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Bad 1st try at pulled pork

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

Hi Everyone

 

Yersterday was my first try ever on a smoker, my brand new WSM 22.

 

I decided to start with something easy, or so I thought, pulled pork. I picked a 5 pounds picnic shoulder from my local supermarket, salt it and injected it 12 hours before smoking time, and rubbed it just before (like 1 hour).

 

I put it on my smoker at 275, and maintained a temperature of 225/250 the whole cook. I had water in the WSM pan.

 

I reached 154 after 3 hours, and then it stayed that way for 5 hours or so. I waited for an extra 2h because it raised slowly, but couldn't stay out because no lights in backyard, so I finished it in the oven at 250 for 1h30 to reach 195 and wrap it. I let it rest in a cooler with a towel for 1h.

 

Of course meat was dry, and 95% of it wouldn't pull. The bone couldn't be pulled at all, and meat looks like a pork loin that was just roasted (apart from a nice smoke ring and smoke flavor).

 

Did I do something wrong, is it because my smoker is new, or is the cut of meat (hard to find in Quebec) ?

 

Thanks

post #2 of 9
My guess is your butt wasn't done. I usually leave mine on till 205 and you should have good bone wiggle at that temp. I also foil mine at 160 with some apple juice and finish it that way.
post #3 of 9
I leave my on til 200, never foil, and let rest wrapped in cooler for an hour and have no problem pulling it and its nice and moist so i dont know what you did. Your thermo may have read it too high and was prolly actually lower which may be why it didnt pull but still shouldnt have been dry, so i have no idea.
post #4 of 9

Bucheron,

 

Definitely did not take the IT high enough. 205* is considered by most to be the magic number. Believe it or not 10* can make a big difference. Also, once you get close to your desired IT check the IT in a couple of spots. You probe may not have been in the optimal spot. In other words, you may have been getting 195 at one spot and a good portion, if not most of it, could have been even less than that.

 

My personal rule: If it is tough and dry, it has not cooked long enough (this is for brisket and chuckies too). If it is pullable and dry it is cooked too long. 

 

It may seem counter intuitive since your meat was dry, but anytime meat is tough it hasn't cooked long enough regardless of the dryness. There are of course exceptions, such as good steak or cuts that are better rare. But for butts, briskies, chuckies and the like that is usually the case. 

post #5 of 9

The other comments are spot on. I have also noticed that the picnic cut of the shoulder does not produce as good of pulled pork as a boston butt. The boston butt tends to have a lot more fat. I now only use the picnic cut for cured and sliced pork. 

post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 

Thanks for everyone answers, I'll keep in mind all your comments for the next try, and double check my probe readings.

post #7 of 9

My bet is the probe/temp gauge was WAY off.

post #8 of 9
All I can add is that I use my thermapen primarily to check for tenderness and then make note of the temps. It should slide with little resistance. In my smoker, for the way I like my pulled pork, it's usually 195° in the dead center, ranging up to about 205° out toward the exterior. Most of the meat is above 200°. You'll get the feel for it. It just takes a couple tries to figure out what to look for.
post #9 of 9
I agree with everyone. I don't think it was really up to pull temp of 200-205*. Also, I would like to add that when you reached your stall at 3 hours, you could have wrapped your meat in foil and added about 1/2 cup of apple juice. The apple juice adds moisture and the acid in the juice also will tenderize somewhat. Check your therms in boiling water and don't forget to adjust the boiling point of water for your elevation. Give this a try and good luck. Remember, we can always eat our mistakes. Joe
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