Smoked pork shoulder changed the way I viewed that massive piece of pork at the grocery store. I now look at it, usually on sale, with heart eyes. It is juicy, tender, and is a family meal everyone loves. With the right smoked pork shoulder recipe, your whole family will be asking for seconds.
Smoked pulled pork is always on rotation in our house. It's affordable, delicious, and very easy when doing BBQ pulled pork. It's always my recommendation for this cook for a beginner's first long cook because it is forgiving and easy.
SMOKED PULLED PORK - BBQ Pork Shoulder Vs. Pork Butt
Whether you enjoy smoking a pork shoulder OR pork butt, I smoke them the exact same way. I usually find pork shoulder to have more favour (usually because it comes along with a delicious bone) BUT it usually takes longer to fully cook through.
Starting out smoking meat with a pellet grill? This is a fantastic cook for beginners as it is very forgiving. Easy to create just takes a bit of time. Since a pork shoulder has so much fat running through it, it usually yields for a juicy shred of meat.
HOW LONG DOES A PORK SHOULDER TAKE TO SMOKE?
Always go by temperature, but with a 13lb shoulder like this, it took 9 hours to grill and rested for an additional 3 hours. I did an overnight cook and put it on the grill at midnight. Covered when I woke up at 6am, then rested 3 hours before guests arrived.
PRO TIP: Leave ample time with an overnight cook. You can always adjust the "rest" time and ensure it's done properly.
WHAT YOU'LL NEED
PELLET GRILL - I used my Pit Boss Grills Navigator
PELLETS - Cherry Blend by Pit Boss Grills
ALUMINUM FOIL PAN
BBQ RUB - I used Sweet Heat by Pit Boss Grills
BINDER - I used mustard
APPLE JUICE or CIDER BEER (2 cups)
THE PREP (10 minutes)
Preheat your pellet grill to 225 degrees. I used my Pit Boss Grills Navigator. For this smoked pork shoulder recipe you will need your favourite binder and pork rub. My pork shoulder was massive, so I scored it vertically and horizontally for a nice look. Coat your whole pork shoulder in a binder. I used mustard. Don't worry, you won't taste it in the end and will render out. Next, use your pork rub (I used Sweet Heat by Pit Boss Grills). Coat evenly on all sides.
Place a wire rack on your aluminum foil pan. Fill the pan with about 1/2" of water. Next, rest your pork shoulder on top. Now you can take it out onto the grill.
THE COOK (8-12 hours)
How to smoke a pork shoulder at this point is first to get a good smoke bath (aka crust), then tenderize it by covering it (steam), and then finish by resting to retain all its juices. The smoke process will approximately take 6-8 up to even 10 hours. You're looking for an internal temperature of 165-170 degrees during this process.
After you then either set it in an aluminum tray and cover it with aluminum foil OR just use aluminum foil and wrap the whole thing and add some liquid. I used apple juice, but you can use anything sweet like a cider beer. For this smoked pork shoulder recipe you place it back on the grill and let it get to an internal temperature of 200 degrees. This is the process where it steams your pork shoulder, tenderizing it.
The rest period is next. Wrap a towel around your pork shoulder or the whole aluminum tray. play in a cooler or your microwave (do not open it until you're ready to eat). Let rest for a minimum of 1 hour to up to even 8 hours. Depending on how good your cooler is. This process helps retain its own juices again but also tenderizes it again further. After resting, pull, shred, and claw your way to a perfect pulled pork dinner. Enjoy!!
WHAT TO SERVE IT WITH?
Now you've made and shredded your smoked pork shoulder recipe - now what? What do you serve it on? What do you serve it with? Whether you choose a burger bun, tacos, bao buns, or add it to your mac n cheese. Smoked pulled pork is so versatile
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