As far as I am concerned, smokeing the whole time is the way to go. When I smoke a shoulder they just keep getting darker and darker the longer I smoke. Look under â€œsmoking meat/pork/topic pulled pork (new to smoking)â€ for a picture of a shoulder that smoked for 12 hours or so. At hour 6 it was brown. At hour 12, it looks like the picture. I feel that deep down, the meat continues to take on smoke flavor even at 12 hours. Anecdotal evidence to me is southern pork barbecue from the best of the BBQ best joints that utilize true pit barbecuing. They smoke around the clock and the heat from the smoldering embers is all the heat they have. Their BBQ is the best on the planet. They donâ€[emoji]8482[/emoji]t just smoke a few hours and quit, they smoke for as long as 24 hours. When you remove meat from 2 inches into the shoulder and it has a subtle delicious flavor of smoke, they you have arrived. This is proof that smoke penetration extends far deeper than the smoke ring. I say, keep it smoking! Those that want to stop at 4 hours or so, are taking the easy route.