How not to make nice smoky pork shoulders (pics)

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Smoking Fanatic
Original poster
OTBS Member
Feb 24, 2007
key west, fl
This is a continuation of "How do I smoke this beast" thread. Things were going fine, until the plateau thing happened, then the plan changed dramatically, but all came out well.

Started with two "real" shoulders, skin on. Had to slice this off, and it is thick, tough and a bit gross, but the lobsters over the seawall love it. Followed Debi and others' advice, so I....


peeled the skin off, smeared yella mustard all over them, then shook dry rub all over and wrapped them up in Saran for the night in the fridge. Next step, next day...get the meat out of the fridge, prep the smoker, etc and get them in there!

This is an hour into it, yellow is going to brown (the mustard melts and the taste is non-existant). Looking good, I think internal was 117.


After three hours, the internal came up to 150 or so. I threw on a fattie rolled in rub to make it less sticky. They were looking great! But the temp wouldn't rise, and the more I read here, the more I knew I got stuck in plateau-hell. Waited for hours, checked it over again, and nothing. So I decided to pull them off, wrap them up in HD foil, pour some NC sauce on them and put them in a 240F oven, leaving the sausage to smoke. Hours longer! Temp not rising past 175! Need 200 for chopped BBQ! Well I put the oven at 170 and slept.

At 9am the next am, turned off the heat and just let them sit for 2 hrs or so. Then I peeked, they were quite pink but very hot, delicious, and had the texture of pot roast, stringy I guess. I thought that they had never gotten to 200, so I'd put them back in at 300F for an hour. My wife said they'd been at 170 all night, perfectly safe, pink is the smoke color, pull them out!!! I'm glad I did.


As it turns out I pulled them instead of chopping it up. It pulled beautifully, two forks, and it fell off the bone. Gave it all away after a huge meal for us.
So here's what I did. Followed the standard shoulder plan.....coat, rub, smoke at least 3 hrs at 225-250, wrap up, cook (smoke, for purists) some more in 240F oven, and wait for the internal temp to be at least 170F. In this case, this smoke went haywire because I kept these in a 170F oven for NINE hours (I did put a good bit of sauce on them) and they still came out delicious. I guess this is a very forgiving cut of meat....but it sure was good. I'm going to schedule a bit more time next smoke! I hope new guys learn from this...I sure did.
All that matters is that it tasted good in the end. Just remember next time that it will take about an hour and a half per pound on those shoulders. Good luck in the future and keep on smokin.
Wish I'd made the same decision you did. I had something similar happen, and went to bed without leaving it in the oven.....wound up throwing away a lot of uncooked meat. Glad it worked out for you.

Looks great! Falling off the bone is a pretty good sign of doneness!! LOL


Take care, have fun, and do good!


Told you ya done good!
Those are big hunks of meat.
Looks tasty to me, and falling off the bone is right in there.
The more you smoke the easier it will get.
Mike, thank for your "live" help. Might have smoked some pork rind encrusted undercooked shoulder!
Keywesmoke, glad to hear that you had good groceries. Over the years, we have had some bad qs 'cause we didn't leave enough time. With butts, brisketts and, to some extent, ribs, Time Is On Our Side. Givin enough time, most of these meats will taste so good, makes you want to......
Importing " on my Side" (yes it is) by Stones into harddrive for next time. is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

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