First Smoked Pulled Pork!

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DinnerIsComing

Smoke Blower
Original poster
Oct 27, 2022
120
111
Cedar Creek, TX
This past Sunday, I smoked my first pork shoulder! ...and it was that a grueling experience too! Twelve hours of waiting and checking in like an expectant father! :emoji_stuck_out_tongue::emoji_cold_sweat:

My day started around 6am. The first order of business was to caffeinate the cook, then pull the pork shoulder from the fridge to let it warm up to room temperature. This is where I started:
IMG_4960.jpg


I started with a simple injection of apple juice, water, sugar, salt, and Worcestershire sauce (I used "W Sauce" and if you haven't tried it, I highly recommend it!). After making a mess of that, I added the rub; btw: I got the inspiration from this "Girl Carnivore" recipe online.

Onto the Gravity 980 it went at about 8:30am (a little later than I had planned).

In my excitement, I didn't snap a picture of the shoulder post-rub, but I do have this first look after about 4hrs of smoke time:
IMG_4963.jpg


The rest of the time was spent trying to keep the fires burning properly... I was getting some spikes, but since I had temp probes in both the chamber and the pork, I wasn't all that concerned.

Once I got to about the 165-ish range, I pulled the pork off and wrapped it in butcher paper, re-inserted the probe, and waited... and waited... and waited -- you get the idea; long, low-temperature smokes can be a little nerve-racking, to say the least.

As expected, I hit my target temperature around 7pm. I pulled the pork from the smoker and let it rest.
IMG_4965.jpg


The moment of truth had arrived! The bark was absolutely gorgeous!
IMG_4967.jpg


As I worked on this thing of beauty, my wife started to film me with her phone (and just today I -- unfortunately -- learned I couldn't actually add them to a post)... first, I was probing around to feel how tender the meat was (first "Oh, my God" moment), then I started pulling on the "money muscle" and is nearly disintegrated in my hand!... and finally, I started pulling soft, juicy chunks with almost no effort at all! Needless to say, we ate very well Sunday night! [edit: I neglected to mention just how easily that bone pulled away from the meat!]

As I had mentioned before, this was my "freshman" attempt at a long, 12hr cook. Prior to this, I'd smoked quite a few chuck roasts for pulled beef; I think those were more on the order of 6hrs. As far as I was seeing this cook, it was the prelude (and experiment) to another infamous long cook, the brisket (frankly, I'd rather screw up and learn on a pork shoulder than screw up on a full packer brisket). If there were lessons learned here, it leaned more toward the fire management side; not knowing any better, I filled my 980 chimney about 3/4 full with a mix of Jealous Devil Max XL briquettes, and apple and cherry wood chunks. Prior to this, I really didn't have experience in estimating the total available burn time. Subconsciously, I was trying to gauge the time such that I can start a cook (I'm thinking brisket here) late at night, go to bed, and still have the Gravity 980 rolling smoke when I get up for coffee in the morning. As I type this, I'm thinking that I should eat the cost of fuel and test it out for myself... but that "thou shall not waste fuel!"-minded engineer in me is singing loud. I think I should give him a beer (or twenty) and just do it.
 
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10.5 hrs aint bad for a butt like that. What temps were you cooking at?
And it is a great feeling when you pick up the butt and it almost falls apart in your hands. Yous looks great and I wouldnt turn down a sammich or two from it.

Jim
 
10.5 hrs aint bad for a butt like that. What temps were you cooking at?
And it is a great feeling when you pick up the butt and it almost falls apart in your hands. Yous looks great and I wouldnt turn down a sammich or two from it.

Jim
I set a temp target of 225, but I was getting a few temp spikes. Since I was monitoring the chamber temp, I wasn't actually getting above 260-ish.

My wife and I made pulled pork enchiladas with some of the leftovers. I recommend that too!
 
This past Sunday, I smoked my first pork shoulder! ...and it was that a grueling experience too! Twelve hours of waiting and checking in like an expectant father! :emoji_stuck_out_tongue::emoji_cold_sweat:

My day started around 6am. The first order of business was to caffeinate the cook, then pull the pork shoulder from the fridge to let it warm up to room temperature. This is where I started:
View attachment 667853

I started with a simple injection of apple juice, water, sugar, salt, and Worcestershire sauce (I used "W Sauce" and if you haven't tried it, I highly recommend it!). After making a mess of that, I added the rub; btw: I got the inspiration from this "Girl Carnivore" recipe online.

Onto the Gravity 980 it went at about 8:30am (a little later than I had planned).

In my excitement, I didn't snap a picture of the shoulder post-rub, but I do have this first look after about 4hrs of smoke time:
View attachment 667854

The rest of the time was spent trying to keep the fires burning properly... I was getting some spikes, but since I had temp probes in both the chamber and the pork, I wasn't all that concerned.

Once I got to about the 165-ish range, I pulled the pork off and wrapped it in butcher paper, re-inserted the probe, and waited... and waited... and waited -- you get the idea; long, low-temperature smokes can be a little nerve-racking, to say the least.

As expected, I hit my target temperature around 7pm. I pulled the pork from the smoker and let it rest.
View attachment 667855

The moment of truth had arrived! The bark was absolutely gorgeous!
View attachment 667856

As I worked on this thing of beauty, my wife started to film me with her phone (and just today I -- unfortunately -- learned I couldn't actually add them to a post)... first, I was probing around to feel how tender the meat was (first "Oh, my God" moment), then I started pulling on the "money muscle" and is nearly disintegrated in my hand!... and finally, I started pulling soft, juicy chunks with almost no effort at all! Needless to say, we ate very well Sunday night! [edit: I neglected to mention just how easily that bone pulled away from the meat!]

As I had mentioned before, this was my "freshman" attempt at a long, 12hr cook. Prior to this, I'd smoked quite a few chuck roasts for pulled beef; I think those were more on the order of 6hrs. As far as I was seeing this cook, it was the prelude (and experiment) to another infamous long cook, the brisket (frankly, I'd rather screw up and learn on a pork shoulder than screw up on a full packer brisket). If there were lessons learned here, it leaned more toward the fire management side; not knowing any better, I filled my 980 chimney about 3/4 full with a mix of Jealous Devil Max XL briquettes, and apple and cherry wood chunks. Prior to this, I really didn't have experience in estimating the total available burn time. Subconsciously, I was trying to gauge the time such that I can start a cook (I'm thinking brisket here) late at night, go to bed, and still have the Gravity 980 rolling smoke when I get up for coffee in the morning. As I type this, I'm thinking that I should eat the cost of fuel and test it out for myself... but that "thou shall not waste fuel!"-minded engineer in me is singing loud. I think I should give him a beer (or twenty) and just do it.
Congrats on your first success!

Practicing on pork butts is a great plan before you attempt a brisket.
A brisket is a bit different BUT in doing pork butts you can figure out fire management, total smoke time estimates, etc. etc.

After that you just have to learn the quirks of doing a whole packer brisket or a brisket flat. A whole backer brisket is different than doing just a flat, etc.

So, get all the learning you can in and then study up on the differences of brisket to pork butt. Ask all the questions you need :D
 
Looks really good from here. To quicken the cook, bag the 225* and bump it up to 275*. Also there is no need to bring the butt up to room temp before cooking. Another tip - once you wrap bump the temp up even further. I've gone up to 350* and didn't notice any difference in the final product.

Point for sure
Chris
 
It looks good to me and Chris gmc2003 gmc2003 has some good advice on the temp. I always run AT LEAST 250℉, but prefer 275℉. But I'm using an offset stick burner so my temps will fluctuate. No wrap for me.
The rest of the time was spent trying to keep the fires burning properly... I was getting some spikes, but since I had temp probes in both the chamber and the pork, I wasn't all that concerned.
Butts are so forgiving. That's why they are the preferred first long smoke for people...
 
Looks really good from here. To quicken the cook, bag the 225* and bump it up to 275*. Also there is no need to bring the butt up to room temp before cooking. Another tip - once you wrap bump the temp up even further. I've gone up to 350* and didn't notice any difference in the final product.

Point for sure
Chris
Very well -- thank you!
 
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Great cook - you never forget your first! I’m with many others in this thread - pork butt is so much fun because it’s so forgiving. Give higher temps a try if you want to experiment. Shorter cook, probably avoid the wrap, great bark, and still juicy and tender.
 
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