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Smoked Pork Shoulder

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  • Smoked Pork Shoulder

    This takes a while, so its best to get it about half way done at home and then finish it at the tailgate.

    This is a recipe I learned in Texas passed down from those boys out in South Carolina who do pork better than anyone.

    What you need: 3-5 lbs pork shoulder.

    Pork rub (make your own or buy a pre-bought one, if you make your own, you need lots and lots of paprika but there are some really good rub's out there on the internet if you do make your own and its always best this way).

    Worcestershire Sauce

    A smoker.

    Pecan wood chunks (not chips, they burn too fast), or in a pinch, Hickory. Mesquite is ok but Pecan has the best flavor for pork and beef IMO. You can try Apple but I have only cooked chicken with Apple, im not brave enough to test a piece of good pork or beef with Apple.


    Day 1: Get your pork out the day before you start smoking (if you get a 5 lbs, two days before game day), plaster your rub all over it. I mean ALL over it. Make sure it is good and covered, then throw it in the fridge over night. This allows those seasonings to sit on the pork for a good while and the pork will absorb it pretty good. This is not a necessary step but it gives the pork a better flavor all the way through.

    Next, get you a bucket full of water, pour your wood chunks in them, let them sit overnight in the water.

    Day 2:
    Get you a firepit (usually a charcoal grill, thats what I use a portable one) and get your charcoal briquettes lighted and going. While you are waiting for your charcoal to turn nice and gray and the lighter fluid to burn off, empty the water from your bucket of wood chunks. Sit them out in the sun until the charcoal is nice and gray and you are sure the lighter fluid is gone away. Throw 8-10 wood chunks on the coals and let them get nice and burned all the way around. You will notice a subtle change in the color of smoke being given off by the wood and when that occurs, take the 3-5 of the chunks out of the fire put and put them in your firebox in your smoker. Pre-burning the wood gets rid of any mold/mildew/fungus that may have grown on the wood and any bugs and doesn't mess with your meat.

    Watch your temperature (pork should be in fridge still), when your temperature gets to 250 degrees, keep it there. Add or remove wood chunks as necessary and adjust your vents until you stabilize the temp at 250 for about 20 minutes.

    Now, throw that pork shoulder bare ass in your smoker. Every 20 minutes or so, check the temperature and smoke being released from the smoker, if you find that your smoke is non-existant or not as thick as it was when you first got the chunks going then add another chunk of wood. As you do this, remember to keep adding chunks of new wood onto your firepit to keep them pre-burned. Be careful and dont add too much, only when you take some out of the firepit. You dont want to waste the wood.

    Depending on the size of your pork shoulder, you will cook this for several hours. I have gone by this standard: 2 - 2.5 hours per lbs. So if you got a 5 lbs pork shoulder, you will be cooking it from 10-12.5 hours or so. However, you dont want to smoke the pork shoulder this whole time. You will continue to use the smoker, but once you reach teh half way point you will take your pork shoulder off the grill and go wrap it in tin foil. Dont close it all the way but make sure that it wont leak out of the bottom. Throw it in the fridge and get ready for game day.

    Day 3:

    Take your half-cooked pork shoulder out of the fridge, head to parking lot (bring smoker, fire pit, wood chunks and Worcestershire sauce as well as some charcoal briquettes and lighter fluid to start your fire pit up again). Repeat fire pit beginning process. While you are doing that, unwrap the top part of the pork shoulder and pour in the worcestershire sauch until its about an inch deep on bottom of the tinfoil. Take a meat form and poke holes in the top of the pork shoulder pretty deep and then pour a bit more sauce over the top so that some of it gets inside the meat. Close the tin foil up around the pork shoulder sealing it tightly making sure there are no leaks.

    Once your temp on your smoker is back up and stabilized, cook the rest of the time. At this point, you dont have to worry about the smoke amount as you are no longer smoking, now just slow cooking. Drink beer while you wait. In fact, if you haven't been drinking beer the whole time you have been doing it wrong.

    If you have a meat temperature gauge, poke it on the inside of the meat after about 3 hours on a 3 lbs pork shoulder or 5 hours on a 5 lbs pork shoulder. If the temp is below 170 you still got some cooking to do. If it is between 170-190 you are good but do NOT let it go above 190. I usually stop it around 175-180 or so.

    Take it out, unwrap, watch the pork just slice easily. It will be tender, succulent and absolutely delicious. If you let it cool down you can pull it off and have pulled pork but screw that, it already takes long enough. Cut half inch thick slices and make sammiches, or just sliced pork with baked beans and potato salad is pretty damn delicious too.

  • #2
    sounds pretty damn tasty.


    • #3
      I've been smoking pork lately. I like this two day process because it takes so damn long to do in one day. Are you saying that you smoke it for 5 hours take it off, then the next day you slow cook for another 5 hrs? If its 5 lber?


      • #4
        Originally posted by Rock Chalk View Post
        This is a recipe I learned in Texas passed down from those boys out in South Carolina who do pork better than anyone.
        Thank you. I clicked on this thread ready to start a flame war if I could find any weakness in your technique. But by touching this totem, you put me right at ease.

        Looks like your technique is full of win.


        • #5
          for those without the use of a smoker I reccomend a brown and braise technique.
          I will gladly walk thru the procedure if there is any interest.
          FWIW, I too am a huge proponent of PECAN wood. i like its sweet subtle smoke flavor with all protiens, not just pork.


          • #6
            Sounds good. Never thought of the pecan wood but will be trying it for sure..


            • #7
              I used a mix of cherry and hickory on a shoulder and some ribs the other day, turned out excellent.