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pulled pork question

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

I've read the sticky & so many other threads that my eyes are crossing. my question is that when I've smoked a butt intended for pulled pork it comes out like a roast. it slices well& tastes great  but it won't pull. I smoked them low & slow, with & without foil, seared &  not seared. what am I doing wrong? the last two times I smoked them 4-5 hours  finished them in a crock pot. that worked but i'd like to figure out how to do this in the smoker.

post #2 of 13

Believe it or not, you are not cooking/smoking it long enough. 


Do you have a meat thermometer?  For a butt/shoulder to pull it has to be at the right internal temperature.  203-207F is usually the sweet spot.  The other very good trick if you don't have a thermometer is called the probe test.  If a toothpick or two pronged BBQ fork slides in easily without resistance, it is done.  Also, if you are smoking a bone-in butt, the bone should easily pull out of the roast. 

post #3 of 13

as said above you need to smoke or cook them longer,i smoke them until a internal temp of around 200-210 usually 8-10 hours,pull them out and wrap in tinfoil and a towel for at least another hour before pulling.

post #4 of 13

I do a fair amount of pulled pork and everything you see above is right on. The meat must get past the 200 degree mark to pull easily.

I have started pork in the oven and then gone to the smoker to finish it; I have started on the smoker and gone to the oven to finish it and I have done slow cooker. They all work to some degree (some better than others).

If you take the pork out at, say 185-190 you may be able to do some pulled pork from  the outside of the shoulder but the middle will be hard.

Let it smoke until 205-210 and then take it off and let it rest for 15 to 30 minutes, just to get the temp so you can handle it. The outside may looked over done but don't let that persuade you to take it out early. It will fall apart for you. (P.S. If you are adding any sauce at the end make sure it is hot so you don't cool down the meat too much....)

Anyway, that's my 2cents worth............

post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 

thanks for the input. I did a couple for 7-8 hours but I guess the temperature was too low. I was afraid of drying it out. finishing it in the slow cooker works ok but it's just the same as a fully smoked butt

post #6 of 13

Timing all depends on the size of the butt. I've had them go as long as 19-20 hours to get to a IT of 205+. Unfortunately, no two butts are alike. They may weigh the same, but finish at different times.


By letting it smoke longer, the collagen breaks down into gelatin. This gelatin will add moisture and the meat will be fall apart tender and be the beginnings of an amazing jus/finishing sauce.

post #7 of 13
Originally Posted by rober49 View Post

thanks for the input. I did a couple for 7-8 hours but I guess the temperature was too low. I was afraid of drying it out. finishing it in the slow cooker works ok but it's just the same as a fully smoked butt

I've been smoking butts for about 5 or 6 years now and never had one come out too dry. Yes, I've overcooked some and had a right smart of hard bark but never had the meat too dry.
post #8 of 13
What everyone has said is spot on. Ray's advice on the therm is a good start. It's imperative that you know what the IT is. I like to smoke a butt at a C temp of 260-275*. The meat temp will usually stall at around 165* IT. At the stall, it's good to wrap the butt in foil with about 1/2 cup of apple juice. The foil will assist in pushing through the stall. The apple juice will add some moisture and the acidity will help with tenderness. When wrapped, keep it in the smoker to an IT of 200-210* for pulling (185* for slicing).

I hope this helps. Practice is always a good thing, because you can always eat your mistakes.

Good luck and good smokin', Joe
post #9 of 13
I foil at 165, pull from smoker at 190, and rest in cooler or wrapped in blanket for a few hours. Always pulls easy and is nice and moist. When I first started pulled pork I went to 200-205 but to me in dries it out going past 195.

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post #10 of 13
Thread Starter 

does the longer smoke time render the fat? one thing bout the slow cooker is the fat gets rendered. the wife hates fat & rendering simplifies culling the fat from the meat. 

post #11 of 13

Time and temperature will render the fat, not enough of either will result in a tough, fattier end product.

post #12 of 13
A lot of the fat will be rendered, but there will still will be some left. When you are pulling the pork, the fat that is left will be very easy to discard.
post #13 of 13
Thread Starter 

I'm a good cook & have a lot of grill time under my belt so I believe I'll get a handle on this smoking. part of my problem for longer smoke times is my smoker. I just sealed a deal on a WSM smoker so I think that will change shortly. the brinkman gourmet I've been using does an ok job for smaller things like chicken parts & pork chops but bigger things like butts & turkeys I've been finishing in the slow cooker or oven.

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