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Smoking 8lb pork shoulder or cut in half?


Joined Nov 12, 2020
Hey everyone I’m going to be smoking a pork should this weekend for Father’s Day. I have two 8lb shoulders and was wondering if splitting them in half to have 4lb ones is a better idea for cook time and the danger zone. Will 4lb ones smoke fine and not dry out? I never made anything that small before. I’ll be using my traeger.

thank you!


Smoking Fanatic
SMF Premier Member
Joined Jan 18, 2021
If it were me, I would cook them whole. An eight pounder is a little larger than I normally buy so I would have it prepared (trimmed and rubbed) the night before. Up early to start the cooker and have it on by 6 or 7.
If you split them they will cook a little faster and have more bark.


Master of the Pit
SMF Premier Member
Joined Jan 13, 2015
It is the thickness of the meat that has the greatest effect on the time, so cutting in half won't necessarily help as much as you might want it to. Now if you are really after more bark, then have at it. If you're concerned about time, smoke at a higher temp, say 250º-275º. Butts are one of the most forgiving cuts and you really have to work hard to not get great results.


SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster
Staff member
OTBS Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
Joined Jun 22, 2009
Unless you butterfly them the cook time will not be any quicker. It goes by the thickness of the meat. I would keep them intact & just go for the long cook. Personally I cook them at 270-280 and you won’t have to worry about a stall & you can always smoke them for 6-8 hours & finish them in the oven, while you sleep.


Master of the Pit
SMF Premier Member
Joined Jan 13, 2015
Agree with SmokinAl SmokinAl keep 'em whole but, if time is tight, smoke for 5-6 hours then wrap tight in foil, put in a pan (just in case) and place in a 300º oven.
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