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How to Smoke a Pork Shoulder

It is quite a simple task, perfect for those starting their adventure with smoking meat.

So let me present a fast and simple recipe for preparing a tasty pork shoulder.

You can prepare it in two different ways

Depending on the way you're planning to prepare it, a smoked pork shoulder is fast and easy to make.

It's a good idea to marinate your meat, it only takes you a day, but the benefits of marinating are worth it. I honestly recommend brine, but you need to know that it is not necessary. You can prepare a smoked pork shoulder without brine.

How to Smoke a Pork Shoulder using Smoker

First and foremost, you need to know that traditional pork shoulder smoking involves long and slow cooking in low temperatures. It takes many hours ( 8 pound piece takes about 8 hours ), but it allows to prepare meat that is moist and smoked on the inside.

There's also a faster method, smoking using indirect-grilling. It takes place in a higher temperature which cuts the time even down to 2-3 hours.

smoked pork shoulder in smoker

Method 1# Pork shoulder with Brine

If you have time, check out how to make brine for a pork shoulder. Your meat will spend many hours in a smoker, the brine will prevent the meat from dehydrating and will make it much tastier and moister on the inside.

After your meat has spent over a dozen hours in the brine, we can go further. Smoking a pork shoulder.

Heat up your smoker to the temperature of 225 degrees. Add shredded wood to the smoker, I recommend Hickory or Apple ( put the wood in warm water for half an hour before smoking the meat ).

Next put your pork shoulder on the grate, this recipe is based on a 8 pound piece. Leave your meat on the smoker for about 8 hours. Monitor the temperature and add more wood if necessary.

Your meat has spent over a dozen hours in brine, so you don't have to worry that after 8 hours it will be dry on the inside. As I have already mentioned, brine prevents the meat from dehydrating. Therefore you don't have to rub marinade into your meat.

Important note! If despite the brining process you still wish to rub marinade into the meat, remember one very important thing. Do not add condiments such as salt or the like, or else your meat will end up too salty.

Therefore, cooking your pork using this method should take about 8 hours. Before taking your pork shoulder off, check its internal temperature using a digital termometer.

It should be between 170F and 180F degrees for serving stripes of pork.

The internal temperature is between 190 and 200 degrees F if you want pulled smoked pork shoulder.

pork shoulder brining

What if you don't have a digital meat thermometer?

Use tongs to see if the meat comes off the bone easily. If it does, it means that your pork shoulder is ready now and needs to be taken off the grate.

Method 2# Pork Shoulder rubbed with condiments ( no brine )

It's a recipe for a very quick smoked pork shoulder rubbed with condiments. For those not patient enough to prepare meat using the brine method.

Which requires over a dozen hours of keeping the shoulder in brine, and then about 8 hours of cooking on a smoker.

First take your shoulder out of the fridge for an hour between smoking. Then prepare a special savory rub recipe. You will find all the information on how to prepare it here.

Before putting the meat on the smoker, we rub dry marinade on your pork shoulder. After so many hours of smoking, the condiments will have enough time to give your meat aromatic smell and taste.

pork shoulder rub

Heat up your smoker to about 240-250 degrees. Once the smoker gets to the desired temperature, put the pork shoulder on the grate and don't flip it.

Let it cook in one position all the time.

Next, after an hour passes, you need to take steps to prevent grilling dry meat. You want your pork shoulder to be juicy and aromatic. For that reason, in order to prevent the meat from dehydrating, you need to use a BBQ mop. It will allow you to soften the meat and keep it moist.

After the first hour passes, put the mop every 45-60 minutes to keep the meat moist. You may also use a special spray mop, it's even much more convenient than a regular mop.

Cook your meat this way for about 1 hour per each pound of your pork shoulder, until it reaches the right internal temperature.

So just like with the previous method, 180 degrees F in the thickest spot means that the meat is ready. If you want pulled pork, though, wait until it reaches 190 degrees F.

For that purpose, obviously use a digidal meat termometer. It's not really expensive, and it will surely come in handy in your kitchen many times. So I recommend getting this very useful device.

Once your pork shoulder is ready, take the meat off the grate and put it in your serving container for it to rest for few minutes after cooking. It will allow to keep the juices inside the shoulder.

How to Reheat Pulled Pork

Sadly, there isn't any way to do it right. There is no method that would allow to reheat this kind of meat while it keeps the same taste as when you took it out of the smoker. It is difficult beceuse reheating this type of meat might cause it to be dry, hard or rubbery.

You definitely cannot use a microwave oven, it guarantees all the undesired effects mentioned above.

I will show you one method that you could try and I think that it can give you satisfying results.

Put your meat on a tinfoil tray, then cover it with tinfoil. Such solution will allow you to keep the juices in the food that show up during cooking.

Set the oven at the lowest temperature and put the meat prepared as described above inside. Keep checking the taste and moisture of your shoulder during reheating.

It's hard to find a better method, most people openly say that reheated pulled pork will bea  lot different from fresh one.