Pulled Pork with Boneless Pork Shoulder

Discussion in 'Pork' started by wklkjn, Oct 12, 2016.

  1. wklkjn

    wklkjn Smoke Blower

    Pretty simple question.

    I've always used a pork shoulder with the bone-in for smoking pulled pork.

    At Costco, they have 'boneless' pork shoulders that look pretty big, but I'm wondering if the bone has a purpose.

    The only thing I've ever wanted the bone for is to have the satisfaction of pulling out the bone, clean when the meat is done.  :)

    Any thoughts?
  2. smokinal

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

    The bone keeps the meat from drying out & gives better flavor. IMHO!

    rlj3rd likes this.
  3. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    There seems to be a universal opinion that bone in is superior for the reasons Al stated. This may well be the case. However, I've done both bone in and boneless and can't honestly say I've noticed a difference. Granted, I don't make pulled pork very often, and have never done a side to side comparison, so it may be that I'm just so happy to have pulled pork it all tastes great.
    In my opinion, for what it's worth, the main thing is to make sure you hit the sweet spot where the collagen has broken down but the meat hasn't had a chance to dry out. In my experience this is somewhere between 190° and 203°.
    The one difference I have noticed is that boneless shoulders tend to reach that zone more quickly, and as a result, pass it more quickly, so a bit more care is required. I THINK the bone acts like a heat sink, much like the water pan in a WSM. It basically slows things down and widens the margins. This is just what I think, don't quote me on it.
    Might as well give the boneless a try. Like I said, I've made some pretty good pulled pork starting with boneless. Just make sure you hit your target.
  4. wklkjn

    wklkjn Smoke Blower

    Thanks for the responses.

    I'll give it a try and keep a close eye on the temp.
  5. mwh1977

    mwh1977 Newbie

    Is there an advantage to smoking a pork shoulder at 195* as opposed to the 225* I normally do?
  6. wklkjn

    wklkjn Smoke Blower

    Don't know about 195 but all I can tell you is that after reading lots of posts, I've moved my smoker temp up to around 250 to 265 for everything.  Even higher for chicken.

    As I understand it, it's not so much about the smoking temperature as it is monitoring the meat temperature closely.

    For heavier thicker pieces of meat, I watch for the magical 160 to 170 temp and then wrap in foil till it hits 195/200.

    I've done this strategy now for several pork butts, ribs, and briskets and have always had success.

    250/265 smoker temp

    165/170 wrap in foil

    195/200 stop cooking and let rest for at least 1/2 hour.
    mwh1977 likes this.
  7. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    No. In fact there are a couple pretty distinct disadvantages. It'll take FOREVER to get to the internal temp required for pulling. And it'll be in the "danger zone" for a disproportionately long time. The "low and slow" mantra has done a serious disservice to people new to bbq, in my opinion. The opinion seems to exist that the lower and longer, the better. "If 225 is good, then 175 must be better!!" It just ain't true. Necessity is, in fact, the mother of invention. When people first started cooking hunks of meat over smoldering coals, low and slow was all they had. And they discovered that it did, in fact, turn tough cuts like brisket and pork shoulder into moist, tender meat. Much more so than cooking over a blazing hot fire. BBQ was born. However, like many other things, basic understanding and advances in processes and equipment have led to much more efficient ways to achieve the desired result. With proper internal temperature monitoring, you can achieve tender juicy pulled pork at pit temperatures in the 300-350 range in less than half the time. I'm not saying low and slow doesn't have it's place. I'm just saying it's not the only way.

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