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Smoking Pork Shoulder FAQ

Here are some frequently asked questions from fans when smoking a pork shoulder. You asked, we answered! 

1. Why is my pork shoulder taking so long to smoke? 

  • No matter the weight of your meat, a good rule of thumb when smoking is “it’s done, when it’s done.

2. How long should I plan to smoke my pork shoulder/butt?

  • Smoking your pork shoulder should take around 7-9 hours depending on the cooking temperature you’re using. 

3. How often should I open the lid to check the internal temperatures of the meat?

  • I recommend setting up the smoker and letting it go for 4-5 hours. After that time period, I would check the temperature of the meat. You can check the temperature again at the 7-8 hour mark.
  • Check out the iGrill which is a wireless Bluetooth thermometer, this will tell you what the temperature of the meat is without opening the lid. I suggest investing in one of these for ease of use!

4. How do you check the temperature of the pork after it’s wrapped in foil?

  • You can pierce right through the foil!

5. Should I inject my pork shoulder?

  • Injecting your pork before smoking it can give great results, but you can still get amazing flavor without it as well. Try smoking your pork without injections first, to give you a base-line for future cooks.

6. Should I spritz my pork with apple juice while it’s smoking?

  • Spritzing your pork is a good idea while smoking, especially with apple juice. Things that are cold and wet absorb more smoke giving you a much better product.

7. How long do you recommend letting the pork sit once it is finished?

  • Allow the pork to sit for 2-3 hours after removing it from the smoker.

8. How do I make my pork shoulder cook faster/slower?

  • If you want the pork shoulder to cook quicker, try doubling the amount of foil with a tight seal.
  • For a slower cook, seal the foil but leave 4-5 inches from the top of the shoulder to the top of the foil where it was sealed. 

9. How long will it take for my foiled pork shoulder to rise from 165 to 195 degrees?

  • There are a lot of factors that can play into the cooking time of a pork shoulder, but with foiled shoulders they will usually take 3-5 hours to push through the stall period and get you do 195 degrees. 

10. Can I smoke chicken and pork shoulder at the same time?

  •  Yes, you can! Smoke the chicken or poultry on the bottom rack and use the top rack for the pork shoulder. Low and slow all the way, and make sure you wrap that pork shoulder in foil when the grill hits around 160-165 degrees. 

11. Once I have wrapped my pork shoulder in foil, do I keep using my smoker box with wood chips? Does the smoke flavor affect the meat after it’s been wrapped in foil?

  • Once the pork shoulder has been wrapped in foil, there is no reason to keep adding or using wood chips. The smoke flavor will not penetrate the foil.

12. Should I soak my wood chips?

  • Yes! Make sure to soak your wood chips for at least one hour. If you’re looking for some awesome flavor – try soaking them in your favorite beer!

13. Should I place my pork shoulder in a drip pan before wrapping it in foil?

  • I recommend not placing the pork should in a drip pan before wrapping it. This will give the pork a good bar.
  • I keep my pork shoulder out of the tray until it reaches 150-160 degrees, ensuring a beautiful bark. 

Check out here and here for pork shoulder inspiration and more tips!