First injection smoke, low finish temperature

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dsk

Fire Starter
Original poster
Dec 22, 2023
47
38
Arizona
I did my first injection on an 8 lb pork shoulder yesterday and it didn't quite go as I expected. I injected with a cup and a half (10% weight) of apple juice, apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire, and Kosmos original pork. A bit messy as it was my first time, but most of it stayed in. Into the fridge covered overnight where a bit more injection leaked out. In the morning it was into the MES 30 which maxed out at 265F. Cleared 140F at 3 hours and 50 minutes (whew!) Rising slowly until about 170F, then really slowed down. I didn't want to wrap it through the stall as I wanted a nice bark on it. Finally it made 185F where it flat stopped. For hours. Probed it with a bamboo skewer at 13 hours in, still not quite done in the center. I dropped the temp to 245F to hopefully not overcook the outside as the center gets tender. An hour later, it probes done all the way through, but still only 185F. I let it go for another hour and pulled it at 187F, and dropped it into a cooler for another hour. Obviously, this missed dinner last night, though I had hoped the higher temperature would get-er-done in time since all my previous smokes were done at 225F.

So, this seemed to me like a long time at the higher temp for an 8lb shoulder. Was this because of the injection? Was it a weird shoulder? Was it aliens? Anyone else have their pork shoulder finish at that low of a temperature? This just falls outside of my admittedly limited experience.

Anyway, looks good, and I'll find out if it tastes and textures good tonight with some pulled pork sammies.

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Looks good. That's typical. When you first start out you learn the hard way that stuff takes much longer than you think. You are only making things worse cracking the smoker check the temps and the pit temp takes a big dive. "If you're looking, it ain't cooking". Stole the idea from someone here but I prefer to half my butts now and average around 8hrs and 2x more bark. win win.
 
Result, taste great, but dryer than I would have expected given the advertised effect of the phosphates that are in the Kosmos. Not sure I would bother with injection again on a pork shoulder.
 
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Yeah, kinda odd but not unheard of. Personally, I now put a whole butt into a brine for approx 15 hours then smoke it. Old Alto Brown trick. Works perfectly every time.
 
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You need to get up to around 205F IT or it will not be fully rendered and seem "dry". Yanking it early is THE classic beginner mistake. We've all been there. Easy to do because those last 20F take the longest. Wrap, bump temps, throw in oven, slice instead of shred are common hacks. When I take butts of the smoker, bone falls right out and basically comes off in chunks. 185F would be about perfect for sliced but too low for pulled. Keep at it as properly executed pulled pork is to DIE for!
 
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This is the first time I haven't taken a smoke to a particular temperature, rather I was following the advice I read here that it isn't time or temperature, but when the meat is probe tender. The shoulder was fall off the bone tender, and as an experiment I took some of the pulled meat and boiled it sous vide style in a bag to see if it would render any more fat. Nope, fully rendered already. It had rendered some fat while wrapped in the cooler, so the final center temperature undoubtedly went somewhat higher. Still, it made a delicious post experiment lunch. I was expecting more moisture with the Kosmos, but the extended cooking time likely evaporated away any advantage of using it. Maybe if I had wrapped through the stall it would have come out juicier.
 
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Glad it turned out good. For me once pork gets right at the stall (if I decide not to wrap) I crank up the temp. I can’t remember what a MES goes to it will help it kick it along at that point
 
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Wrapping thru the stall might have yielded some improvement. On the other hand it could have just been a dry less fat content shoulder to begin with. Chalk it up and don't spend a lot of time other than recoding what you did in the log for future reference. You do keep a log, right? For next time, try brining it.
 
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