The shoulder from hell...

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Master of the Pit
Original poster
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
Nov 3, 2013
Massapequa, NY (Long Island)
Hey All,

From what I have read on SMF, meat is unpredictable but today's cook really took me by surprise. So I am smoking a shoulder to use for pulled pork sliders on Christmas Eve. I am making a bunch of other dishes but I had to sneak something smoked in there so I figured they would make a nice appetizer. It's a little under 8 lbs and I am cooking it with propane in my masterbuilt. I was making so much other food for the holidays, so I planned to put the shoulder on at 8:00 am and then throw some baby backs on a few hours later for dinner. Well I think it will take anywhere from 12-14 hours for the shoulder and I really didn't want to foil it. Well I gave in when it stalled at 163 for 5 hours or more... So I wrapped it up with some apple juice and prayed for the goes up to 165 and sat there for 2 hours... Return of the stall! At midnight I brought it inside and put it In the oven at 250. It finally got to 200 at 2:30am... A total of 18.5 hours. It was my first true grind it out smoking experience and it was grueling. It was unusually warm today and I my temp never went out of the 225-250 the whole smoke so I was so shocked it took so long... The one time I opened the door during the stall I probes it with 5 different thermometers and they all confirmed my nightmare haha. Well it was worth it in the end... Here's some pics of the ends result

I couldn't stop eating it! Probably not the best idea to eat half a pound of pork before bed haha
Looks delicious no wonder it turned out great...But 16-18 hours for an 8lb Butt at 225-250° is normal. If you read my responses to the hundreds of, " How long will my Butt take? " my answer is always, " At 225-250°F, plan on 2 hours per pound plus 2 hours to CYA/Rest the meat." A year or so ago I ran a poll to confirm it wasn't just me. Nearly all the respondents confirmed the 2 hour timing. To get the 1.5hr/lb, temps need to be 250-275°F. There are always crazy exceptions, 1hr/lb at 225° but they are rare and the fortunate few.
Ahhh, I wish I read that poll haha... It's alright I was productive while waiting for it to cook... Prepared other food for the holidays, wrapped my wife's Christmas presents. In your opinion, how many hours of smoke would you put on a shoulder that size? I put between 4 and 5 and I had nice thin smoke and I felt it could be a little smokier. I did use apple only and in my limited experience I find that to be mellow which I do like.
I use an AMNPS Pellet Smoke Generator. One load will burn 10 hours of TBS so I will run it out then foil the Butt and finish the cook. If I decide not to foil, I reload and continue smoking. The thin smoke is not real strong so continuous smoke is not over powering. I tend to follow the belief that, " It's a Smoker! If there is meat in there, you should be making Smoke! " But I have been doing this a long time and my family is used to and enjoys the smokier than average meat...JJ
Wow, 27 hours.  How big of a shoulder was it?  Yeah, the end result is just amazing but if timing was an issue I would have been screwed.  Next time I might try a higher temp.  I have read a lot of Steven Raichlen (spelling?) books and he is proponent of 325 for shoulders and most BBQ for that matter.  That seems really high, kinda contradicts the low and slow but might be worth a try. Every grilling technique and recipe of his I have tried has been great so when it comes to smoking I imagine he is trustworthy.  Am I allowed to talk about him on here?  haha
It was two 10lbers and I was using a COS. Temps outside dropped pretty low over night which compounded the problem and the crappy firebox was getting full of ash. 
You just have to go into it knowing it will take two hours per pound. I start at four in the morning or cook all night. Keeping the door shut as much as possible helps too. Looks like it turned our well...Congrats!.............
Just my 2 cents , but when I had my Brinkmann bullet and I couldn't count on more than 6-7 hours of decent smoking time from a full load of charcoal , I used to put a butt on the smoker at 7AM let it get happy for as long as the smoker would keep decent heat and then when the temps dropped below , say , 200 ....I would foil that butt and finish it in a 350 oven. It always came out good and it would usually be done by suppertime easily. Took a lot of the stress out of bbq for me. Just my experience......
I feel your pain brother... a few months ago I had a shoulder do a three hour stall at 155...ugh. I usually have 1.5 per lb cooks at 235...would I be better to keep it at 225? Always get rave reviews....I also foil at 165 and pull off the grill at 195..
Never ever cook a butt any lower than 285°, I like to stay at 300° or a bit higher. You will get excellent results and cooking times of less than 1 hour per pound, I average about 50 minutes a pound on all my butt cooks. There is no reason to torture yourself with long cook time, ever. is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

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