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Do pork shoulders plateau????????

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
I smoked a 8lb pork shoulder last night and could not get it past 175*. I put it on @ 12:30 in the afternoon and by 1:30 am it had crept its way tp 175* and did not move for almost 2 hours. I thougth I may be having thermometer problems so I pulled it and stuck it in the ice chest for several hours. I pulled it out this morning and it was nice and tender but not exactly "fall apart tender".

Should I have hung in there like I do w/ brisket and let it keep going? I have a new Maverick thermo. and all other indications/tests show that it is working fine.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

post #2 of 9
That my friend is a perfect example of reaching the famed/ dreaded "Plateau". Next time, just keep chugging along aand let it go. It will get to the desired temp (195-200 I'm guessing is what you wanted).

Did a 3.5 chuck roast yesterday and it stalled for about 1 hr at 173*. And I have done a 5 lb butt that didn't stall at all.
post #3 of 9
Oh ... The dreaded "plateau". I agree with crewdawg .. classic example.
post #4 of 9
I think it is just a test of faith and patience. I call it latent heat of tenderness. Remember high school science where you melt an ice cube. It starts out below 32F, holds at 32F until the ice all melts and then the water continues to get warmer? That's my best analogy. I love smoking meat. Even when things don't go right the results are still pretty good.
post #5 of 9
The classic answer to your question is that every piece of meat is different. A lot depends on the age of the pig, how much did it move around (exercise, for lack of a better word - if you can imagine a pig exercising - I can't believe I used that word on this forum), and the connective tissue in the piece of meat. The ice analogy works to explain what is happening when you encounter a plateau. I tell folks that the heat is being absorbed by the connective tissue as it breaks down, which is why the temp does not go up. I've even had a few drop a degree or two. I've also cooked some butts where the temp never stopped rising.

Hope this helps! (And not TMI)

Take care, have fun, and do good!


post #6 of 9
Hello XTexan -

I think every big piece of meat can hit the plateau. Iv'e even had 6 inch capricolla sausages get stuck on me for awhile.

When you doubt your thermometer just stick it in a cup of boiling water and check your calibration, if it's right on you know you've hit the plateau just hang in there!
post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 
I've had the plateau issues before w/ brisket, but this was my first pork shoulder and I guess I just wasn't expecting it.
Thanks for the info.

Happy Smoking! (isnt it always)
post #8 of 9
Glad to see I wasn't the only one stuck on a plateau yesterday. My pork hit 155 and never moved higher. Everyone was hungry so I finally took it off and sliced it. Was great and tender but never would have pulled.
post #9 of 9
I did an 8# butt this weekend as well and got a plateau for a couple of hours...the temp even dropped several degrees. On the plus side, I took this into account and started my smoker up at about 2AM on saturday, had the butt on around 4AM and it was done by 6PM.

In the future just account for Murphys Law. Your smokes should turn out just fine.
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