First time smoking pork shoulder, have some questions

Discussion in 'Pork' started by beers-n-bbq, Mar 3, 2015.

  1. beers-n-bbq

    beers-n-bbq Fire Starter

    Im expecting a masterbuilt propane smoker by this weekend to be delivered and i plan on putting it together and seasoning it asap. I have an 8lb pork shoulder in my freezer i got on sale last week and plan on using that for my first smoke.

    I know the concept of pulled pork and cooking it to the 195-205 degree range. I plan to coat it in yellow mustard and then coating it generously with a rub. I plan on using a probe thermometer and if i understand correctly i shouldnt probe it until like 2 hours into the cook. I also plan on resting it in tinfoil and a towel in a cooler for an hour after it reaches the desired temp.

    I have a few questions regarding the cooking though.

    What is the best temperature to smoke a bone in pork shoulder at? And at that temp how many hours would an 8lber take approximately?

    When it stalls at about 165 is it worth sacrificing the bark to wrap it in foil to speed the process? Whats the general time difference? Does it really speed it that much faster?

    Is it worth it to keep opening the door to mop it with a spray bottle mist every so often? I mean it will slow down the cook time but does keeping it moist make a drastic difference? Does it prevent you from getting a good bark? If you dont mop will it dry out the meat?

    How many hours should i smoke it for, i have read it doesnt take smoke after a certain point?

    Now my last question is for future reference, but if i wanted to do 2 shoulders for a large crowd and ive got lets say a 7.5lber and a 7.1 lber what would my cooking time realistically look like for both to be done?

    Thanks in advance for any help with these questions...
  2. krubby

    krubby Smoke Blower

  3. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    With that smoker or any smoker there is a learning curve. You need to learn where to set the Knob on the smoker for the desired temp and, for low smoker temps, may have to adjust the valve on the tank too. You will have to find out what makes the best smoke for you. Chips burn fast, require frequent replacement and may burst into flames unless you use a Foil Pouch with just a couple of holes in it to limit Oxygen getting to those chips. Chunks burn longer but again may flame up running at high temps. If you haven't already, read the posts on Masterbuilt Propane Smokers and see the Modifications, failures and successes others have had with that unit...

    The goal for smokes longer than an hour or so, is TBS (Thin Blue Smoke). Lots of white smoke can deposit Creosote on the meat and give it a Sour/Bitter flavor that numbs your tongue.  There are Smoke Generators that make great TBS and will run unattended for several hours. This is a favorite around here and works great with gassers...

    You are concerned with dry meat, while it is unlikely with Pork Butts, can happen even with Mopping and especially if the meat is really lean. You can make up for the difference with a Finishing Sauce or at a minimum adding some Apple Juice and any Meat Dripping. Use a foil pan on a shelf under the meat and while foiling, if you choose to do so. Instead of wrapping in foil, I move the butt into the drip pan add some of my Foiling Juice or Apple Juice, cover the pan with foil and go back in the Smoker or in a 300°F Oven to finish the cook. You already understand smoking to an Internal Temp (IT) of 205°F but the best indicator is the Therm Probe Test. When the IT gets to 195°, use the probe to verify the same IT in a few different places. If the Therm Probe slides in with little pressure and no resistance, the meat is done. If there is resistance, wait until the IT hits 205° and test again. You can also grab the bone with a gloved hand or tongs, if it pulls out easily, the Pork is done. 

    You have a lot to learn but that is the fun part of any new smoker or any new hobby. After the seasoning, spend some time playing with that smoker setting and maintaining temp before this weekend. See how the smoke wood you have burns and what you need to do to get that TBS...See Below... If you have any further questions you can post them here or PM me directly....Good Luck...JJ

    Last edited: Mar 3, 2015
  4. beers-n-bbq

    beers-n-bbq Fire Starter

    Thank you krubby and jimmy j, that was all very in depth and informative. I appreciate you taking the time to answer my specific questions. i will revisit this thread and let u guys know how it goes.

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