7.22.2005

Viewer mail: pork shoulder cooking time

Lately, we've been eating light. Salads, bread, cheese, veggies ... lite fare for these humid days; not much to blog about. However, that doesn't mean 'Q emergencies don't exist. This one was from a man I'll call Jack:

I was going to smoke a pork shoulder picnic roast, and the recipe I have says to smoke it for 1 1/2 hours per pound. My roast is close to 9 pounds and if my addition is right that makes it close to 14 hours of smoking time. My question is: could I stick it in the oven at about 200 degrees for about 5 hours then move it to the smoker after I wake up in the morning? I really don't want to keep my smoker up to temperature by staying up all night.
A 'Q purist would've passed Jack's email address to the nearest online Viagra salesman and been done with it. But, I saw a person with a busy schedule, not unlike a busy parent, trying to achieve great results on a busy schedule and thought this was actually a great idea. Some oven, some smoking.

He was using a picnic roast (my personal favorite for pulled pork) and cooked it 8 hours in the oven at 200F and 9 hours in an offset smoker. Despite a few ups and downs regarding the temperature of the smoker (tending to other work-related duties, we'll forgive you this time Jack) he achieved a final internal temp of 180F (I believe that's as good as it gets for pulled) and said he got a roast that "cut like butter". Kind of driving you nuts isn't it.

He did comment on the fact it didn't pull with a fork, but I've observed similar results on some outstanding "pulled pork" myself. The picnic cut is a bit different and may not lend itself to a texture that pulls. So, once again, a reader comes up with a pretty darn good work around to the low 'n slow cooking that can sometimes challenge one's schedule. Good job Jack.

17 comments:

Eric said...

I have heard of people doing just the opposite - smoke for a few hours, then finish it up in the oven. This, I believe, would allow for better smoke penetration.

I wonder, how much smoky flavor he got?

Dave said...

I suspect you would get more smoke penetration at the beginning when the meat is raw than at the end but when it comes out of the oven, if it was covered, I suspect it might be almost as receptive toward smoke flavor.

No reports on the smokiness of the meat.

Anonymous said...

I'm "Jack", actually my name is Mark, I have no problem with my name posted on here. I thought it came out very tasty. I tried to keep from getting my picnic too smokey. Cooked a little with lump charcoal and a combination of Oak and Hickory. The problem I've had using my new smoker has been too much hickory, which made it a bit bitter. I was very pleased with the smoke flavor this time. Honestly I didn't really pay attention to how deep the smoke penetrated. I'll check that next time. Also I think I'll cover it in the oven like Dave suggested.

Dave said...

Hey Mark,
Thanks for chiming in. I won't be posting much since I'll be wallowing in oodles of bbq from Memphis in the next few days. I'll report back promptly - or when my daughter's schedule permits.

WhiteTrashBBQ said...

The reason you couldn't pull your pork (with a fork, take it easy now) is that you took it off too soon. Try to let it get to about 190. Then wrap and let rest for a couple of hours - yes hours. After that it will pull like butter.

dave said...

Thanks for the tip Robert; very much appreciated. I knew a pork shoulder has an immense heat capacity. However, I never knew, the length of time wrapped would effect the "pullability". I can't wait to try this on my next bit of pork.

Bob said...

Hey Dave. Bob from Oakland Ave here. Last Firday I smoked (hickory and a little apple wood) two pork shoulder both about 9lbs. They were in the smoker for about 7 hours then wrapped in foil and into the oven set at 200 for 5 hours. I waited two hours before pulling. The meat just fell off. It was very moist with a nice smoky favor. I pulled at about 8am. What a perfect breakfast!

Dave said...

Hey Bob, sounds like a perfect combination of cooking methods to get ready for breakfast. Seems like the 2 hour rest is crucial for pulling. I never knew that; good info to have.

Someday, I'll smoke again. Parenting has been busy lately.

Anonymous said...

This is Mark again. I finally nailed it. This weekend I smoked a slab of ribs, boneless pork roast, and a beef chuck roast. I smoked about 4 1/2 hours then wrapped them all in foil after covering with bbq sauce. I left them on the smoker in the foil for another 1 1/2 to 2 hours. I checked internals and the pork shoulder was between 190 - 200. I let them sit covered in a towel for about an hour, and the pork was falling apart. Heck I didn't need a fork. As for the ribs very good, and the beef...well let's say that didn't work. Not sure why, but was very tough. Next time it will be a brisket.

dave said...

Hey Mark,

Good for you! Beef is definitely tougher. It's more challenging and it's not as fatty so getting a cut of beef, expecially a brisket, is a real challenge to get tender. Good luck!

Al in Richmond, Tx said...

I use an electric smoker with a digital heat and timer. It works great. I am doing my first pork roast today. Since it is a small one (1.6lbs )it should be done in about 7 hours cooked at 225 degrees. These electric smokers are great. Just put some water in the water pan, some wood chips in the chip holder, and forget it.

Dave said...

Hey Al, I've been tempted by electric smokers many times. Being a busy Dad and all, seems like it'd be nice.

Larry said...

i did a 15 lb pork shoulder as suggested covered in the oven for 9 hours and in the smoker for another 8 hours, I smoke with apple and cherry wood. I try something new and injected it with apple cider, water, sugar and Worcestershire Sauce combination. I let it stand for an hour. it was so moist and pulled well and it had smoke favour.

Dave said...

Wow! 15lb'er. Nice. I like all that injected stuff. Too much work for me. I should try it sometime though.

James said...

I have found it best to smoke the roast at 225 Deg for about 5 1/2 to 6 hours. Put roast in a pan, cover with foil (sealing the edges to seal flavor and moisture in. Cook for an additional 4 hours at 225 deg. Ensure the internal roast temperature is around 180deg.
I have done roughly 10 roasts so far with excellent results. SMoking first works great.

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