Pork shoulder help!

Discussion in 'Pork' started by epic 23, Aug 9, 2015.

  1. epic 23

    epic 23 Newbie

    Hello, and "thanks" up front for some help!

    Yesterday I smoked two 3.5 lbs pork shoulders. The first hour I set my Smokehouse gas smoker at 200 degrees so my pellets would not flare up. Using the temp chart that is posted on most websites, I allowed one hour of smoking for each pound. The second hour I increased the heat to 225 degrees and continued to cook for four hours, at the end of four hours my internal temp was 140 degrees. (I should mention that one of the pork shoulders was in a disposable aluminum pan the entire time.) After four hours with the temp stalled at 140 I set the top shoulder in a aluminum pan as well and covered both shoulders with foil. For the next two hours I increased the heat to 250 degrees, when the internal temp reached 195 degrees I removed both shoulders and let rest for 30 minutes.

    The bottom shoulder that smoked the entire time in the pan turned out amazing! The top roast was tough and would not pull or fall of the bone.

    My question is, what did I do wrong?

    I used apple juice and water in my water pan. And I spritzed the roasts with apple juice every hour. 

    Thank you for trouble shooting.
  2. bmaddox

    bmaddox Master of the Pit

    200 is too low for shoulders. Also, the rule of thumb is 1.5-2 hours per pound for shoulders.

    Were these small Boston butts or picnic shoulders? Either way, I take pork shoulders to 205 if I want to pull them.

    Are you checking temps with a calibrated thermometer?

    Are you monitoring your air temp with a calibrated thermometer?

    The apple juice in the water pan really won't make a difference.

    Also, spritzing will slow down the cooking process because the temp drops every time you open the door. 
  3. thegreatmc

    thegreatmc Meat Mopper

    If they are stacked I highly doubt they were the same temp when you pulled, but I could be wrong. In my vertical smoker, unless I rotate them, my top shoulder will be 15-20* behind the bottom one. If you only checked the bottom one this could explain it. Shoulders don't pull well until they get hot enough and you might not have made it there.
  4. tumbleweed1

    tumbleweed1 Smoking Fanatic

    Both of these guys are offering good advice.

    I would do those shoulders at 275 until 205 IT each & rotate them.

  5. personally - I cook all my pork btwn 250 and 275.... I don't worry too much about the time it takes, but, getting the correct internal temperature. On Boston Butt, for pulled pork, 205 is spot on. I would suggest getting your grill temp to a specific temp and maintaining it + or - a few degrees throughout the cook. Of course, there are always variables... How long have you had the smoker, do you know where, if any, the hot or cold spots are, whether or not you inject the meat, where it is in relation to the heat source, etc..... As a beginner, I learned first to control my fire, after I was confident that I could maintain the temp I started working on just getting each type of meat to the deisired finish temps, after that I started worrying about techniques and flavorings... That's what I love about BBQ, the learning and experimenting never ends... Hang in there, Epic you'll get it where ya want it in no time...
  6. epic 23

    epic 23 Newbie

    Well, I have to say that I have learned a great deal from everyone's posts. I have had this smoker for several months now but, in saying that, this is my fourth smoker. I only used one meat probe for the shoulder on top. Since Saturday, I purchased a Maverick double probed wireless unit to monitor either meat and smoker temp or two roasts... live and learn. I now understand to take my shoulder or butt to 205 and it takes about 1.5 - 2 hours per pound.

    Thanks to all for your help and input. And yes, I will continue to keep smoking until I get it right! [​IMG]

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