Should I keep the skin on?

Discussion in 'Pork' started by kingofbother, May 1, 2009.

  1. I have an 18 lb. Pork shoulder that I'm going to smoke tonight. It is the complete shoulder (butt and picnic). It still has the skin on one side. Should I cut the skin off or smoke it with the skin on (skin side down)? Also Should I cut it in half or is smoking in in one piece ok?
  2. indyadmin1974

    indyadmin1974 Smoking Fanatic

    That's a big piece of meat!

    There will be more experienced folks reply, but I think this is something you want to experiment with. Leaving the skin on and scoring it will give you some nice snackage.

    As far as cutting the piece up it depends on the amount of time you have. That piece of meat is going to take a heck of a long time but that's the beauty of smoking. It's not about instant gratification.

    If it were me, I would probably leave the skin on, scoring it every few inches or so and leave the meat in tact and take Monday off to let it finish.

    Good luck and don't forget the Qview!
  3. smokebuzz

    smokebuzz Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I have done a few whole shoulders, and prefer to take the skin off, but leave as much fat intact as possible, things has always turned out fine. I believe in the adage "Ya cant get smoke thru a football", but how do they do it with a whole hog? Try it both ways and come to your own conclusion, that's what i did.
  4. mikey

    mikey Smoking Fanatic

    18 lbs is a huge chunk of meat. Using the "ballpark" time estimate of 1 1/2 hrs per lb. depending on the temp of your smoker, you're looking at 27 hrs. Cutting it in half would certainly reduce the time, but of course we're smoking to internal temp of the meat. In regards to "skin" which I believe you're talkin' fat cap, I'd remove it. The last shoulder I did I removed 1 lb 4ozs of fat. My reasoning was why cook what I'm not going to eat. You're just going to use a bunch of energy & extend the smoke time for something that's not going to be consumed. Then you also need to factor in the dreaded "plateau". You'll get a much more consistent bark formation since the whole surface of the meat will be the same all the way around. Not sure of your type of smoker, but I've been turning mine half way through just to even out the bark formation. This is just my method, and by all means not the ONLY method. It's all about experimentation.
  5. pignit

    pignit Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    After trying both I've opted for skin off. I also take as much fat as possible off the outside. Gives me a much better bark to flavor my pulled pork with. Everything in a shoulder has plenty of internal fat to keep it nice and juicy without leaving the fat on the outside to drip off and splatter.

    I don't really understand the cut it up and it will cook faster thing. I've cooked whole hogs on a smoker in 10 hours. I can see where it might speed it up a bit because the heat can surround the piece of meat but honestly in my experience.... if you have a smoker big enough to put the whole packer in... and no problems keeping your temp up.... I don't think it matters whether you cut it into two pieces or not.

    So.... I would leave it whole.... cut as much fat and skin off as possible and rub that baby down good with rub.... close the hatch and watch it smoke.

    Dont' forget to show us what it looks like.
  6. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I have never done a whole, though my first picnic was a 17 hour cook. I ran @ 210 when the plateau hit to extend it for even more breakdown. That was a 9.2 pounder. I did remove the skin and left on most of the fat as it did not have much to begin with. I refroze the skin and plan on using that for fried pork rinds.

    I would remove the skin and most of the fat. This will allow better penetration of smoke and reduced cook time. Leaving just alittle fat should help keep it moist.

  7. the dude abides

    the dude abides Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I don't have an answer to your questions, but good luck with this baby. Take a nap before you get started. And be sure to take picts for all of us who want to see this bad boy.
  8. bayoubear

    bayoubear Fire Starter

    if its just the fat cap i'd trim it some and save for other cooking uses. if its the actual hide i say cut it off, cut it up, and make chicharones with it. i dont see a butcher trimming the hide from a full shoulder tho.
  9. richoso1

    richoso1 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I always take the skin off, and trim some of the fat. I think it makes it easier for the smoke to penetrate, and nobody eats the skin unless it has been grilled to where it is dry like cracklin's.
  10. rivet

    rivet Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    One way it's done is to barbecue the piece until the skin is stiff and brown, then peel that baby off. Save it for cracklins. Let the remaining fat melt down into your pork for the rest of the barbecue.

    Course that's if you dont rub your piece first, and feel close to it. Lots of the best BBQ has no rub. It's in the smoke and the finishing sauce.

    You can sprinkle powders after the peeling, if you want.

    Just another way of doing things.
  11. k5yac

    k5yac Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    I'd pull the skin.

    Nice avitar Rivet. [​IMG]
  12. rivet

    rivet Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    AIR-BORNE, kay-five! You've been off the net for a while. Good to see you back.
  13. I am a skin off vote [​IMG]
  14. adb551

    adb551 Smoke Blower

    Leave the skin on. Only rub the non-skin sides. The skin itself has some flavor, and you are going to get plenty of smoke flavor and not risk cutting off fat or meat prior to cooking.

    As others have said, that is just my opinion. There are many wise and experienced cooks on here.
  15. pops6927

    pops6927 Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Depends on how you're going to cut it in half... if you separate the butt from the shoulder (that is what I assume you meant to do) then it won't affect your cook time much at all as your density is still the same. However, if you split it lengthwise into two 'half-wide' logs of meat, then you're splitting the density in half and that will definitely shorten your cook time, but you'd have to either use an electric meat saw or limber up your sawin' arm to get thru the 3 bones in the shoulder!

    Pops §§

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