1st timer with a newbie question about pork shoulder

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by matt r, Oct 7, 2014.

  1. Hi all, Im new around here, and hope to become a fairly regular contributor. I just got a Masterbuilt 30" 4 rack electric smoker. Ive smoked meats before on a Weber Kettle grill, with pretty good results. Ive done mainly pork shoulders.

    My first time using the electric, I smoked a Pork Shoulder at 225 degrees for about 8 hours. It was about 6 pounds (bone in). for the last hour I raised the temp to about 250 degrees, hoping to crisp up the skin a bit.

    Well, the meat tasted really good. But...it didnt quite fall apart like I thought it would. It wasnt necessarily dry, but not falling apart like it usually is on the Charcoal grill. I was using hickory wood chips, had water in the pan, and had marinated the meat like i always do overnight.

    So, is it possible I didnt cook it long enough? Maybe I overcooked it? I usually smoke bigger shoulders, but this one was relatively small, and maybe I overdid it.

  2. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Probably not long enough. You can't go by time. I take mine to between 200* and 205* internal temp. Then they pull apart easily.

    Here's one of mine:
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2014
  3. [​IMG]

    Fallow Bear's step by step. As said above 200°-205° for pulled.

    Happy smoken.

  4. Ohhhh...wow. Not long enough! Got it. Thanks Gents.
  5. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Next one might be shorter or longer-----Can't go by time!!

    You need a Set of digital therms (Like the Maverick ET-732), so you don't have to open the door to check the internal temp. Then when it gets to 200*--205*, it's done.

  6. jarjarchef

    jarjarchef Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    A sure fire way to get the meat to fall off the bone is to cook to 200-205. Been proven over and over.

    However I just cook 35# of butt and picnics over the weekend. They stalled at 171 for several hours. I was able to pull them just fine. The meat had a nice texture, came off the bone clean and tasted great. It was a little more work in the pulling, but not a lot. I am not saying you can go to 171 and then pull it everytime. Mine had been at that temp for several hours for a stall and I felt it to see if the texture was right before trying. What I am saying is sometimes feel works as well, just have to practice and learn over time.

    If you are using a MES30 and have water in the pan you will have a very hard time getting a crisp bark. I would also kick the temp up.

    As Bear said a good remote thermometer is a great tool. I would also use one to verify the accuracy of the built in thermometer of the MES. The one at work we use is off by 25 degrees.
  7. Bear is right  never by time ALWAYS BY TEMP.   Time per pound is only a guide  Not the rule

  8. Thanks JarJarChef. Let me ask about the bark...in order to get it, would you recommend removing the pan of water for some length of time towards the end of the cook? Maybe the last hour or two?
  9. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I should have mentioned the water pan like JarJarChef did, but it's been so long since I used it I tend to forget all about it.

    I have not put water in my water pan in nearly 4 years. Water is not needed in an electric smoker.

    I just cover mine with foil & put it in where it belongs. Some guys fill there's with sand as a heat sink & cover it with foil.

    Don't remove it, just don't put water in it.

    My 2 Piasters.

    Last edited: Oct 8, 2014
  10. Thanks Bear. Quick question: Why? Im just curious what makes the electric smoker different than a charcoal smoker (besides the obvious).
  11. Not answering for Bear, but I think it's the person's use, preference, and circumstance. Most apartments wont allow a charcoal or wood smoker within so many feet of the building if at all. Weather and climate. Unless you have a good covered area and some sort of wind block charcoal and wood can be real challenging, and add a bunch of snow wow. Some people do not like the constant or almost constant monitoring of charcoal and wood. Not saying that electric is just set and forget, but not as labor intensive. I am a stick burner, my smoker is not in a covered area so when it's raining I don't smoke, Cold weather is a little more challenging but since I am in East Texas never gets that cold. Hope this helps.

  12. Thanks Gary. Here in NY, the weather is a problem, but thats what mittens are for!
  13. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Electric just doesn't dry things out, like other forms of heat. The only way you'll dry anything out is if you open the door a lot of times, and I mean "a lot of times". I think all Watt-burners will tell you the same thing. Plus the MES is very well insulated & holds the heat & humidity.

  14. disco

    disco Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    My take on electric vs charcoal.

    Electric advanatges:

    Easier to start up

    Depending on type and whether using AMNPS, almost set and forget

    Easier to cold smoke

    Electric disadvantages

    Can't smoke at high heats

    Has a different smoke flavour

    I use a Bradley and the pucks are expensive

    So, I made a mini WSM to cover the differences:


    Cooks at a high heat

    Keeps a relatively stable temperature

    Gives a deep smoke flavour


    Have to light charcoal

    Have to use an AMNPS or similar to cold smoke

    Requires more attention than my electric

    I use both for different purposes and have enjoyed the results from both.

  15. jarjarchef

    jarjarchef Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Bear has you covered. My take in the bark in a MES is you dont get a real good one due to lack of air flow. You do not get much movement of the clean air in and the moist air out, so you get a lot of moisture built up and that will hinder the bark from forming. However I find by not adding water to the pan and using the AMNPS or AMNTS with the wood chip filling shoot about 1" out, I get a better air flow and can form a slight bark on the pork bellies we have done.

    For me there are diffrent smokers for diffrent needs. At work we have the MES30 on a cart. I can place it just under the edge of the hoods and run it inside. If I had a propane or stick burner I would have to have them outside, so it works for us. At home I have the smokehouse and just built the jumbo mini, they both work great but have diffrent purposes. I personally like the challenge of an stick burner.

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