Need help with a pork shoulder

Discussion in 'Pork' started by aggie06, Sep 18, 2015.

  1. aggie06

    aggie06 Newbie

    Hi all,

    I've been lurking the forum for hours over the past few days, preparing for my first smoke. I just got an MES30 and the AMNPS and will be trying it out tomorrow. I searched through several threads for recommendations for a first forgiving  smoke, and the consensus was pork butt. Once settled on this, I went to Costco to pick one up (don't know of any butchers in my area) and was disappointed to find nothing labeled "pork butt." I did find a pork shoulder, and my understanding is the two are very similar? I'm not sure...

    In any case, I just opened it up tonight to put the rub on and was surprised/concerned by two things - 1) it is two separate pieces and 2) they aren't just large hunks of meat; they seem to unfold and be several medium-sized hunks all connected by varying thickness of tissue.

    I'm concerned because I have no idea how to smoke something like that -- it wasn't at all what I expected. Won't there be a lot of uneven cooking? Should I fold it over on top of itself or open/spread them both out? Can I put one on the rack above the other or would the fat dripping down on the lower one be no good? Should I put my probe in the smaller one in the thickest part and pull it when it's done and let the other go longer? In that case, I assume the thinner hunks of meat will be overcooked/dried out and just need to be trashed?

    Sorry for all the questions... I thought I had things planned/figured out, but of course it never works that way! ;) Any advice would be much-appreciated!
  2. noboundaries

    noboundaries Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I smoke those boneless Costco shoulders all the time.  They are the butt.  I suspect someone found that the word "shoulder" sells better than "butt," even though it is the same cut of meat. 

    Once upon a time I tied them back together to make a roundish roast, no longer.  I season them all over then fold them back up and put them on the smoker that way, positioning them so the weight of the biggest connected piece is on the top of each roast, the weight keeping it together.  Sometimes they open a little, but not much.  Just means more bark!  Stick your probe in the largest intact portion of the meat then go away and do something else for several hours.   

    Remember, the butt (aka shoulder) is one forgiving cut of meat.  It even works when abused by the meat cutters!   
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2015
  3. mummel

    mummel Master of the Pit

    Man your post brings back memories.  I asked the exact same questions when I started.

    Costco butts are kick ass, period.  Best value/quality Ive found.

    The butts/shoulders come in a 2 pack.  Smoke one, vac pack and freeze the other.  They have the bone removed, thats why they fold open.  Some people like the bone in.  I really prefer the bone out (Im not paying for excess weight and the fat cap etc). Just fold it open and season accordingly with your rub, then position it fat side up and smoke!

    Budget 2-2.25 hours/lb if you are not foiling.

    Here, check my post.  Im smoking at 250F tonight vs my usual 225F.  Mixing it up a bit.


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