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Smoke 8lb pork shoulder or cut in half?

aiwa101

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Hey everyone I’m smoking a 8lb pork shoulder this weekend for Father’s Day. I’m wondering I should cut in half and have two 4lb ones. I was worried about the danger zone and how long it would take to cook. Would a 4lb shoulder smoke fine and not dry out? I never smoked anything that small on my traeger.

thanks!
 

sandyut

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I would just smoke the whole thing. If you run it at about 275 it shouldn't be a death march to get it done. I do it all the time on my rec tec. Halving wouldn't dry it out IMO - I doubt. the first butt i ever did I had the butcher half it as I didn't want to F up the whole thing. The issue was after it was all said and done-half a butt turns into very little pulled pork. in the end, one is likely easier than two...maybe.
 

Chasdev

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I would do it without splitting but having said that, there's no reason not to split it.
I've had some take longer than expected to break out of the stall and maybe two smaller ones would power through quicker.
If they finish too quickly eating time wise, just leave them wrapped in the oven or an ice chest so they rest/cool down very slowly, won't do anything but make them more tender.
 

tallbm

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Hey everyone I’m smoking a 8lb pork shoulder this weekend for Father’s Day. I’m wondering I should cut in half and have two 4lb ones. I was worried about the danger zone and how long it would take to cook. Would a 4lb shoulder smoke fine and not dry out? I never smoked anything that small on my traeger.

thanks!
Hi there and welcome!!!

Pork butts and briskets really don't care what temp you smoke them at as long as you aren't burning them or going too low.

I would suggest you crank the heat up to 275F and all your problems will be solved.
Also I kind of "butterfly" mine a bit but only because it increases the flavor and I only buy 8pound or larger butts.

From the meat side I cut straight down until I hit the bone to where I can kind of butterfly the whole thing a little bit.
This allows me to get seasoning in there, smoke in there, more smoke penetration into the meat, and finally more bark everywhere. With the split there is more surface area for seasoning and bark and with the meat being almost in 2 smaller chunks the smoke penetrates into more meat from the increased surface area.

I've found I don't need to mix in any additional seasoning or have a finishing sauce when I pull the pork. I just pull it and go and all the flavor is there!

I hope this info helps you out.
Here is a post showing what I'm talking about :)
 

GonnaSmoke

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Hey everyone I’m smoking a 8lb pork shoulder this weekend for Father’s Day. I’m wondering I should cut in half and have two 4lb ones. I was worried about the danger zone and how long it would take to cook. Would a 4lb shoulder smoke fine and not dry out? I never smoked anything that small on my traeger.

thanks!
If your smoker is big enough, I'd leave it whole.
 

aiwa101

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Joined Nov 12, 2020
Hi there and welcome!!!

Pork butts and briskets really don't care what temp you smoke them at as long as you aren't burning them or going too low.

I would suggest you crank the heat up to 275F and all your problems will be solved.
Also I kind of "butterfly" mine a bit but only because it increases the flavor and I only buy 8pound or larger butts.

From the meat side I cut straight down until I hit the bone to where I can kind of butterfly the whole thing a little bit.
This allows me to get seasoning in there, smoke in there, more smoke penetration into the meat, and finally more bark everywhere. With the split there is more surface area for seasoning and bark and with the meat being almost in 2 smaller chunks the smoke penetrates into more meat from the increased surface area.

I've found I don't need to mix in any additional seasoning or have a finishing sauce when I pull the pork. I just pull it and go and all the flavor is there!

I hope this info helps you out.
Here is a post showing what I'm talking about :)
thank you for the amazing info! So the pork butts I bought doesnt have a bone. Do you think I can still do your butterfly trick?!
 

SmokinEdge

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Full size pork butts are perfect in size for cooking. They range in size but generally land in the 7-9 pound range. This is ideal, I think. I have a 7.5 pounder finishing as I type. It went on this morning at about 10. I wrapped it in foil around 4:30 IT about 157*. As of 6:20 IT is 190 in the thick and 200* on the edges. Will be done for pull by around 7:00, guess. Easy peasy. Pit temps started at 175* until wrap then upped to 295 on a Yoder pellet machine. It’s that simple.
 

bigfurmn

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Cheech? Chong? Snoop Dogg? What's that??? They all say smoke that thing! I've done larger shoulders than that and they come out great. Is the one you bought held together with a netting? Also what rig are you using to smoke it?
 

tallbm

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thank you for the amazing info! So the pork butts I bought doesnt have a bone. Do you think I can still do your butterfly trick?!
Yeah I only ever buy bone in. The bone tells you when to stop cutting deeper... well because you cant. Therefore you never cut it in half all the way haha.

The pics you saw in that thread are bone in "butterfly" cut pork butts. I'm telling you that extra bit of surface area and allowing deeper smoke penetration is a world of difference in flavor :)
 

SmokinEdge

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Yeah that's no good. I'd have to eat that horrible looking thing just to hide the evidence and I wouldn't enjoy one bit :P
hahhaa lies!!! :D
Lol. It is not that bad.
I ment to say, that it was actually over cooked a bit at 9 hours. Not that is was really over cooked in general. Was really soft though, almost mushy, but not quite. Pulled pork is the easiest. And yes, as usual it was delicious.
 

mike243

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Welcome to the site, I read that its pork shoulder yet everybody has responded about pork butt? is this a real shoulder with the skin on or is it a pork butt? if skin on take it off, smoke wont make it through skin. hard to mess pork up imo , may be why I like it so much lol
 

aiwa101

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Yeah I only ever buy bone in. The bone tells you when to stop cutting deeper... well because you cant. Therefore you never cut it in half all the way haha.

The pics you saw in that thread are bone in "butterfly" cut pork butts. I'm telling you that extra bit of surface area and allowing deeper smoke penetration is a world of difference in flavor :)
thankyou! So would you say it cooked about an hour per pound butterflied? Or how long?!
 

tallbm

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thankyou! So would you say it cooked about an hour per pound butterflied? Or how long?!
At a steady 275F unwrapped in my smoker, meat cooks a little over an hour a pound. I think the butterfly may make things a little quicker but not enough for me to change my estimations.

So butterflied or not a 10 pound pork butt for me at 275F smoker temp would be about 11 hours and then I add 4 hours to that so I start 15 hours before I plan to eat.

If it finishes 4 hours early then fantastic, I tightly double wrap in foil, then tightly wrap in 3 bath towels and leave on the table for 4 hours when it is time to shred, serve, and eat. It is always piping hot that way.
If it doesn't finish 4 hours early, well I have 4 hours buffer for it to get done before time to eat :)

The meat is never done by time or temp, only by tenderness. However my estimation practices are quite good so that I am never in a tough spot for time and the meat is tender and ready within that time period :)
 

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