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Pork shoulder picnic

Discussion in 'Meat Selection and Processing' started by tastywilbur83, Oct 25, 2013.

  1. Pork shoulder, to remove the skin or not to remove the skin. That is the question. And....... Go! Thanks guys and gals.
  2. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I prefer to remove the skin and trim relatively lean, leaving just a very thin layer of fat just to add to the formation/texture of the bark. You can get a lot more smoke to the meat, as well as that coveted bark when you remove the skin.

    No-foil, towel-covered resting on an elevated rack to preserve that fantastic bark:

    What can I say...I love a heavy, crisp bark on pulled pork.

    The above pics are from my most recent picnic shoulder smoke with wet-to-dry smoke chamber method:


    Last edited: Oct 25, 2013
  3. chef willie

    chef willie Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Yeah, you could season that thing for a week with the skin on and it wouldn't penetrate. Many now will remove most of the fat & all skin and apply that heavy overnight rub. Last time I did one I took a disposable pie tin, punched holes all along the bottom and put the fat in that & on the rack above to slowly ooze out and baste the meat below. Worked pretty well...Willie
    lionel47 likes this.
  4. Thanks for the tips guys. I absolutely love this forum.
  5. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    You're welcome. You might love this place now, but in a year or so, after considering or completing tons of smoker mods, and looking at your burgeoning "must smoke" list, you may just hate this place...LOL!!! All joking aside, I can't think of any place I'd rather spend my spare time than right here...smoke and learn...help others learn...doesn't get any better, IMHO.

  6. humdinger

    humdinger Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Ditto - I love learning on here. I sometimes read so much that it all runs together until I can't keep track no more. Eventually it sinks in slowly, then after a couple weeks I'll have an "idea" about something and thinks it's mine/original! LOL Maybe there's some "inception" going on. Also, can you elaborate on the towel resting period? I always hate how the bark softens inside the foil.

    As for the shoulder, skin off, save for cracklins.
  7. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    It's outlined in the link I posted above (post #12) with the pics of the picnic:


    Oh, soft bark just doesn't get it done for me, either...the fix for it is pretty simple though...just rest on an elevated grate in a baking or roasting pan, cover with a clean towel and give it a couple hours to take a nap. Without foiling, and nothing in contact with the meat while resting except the small area of the grate, it allows the bark to breathe while resting...it reduces water vapor from collecting on the surface and basically steaming the bark and softening it up before you pull your pork. I like to leave my probe inserted during resting, as they won't hold temp quite as long as when foiled and towel-wrapped for insulation, but most larger cuts like a whole picnic or butt will hold well above 140*  for over 2 hours. The only draw-back to this resting method is that you have about 2/3-3/4 as long of a window for a time-buffer when resting before you need to get it pulled and served or chilled, so you need to get it finished a little closer on timing if you're on a dead-line for your meal...that said, the window isn't that much smaller, IMHO.

    A quote from the finished pulled pork post (#14) in above linked thread:

    Results of the resting were very good, with temps still @ 151* after 2.5 hours of resting, and that was @ room temp of around 74-75*, so your mileage may vary, but 3 hours might still be a viable length of time to rest and still be well above 140*.

    The towel-covered, elevated resting for pulled pork subjects really helps preserve your bark. I've been doing that for over a year now (maybe close to 18 months) with all of my pulled pork. I've used it for a few cuts of beef as well...with anything I want to keep the bark very prominent. Give it a shot...you should notice a big difference, especially if you use a dry smoke chamber to set the bark for several hours, or at least a couple, before you yank it out to rest....those two methods combined have resulted in the best bark I've ever had.

    That soft, sometimes mushy bark just wasn't turning my crank and got very annoying to me about 2 years ago...it was time to find a way to do something about it...turned out to be nothing more than simple physics, and the rest has been very tasty history, indeed.

    BTW, forgot to mention about saving the skin for cracklins...good catch!!!

    Last edited: Oct 26, 2013
  8. humdinger

    humdinger Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Thanks for the details on maintaining the bark. I might give that a try soon here. Got three butts in the freezer and they are taking up too much space!
  9. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Any time...happy to help. That's probably a good sign to get a smoke going soon if the freezer is getting too full...LOL!!!

  10. so ms smoker

    so ms smoker Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    x2  Well said Eric.