Pork Shoulder Question...

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Original poster
Sep 23, 2006
I just got through cooking about a 8-9lb pork shoulder, and was expecting different results than what I got. I smoked it from about 7:30am-6:15. Average temp of about 210, but down to 190 at times and as high as 245. I took it off at an internal temperature of 170. Any tips or advice you guys could give me. I'm new at this, and I want to get good. Thanks.
It needed to be cooked longer so it would pull. Your cooking temps sound fine, but next time take the meat up to 160 - 170 internal then wrap it in foil. Put it back in the smoker til 195-200 deg. then wrap it in a towel and put it in a cooler for an hour or so. When you unwrap it you will be able to slide out the bone and the butt will likely fall into about 3 chunks at that time.

The temp you stopped at is a good temp for slicing that butt if you still have it.
Hey Seth,

I forgot to add when you get a chance head to the roll call section and introduce yourself to all the guys. Lots of great guys here always willing to help. You wanna learn and get good you found the place to do just that.

Welcome to SMF!!!

I take my butts up to 205 internal temp. I double foil it at 165 internal and put back in the smoker to finish. (You can finish in an oven if need be.) I then wrap in 3 old towels and let it rest in an insulated cooler for 2 hours. When I unwrap, the bone will pull out with no effort and the pork falls apart in your hands.

My first butt did not pull as well as I would have liked it to. Good luck with the next one.


Thanks guys -- I figured that had to be the case. I only rested it for 30 minutes as well.

You wrap the thing up with towels when it's in the tin foil right? I know it's a stupid question possibly, but just wondering. Thanks.
Another one -- once you wrap it couldn't you just put it in the oven? I mean that's about all you'd be doing with it wrapped in foil in a smoker right?

I mean if I ever do a Shoulder again it's going to take forever -- especially now that the temp needs to go up to 190 or so...
Yes to it's still in the foil when you wrap it in the old towels. Add some apple juice to the foil packet. That sort of braises the meat and helps to break down the connective tissue to make pulling easier. I spray my butts in the smoker every time I add wood with a 3 parts apple juice and 1 part bourbon mixture. I spray some in the foil packet at the time I foil.

Yes to that fact that after it is foiled you can finish in the oven (at about 250 degrees F). You can also smoke pork at a slightly higher temp than 210. That would help with the time issue. I usually try to maintain 240F when I smoke pork.

The butt I did today went into the smoker at 7AM, went into the cooler at 4:20PM, and was pulled at 6:30PM. Pictures at the following link:


Hope this helps.


How do I maintain a better temp in my smoker? I can't maintain 240 but for about 15 min. or so. I've loaded it up with coal before I put my coal I've put in the chimney starter in it on top.

I'm new -- so I will take on any advice.
Hey Seth, what kind of smoker are you using? If you add your equipment into your signature it will display with each post and we won't have to ask and you won't have to keep typing it.
I use a propane fired smoker so I can't answer that question. Someone else will be along who can answer your question. Please post what kind of smoker that you have as that would be helpful to the friendly folks here.

Well -- I don't know if it's any good or what, but it's a "Bar-B-Chef" offset smoker from BBQ galore (only thing I could find in the city. I think I'm embarassed to put that in my sig...
Welcome to the forum Seth. I, like you was not successful in my first attempt with pulled pork, but after all the great advice from the guys at this forum I am now cranking out very good pork. Got to get the internal temp up, that's the key. I usually wrap mine at 165, and then crank up the heat until it hits 200. Then I wrap for at least one hour. Right now I have a 8.5lb shoulder and 2 racks on pork ribs on my ECB bullet. It's gonna be a late night.

About the Bar-B-Chef, I've read pretty good reviews about them. A decent budget smoker.

Thanks for the tips guys. Seems like the main problem was the internal temp.

My game plan for next time is to get it to 165 on the smoker, and then get it to around 195 in the oven.
Seth -

Another thing... What are you using? Don't trust the factory thermo. Get a cheapo oven thermo to see what the grate temp really is, you might be surprised. I showed a 40 degree difference between what the outside unit read and what was actually hitting the meat on my cheapo Char Broiler off-set.

I just put a battery in my first remote probe thermo going to use it in shoulder I've had on for about 6 hours ...

Good luck!
Yeah I bought one of those remote thermometers. Those things are awesome.
When you foil the meat and transplant it to the oven, remember slow does it, so donâ€[emoji]8482[/emoji]t crank your stove up to 350° to get your meat up to 190°. It donâ€[emoji]8482[/emoji]t work that way! Good Luck on your Smoke!

I have found a good mustard rub then a dry rub can add some goooooood flavor and moisture to it.

Also IMHO, there is nothing that will help the taste as much as SoFlaqer's finishing sauce. Add that and you will have everyone raving about your pork.

FYI I stopped at a restraunt the other day that claimed to smoke with a real pit. Their pulled pork was not even half as good as what I can make with the knowledge gained form this forum
I did the same thing when I first tried pulled pork. Second time I did it I had 2 pork shoulders, foiled them both at 160 and they went into the oven. I took one out at 195 and the other was over 200* internal. The 195 was awesome, the 200+ seemed mushy in comparison.

About your internal temps, I'm not sure if you mentioned what kind of smoker you are using so I may be off here: You can go to a hardware store and buy 2 pieces of aluminum flashing. One piece you roll up and stick into the smoke exhaust in the cooking portion of your smoker. Then you can adjust that down to the grate of your smoker to help keep temps in.

The second piece, you bend into an L shape and bolt to the hole connecting the smoke box to the cooking chamber. This helps spread the heat around the whole cooking chamber instead of it running straight to the top and out the exhaust.

There's a lot more information on these smoker modifications in other parts of the site.
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