Pork Shoulder, Fail?

Discussion in 'Pork' started by benjaminkramer, Jun 22, 2014.

  1. Tried a Pork Shoulder for the first time yesterday, Saturday. 7.2 lbs, put into the preheated MES 30 at 10AM at 225° using Pecan wood, set it directly on the grate. Planned accordingly to follow Jeff's Pork Shoulder Recipe (http://www.smoking-meat.com/pork-shoulder-recipe). So I buckled up and then my nerves took over and I obsessivly tried to find every bit of information about the Stall as possible. My fear of the stall is multi-faceted. Being a pilot, a piss poor flight instructor once explained an aerodynamic stall so far from reality, I've never been able to get the word out of my head...but, I digresss. 

    2PM - 4 Hours into my project - IT is 140°, life is good. 

    4PM - 6 Hours into my project - IT is 140°, life is slowly more questionable. Am I the start, middle, or end of this stall issue? Better, yet, is this the stall? 

    7PM - 9 Hours into my project - IT is 155°, life is a great big carousel of progress. 

    9PM - 11 Hours into my project - IT is 165°, hmm....

    9:45PM - 11 Hours, 45 Min into my project - IT is 165°. 

    I gave up. I finished it in the oven. If going by 1.5 hrs, this cut mathematically should've taken 10hrs, 48 minutes. I hate math, I subscribe to the when it's done, it's done approach. I was waiting for the temp to rise, patiently, I waited, but, as you can see I failed. 

    For the past few years, prior to buying the smoker, we were making delicious, wonderful pork shoulders in the slow cooker. Was so excited for the smoker, and still am...it's a reason to try another one and tweak how I work it. My questions though...

    1) The times and temps described above, I was definitely stalled, right?

    2) Between  9 and 9:45, was I too eager expecting to see a temp rise? 

    3) I didn't want to foil, based on info obtained at amazingribs.com, figuring this was my first one. I'm still up in the air about this one though. Was this a rookie mistake? 

    Thankfully, the final product was still positive, but, I'm just a little disappointed I let it get the best of me and I ran to the oven with my tail between my legs. The bark was great, the meat tasted amazing and overall was satisfactory. 

    Before and after: 

  2. mopardog

    mopardog Newbie

    Finishing in the oven is not a failure, I have done so many pork buts that I have it down to an 8 hr process every time. 4 hrs on the smoke at 250, then into a pan covered with plastic wrap and 2 layers of heavy duty foil in the oven or smoker until 195-200 internal temp, depending on tenderness. This usually takes an additional 4 hrs, let it rest for 2hrs and you're good to go (so I guess a ten hr process). The Texas crutch is a tool, I dont use it for ribs but for big pieces of meat, it just makes sense to save all that time, that being said, I used to stay up all night smoking meat monitoring temps making adjustments until I realized it isn't that hard. This took me years. Good luck and never give up!
  3. geerock

    geerock Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    First of all, I suspect you may have been cooking at a much less temp than you thought. The MES units are known to be off by quite a bit and many times the read higher (sometimes 30 - 40 degrees) than actual chamber temp.
    Secondly, there is no loss of flavor or tenderness by cooking pork shoulder, butt, picnic, roast, whatever, at a higher temp. 250 to 275 works just as well, drives you thru any stall much faster, and gets you eating quicker. Try it sometime....
  4. greg1

    greg1 Fire Starter

    I am cooking my first shoulder today for pulled pork for my wife's co-workers. I also have a mes 30 Ben and did a lot research to see what I could find and everyone has a plan that works for them. So here is what I decided I am going to do. Put smoke on for 4hrs @ 250 degrees with the amazin pellet smoker, when I pull the smoke if temp is 160 I am going to place in aluminum pans and cook another 2 hrs and see where we are at if still in the stall I will wrap and back into the smoker till we hit 205 and then rest and pull. I don't know if this is a good plan will let you know later but it made me feel a little better knowing I had a plan in place.
  5. demosthenes9

    demosthenes9 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

  6. hambone1950

    hambone1950 Master of the Pit Group Lead

    The above are all good advice. You did fine as it sounds like the meat was good and that's the object. You will get better as you go along. Keep smoking and have a good time.
  7. geerock

    geerock Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Have you ever verified your cooking temps with a second ACCURATE therm? Its a good idea with the mes smokers. A maverick et series remote therm is a great tool to have for any type of smoker or griller....but especially for the masterbuilts. Your plan is good....the only thing that can throw it off is if you are starting with bad info. Like thinking you are cooking at a temp that is way off. Best of luck.
  8. greg1

    greg1 Fire Starter

    Gee rock
    I have another therm. In the mes I have to run the setting on the mes 20 degrees warmer to achieve the 250 degree mark. So glad we have this forum where we can all share ideas and experiences to make the best and safest product possible. Just another benefit in living in the U.S.A.
  9. wes w

    wes w Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Your smoke looks awesome.  

    I smoke with wood.  I start at 250.  I do wrap at 160IT.  I can smoke 60lbs of butts in 10 hrs every time.   If time is an issue, I have ran the temp up to 300.  Its just as good or better then the long 20hr smoked ones.  I'm not a fan of bark.  Most of the time, I'm smoking to a time limit.  Unless its a family outing, I'll have people coming to pick up BBQ at a set time.  It has to be rested, pulled, tray ed and ready.  

    If you don't like the long smoke.  Wrap at 160 then open the foil up at 190 and let it go to 200 open.   DO NOT SPILL THE JUICE ON YOU THAT IS IN THE FOIL.  IT WILL SCALD YOU!!  I have poured it down my front side before.  Its not fun and it hurts like hell!

    As they say, practice makes perfect!   

    If you haven't, get Jeff's rub recipe.   People in these parts keep asking why my BBQ is so much better then the restaurant stuff they call BBQ.    My reply,  "If I told you I'd have to kill you"  :)  I add a little to it to make it even better, but its an awesome start.
  10. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Obviously, you need to know the actual temps in the pit rather than relying on a stock therm.

    After that time in the smoke?  How much smoke flavor do you want?  That would have been plenty of smoke time in our house. No sin in finishing in the oven when your meat has enough smoke already.  Just don't let some of the judgmental folks know you did that?

    Every piece of the same cut will have a personality of its own, and it can drive you nuts.

    1 1/2 hour per LB is just a rough estimate, and I have had them take longer.

    My butts are usually in the 5 LB range, and my stall usually starts at about 160 to 165.  They come out of the stall whenever they feel the hell like doing so?

    You are on your way!  Keep at it!  Don't let anything discourage you!

    Good luck and good smoking.
  11. You were on the right track. Temp of the MES 30 set to 225 degrees. Water pan full of water.  The the roast  will get to 165 degrees IT, in about 8 1/2 hours. Remove it from the smoker, wrap it in foil and place it back in the smoker, without smoke. The temp will rise faster and typically the roast has had enough smoke at that point. My 7 pound Costco shoulders take about 13 hours to reach the 205 degrees IT, in my MES 30, with a MES cold smoke generator. Normally it is too late at night to pull the shoulder, so I wrap it in a towel and place it in a Styrofoam cooler overnight. The next morning it is still hot enough to pull.

    I have monitored the temperature of my MES 30 with my remote thermometer and the IT stays very close to the set point. You have a great unit and it will produce great smoked BBQ. Just don't plan on having the butt for dinner the same evening.
  12. geerock

    geerock Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

  13. wes w

    wes w Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    LOL Gee   Trust me it wasn't pretty.  I got one shelf under the cross bar of the doors.  Its bad to tear the foil even double wrapped.  A few choice words were spoken.... :)  On the lighter side, I didn't drop the meat.  :)

    Thanks for the kind words.  It just seems I don't have much to say anymore.   I keep up with my build thread but post very little elsewhere.    I mainly just use the search bar if I have questions.   Just wanted to share the "scalding"  warning.  Of course, most smokers are a lot lower then mine too.

    Hope everyone has a good day.  
  14. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Wish I never had a scalding story?

    But I would be telling a big lie.

    Good luck and good smoking.
  15. HI Greg1,

    the pan idea is a good one ,try covering the pork with foil after your initial 3hrs.I use a remote probe to monitor at this point and keep [email protected] till the temp reads 200 degrees,I then do a mop multiple times with heat vents closed while pork is "resting". Lets DD
  16. jbinfla

    jbinfla Newbie

    New guy here but I'd like to reiterate what was said above:  Watch out for the juices!  A few years ago while barefoot grilling I pulled a foil pack with grease off the grill and it spilled on my foot (can rip using tongs!).  Grease doesn't boil at 212° and can be much, MUCH hotter.  Scalded me seriously, deep fried the whole top of my foot and had to visit the doctor when the foot became disgusting and painful.  I'm extra cautious now because of it and it was an easy to make mistake.  I had to go to  work barefoot for a couple weeks because of that.
  17. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Having worked in restaurants, I can tell some burn stories. Fortunately not ALL mine?

    Not only is grease hot, but it sticks like glue.

    Speaking of glue?  Never spill a pot of roux?  You will definitely pay the price!

    Good footwear and good footing are essential.

    Once saw a coworker slip and fall forward.  Put is hands out to stop himself.  Hands landed on a hot flattop.  No fun!  (almost as smart as attempting to catch a falling knife?)

    Minor burns are part of the job.  Spent years with no hair on my right hand or arm up to the place where the coat covered me. 

    Just part of the grill station.

    To make it worse?

    To cut yourself or to seriously burn yourself are considered signs of poor craftsmanship.

    Your coworkers will never let you forget it?  [​IMG]

    Good luck and good smoking.
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2014
  18. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    The meat looks good. As far as your questions...

    1) The times and temps described above, I was definitely stalled, right? Yep, and there may be more than one. It's important to be patient, but that comes with confidence. And, at 225°F inspite of what people say...1.5 Hours per pound is almost alway wrong. Plan on 2 hours per and add 2 hours to CYA/Rest the meat. I have smoked a lot of Butts and Picnic Shoulders and have yet to have one go faster than 2 hrs/Lb. Yes you can also crank the heat on a Butt to 275°F without effecting the quality of the finished product.

    2) Between  9 and 9:45, was I too eager expecting to see a temp rise? Yes again, either foil the meat or grab your fav Adult Beverage and relax. A typical Stall is 2 hours.

    3) I didn't want to foil, based on info obtained at amazingribs.com, (What kind of Hack organization is that? [​IMG]  Just Kidding)  figuring this was my first one. I'm still up in the air about this one though. Was this a rookie mistake?  No, foiling helps push through the stall but that is a choice you make. If you have Water in the Pan, your meat will take longer overall and will have an extented stall as well. Lots of energy that can go to cooking the meat is absorbed by the water and the high humidity lengthens the stall. Either, add only a cup or two of water and let it evaporate, the meat should be hitting the stall, or skip the water all together.

    Merv, If you are " Working " in a Pro Kitchen and you don't get Burned...You must be the Exec![​IMG]  Burns and Cuts are part of the Job. Working Grill, I bet you still have a Forearm full of " Stripes ". When I would interview prospective kitchen help. I listened to their pitch and then asked to see their hands and arms. If no or few Scars, their application went in the Round File 'cause they were lying about their amount of experience and Line time. BTW...No matter how Bad the Burn or how Deep the Cut...If you don't finish the Shift...You're a WUSS!!!

    I worked for an Exec at a Country Club that would tell HORRIFIC stories about injuries he had...Daryll, " Yeah I remember the time I had my Leg cut off by a flying blade that snapped off the Meat Saw. I hopped back to my station and slipped. My head went up to my shoulders in the Deep Fryer, for over a minute!. Yeah, (pauses to take a drag of his Cigarette) It was pretty bad...BUT I FINISHED THE SHIFT! "  [​IMG]

    I will pass on a secret from a Pro. Get yourself a Tube or Tub of Silvadene Burn Cream and keep it in the Refer. I have had some nasty burns, slap on a coating of Silvadene every 6 hours and in 12-24 hours little to no Pain or heat sensativity and in 36-48 hours, all you have is a scab or a scar, almost completely healed. Really good stuff and keeps a long time, I have a 4 yearold tub that is fine. I sent a pint tub to Culinary School with my daughter, she shared with her friends and everyone was amazed how well it worked.It came back nearly empty. It requires a Prescription but most Dr.'s have no issue giving one out  ..JJ

    [​IMG]    [​IMG]  
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2014
  19. wes w

    wes w Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Good morning ,  Hope everyone is fired up for the 4th!

    I know my smoker is a little different then most, but  I use the water pan as part of the baffle and the water does have a cooling effect.    At times, if I'm running the smoker full,  (10-14 butts)  My water pan will be simmering or boiling until  the "cold mass" gets warmed up.   Not to go against the  Honorable Chef Jimmy J..... :)    but isn't steam hotter then dry air?   Just a thought.  With a wood smoker I have energy to spare.   

    I hope everyone has a great day!   Please don't forget the men a women who fought for our right to be a free nation.
  20. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Howdy Wes, Happy 4th to you. What temp you run that Beauty at? An MES30 running at 225°-250°F with water struggles to get to and maintain temp. The air gets moist but not what I would call steamy and yes steam cooks faster than air, but the MES sits closer to 200-225° instead of cycling hotter. Also, the Evapoative Cooling of the stall takes a long time in the wimpy low temp moist smoke of the MES. So it takes longer to cook a Butt overall. With no water or just a little then letting it evaporate, 2 cups goes dry in about 4 hours just in time for the Stall, the MES gets the job done at around 2 hrs/Lb. The MES Convects hot air well and does great dry, especially getting thru the stall. I have tested my MES with and without water and it takes longer to cook with water. I went to a dry pan and since it worked great, and I use an AMNPS. It is not too happy in a really moist smoker.  If the MES ran higher than 300° and the AMNPS would work in a moist smoker, I would be using water. That is how Myron Mixon does his 325-350° Hot and Fast with Steam. You make a good point, thanks for posting...JJ
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2014

Share This Page