My First Pulled Pork: Temp not Time!

Discussion in 'Pork' started by qman, Jul 27, 2008.

  1. qman

    qman Newbie

    Howdy smoking partners, Q here. Ok, so here we go:

    Bought two pork shoulders each a little shy of 6 lbs a piece.

    Having some friends over for an anniversary party today. So Friday night, I cleaned em up under cold water. Then put some olive oil over em, then some brown mustard, and finally Jeff's rub. I wrapped em in plastic wrap, and let em sit in the fridge.

    Go up this morning (Sunday the 27th) around 4am, took em out of the fridge, to get em close to room temp. Went back to bed.

    Got back up around 6:30, I figured around 9-10 hours, so we could eat around 6:00.

    So I fired up the ole Char-Griller Duo w/SFB, got it up to 225-250, threw in some hickory and was smoking by 6:49. Put in both shoulders with an internal temp of 54 degrees.

    I get ready for along day, or so I think.

    They start to cook and the temp rises evenly. At 100 degrees, I start spraying it with my Rum/Apple Juice spray every hour or so.

    Then at 10:15, they BOTH hit 165 degrees. I was like.... humm, so much for any plateau issues.

    SO I take em off the smoker and figure Ill finish em up in the oven.

    So I double wrap em in Foil, after spraying em generously with my remaining spray mixture, then stick the digital thermometer back in one of em, get the oven to 245, and pop em in.

    I did a few things, came back and it was at 180 by 12:00.

    Wow, Im thinking, this is going fast. So at 12:30, we have a power outage. Good grief. SO I go back out and fire up the Char-Griller, get it up to 240 or so, and put the butts in the heat.

    Somewhere along the line, Im thinking, this has got to stall sometime soon.....

    1:30, they BOTH hit 201 degrees!

    Im like, I got friends coming over at 6PM how am I going to keep these warm? SO I wrap em both in towels, and put em in a styrofoam cooler box to rest.

    I had my wife call everyone and have come early at 5PM.

    So now Im figuring on letting them rest till 5 (3.5 hours), and then I will pull the meat and hopefully we are eating around 5:30-6PM.

    Now from what I read, letting em rest this long aint too big a deal, HOWEVER the lesson here folks is GO BY TEMP not time. I am sorta bummed about having to get up so early, but hey, at least I aint still smoking with my guests here waiting for the butt to hit 201! A little shy of 7 hours to cook at 225-250, two, almost 6lb shoulders, to 201 degrees. I think that must be some sorta record!

    Ill write back later tonight after I pull the pork and taste it. I am planning on using the suggest finishing sauce as well.

    Any suggestions or observations would be welcome!
  2. pdigg

    pdigg Smoke Blower

    I would check one out and shred it up in a pan just to make sure.
    Lately, I have been cooking mine the day before an event, shredding them and then reheating the next day in a pan covered with aluminum foil with apple juice included to steam it.

    The only time I have ever had a butt cook "too fast" with no plateu, my temp probe was up against the bone and I was getting a false temp.

    Although the chances of that happening on both of your pieces are probably slim.

    Good luck though. Let us know how it turned out.
  3. flatbroke

    flatbroke Smoking Fanatic

    is your thermometer calibrated correctly? that seems awful quick to me. My thermometer was off by almost 50 degrees over when I boil tested it.
  4. richtee

    richtee Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    It CAN happen. Check thermos tho. If it pulls or if the bone slips out, you done right with the cooler. They'll be fine!
  5. qman

    qman Newbie

    Sorry it took so long to get back with you guys! But the Pulled Pork turned out PERFECT! Everyone commented on how juicy and flavorful it was!

    The Lesson: Go by Temperature, NOT TIME! Now I was fortunate enough to start early thinking I had a full 10-12 smoking day ahead of me. Id rather that, then starting LATE and finding out my Pork was not done while my guests hung around hungry waiting on me.

    Please read my steps and follow them closely for all you newbies. This was my FIRST ever time making smoked pulled pork, and it was great! Maybe it can be stickied somewhere.

    Remember, get a good thermometer. Stick it in your pork whilst you smoke it and watch it closely. It does not lie. (provided you had it calibrated correctly, the old boiling water thing works best IF your digital thermometer goes to 212, I have a William Sonoma digital one that craps out at like 212, it just reads TOO HIGH, as the highest preset temp setting is like 180, but it will read accurately to about 212, but there are other ways to check em)

    Oh the finishing sauce recipe was outstanding!

    Thanks to all for your help!
    "Till we smoke again!"
  6. ron50

    ron50 Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Glad it went good for you and yes it's important to go by temperature not time.

    The only thing I'd caution for the next time is the amount of time you left the meat warming up on the counter.

    I've never read of any "benefit" to doing that and there could be some downsides as far as food safety is concerned.

    Food borne bacteria thrive at temperatures of 40 - 140 degrees. The general rule is to try to get the meat out of that danger zone within 4 hours. By letting it sit for 2 hours before you put it in the smoker you could keep the meat in that zone too long.

    Another advantage to taking the meat straight from the fridge to the smoker is that it gets more time in the smoke before it reaches an internal temp of 140 degrees which is reported to be the temperature at which the smoke ring stops forming.

    Glad everything worked out and that you and your company enjoyed it.

    Good job!

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