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"Cold smoking" pork shoulder

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Hey guys I need some advise. I'm not new to the smoking deal, but I still am a little green. I have a little chief smoker, and when it gets cold it doesn't get real hot. I usually finish off my meat in the oven and it turns out great. My question is, can I smoke a pork shoulder, and then freeze it, then finish cooking it in the oven later? My grandfather is getting old and I want to take some smoked meat to him over Christmas. Thanks for any help you can give. I'll be using a dry rub on brined shoulder that is in roughly 4lb chunks. 

This was an answer I got from Alesia on FB, but I was advised to post here as well.

"I wouldn't advise it. I will also check with one of the SMForums safety moderators and if I am wrong, I certainly will let you know. Smoke it as you normally have been and finish it in the oven or the crock pot. If you are planning to pull it, go ahead and do so, vacuum seal it into the size portions you want and freeze. If you don't have a vacuum sealer, package it in freezer bags. It can be re-warmed in a crock pot, oven or saucepan by adding a little apple juice or even chicken stock.~Alesia"
post #2 of 11

You can, as long as you hit minimum temps. Get the shoulder to a minimum of 135° internal, either in the smoker or in the oven.  Then cool it first to refrigeration temp, then freeze it.  At 135° you have successfully destroyed most all harmful pathogens, it is now 'partially cooked' and can be frozen.  Then, take out and unthaw under refrigeration, and then raise the internal temp to above 145° in smoker or oven; that is minimum 'fully cooked' status.


Without hitting those temps, you are leaving bacteria and pathogens alive and still able to reproduce, even under refrigeration or internally with frozen temps also.  I learned early that if you don't freeze something to preserve it immediately, waiting too long until it just starts to turn, by the time you unthaw it out, it is even worse and is shot.  Nasties will continue to reproduce even at freezer temps; it retards spoilage, but doesn't stop it, and what spoilage is there becomes amplified from freezing and thawing.

post #3 of 11

Oh!  Thank you for joining the forum and please ask questions too!  One question I would like to ask of you is if you would not mind going to Roll Call and introduce yourself so we can give you a proper Welcoming, and please add your location to your profile!  Thank you so much!

post #4 of 11

 Pops answer is " Technically " correct, 135*F being considered by the USDA correct, however, it is risky to go " just " to the minimum temps with anything that is not Cured. Since there is room for error,extra precautions must be taken. Most of concern to me is, " You have a Smoker that will not maintain a Minimum  safe Smoking Temp of 225*F ", and You plan to serve a Senior Citizen that may or may not have a sufficiently strong enough immune system to handle residual Bacteria or Toxins. Additionally your thermometer may be a couple of degrees off, and a simple misplacement of the therm probe may indicate a safe temp in one portion of the meat and may be under temp in another. These are general precautions. It should also be made perfectly clear that if you Inject anything, punch holes for Garlic and Herbs or if the Pork was De-boned it is extremely risky to do what you are proposing. Once again, in this situation, I suggest fully cooking your Pork, pulling to cool quickly, and reheating at a later point.  Do as you wish but be careful...JJ

post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 

Yes thats what I've decided to do. I'm going to finish it off in the oven then let it cool and freeze. That seems to be the safest way to go. Thanks for all the answers.

post #6 of 11

Not trying to rag on you, but Little Chief smokers are good primarily for smoking fish or jerky. I wouldn't attempt anything else in one.  Others may disagree, but my dad had one for years, and I wouldn't trust it to do anything else.

But we all have to start someplace.

post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 

I've been wanting a new bigger one, but thats where I'm at now.  I have used it for 2 years now with lots of pork and chicken through it, so far no issues. I but I agree it's not ideal. I always finish things in the oven and make sure my temps are ok.

post #8 of 11

Hi That is great, That is awesome information, i was also looking for this.These are general precautions. It should also be made perfectly clear that if you Inject anything, punch holes for Garlic and Herbs or if the Pork was De-boned it is extremely risky to do what you are proposing.




post #9 of 11

Thanks for this practicl

post #10 of 11

I have to disagree with that.  My lil Chief is my go-to cheese machine.  Thats all I use it for actually

post #11 of 11

There's no such word as "unthaw," unless you mean re-freeze. I think you meant "thaw."

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