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First time smoking a pork shoulder..

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

Hello All...I'm a newbie to the world of smoking meats. Moved to Texas in September from New England and got the BBQ/Smoking bug big time. Here is my question...I made my first pork shoulder a few weekends ago. I started with using some yellow mustard then added a rub that I found online. I then put the shoulder in the frig overnight. When I got it the next morning I was a bit shocked that the rub really didn't stick to the shoulder, it broke down and I ended up with a little pool of my rub in the Tupperware I was using, with which in turn didn't give me a great bark when it was done. I guess I was expecting the rub to stick better to the meat, like when I do ribs...the rub never seems to break down on ribs. Can some explain to me why the rub on the shoulder broke down and didn't stick to the meat, like it does on ribs? What should I do next time or can someone provide a rub that sticks. Again I'm a newbie at smoking...so I'd appreciate any/all feedback. Thanks in advance!



post #2 of 15

Hey @TexasRob Welcome to SMF. You can come back to New England. We have smokers here too! :yahoo:


Not sure why the mustard rub didn't stay put. Maybe it was on a bit to heavy? 

post #3 of 15
A lot more moisture in the shoulder. Alot of the rub got into the meat. Just apply more in the morning. Or I rub then go right into the smoker.
post #4 of 15
Thread Starter 

Hello Bob,


Ha I'm sure they sell plenty of smokers in New England. I got relocated for work, loving it here. I started out with just rubbing some yellow mustard and then applied the rub..it stuck a little, but like I said when I pulled it out of the frig the next morning...it really didn't stick to the shoulder like I was expecting. Not sure why...I was expecting to see the rub adhere to the shoulder like when I do ribs....not sure why it happened. 



post #5 of 15

Wrap it in saran wrap next time. This will help keep the rub in place.  Rubs left overnight are turned into a "Dry marinade"  and will leak off because the salt in the rub draws out moisture.  Also you will find that sometimes rubbing pork the night before can give the outside of the pork a ham flavor.  This is expecially true when doing thinner cuts of pork like rubs. I typically do not leave rub on pork more than a few hours ahead of the time.

post #6 of 15

As said here by others, if you apply the glue (mustard) then the rub, the night before, wrap in plastic wrap tightly.  Now place it in your fridge overnight.  The next morning, take the roast out of the fridge, unwrap and inspect the roast.  If needed, apply more rub at this point. 


That is what I always do, this way when your done smoking, you will see that nice bark your looking for.

post #7 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thank You all for the input/advice/suggestions...this board has been extremely helpful...glad I found it!

post #8 of 15

Hey Rob, sorry to hear about your problem. When I do pork butt I sit it out while I am getting my smoker ready, I use mustard or oil (depends on what mood i'm in) cover with rub then on the smoker, always a good bark and great flavor. here is a link to to a bunch of stuff I smoked several weeks ago take a look at my pork butt 






Gary S

post #9 of 15

Not sure what happened there.


  • No rub is needed for a good bark formation
  • Simply spritsing a naked butt (lol) with apple juice will create a bark.
  • Mustard is not needed
  • remove the fat and apply the rub prior to smoking or the night before.


  • Rub the pork with your favorite rub, naked is fine too. Start by lining a  pan with an extra long piece of plastic wrap, coat the plastic wrap heavily with your choice of rub, place the meat on the rub, fat side down if you left the fat on, coat sides and the top of the meat liberally with your rub.
  • I SOMETIMES apply the rub the night before the cook. You can apply it right before the cook, but it's nice to start an early morning cook with food that is already prepped and ready for the smoker.
  • Take care when using a high sugar rub, make sure your temps don't get too high.
  • Fold over the plastic wrap and secure snugly.

  • Some folks use mustard to help the rub stick better, I see no need to do this because the salt and sugar will draw out moisture making a nice slather, below is an example of a dry rub pulling out moisture.
  • Dry
  • The next day.


  • If you leave the fat intact, you will not pull out as much moisture on the fat so the rub will be drier and some will fall off during the cook, so mustard will help the rub stick to the fat. This is your choice. I will sometimes brush Butts and Picnics with a 50/50 mix of Worcestershire sauce and soy sauce before adding a rub.


  • If you plan on keeping the fat on, score in a cross hatch pattern and make sure to pack the rub in the cross hatch.



Hope this helps.

post #10 of 15
Thread Starter 
I ketp the fat cap on(it was a decent cap), didnt score it and didnt wrap it after I applied the rub the night before. This could have been a few things that I did worng. It had somewhat of a bark. I guess I was just expecting the rub to ahere to the shoulder, like it does to ribs. Live and learn...it did come out tasty I have to admit!
post #11 of 15
The great thing about pork shoulder or pork butt is that even if you completely leave out a step , Or only half do something in the process , it still comes out pretty dang good. First one I ever did I only cooked it to 170 degrees IT ......could not pull that sucker to save my life! We ended up slicing it and it was delicious. I've learned a lot since then , but that cut is still a big favorite at my house. Welcome to the forum , BTW .... I have a brother who moved to Texas a long time ago and he loves it there.
post #12 of 15

For pulled you have to get it to an IT of 200/205.

post #13 of 15
How else can i serve a boston butt instead of just pulled? Im planning on doing my first one sunday and was just curious..wasnt sure about the burnt end, sliced or the money muscle medallions
post #14 of 15
Originally Posted by shootnsht View Post

How else can i serve a boston butt instead of just pulled? Im planning on doing my first one sunday and was just curious..wasnt sure about the burnt end, sliced or the money muscle medallions

You can cook to 190 - 195 and do slices if you would like.

post #15 of 15
Like Cfarmer said, it sounds like the rub you used was salt-based. Salt will naturally draw out the moisture if left overnight, and the moisture will essentially cause the rub to "run" down the sides of the meat onto the plate/tupperware. I use a brown sugar based rub on butts and then wrap in plastic wrap (saran) for about 4 hours.
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