Pulled Pork - Time / Temp Question

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Nitty

Fire Starter
Original poster
Jan 28, 2020
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So I've read and understand and agree that longer time on the smoker (low and slow) creates the tenderness for meats in general and especially when trying to pull pork. So a 10lb shoulder getting to temp in 8 hours likely won't be as tender/juicy as the same shoulder to the same temp but done over 16 hours. So let's say I have a much smaller shoulder I want to use for pulling. I've done larger ones but not a small one yet. I currently have a 5 lb shoulder from a pig I had butchered. Compared to let's say a 10lb shoulder, do I want to back the temp down so it still takes the same length of time (~16 hours) to get the same tenderness/juiciness? My thoughts are the smaller cut is going to get done quicker so it will not sit on the smoker as long as the larger cut so it won't have that time to break everything down.....or am I off base here?
 

DougE

Master of the Pit
SMF Premier Member
Apr 13, 2010
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Richmond,KY
The rendering of the connective tissues is mainly a function of internal temperature, rather than time, which is why many of us have gone to hot and fast for pork butts. Back when I first joined SMF, 225° was what everyone else was doing, so that's what I did, too. These days, I run my pits at 275° or even a little higher, and there is absolutely no difference in the finished product.
 

Marknmd

Meat Mopper
Jun 22, 2022
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184
Your question makes great sense. I prefer the smaller 5 lb shoulder cuts simply because the cook time is significantly reduced, i.e. I won't be up until midnight. I've noticed no difference in the wonderfulness of the pork. In fact, the 5 lb cut might even be tastier because it's from a younger pig. Good luck
 

Nitty

Fire Starter
Original poster
Thread starter
Jan 28, 2020
44
50
Wow. I guess I was way off on that one. Then why do you hear the low and slow being recommended so often? I thought that was primarily for tenderness. If not, what's the benefit?
 

Marknmd

Meat Mopper
Jun 22, 2022
222
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I think most people define low and slow as anywhere in the 225-275 range, even approaching 300. Hot and fast is more 300+. So 275 is still low and slow. Personally, I like to start mine at 225, and at some point after the meat hits and clears the stall, crank it to 275. The meat finishes faster and it turns out just as well or better than leaving it at 225 for the entire cook. In fact, I think very few people actually leave it at 225 the entire cook. Good luck.


Edit: Here is an article on low and slow vs hot and fast you might find interesting; low & slow defined as 225, hot & fast defined as 325: https://amazingribs.com/more-techni...-temps-when-cook-hot-fast-when-cook-low-slow/
 
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DougE

Master of the Pit
SMF Premier Member
Apr 13, 2010
2,672
2,811
Richmond,KY
Personally, I like to start mine at 225, and at some point after the meat hits and clears the stall, crank it to 275.
I do that on my pellet grill for the added smoke it makes at lower temps, but on my OKJ, it seems to settle in around 275~280°, so rather than fighting it, I just let it run there. I'm satisfied with the end product with it running there, so if it ain't broke, don't try and fix it.
 

Marknmd

Meat Mopper
Jun 22, 2022
222
184
I do that on my pellet grill for the added smoke it makes at lower temps, but on my OKJ, it seems to settle in around 275~280°, so rather than fighting it, I just let it run there. I'm satisfied with the end product with it running there, so if it ain't broke, don't try and fix it.
Actually, I just realized I lied! I like to start mine not long after I light the fire to maximize the time in the smoke. So in the beginning, the meat is on the grate, the cooker temp isn't far above ambient temp as it moves up to 225, then eventually 275. :-D
 
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