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Pork shoulder - not so pleased with the result

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  • Dutchness
    Former Member
    • Apr 2016
    • 89

    Pork shoulder - not so pleased with the result

    So I smoked a shoulder last week. It took 16 hours to get it to 201F. I smoked around 225F the entire smoke. Let it rest for 90 min before I pulled it. I didn't wrap. I spritzed it every hour except for the first 4 hours. I put it fat side down. I had a water pan inside the CC. Oh and I dry brined it for 12 hours (I know I could do longer next time).

    The looks of the shoulder are awesome, but the meat was on the dry-ish side. Definitely not super dry, but not anything to be really excited about. I have no idea what I could improve (except for dry brining it longer but I doubt that was the cause). Also wasn't very excited about the bark, very tough, maybe I am just not a bark fan on pork?

    Could it have been that the meat wasn't fatty enough? Any other ideas?

    Thanks!



  • Powersmoke_80
    Founding Member
    • Aug 2014
    • 886
    • Bay City, Michigan
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    #2
    Cold of been a lean piece, Personally I only take pork butt to 195. and rest for at least an hour or two. I usually wrap at the stall and 13 hours has been the longest un wrapped, 16 hours sounds like a little on the long side as it doesn't look real big.

    Comment

    • Butterman
      Club Member
      • Aug 2015
      • 110
      • REC TEC Mini WeberGenesis Silver B Maverick ET-732 ThermoPop (Red) Thermapen Mk4 (Green) Grill Grates (for my Weber) .

      #3
      I've done 16 to 18 hours with pork shoulder before and not had an issue on my pellet smoker, but I stopped around 200 to 203. Not sure if that 7 to 10 degrees extra would make all of the difference, but the temp seems a bit too high to me.

      Comment

      • LA Pork Butt
        Charter Member
        • Dec 2014
        • 5568
        • Grew up in New Orleans, lived in Texas for 20 years, lived in Mandeville, LA for 22 years. I now liv

        #4
        https://pitmaster.amazingribs.com/me...1897-dutchness Was it a Boston Butt or Picnic? The shape leads me to believe it was a Picnic (the lower part of the shoulder). I have cooked few of those, but many Buston Butts. My 10 pounders are usually done within 14 hours- usually 12 at 225. What were you cooking on? Did you use a water pan? I cook on a Big Green Egg which doesn't need a water pan, but many other cookers do. I see no need to spritz, which may have lengthened your cook by losing heat with each spritz. I take my Butts to an internal temp of 200. As a test,for doneness use a thermometer probe and should go in like it was soft butter. You may have simply over cooked it. While there is more fat on the outside of the Picnic in my limited experience the picnic tends to be a little dryer. Also, when you pull a butt it will dry out quickly.

        Comment

        • fuzzydaddy
          Charter Member
          • Nov 2014
          • 4970
          • Winchester TN
          • Hardware
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          #5
          Ditto to what LA Pork Butt said. To add moisture to pulled pork, I add about 1/2 cup of water per 5 pounds, and about 1 tablespoon of butter per pound (from Meathead). I recently cooked 2 boston butts for a party where folks would be eating over a couple of hours, so I pulled it and put it in a large crock pot, added the water/butter. I stirred/mixed it up it a few times over about 2 hours. After about 2 hours in the crock pot it softened a bit but stayed very moist and was delicious.

          Comment

        • Dutchness
          Former Member
          • Apr 2016
          • 89

          #6
          Thanks for all the replies guys!

          It had the shoulder blade in it so it must have been a Boston Butt...right?

          Butterman I think you missread my final IT, I pulled it at 201F, not 210F.

          I did use a water pan and used a reverse flow smoker, using red oak as fuel.

          I like all the tips about the water and butter. I did dd some apple juice. I just would like to make a decent shoulder first before adding things to make it even better. Don't wanna do all kinds of tricks to fix dry-ish meat.

          I have done them wrapped before, not much difference. One other thing I am thinking off is that my RF plate is pretty close to the food rack. I bought this smoker used and who knows how good the design was or not. I am building one myself ATM so slowly start to know more about them. I m going to try to use a water pan below the shoulder on the RF plate and see if it makes a difference.

          Any feedback is always appreciated and will update this thread once I have tried another one.

          Comment

          • Huskee
            Administrator
            • May 2014
            • 15417
            • central MI, USA
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            #7
            Dutchness I can't speak for why it was a drier end product, could just be the meat itself (win some, lose some). Obviously going unwrapped the whole way will get you a more substantial bark. Personally I don't care for a thick hard bark either. So what I like to do is wrap when it comes out of the stall and is at about ~180. This temp allows a good base bark first, plus speeds up the cook which saves time and wood (fuel). But something else it does is it saves juices in the foil, which you can then add back to the pulled pork at the end, instead of letting all the juices drip away. For me personally I find this to be the best all around way to go. The bark is there, and is great IMO, but isn't hard and obnoxious. Just make sure to save those drippings in the foil. Maybe give that method a go next time and see if that doesn't make a positive difference for you.

            Comment

            • fuzzydaddy
              Charter Member
              • Nov 2014
              • 4970
              • Winchester TN
              • Hardware
                Blackstone 36” Griddle.
                Slow 'N Sear Deluxe Kamado & Kettle Grill.
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                Weber Chimney Starters (regular and compact).
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                Consumables / Favorites
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                SnS Grills salt free rubs: Not Just for Beef & Rocky’s Rub.
                MeatChurch Holy Cow. MMD, BBBR, S&G, Herbs de Provence, SPG.

              #8
              On my water/butter addition...when we're eating the pulled pork immediately, I don't add anything. I only add it when pulling and putting in a crock pot for a setup when folks eat over a couple of hours and I also need to keep it heated.

              Comment

              • DeusDingo
                Founding Member
                • Jul 2014
                • 1149
                • Madison, WI
                • Weber Q320 grill
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                #9
                if you put a drip pan in you can collect the juices and add them back to the meat after you pull it and that will add some moisture. when you rested it for 90 minutes did you rest it in a faux cambro or did you just leave it sit out?

                in addition: i also don't like the bark on pork butt when unwrapped. it's like putting a layer of jerky on the outside of a super tender meat. it tastes good but i like wrapping it to soften the bark considerably.
                Last edited by DeusDingo; April 22, 2016, 07:59 AM.

                Comment

                • Spinaker
                  Moderator
                  • Nov 2014
                  • 10836
                  • Land of Tonka
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                  #10
                  Lose the water pan. All it does is hinder bark formation. It has little, and I would argue, no, effect on how moist the finished product is. I think the same in regard to Spritzing as well. Plus, it doesn't really add anything to the flavor anyway. I know I will get some mud tossed my way for saying that, but that has always been my experience. I think think that all that does is complicate things. And all your adding is more moisture that needs to be evaporated from the surface of the meat. Most shoulders have enough inter-muscular fat, that you don't need to worry about them drying out before wrapping. Even if it were low on inter-muscular fat, a water pan and some Spritzing will have little effect. Keep the lid closed unless your checking the temp. Wrap at 175-180 F and go from there. Just my humble two cents.

                  Comment


                  • badf00d
                    badf00d commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Since I had similar results to Dutchness, but I used sous vide and KBQ, how would your advice above differ for me if I went all KBQ?
                • gcdmd
                  Charter Member
                  • Sep 2014
                  • 1087
                  • The Republic of Texas

                  #11
                  Well put, Spinaker . Unencumbered by knowledge, my first foray into BBQ a number of years ago was with pork butt. I would grill steaks, chops, etc. on an oil drum grill/pit and didn't want to waste the coals I had so carefully prepared. I put the coals at one end and a seasoned pork butt at the other, closed down the barrel, and went to bed. The next morning I checked the pork, and it was perfectly cooked and delicious. I had similar results a few more times and then branched out into chickens with similar results. A monster was born.
                  Last edited by gcdmd; April 22, 2016, 04:13 PM.

                  Comment


                  • Spinaker
                    Spinaker commented
                    Editing a comment
                    You got it man. No better way to do it!!
                • Strat50
                  Former Member
                  • Nov 2014
                  • 513
                  • Houston, Alaska

                  #12
                  I agree with Spinaker here. After the first couple hours, wrap that bad boy. I do mine a bit different, as I come from a different cooking tradition, however enclosing (wrapping) the pork in foil will help a lot.

                  Comment

                  • chudzikb
                    Charter Member
                    • Dec 2014
                    • 202

                    #13
                    I wrap somewhere between 150 and 165 internal temp. Depends upon how much I am paying attention. I use a mixture of apple juice, bbq sauce and minced garlic. The juice that comes out of the foil wrap is pure gold. That stuff added to the pork before reheating makes it all good. Everyone has their own way of doing things, take some tips and try different methods and see what works for you. You will sort it out quickly.

                    Comment

                    • Spinaker
                      Moderator
                      • Nov 2014
                      • 10836
                      • Land of Tonka
                      • John "J R"
                        Instagram: JRBowlsby
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                        Minnesota/ United States of America

                        ********************************************
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                        Kinnick (American Foxhound)
                        ************************

                        Grills/Smokers/Fryers
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                        Karubeque C-60
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                        Marquette Castings No. 13 (First Run)
                        Smithey No. 12
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                        Univex Duro 10" Meat Slicer
                        ********************************
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                        FOGO Priemium Lump Charcoal
                        Kingsford Blue and White
                        Rockwood Lump Charcoal
                        Apple, Cherry & Oak Log splits for the C-60
                        **************************

                        Cutlery
                        Buck 119 Special
                        Cuda 7' Fillet Knife

                        Dexter 12" Brisket Sword
                        Global
                        Shun
                        Wusthof
                        *******
                        Next Major Purchase
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                      #14
                      badf00d If I was using jus the KBQ. I throw it in fat side up, and wrap at around 175 F-180 F. Again, I don't use any water pan. I put a pan in the KBQ but just to catch the drippings and make that whole clean up thing much easier. Typically, I put my butts in the freezer about an hour before I throw it in the KBQ to get that temp down as far as possible to promote smoke ring formation. Other than that, I just keep the door shut as much as possible, run "clean" smoke and let it do it's magic. Don't Spritz, mop or mess with it. Just let the smoker do its thing. Then wrap when the bark is to your liking. You won't have to worry about the meat drying out in the KBQ. Most of the time, when people have dried out meat, Its the meat itself that is to blame or they have severely overcooked it. As Meathead says, "Garbage in, Garbage out" Just let your smoker work for you. To many variables can make things worse. Start with a simple system, master it. Then you can add things to impart different flavors and techniques. Let me know if you have anymore questions.

                      Comment

                      • Dutchness
                        Former Member
                        • Apr 2016
                        • 89

                        #15
                        Thanks for all the great replies!

                        This was the first time I have tried it unwrapped. I hated the bark. Texture and flavor wise. So definitely will start wrapping again next time.

                        I remember smoking pork necks before and one part would be juicy and one part of the piece of meat would be on the dry side. I didn't pay enough attention if this were the bottom and top part of the meat. But I have strong feeling my RF plate being somewhat close to the food grate has something to do with it.

                        Can't wait to for my new smoker to finish and try it out and will also figure something out about my current smoker. I did baby backs last night. Beautiful flavor but the meat was dry. I really think it's a smoker issue. Will experiment tomorrow again with some new ribs

                        Thanks again for all the informative replies.

                        Comment

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