First pork shoulder. Lots of ?'s

Discussion in 'Meat Selection and Processing' started by mikeymjr23, Jun 28, 2016.

  1. mikeymjr23

    mikeymjr23 Fire Starter

    I want to smoke a pork shoulder this weekend...but I have so many questions.

    What is the difference between bone in pork shoulder, and pork shoulder picnic cut? Besides $1.50/lb.

    Also, I've seen so many differing opinions on this...I know that the meat tells me when it's done, but I've seen 1 hour/lb. and I've seen 2 hours/lb. Which way should I lean?!
  2. jjsmith

    jjsmith Newbie

    Most questions end up being answered by your preferences. Try a Boston Butt (probably first) and then a Picnic cut to find out which you prefer.

    You can hold the meat, double wrapped in foil and towels in a small cooler, for at least 4 hours. So go ahead and allow yourself 2hrs/lb until you know your smoker (I generally run right at 90min/lb at 225-250).
  3. Hello and Welcome.  Which way to lean?  ALWAYS plan on it taking longer than you expect!  Long smokes like shoulders and brisket will hold for a couple hours.  So start early or plan to eat late.  Bone in or out?  YES!  So helpful I know.  I don't know if anyone has done a test on cooking times.  My GUESS is that there is not much difference.  Just a GUESS.  Then there is the flavour issue.  Bone in adds flavour as does fat.  So there it is.  I think the best answer is give 'er a whirl and then decide what you would change next time.  Find what you and your family like and THAT is the correct way.  Keep Smokin!

  4. mikeymjr23

    mikeymjr23 Fire Starter

    So for a little over 8lbs, I'm looking at at least 12+ hours?

    Was told picnic is not what I this really just personal preference?
  5. mikeymjr23

    mikeymjr23 Fire Starter

    Last edited: Jun 29, 2016
  6. hardcookin

    hardcookin Master of the Pit

    Most of the time I smoke pork butts with the bone. I would say popularity not preference.
    Cooking time on a pork butt depends on what temp your smoking it at.
  7. mikeymjr23

    mikeymjr23 Fire Starter

    I'm shooting to keep it around 250.
  8. mikeymjr23

    mikeymjr23 Fire Starter

    Sorry I have so many questions. I've only smoked ribs on the above grill...this is new for me.
  9. smokinal

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

    I would go for a bone in butt & figure 2 hours per pound.

    Better to be done early than to have everybody standing around waiting to eat.

    Don't forget the finishing sauce.

    Chef Jimmy J has a good one.

  10. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Here's a few tips that I go by.
    • Trim the fat cap off Butts, there's no need for the extra fat and prolonging the cook time while this area can be used for a good bark, however, if bark is one of your goals, remove the false cap as well.
    • Trim the skin off of Picnics, it's a waste of energy and time to cook something you will not eat.
    • Debone Butts/Picnics, Bones do not conduct heat well and is a waste of precious time and energy, remove them, but it sure is fun pulling them out.
    • Ditch the rub, Mop with a Soy Sauce and Worcestershire mix, maybe tweaking with Jack Daniels or a good bourbon
    • Half anything over 8 pounds
    • Calibrate your thermos
    • a water pan can help stabilize temps and reduce hot spots.
    • if you have a long heat recovery time on the pit, try not to peek too much and if you do peek, try to do it on temp spikes.
    • cook at 275° Don't fight the temps, if the grill runs good at 275° don't sweat the 250°, keep that as your low point.-
    • Foil at the stall, do not add any juice or anything, it is not needed, remove foil after the stall, save the drippings from the foiling stage, refrigerate and defat drippings, use as a base for your finishing sauce.
    • Have an instant read thermometer ready to take internal temps, pull as soon as it breaks 200°, loosely foil and place in a pan on the counter.
    • Give your self two hours per pound excluding an hour prep/startup and an hour rest, that is more than enough time,my cooks on the pit can be between 60 -80 minutes a pound.
    • It's done when its done.
    • Rest at least 30 minutes, tent foil and rest another thirty minutes, dump meat and dripping from the foil into the pan and cool another twenty minutes, fork pull (shred) or finger pull (chunk), careful it will still be hot
    • Make your finishing sauce starting from your base, tweak to your liking and add to the pork, fluff the sauce with the pork
    • Eat
    • Vacuum seal loosely in vac bags for the freezer what wont be eaten in three days.
    • Reheat leftovers, remove vac bag from freezer, place on counter, boil a large pot of water, turn off burner, drop in leftover pork, come back in a half hour, Carefully remove pork from bag, fluff with a fork eat.
    • Porked out?, make appetizers, Pork Taco Salad, pork pinwheels, buffalo pork rollups, pork pizza, pork muffins, etc...
    I usually do a Butt and Picnic together, I have had my best results with the mix of the two, the picnic seems sweeter and more tender, the butt meat has more body, its a bit denser.

  11. mikeymjr23

    mikeymjr23 Fire Starter

    So you cut them in half and debone them? Is the bone generally in the center? I don't want to make a bunch of unnecessary cuts if I don't have to. If I take it out, I'd like to just make 1-2 cuts.
  12. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Read this it may help...

    Its purely preference and I think I am one of the minority on deboning. Picnic the bone is protruding, on the butt it is a small bone in the center

    I rarely cut in half and I may debone if time is a factor, I dont mind the long cooks on my pit, but if I was on a timetable and pressed for time, I would debone, whats nice about deboning is you can add a slather into the meat, I will truss picnics after deboning but butts I will usually just fold over.

    I did half this beast

    • Removed the skin and most of the fat.

    picnic bone

    • Remove the "butt" bone (shoulder blade)

    If you are not pressed for time, leave the bone in, you will definitely get a kick out of pulling the bone out.

    Last edited: Jun 29, 2016
  13. mikeymjr23

    mikeymjr23 Fire Starter

    Maybe a stupid question...but is the bone generally in the middle? I am going to BJs after work to pick it up, and they're about 8-9lbs a piece. I don't want to cut and have unequal size pieces...

    When you say you fold it over, do you basically butterfly it and the. Close it back up??
  14. scottma

    scottma Smoke Blower

    For your first attempt just keep it simple and leave the bone in.  Rub it up and throw it on the smoker. If using a therm start poking the butt with a metal/wood probe around 195-200 degrees..  It should be very easy to push in without any resistance.  Take it off wrap in heavy foil and let stand for 30 minutes to an hour and then pull it. 

  15. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    yes, but I agree with Scott for your first runn. Keep it simple, sorry to have complicated things. I just like giving folks as much info as possible.
  16. mikeymjr23

    mikeymjr23 Fire Starter

    Thanks all!

    No apologies necessary!!

    Picked up a 7.5lb Boston Butt this evening.

    I shall be starting around 2:30-3:00am Monday night. Over Apple wood chunks and Kingsford.

    Can't wait!

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