This is my pork shoulder recipe from bringing home a pork shoulder, to preparing it with a rub, to smoking it up delicious. Of course, I always start with the very best meat I purchase from Harter House Supermarket.
The actual pork shoulder is very big and most of us usually only smoke a pork butt or a pork picnic roast which is the two parts of an actual pork shoulder.
I Prefer the bone in pork butt which normally runs about 8 pounds or so. They say the meat is sweeter when it cooks with the bone in and I happen to agree.
I always rub the pork shoulder down with a light layer of French's yellow mustard to help the rub to stick better throughout the smoke and apply about 1/2 to 3/4 cups of my favorite rub to the outside of the meat being careful to massage it into every nick and cranny.
Note: the mustard will lose its flavor during the smoking and will only leave a nice brown crust so you need not worry that your pork will taste like mustard.. it won't.
Smoke the Pork Shoulder
Prepare the smoker as you normally would to maintain a 225 degree temperature and lay the pork shoulder right on the grate for the long smoke.
Pork shoulder cook time can be figured at approximately 1.5 hours per pound so a 8 pound shoulder will require at least 12 hours in the smoker.
The pork is probably cooked in a few hours, but it takes much more time to reach fall-apart tender. If you end up hovering around 225 or less, shoot for 20 to 24 hours.
I have a friend who only leaves the shoulder in the smoker until it reaches the 140 degree mark and then wraps it in heavy duty foil and finishes it off in the oven for convenience. And that is fine if you need the convenience.
In either case, for the final two hours, wrap the pork butt in aluminum foil. This will give the meat a last minute steam that'll make it a little more succulent.
Some options include injecting the pork with apple cider, but definitely I keep a pan of water and apple juice underneath the shoulder to keep the exterior of the meat as moist as possible during the long cook time. That might sound like a lot, but it really isn't. The hardest part of smoking could be getting up in the middle of the night to stoke the coals and add a little more wood (which you could do every three to five hours) or I will tend to the smoker just before bed and restart the coals in the morning. The Smoker should stay around 100 degrees overnight.
200 Degrees.. Not a Moment Sooner
When the pork shoulder reaches about 200 degrees, pull it from the smoker and bring it into the house for a resting period. I like to let it rest for 45 minutes or better before I pull it to allow the juices to redistribute throughout the meat.
Pull the Pork
I then use two forks to pull the meat apart into chunks.. be sure and add in the brown bark for added flavor and it makes the finished product look really good.. I have to say that because I have seen folks discard the outside bark thinking it is burnt or something. It is the best part.
Check out this vibrant pink smoke ring!
The simple Recipe Ingredients
• 1 (5-pound) or larger bone-in pork butt
• 1/4 cup BBQ dry rub, homemade or store-bought
• 1 cup apple juice in spray bottle
• Special equipment: Charcoal and hickory and apple wood chips soaked in water 1/2 hour prior to cooking
Season heavily with dry rub. Place in plastic bag and refrigerate overnight.
Remove pork from refrigerator 2 hours prior to cooking to come to room temperature.
Prepare smoker to temperature of 210 to 220 degrees F and place 1 handful of hickory chips and 1 handful of apple chips on hot coals.
Place pork butt in smoker and smoke for 14 to 16 hours adding 1 handful of hickory and 1 handful of apple chips every 4 hours. After 5 hours in smoker, begin spraying generously with apple juice every 2 hours.
Pork will be done when the internal temperature reaches 185 to 200 degrees F. Pull or chop meat as desired and top with your favorite sauce!
Making the Spicy Rub
1/4 cup Dark Brown Sugar
1 cup Paprika
1/2 cup Celery Salt
2 Tbs. Granulated Garlic
1/2 Tbsp. Mustard Powder
1/2 Tbsp. White Pepper
1 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
2 tsp. Ground Thyme
1/2 tsp. Salt
Sift all ingredients into bowl. Mix well.
Smoky Barbecue Sauce1 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
1 cup Ketchup
1/2 cup chipotle ketchup
3 Tbs. Brown Sugar
1/4 tsp. Salt
2 Tbs. Yellow Mustard
Mix all ingredients together and simmer for 10 minutes in a sauce pan.
Pulled Pork Sandwich, pulled pork tacos, and Oh, I make an awesome pulled pork pizza.