Checklist for first Pulled Pork

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Had to share. Ate my Picnic shoulder last night, and was a bit disappointed. The meat was tender but a bit drier than I had expected. Probably referenced by the Butt vs Picnic meat having fat vs tendons. Today, I made another BBQ pork sandwich for dinner, but added the Lime Finishing sauce I quoted above.

All I can say is WOWSERS!!! Took a palatable meal and made it VERY GOOD. The sweetness and moisture it added to the meat very nicely complimented the tangy sauce I had on top of it on a Hawaiian bun. Looking forward to eating more.

Does anybody have any other suggestions of how I could flavor or moisten up the meat for various dishes ( Tacos, Nachos, Quesadillas, etc. ). Prior to the finishing sauce, the meat was just ok.
So glad you liked it...
The sauces rubs and marinades section here has some amazing recipes. It you.liked that check out my vinegar mustard sauce recipe...(my head is swelling a bit...lol...)
 
I know you already smoked it, but my way is to lather some simple yellow mustard on the butt I buy, and apply whatever rub I chose. I'll throw it on my WSM and walk away until it hits the stall. I'll wrap in foil, and pour some apple juice in with it before I close it up. When it's done, I will wrap in towels, put it in a cooler, and pull when we are ready to eat. Pour out that leftover juice in the foil, and mix it with your pulled pork. That juice is liquid gold to me.
 
Had to share. Ate my Picnic shoulder last night, and was a bit disappointed. The meat was tender but a bit drier than I had expected. Probably referenced by the Butt vs Picnic meat having fat vs tendons. Today, I made another BBQ pork sandwich for dinner, but added the Lime Finishing sauce I quoted above.

All I can say is WOWSERS!!! Took a palatable meal and made it VERY GOOD. The sweetness and moisture it added to the meat very nicely complimented the tangy sauce I had on top of it on a Hawaiian bun. Looking forward to eating more.

Does anybody have any other suggestions of how I could flavor or moisten up the meat for various dishes ( Tacos, Nachos, Quesadillas, etc. ). Prior to the finishing sauce, the meat was just ok.

Yep I think you learned something very important. Just because the meat wasn't super amazing alone doesn't mean it can't be turned into something amazing :)

Lots of people run into the same issue even with pork butts. Mine don't come out dry but they do come out with less flavor due to the fact that it is a giant piece of meat and seasoning just can't penetrate all the way in. This is why I take my simple seasoning/rub and mix more in once the meat is shredded. You just sprinkle it in, mix the meat, taste and continue until it is as flavorful as you like!!! This is also the benefit of using such a simple yet great tasting seasoning/rub like Salt, Pepper, Onion, Garlic (SPOG) + Paprika. A more complex seasoning may not work so well just simply mixed in but simple (yet good) ones tend to not have such a problem.

Now to answer your question about suggestions to flavor meat up for various dishes. I am assuming you are thinking of meat like what you just made that hasn't reached its full potential yet :)

For a Tex-Mex type approach for tacos/nachos/quesadillas/etc you can go a few different ways. I'll break down the 2 simple approaches.
This works if you start with a simple base seasoning. If you went crazy with some 15 ingredient meat seasoning that has every spice in it well all bets are off. If you made or used a seasoning that is primarly salt, pepper, garlic, onion, and nothing use anything too crazy for a standard US bbq (hopefully no anise, cardamom, caraway, cinnamon, nutmeg, etc.) then this will work with no issues.

Tomato Tex-Mex approach (1pound or more):
  • Throw a couple of table spoons into a skillet and get the skillet/pot to a good med-hot on the stove, this will keep anything from burning
  • Throw the meat in and mix around a bit to begin warming up
  • Throw in scant teaspoon of ground Cumin (this will start making things taste like Mexican food)
  • Throw in a Tablespoon of Chili Powder
  • Drain a can of diced tomato and green chili's, throw in the contents after it has been drained!!! Important to drain it or else you will end up with a ton of water
  • Mix everything well and let it simmer/cook on the stove, UNCOVERED. If you cover it you just build up water/liquid
  • Mix it every couple of minutes and give it a taste
  • Add more chili powder, salt, and pepper to taste until you like the flavor
  • If there is a lot of watery liquid keep cooking thing moisture away
  • After about 10 minutes of cooking like this your meat should be dressed up well for tacos/nachos/quesadillas/etc.
  • Add all the normal taco or Tex-Mex fixings as you eat this
BBQ Sauce approach (my preference):
  • This is almost the same as the tomato based approach above but more truer to the spirt of BBQ
  • Throw a couple of table spoons into a skillet and get the skillet/pot to a good med-hot on the stove, this will keep anything from burning
  • Throw the meat in and mix around a bit to begin warming up
  • Throw in scant teaspoon of ground Cumin (this will start making things taste like Mexican food)
  • Throw in a Tablespoon of Chili Powder
  • Add a regular sized bottle of BBQ sauce to the meat and mix in (if you want it to be saucier, add more sauce but this can always be done on your plate)
  • Mix everything well and let it simmer/cook on the stove, UNCOVERED. If you cover it you just build up water/liquid
  • Mix it every couple of minutes and give it a taste
  • Add more chili powder, salt, and pepper to taste until you like the flavor
  • If there is a lot of watery liquid keep cooking thing moisture away
  • After about 10 minutes of cooking like this your meat should be dressed up well for tacos/nachos/quesadillas/etc.
  • Except for sour cream (or hell if you like it go for it) add all the normal taco or Tex-Mex fixings as you eat this. I HIGHLY recommend that with this approach you buy fresh limes and squeeze lime juice on the meat as you eat it to blow your mind!!!
Ok these are very simple approaches that are almost identical which makes them easy to add to your cooking tool belt.
The difference though is HUGE as one is more straight Tex-Mex and the other is more BBQ-like, but both are amazing and have their distinct place.

To me the BBQ one is my favorite because it is flexible enough to be eaten on buns as sandwiches or anything Tex-Mex you can come up with but with the BBQ sauce twist. Where the other option shines more as straight Tex-Mex fare.

There are more Mexican inspired options out there but these two options are so flexible that from here on out you would be wanting to get more specific like Green Chili options, New Mexican Red Chili options, Molé Sauce options, etc. :)

I hope this helps! : )
 
I am sorry to burst your bubble, but, while you can make something edible out of a picnic on a smoker, it pales in comparison to a Butt, or "blade roast". If I may make a suggestion: Keep the picnic, and buy a Butt (8+ pounds if you can find it)

The Butt has more fat and thus, more flavor, but the shoulder has a bunch more collagen which makes things silky and rich. It's got so little fat that it's not worth a damn except as a ham on it's own
(waaaaay to dry)

Maybe this is MY problem....last couple pull'eds I've done have cooked through, but I literally have to work to pull them apart...I've had ones that have fallen apart as I've taken them off...the last couple haven't. Thanks for posting this, as I haven't paid attention to butt vs. shoulder. We'll, at least in cuts of pork that is.....
 
Maybe this is MY problem....last couple pull'eds I've done have cooked through, but I literally have to work to pull them apart...I've had ones that have fallen apart as I've taken them off...the last couple haven't. Thanks for posting this, as I haven't paid attention to butt vs. shoulder. We'll, at least in cuts of pork that is.....
While I certainly ascribe to the butts over shoulders camp, I've done plenty of shoulders that fall apart in my hands with the slightest amount of pressure. As long as you get them probe tender, you should have no problem.
 
IMO a butt rubbed and smoked is pretty bland on it's own. You need a finishing sauce, injection, liquid gold, or etc to get wow results. I was not happy with my PP until I started injecting. They key with injecting is to use restraint. I do it by weight so I have absolute control. Done right, you'd never know it was injected but it's just so much better than without.
 
Maybe this is MY problem....last couple pull'eds I've done have cooked through, but I literally have to work to pull them apart...I've had ones that have fallen apart as I've taken them off...the last couple haven't. Thanks for posting this, as I haven't paid attention to butt vs. shoulder. We'll, at least in cuts of pork that is.....

Here in North Texas (probably same all over the state) the Pork Butt, Boston Butt, Port Butt Shoulder, and Pork Shoulder are all the same thing. Where I/we get something different is anytime the word "Picnic" is involved.
Picnic here seems to be the shank and skin on lower shoulder where all the other names I mentioned are the upper shoulder (all basically pork butt).

Unless I'm decide some day to attempt to cure & smoke a picnic shoulder, I avoid the "Picnic" cut here in my area of the country in preference for the other cut. Even then I think I would just spring for the back leg to make a real deal cured & smoked ham if I wanted to make a cured pork ham product :)

Why do I mention this? Because the naming for the good 'ol pork butt around our great country can get ridiculous and can lead to much confusion hahaha. Not to mention the fact that it comes from the front leg and not the back leg or anywhere near the butt :D

I hope this helps give you some ideas on how to go about finding the right cut for your area :)
 
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IMO a butt rubbed and smoked is pretty bland on it's own. You need a finishing sauce, injection, liquid gold, or etc to get wow results. I was not happy with my PP until I started injecting. They key with injecting is to use restraint. I do it by weight so I have absolute control. Done right, you'd never know it was injected but it's just so much better than without.

care to share your injection ratio, and recipe? :)
 
Sure, it's the one in Mixon's book with added phosphate. :emoji_laughing: Seriously, get the book. Mind blower. Anyway, mix it up and inject 10% of the butt weight. I actually converted the recipe into percentages and tweaked a bit so I can make small batches since Mixon's recipes are all HUGE being his legit actual comp recipes.
 
IMO a butt rubbed and smoked is pretty bland on it's own..

Wish I knew that before I started down pork shoulder cook ... LOL ___ Life is a Journey

For anybody interested, My pork shoulder was plenty tender. It just wasn't very juicy. I took that because of the piece of meat I smoked being Picnic vs Shoulder. I took it off at the temperatures listed earlier in post. Does anybody have a tasty recommendation that isn't 10 pounds of meat, that I should consider smoking without surprises at the end. Surprises like " That doesn't usually taste good on it's own " until after I've smoked / eaten the meat.
 
Wish I knew that before I started down pork shoulder cook ... LOL ___ Life is a Journey

For anybody interested, My pork shoulder was plenty tender. It just wasn't very juicy. I took that because of the piece of meat I smoked being Picnic vs Shoulder. I took it off at the temperatures listed earlier in post. Does anybody have a tasty recommendation that isn't 10 pounds of meat, that I should consider smoking without surprises at the end. Surprises like " That doesn't usually taste good on it's own " until after I've smoked / eaten the meat.

There are ways to get more flavor and maybe some more "juice".

For starters buy a big fat one and never trim any fat off of it. This will give more juice AND when the fat is shredded in with everything else will help with the "juiciness" there as well.

Second smoke over a pan or set in a foil pan and that will catch any fat and juices... if there are any to be caught. Mix this into the shredded meat when you shred.

For more flavor I use a simple Salt, Pepper, Onion, Garlic (SPOG) + Paprika seasoning/rub. I apply it heavily and have plenty left over. When shredding the meat I mix in more seasoning until the flavor is amazing!
At this point if you want a less dry option you can mix in some sort of sauce.
I personally just add the sauce on the meat when it is on my plate.

Doing all of this means I always have amazingly flavored and never dry meat even if/when the pork butt isn't so juicy to begin with :)
 
There are ways to get more flavor and maybe some more "juice".

For starters buy a big fat one and never trim any fat off of it. This will give more juice AND when the fat is shredded in with everything else will help with the "juiciness" there as well.

Second smoke over a pan or set in a foil pan and that will catch any fat and juices... if there are any to be caught. Mix this into the shredded meat when you shred.

For more flavor I use a simple Salt, Pepper, Onion, Garlic (SPOG) + Paprika seasoning/rub. I apply it heavily and have plenty left over. When shredding the meat I mix in more seasoning until the flavor is amazing!
At this point if you want a less dry option you can mix in some sort of sauce.
I personally just add the sauce on the meat when it is on my plate.

Doing all of this means I always have amazingly flavored and never dry meat even if/when the pork butt isn't so juicy to begin with :)

In my post, I assumed Juicy was from Fat and my choice of Picnic shoulder ( unknowin to me at time of purchase ) to smoke was reason for lack of fat. I'd like to smoke a butt, but probably won't b/c 9 pounds of meat is too much for me.
 
In my post, I assumed Juicy was from Fat and my choice of Picnic shoulder ( unknowin to me at time of purchase ) to smoke was reason for lack of fat. I'd like to smoke a butt, but probably won't b/c 9 pounds of meat is too much for me.

If you have a skin on shoulder then take the skin and set it on a rack over the meat and the meat in or over a pan. Skin is basically nothing but fat so you have auto juice and basting like that.

As for 9 pounds being to much, I have the solution! Cut the butt in half. Set it fat side up and then cut downward along the shoulder blade bone so you have half with a bone and half without a bone.
Wrap, bag, and freezes the uncooked half and then smoke the other half!

Also, you will lose quite a bit of weight due to moisture loss and shrinkage during cooking. I bet you lose 25% or more.
This means 4.5 pound will cook down to about 3.3 pounds. Go to town on the 3.3 pounds for a few meals and then freeze what is left. Heck 3.3 pounds doesn't really last all that long if you don't mind eating on it all week (sandwiches, tacos, nachos, bbq pizza, and pulled pork mac'n cheese).

This should solve some problems for you... unless you don't have any space to store the half you don't cook and eat lol
 
I ALWAYS smoke at least 3-4x more than we eat. It gets vac sealed and frozen for "a rainy day". Smoked meat holds up extremely well. I recommend vac sealing in 1-2lbs bags or whatever serving size your family needs. I have a serious stash of a variety of things ready to go in a moments notice and this has proven to be immensely helpful.

Everyone has their own opinion and I don't really think fat means juicy. I think fat adds a slickness, but juice is juice. I don't subscribe to basting, misting, mopping, fat side up, or water pans either. The ONLY way to get moisture into meat is to inject AND that's exactly why I do it. That said, you can certainly add liquid AFTER pulling and many do. I don't recall seeing them posted but there are 3 well known finishing sauces here: SoFlaQuers, ChefJJ's, Bear's Liquid Gold. That said, apple juice and a little salt is all it probably needs though. Apple juice gets rid of the oink and the salt is needed as the rub only goes so far.
 
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