1st Pork Shoulder

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smokin stang

Smoke Blower
Original poster
Nov 15, 2006
Paducah, Kentucky
Tomorrow morning I am smoking my first pork shoulder picnic roast. Today, I rubbed the pork shoulder down with Jeff's Naked Rib Rub and when I pull it out of the fridge tomorrow morning I am going to rub it down with mustard then re-apply Jeff's rub. I am planning on putting it in the smoker with the fat cap down and smoking it at 225-250 for the duration until the internal temp reaches 165. I am then going to foil the shoulder minus any smoke and cook until it reaches 190 internally. Every hour or so I am planning on basting the shoulder with a mix of apple juice and good ole Kentucky Bourbon. I also am going to give the shoulder a spray of apple juice and bourbon before I foil it. Once it reaches 190, I am going to put it in the cooler wrapped in towels and pillows. I am then going to let it rest for 2 hours and then pull the pork.

Question # 1 Do I need to flip the shoulder every so often or just
leave it with the fat cap down for the duration?

Question # 2 What would be the best wood to use in combination
with the apple juice and bourbon? I have wild cherry
peach, hickory, apple, and pecan not to mention
mesquite chips.
#1 I do not think you should worry about flipping the shoulder unless you notice one side getting considerably "more done" than the other because of hot spot issues. Just let it do its thing and await the smokey goodness.

#2 The wood choice is really dependent on what you are looking for in the taste. Some folks like a strong prominent smoke taste, while others prefer a smoke that compliments the natural flavors of the meat.

Mesquite is a very strong smoke and I do not recommend it for pork shoulder; it would totally overpower the apple juice and bourbon. The hickory is not as strong as the mesquite, but still maybe a bit much for pork. I have never smoked with wild cherry or peach, so I can give no opinion there. The apple smoke would be good and compliment the apple juice. Pecan is always a nice mellow smoke that compliments the natural flavors of most meats. I would probably mix the apple and pecan.

Let us know which way you decide to go and post some pics if possible!
Say for example, I pull the pork shoulder out of the smoker at 165*, wrap it in foil with apple juice and bourbon sprayed on it, and place it in the oven at 225* until the internal temperature reaches 200*, how long should I wait to pull the pork after taking it out of the oven. Will the pork shoulder be just a tender at pulling it off the smoker at 190* wrapping in foil and storing it in a cooler wrapped in blankets for 2 hours?
I would cooler in blankets for at least 1 hour before pulling. The shoulder will be easier to pull at 200* than 190*. When I get mine to 200* and cooler for an hour or two, the bone almost falls out by itself when I unwrap the foil.

Hope this helps.

Take care, have fun, and do good!


I pulled the shoulder from the smoker at 165*, wrapped it in foil and sprayed with apple juice / Bourbon. Placed wrapped shoulder in oven and plan on pulling it out of oven when internal temp reaches 200* Does it still need to go inside a cooler for 1 hour after this.

The hour rest lets the juices in the meat redistribute and the connective tissue continues to break down during this time. If you need to serve quickly you can skip this step, although the meat may be just a little tougher to pull.

I rushed this the first time I did a shoulder. The pork was tasty but I didn't realize until the second or third time how much more tender it was after the rest in the cooler.

Hope this helps.

Take care, have fun, and do good!


I woke up this morning at 2:30 am, rubbed the shoulder down with mustard and jeff's rub, fired up the smoker and I think it was around maybe 4:00 am or so before I put the shoulder on. Dutch recommended a mix of cherry and hickory so that is the wood I used. I basted the shoulder every hour or so after the first 3 hours with a mix of apple juice and kentucky bourbon. I pulled the shoulder off of the smoker at 165*, soaked it with the apple juice/bourbon, foiled it and placed it in the oven at 225*. It is 1:50 pm now and the internal temperature is 185* Will leave wrapped in the oven until 200* and then place it in a cooler with towels for 1 hour. In the meantime, Dutch's baked beans are on the smoker for me and in the oven for my girlfriend because she does not like a lot of smoke flavor. The beans are awesome! :lol: Ofcourse, I do not have to tell you about Dutch's bakedbeans do I? I am excited about my first big smoke and could not sleep all night because everyone says it is hard to mess up a shoulder. Did you get your sauce yet? If not you should be getting it Monday.
Cherry and hickory sounds great to me Dave. If you have the wicked baked beans then you are all set for a great meal :D
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