2nd Pork Shoulder Wasn't As Smooth As I Hoped

Discussion in 'Pork' started by jack bbq, Aug 7, 2016.

  1. The first time I smoked a shoulder on my MES30, it went well; 11 and a half hours at 225 w/ 6 hours of adding wood chips, and it tasted great. This time it didn't go exactly how I expected.

    I purchased an AMNS, and after testing it on a rack of ribs last week, filled 1.5 rows to try for 6 hours of smoke. My math was off as I only got 4.5 hours of smoke. To be clear, I love the product and when you follow the many tips on this site, it produces great smoke. Here's what it looked like when everything was over:

    When the smoke stopped early, I decided to use some wood chips to continue the smoke. For a reason I don't know, the wood chips didn't produce smoke. Is it because the chip tray was pulled out 1.5 inches?

    I had the stall that was expected around 160 degrees, but once the temp started climbing, it rose slower that I anticipated based on my first pork shoulder. In total, it took almost 16.5 hours to reach 205 degrees. I've since read on this site that that length of time is normal, it's just 5 hours longer than my first go around so I was caught off guard.

    I put the meat in the smoker in the dark at 5am and was surprised when I took it out at 9:15pm, once again in the dark. If I had guests over, it would've been a mess and I would've called for pizza or Chinese food, but luckily it was just me and the wife so it wasn't a big deal.

    The variables that changed from the first shoulder to this one; AMNS instead of wood chips (not an impact), and in lieu of using a water pan with hot water, I added a foil covered brick to the water pan. I'm not sure if this affected the cooking time, but I didn't think it would.

    In the future, I will plan on 16 hours for all shoulders and start the smoke before bed if it will be served in the afternoon or evening, rather than getting up early and hoping for a quicker cooking time. I will also use more pellets in the AMNS.

    I know there are steps I could take to speed things up; higher temp (maybe I'll try that) or foil the meat at the stall. I bought the electric smoker and the AMNS because I don't want to open the door or have to be near the smoker until the meat is done.

    As far as the finished product, my wife and I nibbled on the bark a little at 9:30pm (it was great but a little light on smoke). Here's a pic:

    We didn't want a full meal at that time, so I put the pork in a foil pan covered with foil and put it in the fridge for tonight's dinner. I heated the pork in a 300 degree over for 2 hours and then pulled the meat. I can't say it was as good as fresh out of the smoker, but pretty good. The bark was a little soft and the meat just slightly dry. Here's the pic:

    All in all, it was a learning experience, and I have a fridge full of meat for lunches this week, so I guess it worked out overall.
  2. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    The result looks good. You did not say how big the shoulders were or what temp you smoked at...In general the average time the AMNPS will burn is 3 hours per row or 9 hours total. Smoking a Shoulder or Butt at 225-250°F, average time is 2 hours per pound. At 250-275, 1.5hrs/Lb, 275-300 about 1hr/Lb. I say Average because guys have had meat go faster and some longer. This is why I always add 2 hours to my estimate in case something unexpected happens and if done early, I take a nap. Yes, the Chips did not burn because the drawer was out and not directly over the coil. You will find it much easier to reheat Pulled Pork and it will be more juicy. Without going into the science, it takes more heat to melt the gelatin, that which makes pork juicy, of cold cooked meat and especially a big hunk. Reheating Pulled Pork goes faster and the gelatin melts easier. You may wish to add a Finishing Sauce to the reheated pork, adds moisture and flavor...JJ
  3. Both of my shoulders were cooked at 225. This one was 9 pounds. If I had to guess, I'd say the first one was a little smaller.

    Good to know reheating after it is pulled is better than reheating, then pulling. Thanks for the info!
  4. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    You are welcome. 9 pounds at 225 in 16.5 hours is good if not a litte fast in my experience. Give one of the Recipes below a try...JJ

    Foiling Juice / Sweet Pulled Pork Finishing Sauce

    Foiling Juice

    For each Rack of Ribs Combine:

    1T Pork Rub, yours

    1/2 Stick Butter

    1/2C Cane Syrup... Dark Corn Syrup...or Honey

    1/4C Apple Cider...or Juice

    1T Molasses

    Optional: 2T Apple Cider Vinegar. Add 2T Mustard and 1/4C Ketchup to make it more of a KC Glaze.

    Simmer until a syrupy consistency.

    Allow to cool for 5 minutes, pour over foiled Ribs and

    run your 2 hour phase of 3-2-1. For the last phase return

    the ribs to the smoker BUT reserve any Juice remaining

    in the Foil. Simmer the Juice over med/low heat to reduce to a saucy thickness. Glaze the Ribs for presentation or service.

    For a Sweet Finishing Sauce for Pulled Pork:  Make a Double batch, skip the Butter.

    If you plan to Foil the meat, add 1/2 the batch to the Foil Pack or place it in a Pan with your Butt, when the IT hits 165*F.

    Cover the pan with foil and continue to heat to 205*F for pulling.

    At 205* rest or hold the Butt in a cooler wrapped in towels until ready to serve.

    Pull the Pork and place it back in the pan with the pan Juices and any additional reserved Foiling Juice to moisten, the meat should be shiny and juicy but not swimming in sauce. Serve while hot...OR... Bag and refrigerate until needed.

    If you choose to Not Foil or Pan the Butt. Add the Finishing Sauce to the pulled meat before serving. Add the hot Finishing Sauce a little at a time until the Pork is moistened, again the meat should be shiny but not swimming in sauce.

    When re-heating place the Pulled Pork in a Pan or Crock pot and add reserved Foiling Juice or Apple Cider, as needed to make up the Juice that was absorbed while the pork was refrigerated. Cover and re-heat in a pre-heated 325-350*F oven or on High in the crock pot to 165*F and Serve.

    I was AMAZED...No additional sauce needed. ENJOY...JJ

    Tangy Pulled Pork Finishing Sauce

    This is more of an Eastern North Carolina style Finishing Sauce...

    2 C Apple Cider Vinegar

    2T Worcestershire Sauce or more to taste

    1/4C Brown Sugar

    1T Smoked Paprika

    2 tsp Granulated Garlic

    2 tsp Granulated Onion

    2 tsp Fine Grind Black Pepper

    1 tsp Celery Salt

    1 tsp Cayenne Pepper or Red Pepper Flake. Add more if you like Heat.

    1/2 tsp Grnd Allspice

    Combine all and whisk well. This is a thin sauce, bring just to a simmer and remove from heat. Adjust sweetness by adding Brn Sugar or additional Vinegar as desired...Makes about 2 Cups.

    For a Lexington Style Dip  add, 1/2C Ketchup and 1-3tsp Red Pepper Flakes...JJ
  5. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    The PP looks real good from here!


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