Hot n' Fast Pork Shoulder

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Epic Pitmaster
Original poster
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
Sep 7, 2013
Roseville, CA, a suburb of Sacramento
Well, got tired of waiting for the replacement door for my new WSM so decided to fire it up and do my first smoke on it.  Chose hot n' fast due to the 1/8" to 1/4" gaps at the top of the door (was 1/2" and was able to bend it to the smaller gaps).  Seasoned the smoker over a week ago to burn off the shipping oils.

Due to my schedule lately there was no special prep on the 8.5 lb bone-in shoulder.  Just washed, dried, oiled, rubbed, then put in a 9x13 disposable aluminum roaster with a rack to hold it up out of the drippings.  Loaded the WSM on a dry smoke with Kingsford Blue and apple wood chunks.  Cranked the lid temp up to 325F then loaded the meat.  Took 4 hours for the pork to reach an IT of 150F.  Took it off, wrapped it with bourbon and apple cider.  Turns out I really couldn't taste the bourbon at the end so just wasted a cup of Makers Mark.  No big loss.

Put it back in the WSM at 330-350F on the lid (top rack chamber temp was measured on the side of the roaster and it was running 25-45F lower than lid temp).  Took another hour for the pork to reach IT of 170 and another hour to reach 205F.  I didn't notice a stall at all!  Took it off and just tucked it in three big, old bath towels to rest on the kitchen island for 2.5 hours.  Then it pulled apart beautifully.  Tender, juicy, and delicious. It's in pieces below before I pulled it because I couldn't keep a fork out of it!

I put about a cup of apple cider vinegar "finishing sauce" on it, a recipe I found here in SMF.  Really made the pulled pork POP with flavor.  I added a little more to my sandwich with a little Q sauce.  Very satisfying!

All in all it was 8 hrs 45 minutes from loading the meat to first bite, relatively quick for a roast of that size.  The only thing I noticed between "hot n' fast plus wrap" compare to "low n' slow no wrap" is you don't get the same depth of bark/smoke ring like you do on low n' slow.  Was tender, juicy, and delicious though and ready in no time flat, relatively speaking.

Happy New Year!

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Thanks all!

I got two bottles of Makers Mark for Christmas gifts so my "no big loss" comment really meant it didn't cost me anything.  My bad!  Obviously I like Makers Mark!

On the above smoke I also experimented with a new drip pan system I didn't mention earlier but you can see the edge of it in the roast picture above.  I had an unused paella pan I received as a Christmas gift a few years ago hibernating in the kitchen cabinet.  Seeing the handles I got an idea.  First I looked to make sure I wasn't about to smoke season an expensive pan.  I found the exact same carbon steel pan online for $22.  I looked elsewhere in the cabinets and found a 13.25" round cooling rack that fit perfectly inside it! (See pic below).  I suspected the 9x13 meat-filled, bourbon/apple cider charged aluminum roaster might bubble over during the wrapped part of the hot n' fast cook.  I put the wrapped roaster on top of the cooling rack in the paella pan and that's what went back in the smoker for the second part of the cook.  Sure enough the aluminum roaster did bubble over a little but the paella pan caught it all.

The cool thing is that the 15" paella pan with the handles (handles not included in measurement) made moving the meat back and forth from the roaster a piece of cake!  It fits beautifully inside the 22.5" WSM and the 22.5" Weber Kettle.  My brain is already filling up with ways to use that paella pan/cooling rack combo in the smokers so I don't have to worry about meat filled aluminum roasters collapsing while transporting meat from the smoker to the kitchen.

I had head that bourbon complimented pork shoulder well and decided to try it.

I found a recipe on here for an injection using apple juice, bourbon and spices

They recommended injecting a full cup for a 10ish l butt, I have to say it was of the best I have made and you could taste the flavors.

I have never added juices when I wrapped a butt before though, only to ribs.  
From what I can tell, many of you are at relatively low elevations.  I am in Reno at nearly 5,000 feet and have trouble when i get the shoulder up to 205.  The meat ends up being dry.  Because of the elevation, water boils at about 202 instead of 212 at sea level.  I have been more successful with a final temp of about 195 to 197.  The fat and connective tissue seems to have broken down appropriately and the meat is much moister.

Any thoughts?
I have to try adding bourbon on my next shoulder. I have to say, I've turned the heat up to get things to finish sooner when time becomes an issue, but I've not done it from the start. I'm going to try it.
I found a very similar way of cooking Pork butts on Jeff's site and this cook style works great!  Only difference is stage 2 uses an oven.

Prep and cook in Alum foil lasagna pan.

Dry rub as you prefer

Smoker Temp: 225 F for 3 hours (till hit 140* internal temp)

When moving to the oven add 1-2 cups of your choice: bourbon, apple juice, 50:50.  I went Apple juice.  Then FOIL the pan, seal it up completely.

Oven: 325 F for 5 hours (or until internal temp 205*)

I let mine rest about a 2 hours just due to heat.  The butt FELL apart, and the separate muscle groups separate easily from the rest.  I took it in stages/groups into another pan to shred.  As I would get a large mass shredded I would take a 1/4cup measuring cup and drizzle the rendering/oil from the original pan over the shredded meat and cover to keep from drying out.

Once it was all shredded, dinner was served!

Since I cooked a full 8# boneless for a family of 4 I took about 1/2 of it and put in Vacuum seal bags immediately.  They are perfect for cooking up later, just boil water and drop in a bag!!  The oil drizzled over it will make it come out juicey and flavorful.  Does not even need sauce!

For those that do not have a vacuum sealer I can recommend this one as a great starter.  It even comes with an assortment of bags and a roll right in the box to get you started!

Food Saver V2244

I got mine for christmas and have used up all the bags!
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  He means he wrapped it in foil with the liquid ingredients to tenderize it and put it back in the cooker.

Yup exactly.  Some people may wrap it foil only, but do to the size and weight I think most if not all people that foil will put the butt in a disposable lasagna pan as it is much easier to work with.  Add liquid to taste and then foil over the top and back in the heat.  I just tried this method as outlined on Jeff's site and went to 205* internal temp and the results were amazing.

Doing this basically steams the butt so using flavored liquid like apple juice or bourbon will enhance the flavor. More importantly for some of us, it powers thru the stall greatly reducing total cook time. 

The downside is that it softens up the bark, my family is new to the smoking thing, so they do not know any different.  Next pair or pork butts I may do one hot and fast and the other slow and unfoiled.
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Being new to this... when you say 'wrapped', what do you mean?
Others are correct above.  I'll clarify a little.

I smoke just about everything except ribs, brisket, and beer can chicken in disposable 9x13 aluminum roasters with an 8x10 cookie cooling rack placed in the bottom of the roaster.  The rack allows air circulation all around the meat early in the smoke and keeps the smoker clean of drippings.  When I'm ready to "wrap" the roast I remove the internal temp probe from the meat then add whatever "braising" liquid I am going to use to the roaster.  In the case above I used apple cider and Makers Mark.  Then I cover the roaster tightly with two sheets of heavy duty aluminum foil.  That's what I'm calling "wrapping."  Finally I stick the internal temp probe right through the foil back into the meat and put the wrapped roaster back on the smoker.  This little hole in the foil makes no difference to the braising process.

At this point I am basically "braising" the meat to finish the cooking process.  Braising means cooking it in a wet environment.  Liquid transfers heat 25 times faster than air and is the main reason why once you add liquid and wrap the meat  there's no reason to keep temps low and slow as long as you can monitor the progress of the meat.  There's also no reason to keep adding smoke since the aluminum foil is basically a smoke barrier.  It is one of the reasons folks finish roasts in the oven.  I have done so too but like having the probe in the meat.  I can't do that with my current oven so I just use the smoker to braise the roast at the higher temp. is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

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