Pork not pulling

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by bpinmi, Jul 8, 2015.

  1. bpinmi

    bpinmi Fire Starter

    Smoked a pork shoulder last weekend. Had good flavor and tenderness but I was disappointed that it didn't pull very well, instead it was very chunky. Here were my steps throughout the process:

    - 9.5 pound shoulder, I did not trim or cut the shoulder at all. Day before the cook I applied rub (Brown Sugar/Paprika based rub) and sealed it in plastic and left in refrigerator

    - Smoked on the cooker at 225-250. I did place the shoulder fat cap down, which I probably should have left the fat cap up so the fat didn't just drain into the water pan.

    - After about 4 hours I placed the shoulder in a foil pan with some apple juice in the bottom, injected some apple juice into the shoulder and covered it in foil for the remainder of the cook.

    - After 10 hours it still was only at 180 deg and I had people coming for dinner in an hour and a half so I removed it from the smoker and put it in the oven at 300 to get the temp up. It was at 185 when I removed it from the oven.

    - I only let it set for about 20 minutes before pulling the meat apart. 

    My first thought is I didn't get the internal temp high enough and started pulling the meat too soon?

    Any other thoughts?? It did taste great, just wasn't pulling the way I wanted it to. 

  2. atomicsmoke

    atomicsmoke Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    IT was too low. In my experience it was always >195 for a good pull. Many times over 200. You can crank up the smoker temp if you want. I always smoke butts at 300-350.
    Also such a large piece of meat would benefit from longer rest. At least 1h.
  3. okie362

    okie362 Smoking Fanatic

    I think you nailed the cause.  I bring the IT to 175 - 180 for slicing.  Never got one to pull properly below 200.
  4. inkncraig

    inkncraig Newbie

    The dreaded stall. I've smoke it, grilled it, fired it. The pork shoulder stays at 160-180 degrees for quite a while doesn't matter the temp. From 225-375. I was in the same boat as you. The shoulder is basically steaming itself. There is a whole science to it. But the way around it is, wrap the shoulder completely in foil. The foil keeps the moisture inside and makes it cool and the temp come up. If you want the shoulder to pull apart, you need the internal temp up to 220.

    Learned from experience. Dinner was late
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 8, 2015
  5. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Time is an important factor when you need to pull pork.... I cook pork butt at 200-210 for 24 hours... it gets to 185-190 IT and the meat falls apart.... pulls easily.... collagen will break down about 180 deg F...
  6. inkjunkie

    inkjunkie Master of the Pit

    Don't you just love the stall? One of the butts we did hit the stall....and then lost a couple degrees....
  7. paul6

    paul6 Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    I did a Butt 2 weeks ago , I always had the same problem . Last one I did a Herb  Brine for 48hrs then applied the rub and smoked as usual. 6hr smoke then covered foil pan with BBQ sauce and Apple juice for an additional 4hrs . Pulled apart great!!
  8. crankybuzzard

    crankybuzzard Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Best test I know of is the bone pull. When the bone pulls out clean, it'll shred like magic. Usually around 200-220
  9. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Smoking is all about low & slow, Your mistake was trying to cook it on the clock. Pigs can't tell time.

    You put it on today if you want it to eat tomorrow at the same time. Thats the best way to approximate pig.

    If you have company comming tomorrow at 7 PM, you should have put it on yesterday at 7 PM.. Pulled pork is always better when cooked ahead, pulled, sauced, and chilled over night. Then just heat it gently the next day.
  10. mummel

    mummel Master of the Pit

    It's easy. Pull at 203F, wrap in tinfoil and towels, and put it in a cooler to coast for another 10F. Let it sit for 2 hours. FOTB.
  11. smokesontuesday

    smokesontuesday Smoking Fanatic

    IT definitely needs to come up. I typically pull butts at 200-205 and then foil them and put them in a cooler for a couple hours. They'll fall apart that way.
  12. bpinmi

    bpinmi Fire Starter

    Stupid question...but I assume you mean a cooler w/ ice in it?
  13. smokesontuesday

    smokesontuesday Smoking Fanatic

    No such thing as a stupid question man. Same cooler (Coleman in my case) but no ice. Foil the butts, put a couple old towels in the bottom of the cooler, put in the butts, and throw a couple old towels (brown paper sacks work well in place of towels) on top, close it up and let the butts rest for 30 minutes to 4 hours. They'll gain some temp and won't cool down for a long time.
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2015
  14. mummel

    mummel Master of the Pit

    Yeah the cooler + towels + foil is used to keep the butt warm as it sits.  I had mine in there for 4 hours the other day.  It was nice and warm when it came out.  You can fill your cooler with hot water beforehand to give it a boost, then empty it right before you load the butt. 
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2015
  15. bpinmi

    bpinmi Fire Starter

    Thanks to everyone for all the great feedback. Smoked another shoulder yesterday and it turned out great. Cooked it to 205, wrapped and put it in a cooler for about an hour and a half and it pulled wonderfully. Excellent tenderness as well.
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2015
  16. mummel

    mummel Master of the Pit

    Looks great!
  17. smokesontuesday

    smokesontuesday Smoking Fanatic

    Awesome. Glad it worked out for you.
  18. vwaldoguy

    vwaldoguy Smoke Blower

  19. schlotz

    schlotz Meat Mopper

    ...and there you have it!  Good results.  While I certainly agree with Foamheart that pigs can't tell time, ergo it's done when it's done, there are occasions where we have dead lines or constraints.  Personally, when I know this is going to be the case I smoke for at least 5 hrs around 225° and when the IT gets to 150-160°, pull, double wrap in foil place in alum pan and put in the oven at 300°.  Make sure you electronically monitor the IT during this process and remove when it reaches 195-200°. < usually in the range of 2-3 hours.  Wrap the whole thing in 3 beach towels and place in a large cooler for at least 2 hours. If you give yourself 10 hours minimum, this process will get it where you want it in time for the feast.  Full disclosure: I marinate my butt in a very large zip-loc bag with a cup of pickling salt, 2 quarts of water and 8 oz of molasses overnight in the fridge, approx 15 hours.  BTW: I've gone as long as 4 hours in the rest cooler and still the meat was safe for consumption i.e. over 150°.

  20. mummel

    mummel Master of the Pit

    Ive only had butt unfoiled, but let me tell you, the bark is fantastic.  Its the best part.  Im too worried to try a foiled butt in case I dont like it as much hahaha!

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