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Marinades or mops?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

Good morning fellow smokers!  I have a MES, and have had good success with BB ribs, (thanks Bear), also made some great wings.  Now I want to do a pork shoulder for pulled pork. Need some advice on weather to marinate, or maybe mopping. Thanks. Jerry

post #2 of 10

Karzapart55, the very first pork shoulder I smoked was not marinated or injected, just rubbed and spritzed.  It was juicy, tender, but generally pretty tasteless without sauce.  Since then I make a brine (marinade basically), inject, brine overnight, then rub, smoke, spritz.  Much better flavor profile.  No need for sauce of any kind except a little of Chef Jimmy J's Pulled Pork finishing sauce as you load your bun or bowl to really make the flavor profile pop! 


Folks have been discussing the merits of creating a salt crust on shoulder that comes right out of the wrapper then onto the smoker.  I like that idea and will give it a try.  I'd probably still lightly spritz with something sweet.  A mop might wash away too much salt. 

post #3 of 10

A marinade would take weeks to get any serious penetration in a Pork Butt. Injections work best if you want to introduce some particular flavor or you can do the same at the end with a Finishing Sauce. I will add that anytime you break the surface like with an injection, there is a risk of pushing surface bacteria into the meat. Extra vigilance is needed to make sure nothing goes wrong with the cook. Mopping and Spritzing is a matter of choice. Every time you open that door you are losing heat and the addition of the liquid further stalls the cook because of the energy used up evaporating the liquid in the mop. A light quick Spritz, especially in an MES, is more efficient. I have done it and really didn't notice a difference on Pulled Pork but on Ribs, that you don't Foil, the Spritz makes a difference.  I will post both the Sweet and Tangy Finishing Sauces I use. Good Luck...JJ


Foiling Juice / Sweet Pulled Pork Finishing Sauce


Foiling Juice


For each Rack of Ribs Combine:


1T Pork Rub, yours

1/2 Stick Butter

1/2C Cane Syrup... Dark Corn Syrup...or Honey

1/4C Apple Cider...or Juice

1T Molasses



2T Vinegar, 2T Mustard and 1/4C Ketchup to make it more of a KC Style Glaze.


Simmer until a syrupy consistency.

Allow to cool for 5 minutes, pour over foiled Ribs and

run your 2 hour phase of 3-2-1. For the last phase return

the ribs to the smoker BUT reserve any Juice remaining

in the Foil. Simmer the Juice over med/low heat to reduce to a saucy thickness. Glaze the Ribs for presentation or service.


For a Sweet Finishing Sauce for Pulled Pork: Make a Double batch, Butter optional.


Add 1/2 the batch to the Foil Pack or place it in a Pan with your Butt, when the IT hits 165*F.

Cover the pan with foil and continue to heat to 205*F for pulling.

At 205* rest or hold the Butt in a cooler wrapped in towels until ready to serve.

Pull the Pork and place it back in the pan with the pan Juices and any additional reserved Foiling Juice to moisten and Serve...OR... Bag and refrigerate until needed.

When re-heating place the Pulled Pork in a Pan or Crock pot and add reserved Foiling Juice or Apple Cider, as needed to make up the Juice that was absorbed while  the pork was refrigerated. Cover and re-heat in a pre-heated 325-350*F oven or on High in the crock pot to 165*F and Serve.

Note: the addition of the reserved Foiling Juice or Apple Cider should make the PP moist but not Swimming.


I was AMAZED...No additional sauce needed. ENJOY...JJ


Tangy Pulled Pork Finishing Sauce


This is more of an Eastern North Carolina style Finishing Sauce...


2 C Apple Cider Vinegar

2T Worcestershire Sauce or more to taste

1/4C Brown Sugar

1T Smoked Paprika

2 tsp Granulated Garlic

2 tsp Granulated Onion

2 tsp Fine Grind Black Pepper

1 tsp Celery Salt

1 tsp Cayenne Pepper or Red Pepper Flake. Add more if you like Heat.

1/2 tsp Grnd Allspice


Combine all and whisk well. This is a thin sauce, bring just to a simmer and remove from heat. Adjust sweetness by adding Brn Sugar or additional Vinegar as desired...Makes about 2 Cups.


For a Lexington Style Dip add, 1/2C Ketchup and 1-3tsp Red Pepper Flakes...JJ


post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 

I have a 8lb picnic on my MES for about an hour. Its looking good.  Last night injected with Stubbs Texas Butter marinade, coated the shoulder with yellow mustard,rub and brown sugar. Should I sprits it with apple juice?  also my temp probe is acting weird. stuck it in the meat at the start, and its reading 330 f. Thanks for the help.

post #5 of 10

Sure, spritz.  Doesn't do anything for flavor but does put some moisture on the bark and the sugar caramelizes.


That probe is a problem.  Looks like it may have shorted. 

post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 

I went to Home Depot and bought a dig. meat thermo.  Now I understand about the stall in temp. In the last hour the internal temp dropped! its at 145f. Is it too soon to wrap? Im afraid it will dry out.

post #7 of 10

Just from doing the math on the posts above it looks like two hours ago the picnic had been on the smoker about five hours.  If you haven't done it already, you can definitely wrap it.   


I've seen some weird stalls lately, as low as 138F, and several in the mid 140s, on both pork and beef.  A stall is a stall.  The picnic has less fat and more connective tissue so it gets it's juices from that melted connective tissue.  I always thought connective tissue starts melting at 170F IT, but it appears the general consensus nowadays online for a smoker is 160F IT.  That's why you take those tough cuts of meat that are filled with connective tissue to 190F (slicing) to 203-205F (pulling) so that stuff can turn into succulent, juicy gelatin.  Stick the roast with a toothpick and it should slide right in.  I recommend the higher temps for first timers but the toothpick don't lie.            

post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the info. I wrapped it at 160f Now im getting antsy. Its at 186, and its taking all my willpower not to take it off. (IM STARVING!!). My wife is ready to order pizza!  But it smells great, and I have my finishing sauce ready.   Cant wait!

post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 

Bingo!  Just took the picnic out of the cooler, The bone fell out (happy dog!) Added finishing sauce, loaded pull on hamburger roll with cole slaw, Wow! The best BBQ I ever made. Thanks to all you guys!    Im hooked

post #10 of 10



Now where are the pics!!!!!

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