My First Pork Shoulder

Discussion in 'Pork' started by daricksta, Jun 17, 2015.

  1. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member






    Top photo is the 4 lb. pork shoulder. I applied commercial rub but forgot to slather the meat with yellow mustard first to ensure the rub stuck but plenty of rub still adhered to the meat. I loaded all the rows of my AMNPS with an apple/pecan pellet mix and lit it with gelled alcohol. The pellets lit right away and stayed lit until they were burned to ash about 10 hours later, all the time producing classic TBS. I put the meat in my MES 30 Gen 1 at 9 am (an hour behind schedule) with a set point of 235°. There was some temp swings but a few hours into the smoke the temp remained fairly steady.

    See the photo of the MES 30 with the ET-733 transmitter? That photo was supposed to show the TBS rising from the top vent. It was easy to see with the naked eye but not so much in the photos I took because it was so thin. The smoke got a bit heavier later on but it was never too thick or too much. This is why I'm such an avid proponent of the AMNPS and the wood pellets sold by Todd Johnson.

    The MES 30 performed like a champ. The temp stabilized after about 3 hours in. An early problem was that I wanted a 235° set point but the controller preferred 228° although the MES display screen showed 240-something. I played around with bumping up the temp and finally got it around where I wanted it: 235-242°. About 8 hours in the IT was around 190° so I bumped the temp up to 250° and dang if it didn't stay around 250-252! At 7 pm I told my wife the IT would reach 200° by 7:30. At 7:28 it reached 201° and it gratified me that I had been right. The pork shoulder was a qualified success. It came out great--tender and moist and good bark--but the apple/pecan smoke flavor was too subtle. I wrapped it in foil and I hope the smoke flavor will grow more intense which is what typically happens. Next time I'll follow Bearcarver's lead and smoke it over hickory wood pellets.

    I just edited out the part about the first 1" of wood pellets not being burnt. Here I am the proponent of inserting the AMNPS lit end first into the MES and I forgot that's exactly what I did. Turns out an entire row of pellets didn't burn but it was the last row. That row of pellets must have gone out after I took the meat out, shut off the smoker, and closed the top vent. Up to the time I took the pork out I saw smoke coming out of the top vent. But it's impressive that over the 10.5 hours I cooked the pork shoulder I only used 2 rows of the apple and pecan wood pellets. I'd expected to use all three.

    I tell you all--the MES 30 mode l#20070910 is a great little smoker. Nothing fancy but it puts out the great Q I was hoping to produce when I bought it 3 years ago. There's no window, no remote, no Bluetooth but it's so easy and pleasurable to use. Combine it with the AMNPS and the Maverick ET-733 and it's virtually foolproof smoking.
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2015
    xray, bearcarver, crazymoon and 2 others like this.
  2. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    That looks Real Pretty Rick!!![​IMG]

    I like the Reddish color!![​IMG]------------------[​IMG]

    Great Job!![​IMG]

    Bear
     
  3. b-one

    b-one Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Congrats on your first butt! Butt what took so long to go for it? It looks tasty!
     
  4.  Glad you had a good outcome on your shoulder. It looks great. I usually get about 3 hours to the row on my AMNPS. Seems like you could use more draft. If it burned a little faster it would give you more smoke output. Maybe a short chimney would help. I use a 3" elbow for a stack on mine. I've also gotten to where I use an 18" tube in my MES40 quite often. I get a bit more smoke from it.

     Good job.

    Chuck
     
  5. crazymoon

    crazymoon Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Rick, Looks excellent sir ![​IMG]
     
  6. mummel

    mummel Master of the Pit

    Well done buddy.  Looks great. 
     
  7. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Thanks, Bear. I think the smoke did it for me but I'll take the points!
     
  8. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Thanks! Some guys are intimidated by a brisket; I was intimidated by a pork shoulder. Every time I had planned to smoke one I instead smoked pork ribs or a beef brisket. Now I'm already planning to smoke another pork shoulder/butt later this summer.
     
  9. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Thanks, my friend.
     
  10. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Thanks, CrazyMoon.
     
  11. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Chuck, this surprised me. When I smoked a beef brisket over oak pellets a few weeks ago all 3 rows burnt up over the 11 hour cook. So it really surprised me when I had a row of pellets left after the 10+ hours of smoking the pork shoulder. I'm still reluctant to add a chimney to my MES 30 since airflow has been very good and the AMNPS has been excellent at producing TBS. Todd says that a full tray should produce about 11 hours of smoke as Bear has also said a few times. That's just about what I get. I'm going to be smoking some bone-in ribeye steaks on Father's Day over hickory pellets to get the steaks up to 125° IT and then I'll sear and finish them up on my charcoal grill. I'll see then how the pellets burn over the couple of hours or so the steaks will be in the smoker.

    Do you place the chimney or tube over the top vent of your MES 30? Why a 3" elbow? I'm not that great at understanding how the mods work and how you choose what materials to use. But I'm a minimalist when it comes to using my smoker which is why, except for the AMNPS, I use my MES 30 just the way it came out of the box.
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2015
  12. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Yup---Bear never got more than 12 hours from a full AMNPS. Usually about 10 or 11 hours, which is about 3 1/2 hours per row. 

    Yours is working fine---I wouldn't change anything with yours or mine.

    Bear
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2015
  13. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I was mistaken. Not sure where I read it. But I confuse guys all the time. This morning I mistakenly replied to jted with a PM that was meant for you.
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2015
  14. tropics

    tropics Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Wow nice job Ricksta, I was beginning to think you didn't have a camera. Great bark on that thanks for sharing.

    Richie

    [​IMG]
     
  15. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Thanks, Richie! Just so happens I bought the wife a great little camera for Mother's Day last year. But, so many times I'm running late in setting up the smoker and the AMNPS and in getting the meat all prepped and into the smoker. It's only afterward I realize I forgot to take Qview shots. Then if the smoke is going later than I planned it's a rush to get it done and then on the table for dinner so photos are forgotten on the back end as well. This being my first smoked pork shoulder I planned ahead to take photos. The aforementioned beloved wife chose a few of the shots for me to post and also contributed one or two herself.
     
  16. tropics

    tropics Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    I know how that is,I just did my first in my mini last week.We love the way it cooks and the MES still gets used smoked some Bacon yesterday.Looking forward to some more great Q..

    Richie
     
  17. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I feel I should know this but what's a mini?
     
  18. tropics

    tropics Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

  19. mummel

    mummel Master of the Pit

    This is interesting.  With my first butt, one row took about 5 hours to burn, but recall I had issues with the smoke being way too little.  It makes sense that the chip loader wasnt open far enough and the pellets werent burning like they should.  I will check next time to see if one row takes 4 hours to burn now that Ive fixed the chip loader issue.
     
  20. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

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