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? (13)

04.11.15

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!

04.10.15

Kevin Kolman

Josh,
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!!

04.01.15

Tom W

Hi Kevin getting back to you from my post of 11/6. Sorry for the delay. Yes I use a vinegar based sauce. 2/3 vinegar, 1/3 water, and some of my rub in it.

Did an 8lb. butt Friday, smoked it at around 230 until it reached 185 and then put it in a pan and covered it with foil. Came out very tender and pullable. The stall that occurs at 150-160 or so only equalizes the moisture in the pork it does not eliminate it. Not wrapping it will cause it to last a shorter amount of time. Mine lasted about an hour with the temp going up about a degree every few minutes during that time. It had a nice crisp bark in places that adds a nice texture to the pulled pork.

Try this some time I think you will like it.

Tom

04.01.15

Kevin Kolman

Tom,
Thanks for the suggestion and the next time I do shoulder I am going to try your method!! Happy to hear you are using putting your grills to good use. Thanks again for the tip and always Happy Grilling!!

01.02.15

Robert N

I normally wrap my BB in foil and then place in a foil pan - 225 degrees for about 6 hours - 8-10 lbs. I usually have too much juice in the bottom of the pan so maybe I'll try NOT wrapping it until it reaches 160 165 then try wrapping it. I'll let you know.

01.02.15

Kevin Kolman

Robert,
I totally agree with you when using this method. One other thing I noticed is that I do not get a good bark when placing it in a large drip pan at the beginning. Since the bark is the most coveted portion of the BB besides the money muscle I want as much of that as I can get. I like keeping my BB out of the tray till it reaches about 150-160 which does ensure a beautiful bark. I also keep my smoker at 275 until I wrap the BB and then drop it down to 225. Let me know what you think and if you have any other questions let us know either here or you can find me on Facebook and Twitter at Kevin’s Backyard and always Happy Grilling!!

11.14.14

Timothy M

Kevin,

I am an American living and smoking in the middle east. I love pulled pork but as you probably know we cant get that here.

Don't roll your eyes... Camel is a common meat here and it is very good. This meat is very close to the consistency of pork but it is a very lean meat. Is there a method of cooking a lean meat like this and still having similar results as you have had here?

11.13.14

Kevin Kolman

Hi Timothy,

You have an interesting story here with smoking camel! The trick to a lean meat like that is to go low and slow. This will keep moisture in rather than pushing it out which can be caused by direct medium to high heat. Also, make sure you use a water pan for added smoke flavor. Keep me posted on how it turns out!

Happy Grilling!
-Kevin

11.06.14

Tom W

I'm from NC and wrapping a pork butt would be sacrileges. We want the bark to be hard so it can contrast to the soft meat of the rest of the butt. It is only about a 1/4" thick, but comprises such an addition you can't imagine.

Never foil a butt for true pulled pork. If you want smoked pork, foil it at 180 and let it carry over cooking to take it to 190.

11.05.14

Kevin Kolman

Hi Tom,

One of the fun parts of barbecue is the debate and the many different ways people smoke, barbecue, and grill their foods. There are times I do not foil, but overall I find when I do, the food is more moist, tender, and never tough. With meat being 70-75 percent water, not having it in foil or a foil pan when it hits the stall makes me a little nervous. The stall occurs usually around 150-160 degrees. You end up losing a lot of flavor to the grill and I love that flavor. I use the drippings to add back into the meat and other dishes I serve. I do like a nice dark bark, but I just don’t want to lose out on that smoked fat and flavor. What kind of sauce do you mix in? A vinegar base? Thanks for the debate!

Happy Grilling!
-Kevin

07.03.14

Yvonne J

I just bought a smoker and will be using it this weekend. From your video I can't tell how often I'm supposed to open lid to check internal temperature of meat. Can you advise.

07.03.14

Kevin Kolman

Hi Yvonne,
Congratulations on the new smoker. When it’s done right, smoking can provide some of the most delicious meals, but it does take a lot of practice. What I recommend doing is setting up the smoker and then letting it go for 4-5 hours. After that time period, I would check the temperature of the meat. I would then check again at the 7-8 hour mark if your meat needs to be on that long. Weber does sell a wireless thermometer that will tell you what the temperature of the meat is without opening the lid, so I suggest you invest in one of those for ease of use. I hope this helps. Enjoy that smoker!
Happy Grilling!
-Kevin

10.28.13

Chris D

Hello Kevin:

Any tips for smoking the pork butt using the rotissiere attachment for my Genesis 330?

10.28.13

Kevin Kolman

Hello Chris,

First, make sure you take the grates out of the grill. Then, remember to place a large drip pan directly under the meat to collect the drippings. Something to watch for is when the shoulder gets up to 160-170 degrees. Pay attention then because the more tender the shoulder gets, the more it will begin to fall apart. I hope this helps. Let me know if you have any other questions.

Happy Grilling!
-Kevin

08.19.13

David K

I have a brand new Weber EP 330. Can I smoke this pork shoulder using the method above, or is a smoker necessary?

07.07.13

Roger R

I have the larger smoker arriving tomorrow. I've read that the thermometer on the dome is not very accurate on the smoking surface, and only reads the temperature for the top of the dome. Is there another thermometer I can purchase that will accurately give me the actual temp on the smoking surface? I'm going off of comments found on Lowes and Home Depot's sites. Thanks, Don

06.03.13

Ryan S

Kevin-
Do you add any liquid when you wrap the pork butt in foil?

Thanks,
Ryan

06.03.13

Kevin Kolman

Hi Ryan,

Yes. At times I do add some liquid to the pork when I foil it. I have used bourbon, apple juice, and beer. I think these all add flavor which is great. However, if you do the pork butt correctly, you should not need liquid for moisture purposes. Let me know if you have any other questions.

Happy Grilling!
-Kevin