Competition Pork Question?

Discussion in 'Pork' started by sniltz, Sep 23, 2013.

  1. sniltz

    sniltz Meat Mopper

    This weekend my team did a competition in Salisbury, NC and our pork shoulder didn't do to well. I was wandering if anyone could help us out on our pork turn in. We came in 69th out of 77 teams in pork.

    We trimmed our pork, as well as cut the money muscle down where we could get our rub on three sides of it. We then rubbed it down with olive oil as to give our rub something to adhere to.

    We seasoned our pork with our own rub (which is really good and good balance) it has seasoned salt, granulated garlic, granulated onion, paprika, chipotle powder, sugar in the raw(turbinado sugar), and a few secret ones added.

    We smoked it for about 4 hours at 250 degrees until the internal temp read 160 degrees then wrapped it.

    We continued to smoke it until the temp read 195 and took it off and placed it in the cooler.

    When it was ready to pull it it came out tough!!! The boxed looked good but, the meat itself was still tough. I have smoked every shoulder this way and it came out with a clean bone and would pull apart great. This one didn't and has me very confused.

    Also if you have a good competition pork sauce and glaze that you don't mind sharing would be great.

  2. Hello sniltz.  Please forgive my boldness.  I have never/will never entered a competition "BBQ".  Here is my opinion for what it is worth.  Others will have different advice.  This is only my opinion.  My question would be: have you won/placed high in competitions at this level using your method?  If your answer is yes then I would think the problem is simple.  You know all about the therms and etc., this isn't your first rodeo.  If you won/placed high in comps at this level using the EXACT  method ( smoker, altitude etc. ) you described then the problem IMHO is the pork you started with.  That is the ONLY variable.  The only other thing I would say is to leave more pork fat on the butt; yadda,yadda yadda.  You know all that.  You and/or your butcher got an old tuff pig shoulder.  Just my opinion.  Keep Smokin!

  3. countrykat

    countrykat Fire Starter

    If everything was done the same as before I would suspect that something may have happened to the thermometer.
  4. dutch

    dutch Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    snitz- Doing any kind of cooking comp can be tough. I used to compete in Dutch Oven Comps for about 8 years. As for your pulled pork question, I saw your problem straight away when I read your post:
    "We continued to smoke it until the temp read 195 and took it off and placed it in the cooler."

    195° is great for slicing but it makes for some tough pulling as you have found out. Take your internal temp up to 205-210° before pulling and placing in the cooler. The carry-over heat will get your butt up to around 215-220° and the butt will pratically fall apart when you take it out of the foil.
  5. dan - firecraft

    dan - firecraft Smoke Blower

    We have a competition team and have done fairly well with pork (6th out of 71 at the PA state championship this year)

    Injecting the shoulders before hand will definetly add some moisture and flavor to your shoulder.

    We also foil our shoulders. We have tried by temp and by color and both have turned out good results. We also add a little apple juice (about 1 cup) before we close them up.

    Some teams cook a bunch of shoulders to get a turn in....we do 2 butts.

    The key for us is that we only hand in what we know turned out well....if the money muscle did work...don't turn it in.

    You have a bunch of options will turns in from plugs, to the m.m., to pulled.

    If I can get all 3 types in great...if not no big deal.

    Once I get to the 195 range I start checking for tenderness. I usually end up being around 198 but have gone lower and higher.

    Hope this helps
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2013
  6. s2k9k

    s2k9k AMNPS Test Group

    :yeahthat: You can't go by temp alone, the tenderness test is the real story. Different butts will be tender at different temps.
    I can't see ever taking a butt to 230* though, seems like it would just be mush! I like some texture left in the meat!

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