Perfectly Smoked Pork Shoulder

You can include pulled pork in just about any dish to make it more mouth-watering. Whether you add some to your morning omelet, sprinkle some inside your grilled quesadilla, or top your nachos with it, you can’t go wrong. The great thing about smoking a pork shoulder is that you’re guaranteed a large quantity of food to use in all these various dishes.

This video outlines the essential steps that will guarantee your pork shoulder is smoked perfectly, promising many tasty meals for you to enjoy!

What are your thoughts? (22)


Susan P


How do you check the temperature to see if it's 190 after it's wrapped in foil? Do you just pierce through the foil to check the temperature? I'm really a novice, so this may be a silly question.



Kevin Kolman

Not a silly question at all. What I do is I get a giant piece of foil and fold it over itself. I then, place the shoulder directly in the middle and fold the sides over the shoulder. I bring the two sides together and seal the shoulder. You can pierce right through the foil if you want or you can undo the foil and then check the temp. Good luck and if you need any more advice find us here or on Facebook and Twitter at Kevin Kolman’s backyard and always Happy Grilling!!


Dan O

First timer here. I have a 5lb Boston butt I will be smoking on my WSM. Rubbed it with mustard and added a dry rub the night before and let it rest in the fridge overnight.

Contemplating an injection and want to get your take.

Couldn't find lump apple wood so going to use chips but don't have a smoker box. I did by a foil pan and plan to soak the drips and put in foil pan, cover foil pan with foil and poke holes to vent the smoke. Suggestions?

Thoughts on occasionally spritz ing with apple juice mixture for flavor and moisture?

How long should I plan to smoke? I've read enough blogs to know to wrap in foil at 150-160 and then finish at 195-200. All in all, if I target 225 , how long do you expect the entire smoke and cook time?

How long do you recommend letting the butt sit and rest once removed?

Thanks in advance!



Kevin Kolman

Your approach with the smoker tin is perfect. The reason we poke holes is to control the smoke and not allow the chips to start on fire. Injecting is good but you can just get some amazing flavor without it. I would recommend trying it without injections to give you a baseline for future cooks. Spritzing is a good idea especially with apple juice. Things that are cold and wet absorb more smoke giving you a much better product. Also the sugars in the juice will help the shoulder look amazing. I would say it should take about 7-9 hours depending on cooking temps. I always allow mine to sit for 2-3 hours. This really brings it all together. Keep the questions coming here or on Facebook and Twitter at Kevin Kolman’s Backyard and always Happy Grilling!!


Stephanie E

How long does it usually take to get from 165 to 195 in the foil? We are new to this!


Kevin Kolman

The meat is done when it is done. There have been times my shoulders have finished quickly 8-9 hours and others 12-13. Lots of factors can play into the cook times of shoulder. Now with that being said when I foil my shoulders they take about 3-5 hours to push through the stall period and get you to 195. If you want the shoulders to cook quicker you can double foil with a tight seal. If you want to cook it a little slower you can seal the foil but leave about 4-5 inches from the top of the shoulder to the top of the foil where you seal it. Hopefully this helps and if you have any other questions you can find us here or on Facebook and Twitter at Kevin Kolman’s backyard and always Happy Grilling!!


Roosevelt B

Hey all,

Novice smoker here. What kind of time and temp should I use for smoking a smaller amount of meat, like 2lbs of pork shoulder?


Kevin Kolman

You should be looking at somewhere between 1-1 1/2 hours a pound for smoking. A 2 pound shoulder will cook pretty quick. I usually go off of tenderness myself. When it feels like a sponge its done. Hope this helps and keep the questions coming. If you need more advice you can find us here or on Facebook and Twitter at Kevin Kolman’s backyard and always happy grilling!!


Anthony L

Did my first pork shoulder this past weekend. Glorious! Seven pounder went quicker than I thought. I was prepared for 12-16 hours - other websites freaked me out about not using the rule of thumb, expect longer cook times, etc. It was done in 11 hours.

One thing that did happen to me was that I put it on at 10:30 p.m. the night before and let it go overnight, thinking 12 to 16 hours on the smoker. I used a Weber meat probe with a remote unit and put the remote unit on my nightstand. 4:00 a.m. and the thing was going off like crazy as the internal temp hit 190 (I had set it to go off at 160, but the beeping wasn't loud enough to wake me).

Went down and wrapped it, put it back on the smoker and staggered back to bed until 7:45 a.m. Checked temp - nearly 200 - pulled it and rested it in a Styrofoam cooler for 2 hours (I put a couple of old dish towels in the bottom of the cooler to protect it).

When I went to pull it it was super tender. Too bad it went so quickly as we had to wait to eat it for dinner later that day! It was a little dry when I reheated it in a crock pot, I had to add some liquid. I think if I had wrapped it when it hit 160 it would have been better and if I could have served it right after pulling it it would have definitely been better.

However, my wife said it was the best she ever had, even better than a lot of restaurants she had been to. Now that I know that a seven pounder takes 9 hours on the smoker, I'll just get up at 5 a.m. to get it on the smoker by 6 a.m., with time adjustments as necessary depending on the weight of the shoulder I'm doing. Am going to definitely do this again when my in-laws are in town in a few weeks.


Kevin Kolman

Congrats on what sounds like some beautiful smoked pork shoulder. Understand we are always our own hardest critics, myself included. A couple of things I would recommend. Yes, the 9 hour smoke is a very good rule of thumb for smoking shoulder. Wrapping it will help with moisture as pork has a tendency due to its fat content and make up of the fat to loose it’s moisture. Washing it with apple juice and apple cider vinegar can help. Using BBQ sauce can also help. Another thing you can do is keep the shoulder in the foil and pull part of it and continue to pull it when more and more is eaten. Keeping the shoulder together will help keep it more moist over time. Hope this help and keep us posted if you have any more questions. You can find us here or on Facebook and Twitter at Kevin’s Backyard and always Happy Grilling!!


Bob S

Hey Kevin! Happy belated July 4th. I have just purchased the Weber Smokey Mt smoker. It's a honey. Very solid; very heavy AND it's American made!!

One thing. I'm having a little trouble getting it to get hotter than 225. Bottom vents are wide open. Top is about 1/2. I've tried various configurations but it stays at 225 pretty consistently.

I have an 11 lb pork shoulder on this puppy and wouldn't mind having it another 25 degrees hotter. Appreciate any thoughts/help. BTW your vid/comments are wicked helpful.


Bob from Vermont; home of awesome, locally raised food.


Kevin Kolman

When lighting a smoker you will dump lit charcoal onto unlit charcoal. If you put the unit together too quickly, then the unlit doesn't really catch. Wait 15 minutes for the lit to light the unlit, then put together the smoker. Also make sure you don't go above the second hole in the charcoal chamber. 2-3 liters of water and you should be good!!

Thanks for the kind words and Happy belated 4th my BBQ brother!! If you have any other questions you can find us here or on Facebook and Twitter at Kevin's Backyard and always Happy Grilling!!


Jeff H

HI Bud,
I just got my new smoker and am looking forward to using it. For the upcoming weekend I've been asked to smoke both a chicken and a pork shoulder. What would be the best way to do this?


Kevin Kolman

I recommend always doing chicken or poultry on the bottom rack and utilize the top rack for anything else. Low and slow all the way and make sure you wrap that shoulder in foil around 160-165 and always Happy Grilling!!


Jack n

Kevin, I think that the temperature idea is great. My question is, can you over smoke your pork butt before getting to the 150-160 temp? I understand that at that temp you wrap and bring to 195-200 temp. Thanks, Jack


Kevin Kolman

You should not have a problem over smoking it if you set the grill up the right way. The majority of smoke penetration occurs in the first 1hour or so. Most smoke flavor will sit on the outside of the meat which will give you some awesome flavor. The wrapping helps with moisture and with flavor. Hopefully you knocked it out of the park. Keep me posted and if you need any more help you can find us here or on Facebook and Twitter at Kevin’s Backyard and always Happy Grilling!


Bud A

Hi, Kevin!
I'm smoking a pork shoulder and I am adding wood chips to a small smoker box and putting them on the coals. Once I wrap the shoulder in foil, do I keep doing the smoke or just keep the heat? Does the smoke favor affect the meat if it is wrapped in foil? I appreicate it!


Kevin Kolman

Hi Bud!! I would for sure soak those chips for at least one hour and if you are looking for some awesome flavor, try soaking them in your favorite beer!! Once you wrap the pork shoulder around 150-160 internal temperature there is no reason to keep adding or using chips. The smoke flavor will not go through the foil. Just make sure you take the shoulder up to an internal temperature of 195-200 and it will pull very easily. Make sure you double wrap the shoulder just in case the foil tears, that way you will not loose all that awesome moisture, fat and flavor. Keep me posted and if you need anything else you can find us here or on Facebook and Twitter at Kevin’s Backyard and always Happy Grilling!!


Josh W

Hey Kevin! I am smoking my first 8 pounder soon, and I am a little unclear on how long it should be on. I've seen an hour per pound, to 1.5 hours per pound, etc. What're your thoughts? Also, is there a rule of thumb for how many briquettes to use? I've seen using "x" amount to begin, then an additional "x" for each additional hour. I did two 2 pound shoulders at the same time last weekend, and it took longer than expected, but it was also a very windy day. I found myself struggling to keep the temp around the 225-250 mark. I tried cutting off the airflow almost completely, to, dare I say, opening the lid to let some heat out. I'm learning, but any info you can send my way would be much appreciated. Thanks!


Kevin Kolman

I am a temperature and time guy. When it comes to smoking shoulder, ribs, brisket and etc, I try to follow the temperature method a little more. I look to wrap my items at 150-160 and from there I look for final internal meat temperatures. I look for brisket and shoulder to have an internal temperature of 195-200. I also do the fork test- if you can place a fork in the meat and it's tender the it is done. The 1-1.5 hours a pound is a good rule of thumb but not every piece of meat is the same and not every piece will cook the same. So that’s why I focus a little more on temperature. When it comes to fuel load in a kettle I use briquettes since they are very consistent. I also use the snake method which does a great job of keeping temps low and slow with minimal adjustments. Keep me posted on what else is going on. If you need advice on the weekends you can find me at Kevin’s Backyard on Facebook and Twitter and always Happy Grilling!!


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