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Smoking Pork at 190F to 195F ???

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
I've got a really big party coming up on the 9th. I need to decide if I'll smoke 120 pounds, or 180 pounds of bone-in pork shoulder (butt).

Does anyone have experience at smoking a lot of pork at just under 200F?

Don't ask why, its complicated. But it looks like the highest temp I'm going to be able to get this time is 190-195F.

I'm thinking around 24 hours, with a water pan in the smoker to keep things moist.

Any suggestions?
post #2 of 18
You can cook at the lower temps, in fact there are a lot of folks who smoke at and swear by a steady temp of 200 as opposed to 225-250.
Only thing you will want to watch out for is the amount of time the meat will sit in the danger zone, I would keep them cold until tossing on the smoker as opposed to allowing them to sit out to warm closer to room temp.
Other than that I don't see any problem with it.
post #3 of 18
Thread Starter 
Thanks Fire It Up - - How much time should it take at 190 or so?
post #4 of 18
I agree with Jim that you have to watch out for the danger zone. That would be the last thing you want is to get someone sick out there. Now as far as how long I'm not sure but I would think maybe around your 24 hours is enough but then I don't smoke anything that low for any period of time. I always smoke at 240° or above most of the time.
post #5 of 18
Using the the USDA's intact muscle rule if the meat has not been punctured in any way then the outer 1/2" needs to pass the 140 degree mark in under 4 hours. I have been told this is easily done at 190-200 so I would say if you can hit those temps you should be fine. As for how long it would take I honestly don't know I've never tried smoking them at those temps.
post #6 of 18
Food safety issues aside . . . what temp are you planning on cooking the meat to? I think it's going to be pretty tough to get 120 pounds of meat to 195° internal in a 195° smoker and have any moisture left.

Let us know how it goes.

Why do you need to do it that way? I know you said it's complicated but there are some pretty creative minds here. Perhaps we can help you come up with a more effective plan.

post #7 of 18
Thread Starter 
With a water pan in the smoker there will be high humidity, so I think the meat won't dry out.

My antiqute meat thermometer shows to cook pork to 170F. So there is no need to cook it past 180F.

The main problem is the urethane insulation in the freezer/smoker conversion. The foam breaks down and swells up right at 200F. I was going to cut all the foam out with a pressure washer and replace it with Fiberglas, but I never got around to it.

So there is no hope of smoking at a higher temp next weekend.

I usually use the smoker for elk & deer jerky at 145-150F, so it hasn't been a priority to replace the insulation.
post #8 of 18
Sounds like it is time to get a new and bigger smoker, but good luck for the party. I have pulled the pork at 160* with no foil on the smoker and it rested in a cooler with foil for 5 hours and then I pulled it, tender and delicious.
post #9 of 18
That will work as long as you aren't planning on pulled pork.

Keep us posted. I'd be curious to see how long it takes.

post #10 of 18
Most people here wrap it in foil at 170 or so and then take it to 205 for fall-apart pulled pork.... so it's not that it's not "done" - it's just a tenderness issue
post #11 of 18
In "Smoke & Spice" if cooking at around 200 degrees plan on approximately 1 1/2 hours per pound.
post #12 of 18
Thread Starter 
Here is a page with the postcard invitation I'm mailing Saturday morning:


I have no real idea of many people could show up. Could be anywhere from 75 to 500+. It says RSVP, but who really knows?

The pork shoulders are costing me about $10 each ($1.29/lb - 60lb box). I think we can get rid of any extras to the crowd for a $20 donation each.

I'm guessing 1/3 lb/person, its bone-in shoulder, or butt.

Does anyone have experience with this dilemma? My freezer isn't big enough to put 50 lbs of smoked pork, so its got to be gone, or see how to not buy too much in the 1st place.
post #13 of 18
I'll second what's already been said.. pork butts are safe to eat way before they are tender enough to pull.

I recommend getting them as close to 200° as possible. If 190°F is the best you can do then wrap in foil, wrap in thick towels then place them in a insulated cooler (with no ice) for several hours as has already been mentioned.

If you are cooking to a deadline then give yourself about 2-3 extra hours of padding. If they get done early you can easily keep them warm for as much as 4 hours using the cooler method above.

They should turn out fine.
post #14 of 18
eek.gif YIKES, that's quite a range. And you don't want to run out.

Well, I wish you the best of luck and let us know how it goes.

post #15 of 18
Thread Starter 
You know, if there is no pulled pork on the table, and there is only sliced pork, nobody will care. Pork is Food of the Gods.

You pulled dudes must think that's the only thing which can possibly be served.

I'm going to plan on a 24 hr smoke at 190F.
post #16 of 18
You can start smoking now and vacuum pack and re-heat. Get a small smoker and smoke a few for show and tell. I like your guest list!
post #17 of 18
Thread Starter 
Everyone seems to like wrapping a smoked hunk in foil and letting it rest a few hours. I've never done that.

For next week's party, I could smoke/cook them at 190F until the probe in the biggest hunk reads 175F, then wrap them and let them hold at a lower temp for several hours, maybe turn the smoker down to 140F or 150F.

What is the USDA recommended holding temp for meat, 145F?

Also, if there are too many, they are then wrapped and ready to go if anyone wants to donate a $20 for one. Is $20 a fair price for a 7lb smoked shoulder?
post #18 of 18
I don't recall anyone saying that. We just pointed out that if you are not likely to be able to do pulled pork with the method you described. If you are planning on slicing and not pulling then you should be fine.

No one is bashing sliced pork shoulder. biggrin.gif

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