Pork Shoulder - accelerated cook time?

Discussion in 'Pork' started by michaelt1959, Feb 15, 2015.

  1. michaelt1959

    michaelt1959 Fire Starter

    Hi all. A quick thank you to everyone on this site .... continues to be a great resource.

    I brined a 12lb Pork Shoulder for 2 days, applied rub and saran-wrapped for 24 hours, and then anticipated at least 10-12 hours cook time @ 225-250 over Pecan wood in a Brinkman vertical smoker.  However, I put that thing on (uncut) at 5am sharp this morning and it reached 160 IT in just over 4 hours .... that seems really fast. I moved the probe to 3-4 different places just to double check .... all the same. So, I wrapped her up and now waiting for an IT of 190 or so for pulled pork.

    Any insight as to why the cook time has been so accelerated this time around?   Ideas, please, Thanks.
  2. seenred

    seenred Smoking Guru Group Lead OTBS Member

    It's really not that uncommon for the first stage of a butt cook to go pretty fast.  The cook time is likely to slow down considerably once the butt goes into the stall.  I've had butts shoot up to 150-160 in hardly anytime, then sit in a stall with almost no IT increase for several hours.  It all evens out in the end.  Either way, good luck and be sure to post up some pics of your smoke and your finished product!  [​IMG]

  3. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    I hate to say it but you will be ordering pizza for dinner tonight. 2 hours per pound at 225. Plus 2 hours rest. You are looking at at least 20 hours if your temp. reading is correct. You will probably be in a stall for a long long long time. It may even drop in temp during the stall.
  4. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    You might think about a plan B for supper. That's why there are multiple racks in there. Maybe burgers or some chicken or something that takes only a couple hours to do. Just my 2 cents as I have been there and done that. If you are using a water pan with water in it you might think about losing the water too. 
  5. michaelt1959

    michaelt1959 Fire Starter

    Well, that's the other surprising thing. I started with 32 oz of water in the pan as well andit still hit 160 that quick. And, I would agree with you on the pizza, but after wrapping it hit 190 IT in less than 2 hours for a totall cook time of 6 hours, 5 minutes ....... and when it got to 190 IT I (again) moved the probe 3-4 times and all read at least 190. It is resting now while the smoker is burning itself out (at 150 now).

    I am stumped ..... never would have dreamed a cut of meat, with a bone in it, would cook that quick .... unless, of course, I cut it open and it is blood red inside!

    Will definitely post pics for everyone's input and advice.
  6. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    Well, sounds to me like your smoker was going about 350 degrees. Or it was not a pork shoulder but a loin. That is completely impossible and if I were you I would figure out why. 12 pound pork shoulders look like this.

    this hog leg took 22 hours and it was about 12 pounds fyi.
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2015
  7. michaelt1959

    michaelt1959 Fire Starter

    I'll be posting pics, including the label from the store I purchased it from. Says it is "Pork Shoulder Blade" .....12.15 lbs. I don't suspect the "blade" makes a difference?

    I, too, want to know why it cooked so quickly which is why I started the thread.  And, given that this Brinkman vertical I use is certainly not the best smoker on the market,  when it's temp gauge tells me it is 220 and "ready"  I manually check it with a little $29 ambient temp gauge before I put the meat in just because I don't trust the thing .... and it is always within a degree or two. And, I can reach in and mop, etc., at 220 degrees without heavy gloves so I know it can't be running 350 or my hands would burn off.  My manual IT gauge also confirmed my digital reads throughout the smoke.

    Curious cook time, for sure. Everyone's insight is greatly appreciated.

    P.S. The cut is resting now @ 195 and holding ..... for about 45 minutes. Just took it out an placed it, wrapped, on counter for cool down for a while.
  8. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    I would get yourself a good reliable digital thermometer like the maverick et-732 or 733 or an I grill 2 or something similar. Check it in boiling water for accuracy 212 degrees give or take depending on altitude and Barometric pressure. I started my smoking life with that smoker way back in the day. The thermometer that comes with that smoker is absolute junk. Mine was 100 degrees off. I would like to see a pic of that blade roast. Most of us take pork to over 200 degrees to pull. I like 204 as my magic go to number but have had some not be fork tender until as much as 210.
  9. b-one

    b-one Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Maybe the brine has something to do with it, but even then seems super fast.
  10. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    I don't think your thermometer is reading anywhere near right. Either one of them for that matter. I mean that is faster than oven cooking time.
  11. michaelt1959

    michaelt1959 Fire Starter

    Yes ... my guess is/was the therm on the Brinkman was ca-ca. I will follow your suggestion.

    I am kind of thinking the brine had something to do with it ..... 20% apple cider, 20% bourbon, water, browm sugar, garlic, rosemary, oregano and of course course salt, pepper and other misc seasonings

    Overall 7 hours,  30 minutes, including a 45 min cool down (wrapped) on counter .....

    Pics below .... not familiar with the upload process.  Hope they come out.  Thanks to all for your input. I'm learnin' ..... slow, but getting there!

    Label .... local grocery chain (Kroger)


    After 48 hours in brine @ 34 degrees and with dry rub

    After 24 hours in saran dry time @ 34 degrees

    After 4 hours, 5 minutes @ 225-250 degrees and to 161 IT and BEFORE foil blanket wrap

    After 85 minutes in foil wrap  to 191 IT, 45 min rest to 200 degree IT and then 45 minute coollng period (wrapped) on kitchen counter

    Out of foil and ready to be pulled ......

    Shoulder blade bone (lower left corner) pulled out with 2 fingers ..... and juices came-a-runnin' .....

    Close up of bark .... rather light this time. The pecan wood I used was wet from all the rain we have had .....

    Full shoulder pulled and ready to serve with "Bama white BBQ sauce on an onion Kaiser rolls (and good Kentucky bourbon, of course!).

    Still don't get the fast cook time ..... any additional comments will advance my learning.  Thanks to all.
  12. b-one

    b-one Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Looks like it's tasty!
  13. seenred

    seenred Smoking Guru Group Lead OTBS Member

    Sure looks like it turned out good, Michael!  Hard to explain you speedy cook time...either this hunk of meat was just a complete anomaly (which is always a possibility), or I'd agree that you must have been cooking at a much higher temp than you believed.  It would not be uncommon for a 12 lb. shoulder roast to take 20+ hours to get done.  Have you done a boil/ice bath test on your thermometers to verify their accuracy?  

    Anyway...all's well that ends well!  [​IMG]

  14. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    I am just glad it turned out good. There is an ECB group on this website. I encourage you to join it and look around. There are some easy mods you can do to your smoker to get it to behave. First thing you need is a good two probe digital. You can thank me later once you have one. Worth it's weight in gold times a thousand.
  15. michaelt1959

    michaelt1959 Fire Starter

    Update:  Being the layman that I am, I think I may have narrowed this down a bit.

    I put this 12lb shoulder cut on the bottom rack of my Brinkman vertical - a rack I have never use before - because I had 8 lbs of country pork ribs above it, brined/mariniated differently, and I needed the space up top so I moved the Shoulder down to the bottom rack.  After doing the boil/ice test on my gauge per Red's suggestion, it checked out fine.  However, given that there is nearly 12" between the bottom rack and the gauge on my vertical I am guessing the temp at the bottom rack level is higher - how much I don't know and will have to test to figure it our for future smokes.  This Shoulder did not burn or  dry out at all, so I can't see the temp difference being significant but one never knows.

    The pork ribs - on a rack which were a little above gauge level - took 2 1/2 hours at 225 degrees or so. That time at that temp made sense to me. So I am guessing my temp 12" closer to the heat source is quite a bit different (higher) than at the  gauge level, especially since this Brinkman is not sealed well and loses some amount of heat/smoke in the upper half of the chamber. It does not lose alot based on what is a visually minimal smoke trail, but there is no doubt it loses.

    So, take this possible temp variance on the lowest rack, coupled with the fact that perhaps my brine cooked the cut a bit, I ended up with an accelerated cooking time.

    Does this make sense to those of you with more wisdom and experience than I?

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