PLEEEASE HELP! pork shoulder

Discussion in 'Pork' started by smokinal, Nov 17, 2009.

  1. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    I am fairly new to smoking. I have a MES that I have smoked on about a dozen times. Spares, BB's, Turkey, ham, CBB. So far with the help of everyone on this site I have had very good luck. In fact it has been so good that we are having a neighborhood block party & I have been asked to smoke 4 pork shoulders. I told them that I have never done shoulders & the neighbors all said I would do just fine. Well I don't even know where to start. What temp? Rub? Foil or not? About how long will it take for a 9# shoulder? What meat temp do I want? I have never even pulled pork. Do you just pull it apart with a fork? After it's pulled do you sauce it? I'm sorry if I'm asking a bunch of stupid questions, but everybody here has been so helpful that I feel comfortable asking stupid questions.
    Thanks in advance, Al
  2. richoso1

    richoso1 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Your questions are not stupid, hopefully Ron will be by soon, as he has a lot of experience on a MES, along with other members. Good luck my friend.
  3. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Thank-you my friend,
  4. placebo

    placebo Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

  5. pineywoods

    pineywoods Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead SMF Premier Member

    That sticky should get you some good pulled pork and maybe use some of this finishing sauce before serving it

    As for pulling after you let it rest an hour or two you can try to use two forks to pull it or a set of bear claws or just pull it with your hands. I got the bear claws from a friend awhile back and they work well but prior to that I just used gloves and pulled it with my hands. I usually use Jeff's rub sometimes I use a coat of mustard to help hold the rub other times I don't.

    Have a great smoke and don't forget the Qview
  6. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Thanks placebo!
  7. oneshot

    oneshot Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Al, if you have access to maple wood it gives a nice flavor and not to strong. I use maple on all my pork for the most part and everybody loves it. Just a suggestion....Good luck!!! [​IMG]
    Added: I use EVOO to hold my rub...
  8. raceyb

    raceyb Smoking Fanatic

  9. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Thanks again to all you guys!
  10. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Thanks RaceyB! Go Gators!
  11. erik

    erik Fire Starter

    Placebo's post pretty much nailed it.

    Here's how I do it:

    -The night before, I rub it with mustard, then my rub.
    - Which rub is a matter of taste. If you're using rub with your Spare Ribs (and like it), then you have a good rub for shoulder.
    -I'll pull the shoulder out of the fridge for an hour if I have time. Otherwise I'll keep it out while I fire up the ECB.
    -I stick it on the ECB for at least 2 hours without messing with it.
    -After 2-2.5 hours, I'll start checking on the ECB once an hour. As I do that, I'll also spritz the shoulder with apple juice. I'll use this time to check the temp when I'm farther into it.
    -I typically only use smoke wood (apple & cherry) for the first 5 hours. After that, it's all charcoal.
    -Around 160-170, I typically take it off the ECB, wrap it double in foil, spritz it with apple juice, then stick it in the oven @ 250. Technically, you can leave it on the smoker, but like many others, I pull it to conserve on fuel.
    -At ~200 (actually, 195-205 depends on how my patience holds) I take it out of the oven, wrap it foil and all in blankets, then stick it in a cooler for an hour or so.
    -After that, I'll take it out and pull it. I typically start with forks and end up just using my hands. I just find it too hot to handle right away. :)
    -After pulling, I'll lightly sauce it and mix. From there serve it right away or stick it in the fridge for the next day.

    For a 9# butt, it would take me around 18 hours for the whole process, which is admittedly a bit long. A combination of ECB limitations and operator error are to blame. The key is to trust what the themometer says, not the clock. I always try to smoke butts a day before an event to make sure I finish and I am rested and sociable the next day.
  12. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Thanks Eric, I had the same thought . Smoke them the day before then warm in oven before the block party. I wouldn't want them to cook any further so I'm guessing warming at about 250 with foil.
  13. the dude abides

    the dude abides Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Hey Al,

    You're getting great advice. Just a couple of minor things to add...

    Yes, you can just use forks to seperate the meat. But like Meowy's thread said you should look into getting some Bear Paws. With this much meat you're hands are going to get tired pulling it with dinner forks. Here's a link to some on line

    This could take a while to smoke. No real harm in cooking the day before the party, pulling and reheating the day of.

    Also, make sure you've got plenty of fuel, a comfortable chair, a good beverage of choice, some snacks, and nowhere to go for a while. LOL

    Sounds like you're the chef of the neighborhood. That's a great compliment. Hope it all works out for you. Keep us updated. With qview of course.
  14. chisoxjim

    chisoxjim Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I dont use a MES,

    but I plan on 2 hours per # on the smoker for the bone in butts I do.

    I inject , and then rub the butt 12 hours before smoking & then pull the all nighter and stay up with them(I dont trust leaving any cooking device on unattended, I like my house too much). I typically dont mop, spritz, etc(I rely on the fat cap to keep the meat moist & I dont foil the butt while it is on the smoker). I reapply rub during the smoke, and pull when the internal hits 195-200 degrees. Double wrap in foil, then wrap in a towel, and toss in a cooler until I am ready, at least 1-2 hours.

    good luck
  15. evo 9 guy

    evo 9 guy Smoke Blower

    When I asked Ronp about some pulled pork a while ago he told me to just put them in the oven set to 170-180 that way they do not over cook and then pull them in the morning. It was for a potluck at work so I still wrapped them in a cooler but the resulst was amazing. All I used to pull apart was two bbq forks and the meat was so tender it just fell apart. I didnt have to use force at all.

    The cooking process itself I rubbed the night before with Bilbo's Rub, cooked at 250 until 165, double wrapped in foil, cooked to 202, pulled off smoker and put into oven for the rest of the night while I slept.
  16. raceyb

    raceyb Smoking Fanatic

    This is exactly the way ya wanna go. If it is cooked right, it will fall apart. And as the dude abides said, make sure you have nowhere you have to be for awhile. The last time I smoked 4 shoulders, the total time was 17 hours I believe. I had one piece plateau at 165 degrees for what seemed like hours.

    How many people you feeding? I did four shoulders and was able to squirrel away two full 1.5 gallon freezer bags and still fill a roaster pan full that fed over 20 for Halloween night...
  17. pi in sc

    pi in sc Fire Starter

    Only thing I would add.... When doing more than one roast, I like to mix my meat and will smoke a butt and a picnic... I find bringing together the two different cuts really add another layer of goodness to the final product.

  18. placebo

    placebo Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Oh ya you are in good hands now. Just keep reading what all these fine folks are telling you and you will even make yourself proud!

    One other thing I wanted to add was you may want to pre-heat your MES to 250 with a full water pan before putting the four shoulders in if you plan on doing them all at once. I'm not sure what your total weight is but four full shoulders in an MES is gonna drop your temps and add some considerable recovery time. Good thing your in FL and not MN!
  19. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Thanks for all your advice guys. I'm going to Sam's tomorrow & get just 1 pork shoulder ( well I'll probably get some spares too as long as I'm there ). I want to give it a trial run. Thursday's my birthday & I already told my wife all I want to do that day is smoke some ribs & beans. This coming weekend I will attempt to smoke the shoulder. With all of your advice I have a pretty good idea of what to do. I will post the shoulder smoke with q-view so you all can see if I suceed or not.
    Thanks again, Al
  20. I'm with Placebo, you might have some trouble getting your temps up with that many butts. I can tell a big difference between smoking one butt and two or three in my smoker (I have a smaller upright) in holding temps. Also make sure when you unwrap those puppys that you do it in a pan where you can catch all the juice. I always refridge the juice then skim the fat off and use the juice the next day (at least a little of it) and mix in with the meat when I heat it back up.
    Good luck!

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