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First Pulled Pork! Lessons Learned!

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    First Pulled Pork! Lessons Learned!

    I made pulled pork over the weekend using the recipe here (more or less - I could've followed directions a little better)! It was a 6 lb shoulder from Costco. I used a Jamaican jerk-inspired wet rub after salting.
    It was my first time smoking pork shoulder- used the Slow 'N Sear with my 26" Weber.

    I experienced two stalls (the latter due to my incompetance). As it was approaching midnight, I wrapped it with a little water and threw it in the oven at 350º (this was roughly at the 14 hour mark - I had to go to work the next day).
    Had a really nice bark even with the crutch at the end!

    Click image for larger version

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    Lots of lessons learned (some of these may be obvious, but I am a relative newbie to outdoor cooking, especially smoking):
    1. Put on salt at least 12 hours before (I only did 10-- I think I will try the full 24 hours next).
    2. Cross-hatching/scoring with a kitchen knife to increase bark works really well!
    3. Read all the sidebars on the Amazing Ribs recipe page - I didn't learn what the "money muscle" was until too late (I know...)! I didn't isolate it prior to cooking. It was delicious at the end still. (Also, "multifidus dorsi" is fun to say.)
    4. The Slow n' Sear works as advertised (quite well!) it kept the temp in the right zone easily. I refilled coals at 8 hours, but probably could've gone longer.
    5. If it is really sunny out, and there is no shade, an umbrella works surprisingly well to lower the temp of the grill. The umbrella will smell like smoke afterwards though (get prior spouse approval before attempting)!
    6. Spraying water on the kettle surface really works to make minor temperature corrections.
    7. Wait a while after making vent/spray/umbrella modifications to have a noticeable effect on temperature (they will).
    8. Don't forget to add water to the slow 'n sear when you refill charcoal.
    9. Bank the remaining coals to one side when refilling (don't just dump the new ones on top - it'll get pretty hot, especially if you forget to ...
    10. Add water when you refill the Slow 'n Sear. I didn't think of this until I noticed the temperature kept climbing (Duh). When I added the water, it sputtered all over. In hindsight, I am attributing the second stall to the meat getting re-wet and undergoing additional evaporative cooling. I should've at least shielded the meat at that point.
    11. Bear Paws are awesome for pulling. Best $15 I've spent in a while.
    12. Wash your hands before taking an iphone picture of the finished product (a thin layer of melted porkfat on the lens doesn't make for great pictures-- see below)... It is unbelievably difficult not to "sample" bark during the pulling process.
    13. Jerk wet rub mixed with some ketchup makes a good, bright tasting sauce-- reminded me a a bit of currywurst ketchup...
    14. Don't start pulled pork at 9 AM Sunday morning if you need to go to work on Monday!
    The good news is that the pork is delicious. My wife loved it too!!
    Here's a greasy picture post-pull (pre-sauce):
    Click image for larger version

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    Thanks Meathead and crew (and pit) for the great recipe and site!

    TL: DR: Pork is good, I learned stuff, thanks!
    Attached Files

    Great Job... gotta love that pork!

    I understand the time thing... I have finished more than one butt in the oven


      Looks like you did a great job!


        14 hrs. with a 6lb butt man that was a long cook


          Looks awesome. Pulled pork is my new favorite .


            Nice job!


              Nice post. I did the water thing too with the SnS. Now I poor on the cold side.


                I remember reading that you shouldn't add more water even if you add more coals. As TS noted, it creates a second stall due to evaporative cooling of the meat from the additional humidity.

                My last pulled pork over July 4th weekend took 16 hours for an 8 lb butt, and that was only to 198F. I started prepping at 730am, cooking at 9am, and refilled charcoal after 8 hours. I encountered 2, possibly 3 stalls during the cook. It wouldn't move past 198F for the last two hours even with the smoker temp around 235F. At 130am I called it quits and took the butt off the smoker. I think there is definitely a difference in the flavor of the meat at 198F compared to 203F. I would have tried finishing it in the oven but it was too late in the night.



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