Timing for a 25 pound whole pork shoulder

Discussion in 'Pork' started by house66, Jan 19, 2015.

  1. house66

    house66 Newbie

    Hi Guys.

    I've been searching for days to find an answer to my question with no luck. So I apologize if this info is out there and I just couldn't find it.

    I have a vertical water smoker and have done a number of pork butts in the past.

    But for Super Bowl I plan to do a whole shoulder. She is coming in at at just under 25 pounds. I intend to take the skin off and trim her up and expect after that it will be in the 22 pound range.

    I intend to smoke it at 225 until I get to about 150 IT and then double wrap it in foil and move it into my oven at 225 until she's at 195, then move it into my cooler with a couple towels to let her rest for 2 hours and then pull.

    My question is, how long is this going to take. At an hour and a half per pound, this would be 33 hours. I don't think this is right. Time per pound goes out the window at this weight doesn't it? I know those times are an estimate, and I think they are more based on thickness of the meat rather than weight.

    I am guessing an hour a pound. So if I'm gonna let it sit for 2 hours, I'm thinking if I start 24 hours before I'm going serve, that should be good. Especially since if I wrap it in foil, I am gonna blow through the stall pretty quick.

    Really appreciate thoughts from all of you as I don't want to start too soon or late and am super excited about this nice big hunk o meat!

    Thanks in advance.
  2. bear55

    bear55 Master of the Pit

    You could cook this monster a couple of days in advance.  Pulled pork is great reheated using some apple juice as liquid.  I always take my butts to 203 or so before removing from smoker and resting. 

    Good luck

  3. inkjunkie

    inkjunkie Master of the Pit

    Have no clue....just want to see the end result...Good Luck...
  4. brooksy

    brooksy Master of the Pit

    You are kidding yourself trying to figure out a time frame! It's gonna take how long it takes. Could take 15 hours could take 25 could be the 33 your coming up with. That piece of pork doesn't have a watch and doesn't care that your going to lose hours of sleeping smoking it to deliciousness! You just have to put it in and cook it till its done.
  5. inkjunkie

    inkjunkie Master of the Pit

    Ever since starting this wonderful way of cooking this is the one thing that my wife is struggling with, when will it be done. I have been using the same line I used to use at work, will be done when it is done. Not a second before, not a second later. Sort of driving her nuts. Sorry for the interruption, now back to your regularly scheduled programming.
  6. cliffcarter

    cliffcarter Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    At 225° I think your guess of an hour per pound is incorrect. In my experience 225° will leave you waiting to eat for a long time if you start 24 hours in advance.

    If you cook at 275° you will get closer but I find that 300° cook temp will get it done.

    The best plan IMHO is to separate the shoulder into the butt and the picnic and cook both pieces at 300°, you should get done in an hour per pound, maybe a little less.

    Good Luck.
  7. house66

    house66 Newbie

    Thanks for the feedback guys. I will post pics throughout the process.

    I don't expect that I will have the time to cook this ahead, as I am travelling for work.

    I have considered cutting it in two. I have been researching on YouTube, but I can't find a simple video for cutting a shoulder into two halves. All the videos are about carving it into all the different cuts and deboning.

    It doesn't look there will be a bone in between the butt and the shoulder. Is that right? Assuming I can find the right spot, I think the shoulder blade is on its own in the butt, and the leg bone is in the shoulder. If that is the case, then the process of cutting it in two should be fairly straight forward. I ain't no butcher, so if it involves cutting around or through bones, I'm afraid I will massacre the thing.

    But if it is straight forward like that, then I think I will go with that as the plan and assume that 2 11 pound pieces will be somewhere in the 20 hour range. I understand now that it will take as long as it takes, but my chances are improved with this approach.

    Can you guys let me know your thoughts and provide any butchering tips u might have.

    Again, really appreciate your help.
  8. smokeymtn

    smokeymtn Newbie

    I've never smoked a whole shoulder so I can't help on your timeline.

    But if you need to cut it in two, don't worry about how it looks.  Pick a center line, cut the flesh with a knife and the bone with a saw.  Like my dad says, "What ain't in one piece will be in the other."
  9. I've done quite a few for pulled pork. My opinion would be to start it at 250. After so long probably 12-15 hours check internal meat temp. When you decide to foil turn up the heat to 300. That will get the meat up to 190-200 in one to two hours. Remember their is alot of moisture in a bone in shoulder so when you take it out of the foil there will be alot of juice in the foil. Throw it away as the meat will have enough moisture in it unless you like soggy pulled pork.
    If you want to cut it in two cut behind the leg before the rib cage. The rib cage going up to the loin area is your best part of the shoulder. Won't take as long to cook either. You will need a clean hack saw to cut or a bone cutting knife.
    There is alot of grissle in the meat next to the shoulder bone which takes longer to cook. I"m doing one this weds. usually do one a week. Half a whole hog that is. The bone in shoulder takes the longest to cook.
  10. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    Take that Huge hog leg down to the nearest meat counter. Preferably the one you got it from, and ask to have it cut in 2. There is a bone that will be sawed through. Please do not listen to the previous poster about throwing the juices out. That stuff is like gold and can be used for many many things. I would then highly recommend you follow this tried and true procedure right here.


    This is the Holy Grail of Butt recipes. If you do not cut that butt in half you are looking at a 40-50 hour smoke. Pork shoulders and Butts take a long time to cook especially large or huge ones. There is a ton of connective tissue to break down in there that long slow low smoking does so so well. Remember to take lots of pictures and share your smoke with us. Someone with a great amount of experience is almost always around to help if anything goes awry and you need assistance with something.

    There are also some modifications you can make if as I suspect you have a Brinkman Smoke and Grill or ECB- aka el cheapo brinkman, to that smoker that are simple and really help in getting through a marathon cook like what you will be in for.

    I personally don't cotton to the hot and fast group of folks for big Butts. I have tried both low and slow and hot and fast and time and patience pays off in the end product. Mark my words.
  11. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    Also, It has been said many times but you need to know there is a general rule we all must follow in the matter of food safety. Your internal temperature should get from 40 to 140 in 4 hours or less. This means that you might have to cook a 25 pound shoulder at 350 to even think about achieving this. Actually I would be quite surprised if that sucker would even fit on one rack of your smoker if it is an ECB. All pork shoulders are not created equal as well. You could put two 6 pound butts that look the same side by side and they could be done literally 5 hours apart. I am not kidding you on this. All that said I always plan 2 hours per pound plus 2 hours to be safe. I can't tell you how many times the Butt has kicked my dinner timing right down the street and I had to order pizza. Just saying. There is a wealth of knowledge and experience that belong to this website for one purpose. And that is to help other smokers to get the best they can out of what they have in any way possible.
  12. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    The lower leg and butt are no different than your upper arm and shoulder. There is the leg bone in the socket of the shoulder blade. Cut the muscle and tendons at the joint and you have what will be a ~13 lb Butt and an 11 or so lb Shoulder (lower leg). If you plan to cook it whole, it will take just a little longer than if it was separated, but in this case the over all dimensions are more important than the weight. The narrow Hock end will get done sooner leavng the skin on there will slow it down, but over all a whole shoulder is fairly uniform. Same as a Loin, a 12" 5lb piece will cook about the same time a 24" 10lb Loin because they are a fairly uniform height and width over the whole length..

    First off, everyone has a Temp that they are used to maintaining in their smoker and that is the temp they smoke their Pork at...A Party is NO TIME to be messing around trying to smoke at some other guys temp! If you are capable and comfortable at maintaining 225 in your Smoker use that temp. It is rare that a large Butt or whole shoulder will be done at 225 in under 2 hours per pound. If you look at this thing as a big 12lb Butt at 2 hours/lb, then your 24 hour cook time with adding a 2 hour CYA/Rest in a cooler will get you done in time if not early.

    There are variables, some companies " enhance " there Pork by injecting a solution the keep it moist and charge $3 a pound for the added water, but the amount of Pan/Foil Juices will vary greatly and are mostly rendered Fat. There is HUGE flavor in the de-fatted Dripping and should never been thrown out. If you need all of the juices to moisten the meat, then use it. If not the leftover drippings will be needed in the leftovers as there will be evaporation keeping the meat hot throughout the event and meat absorbs juices as they cool. Extra Drippings add Flavor to anything you wish to add them to. Baked Beans are always the most frequent use for Pork Drippings but it will add a little bit of pork and smokey goodness to anything you add it to. BBQ Sauce, Collard Greens, Vegetables, Gravies, Soups, especially Ham and Bean or Pea Soup, Carnitas or other Taco Fillings, the list is limitless. Pour extra drippings in Ice Cube Trays and freeze them. Once frozen bag them and add a frozen cube to anything that can use the flavor...JJ

    @Timberjet...The 4 hours to 140°F only applies to Injected, Ground or meat that has had the surface broken, like guys that poke holes and Garlic Cloves into the meat or Boned-Rolled and Tied meat. Bacteria has no ability to get in meat and is only on the surface. The issue with breaking the surface is you may push some of that bacteria in where given enough time can make Toxins that make you sick. The Bacteria itself is killed at 140°F...
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2015
  13. Timberjet is correct that you can use the juice for many things. I should of said I don't pour it back on the shoulder as it is moist enough.
  14. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    Lesson learned. Thanks chef. I guess what my train of thought is and I could be totally off here but, almost every butt I have seen at the market for quite some time is enhanced. When they do that isn't it just like injecting or is the process totally sterile? I might just be paranoid. 
  15. red dog

    red dog Smoking Fanatic

    I have to agree, whack that big boy in half. It might not be as impressive but you will save yourself some headaches. Not only easier to smoke but foiling and handling after it's done will be easier. I would love to see a photo of it before you do surgery though please!
  16. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    There is a very slight increased risk when the surface is broken but the national packers have extremely high sanitation standards and the enhancing solutions usually contain Phosphates. These can extend shelf life so it is unlikely that there is bacteria that would be a big issue. Bacteria is typically introduced in grocery stores that cut and wrap meat or in the end users home. So it is " home injecting " by us that causes the safety issue...JJ
  17. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    Thanks for the piece of mind sir. I appreciate your professional answers and advice very much. 
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2015
  18. Lots of good helpful information on here


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