoulder (or other smoke fodder)

Discussion in 'Pork' started by gadsden 1, Jun 19, 2013.

  1. gadsden 1

    gadsden 1 Fire Starter

    I am planning on smoking my first pork shoulder this weekend, and was hoping some of the experienced pros on the forum can help me out with a recommended way of thawing it, (8 lbs.)?  My goal is to make pulled pork (and make it look like Disco's!)

    Are there different methods for different cuts of meat?  Or maybe end products?

    Thanks in advance for any help!

  2. kathrynn

    kathrynn Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I always pull mine out of the freezer no less than 3 days before I plan to prep the meat.  Then prep...season...put back in the fridge overnight...then cook/smoke the next day.

  3. Put it in the fridge to thaw for at least 3 days.
  4. jarjarchef

    jarjarchef Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    There are many way to thaw meats or any frozen products.....

    Best - in fridge over a few days
    Good - under slightly running water. The timeline is debatable for cooking.....FDA contradicts itself slightly depending on what guideline you follow. One says immediately after thawing to cook and another will say nothing about time line. I fell the sooner the better not to exceed 24 hrs.
    So so - in the microwave as part of the cooking process.

    For your situation I would pull and place in fridge today and monitor it. If by Fiday morning it seems to not be thawing much, remove it from the packaging and leave loosely covered in the fridge.
  5. kathrynn

    kathrynn Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Clear as mud!  That was what I meant....i plop in the no not on the counter.

  6. gadsden 1

    gadsden 1 Fire Starter

    Thanks everybody, I will take it out, place in fridge and see what happens.  Maybe as it gets closer, I'll run it under some water.  I'd hate to microwave it, that sounds like a quality killer.

    I didn't anticipate quite that long so I'm a little behind.  But at least I've learned something!
  7. gadsden 1

    gadsden 1 Fire Starter

    Ok, so my wife had a brilliant idea.......why not buy ANOTHER pork picnic and smoke THAT one?!  That means I will also have another one for down the road!



    Smoke on man, smoke on!
  8. Nothing wrong with putting it on the counter, as long as you plan on using it same day.

    Smart wife. You've obviously found out that things in the freezer don't do very well for spur of the moment smokes. Better to go buy fresh and PLAN the next one accordingly. Good luck with your smoke. Look forward to some view later. :sausage:
  9. jarjarchef

    jarjarchef Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Sometimes things just have a way of working themselves out. Even if it is the better half slapping you in the back of the head and giving you the answer.......... Been there had that happen before.....

    I hope the counter thaw is ok was a joke. That method is not supported by any Food Safety and Health organization, I have not seen anywhere on this site either to support that method. It is a very dangerous method to be used.
  10. nope not a joke. i dont necessarily live my life by FS&H guidelines. its not like i told anyone to leave it out, let it thaw and then refreeze it...cuz then we'd have problems. been doing this(thawing on counter & using same day) for at least 15 yrs and im still very very very much alive and kickin. obviously. lol. so as for the level of just not seeing it, especially when i get home (8hrs later) and the meat is still stuck together in ice. if it makes ya feel better my wife and 3yr old as well as myself have NEVER had a food illness.
    ba cyclone likes this.
  11. gadsden 1

    gadsden 1 Fire Starter

    Yes, I believe my 'cheapness' blinded me from seeing the obvious solution of, just go buy another one!   Hahahaha, oh well.  I'm onboard now!

  12. jarjarchef

    jarjarchef Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Growing up my grandmother and mother would always leave things to thaw out on the counter. We never had any issues either. But with being in the food service industry for the past 20+ years I have noticed a lot of changes in people's food tolerances. Our immune systems will adjust to what we live with and are surrounded with. Over the years food service and production has become more steril and people's tolerances are less/weaker. What I may do in my home may not be what I do at work, but all of my advice on food safety is always based on Food Service Guidelines. Very rarely will I deviate from it. Usually the only time is when cooking steaks to a temp. USDA temps are not correct to get what a customer wants. But for the most part the other temps are good.

    I have thawed smaller pieces of food on the counter, but it is usually thawed in under an hour and cooked imediatly. So I am within the 4hr window. Where I see a challenge and potential problem for someone who is not as food tolerant as others is with larger cuts of meat left out for hours. The outer areas can get above the 40 degree mark for an extended amount of time and is prime for bacteria growth, while the center is still frozen. For someone with a weak immune system or a low tolerance to food bacteria this can be very dangerous. There are several food service companies that have nearly or totally gone out of bussiness due to improper handling of food. The one that stands out for me is Jack In The Box. They had several things go wrong that lead to the deaths of several people. One of their issues was improper storage.

    I am sorry if I offended by my poor choice of the word "joke". That was not my intention. I was only trying to bring to light that it is not a recommended method of thawing by any organization.
  13. no offense taken jar jar, i know we're all here to help, i was just speaking from personal experience. as for the immune system talk..well i wasnt gunna get all technical with it. lol. only cuz i know i come from a family of iron stomachs. haha.
  14. papacurtis

    papacurtis Smoke Blower

    Me too with the iron stomach. Heck, i eat raw chop meat every time i make burgers or meat loaf. And i still put three raw eggs in a glass before i go to the gym on Sat morns aka Rocky Balboa style... But thats just me, not sayin others should.😜
  15. use to do the whole egg thing when i was wrestling in now i look back at it and go gag! haha...
  16. dls1

    dls1 Smoking Fanatic

    Whenever I find myself in a situation with frozen meat and not enough time to properly thaw it I don't get concerned about and just cook it from the frozen state. I've done this a number of times with pork butts and briskets with outstanding results and no ill effects. Just  have to allow for some additional time in the cooker. Though not necessary, I generally hit the outer surfaces with a blow torch prior to starting the cook.

    I do the same thing for sort of spur-of-the-moment individual frozen steaks with the same results.
  17. christophcbv

    christophcbv Fire Starter

    I have a 14 lb pork shoulder and took it out Tues (placed in the fridge that is), but am fearing that it won't be ready to rub and what not by the time I plan to start cooking Fri aft/eve.  Thoughts or suggestions to help me do it safely and what not?  Thanks.
  18. dcarch

    dcarch Smoking Fanatic

    I take the whole 18 lb rock hard meat from the freezer, dump it in my sous vide cooker with 150F circulating water, no thawing, 12 hours later, into my smoker for another 150F TBS for a few hours. 

    I do frozen turkey the same way.

  19. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    The procedures laid out by Jarjarchef are the most correct and Safest with the only addition being..." Submerged " in a Bowl, Pot or other container under slightly running water... You will be fine doing this then applying your Rub and resting overnight if you choose. A Salty Rub has an antibacterial affect...

    The Staff and Owners of SMF DO NOT support the Thawing of anything on the Counter at Room Temperature...JJ
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2013
  20. christophcbv

    christophcbv Fire Starter

    Would it work if I submerged it in a sink full of water?  I don't have a container large enough and the shoulder is completed wrapped up?  Or is this a concern in case there is a small hole in the wrapper?  Also, how often would I change the water?  Thanks.

Share This Page