Sliced Pork Shoulder/Butt Tenderness Question

Discussion in 'Meat Selection and Processing' started by teeznuts, Sep 25, 2013.

  1. teeznuts

    teeznuts Master of the Pit

    I've been smoking killer pulled pork for years but I recently decided to start doing some sliced. Two weeks ago I did one in my MES and it was amazing. I meant to take it off at an IT of 145 but I got sidetracked and it hit an IT of 152 before I got it out. After a short rest I sliced it for sandwiches and it was super moist and super tender. Everyone loved it.

    Last weekend I attempted to do it all over again. I smoked one in my MES and the other on my stick burner. I took each off when they hit an IT of 152 since that was the magic number from the prior smoke.

    I was soooooooo disappointed! While everyone loved em, I could tell a huge difference. These were not nearly as tender or moist as the one i had done prior. The fat running through the meat had an almost "crunchy" feel to it when I bit into it.

    I'm almost positive that the pork was all purchased at the same store. To my knowledge the pork from the first smoke was not enhanced with any injection from the manufacturer but I can't be for sure. I think the two tougher roasts may have been larger as they were both approx 9lbs each. I think the first shoulder was only 7 or 8lbs. Could this be that larger and assumably older pigs will have tougher meat? If by chance the first one was injected is there any way to replicate this so I can inject it myself for future smokes?

    Any input is appreciated.
  2. I have always taken my sliced butt to 185°. never had a problem!

    Happy smoken.

  3. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Roast to roast will vary greatly. I have had lower grade Select Rib Eyes that would melt in your mouth and high Choice Certified Angus that was dry and tough. I cook Butts to 185-190*F with a rest then slice. Always tender...JJ
  4. pops6927

    pops6927 Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I think it was a combination of undercooking, age and prep.  Butts do vary widely in tenderness, and barely over the cooked line it would be more apparent.  Injecting them first with some sort of solution enhances the cooking; water conducts heat better so injecting them helps.  How to tell which one is more tender?  Size helps; the smaller butts are from younger hogs or runts, but I've seen huge pork steak tender as all get out and smaller ones tough, cooked the same.  I'd try cooking them to 165° - 175° next time, allowing to get through the stall and allow the collagen to break down for consistently good results.
  5. teeznuts

    teeznuts Master of the Pit

    Thanks guys. I always appreciate any feedback.
  6. teeznuts

    teeznuts Master of the Pit

    Thanks guys. I always appreciate any feedback.

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