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Thoughts on injecting pork shoulder?

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  • johnec00
    Charter Member
    • Aug 2014
    • 580
    • Orlando, Florida
    • Equipment:
      '88 Vintage Fire Magic gasser with over 3000 cooks to its credit
      18 Inch Weber Kettle (Rescued from neighbor's trash)
      Rotisserie for 18 inch kettle
      Master Forge propane smoker
      Pit Barrel Cooker
      Smokey Joe with mini WSM mod
      Garcima paella burner
      Anova Sous Vide
      Slaiya Sous Vide (gift)
      2X Thermoworks cooking thermometer
      DIY 4 channel bluetooth thermometer
      LEM grinder, sausage stuffer and meat slicer (all gifts)

      Favorite Beer:
      Key West Wheat

    Thoughts on injecting pork shoulder?

    I've got a ~9 pound shoulder, trimmed, cut in two and salted down. The plan is to smoke on Wednesday, pull some. slice some, vacuum bag and freeze. We're headed for a week in Islamorada Friday morning, and it will be used there. I've never injected shoulder before, but I was wondering if anybody thinks it will help what will basically be "leftovers". Any thoughts on what to inject with (I've seen Spinaker's apple juice/vinegar suggestion, and was thinking about trying apple juice). For what its worth, I will rub with MMD and cook in the PBC. Probably will wrap after suitable bark formation to preserve some of the juice to mix back in.
  • boftx
    Founding Member
    • Jul 2014
    • 911
    • Las Vegas, NV
    • CharGriller Pro COS
      Oklahoma Joe COS
      Maverick 732 thermometer
      Red Thermapen
      Favorite beer: Scotch

      I know I make damn good BBQ cause my 3 dogs have NEVER said no to it. (OTOH, my 13yr old says no to just about everything, except my ribs.)

    #2
    I've only injected a pork butt a couple of times, but it turned out good with apple juice with some rub in it. As for dealing with "leftovers", I boating them and then freezing with the juices is the way to go.

    Comment

    • Thom Emery
      Former Member
      • Sep 2014
      • 447
      • Indio Ca

      #3
      Keep it simple on the injections

      When we know we are going to reheat
      We take em to 190 vs 200
      Then reheat to 200
      I don't like mushy over cooked pork
      Enjoy! 😀

      Comment

      • CeramicChef
        Former Member
        • Jul 2014
        • 1184
        • OKC, OK

        #4
        When I inject, I'll generally inject with apple juice, melted butter, and some rub. I take all my busts, etc. to probe tender. I vacuum seal leftovers and will reheat using my Sous Vide. that I run at about 175°F.

        Most recently I picked up a jar of Butcher BBQ injection powder that is supposed to be top shelf. I think I'll give it a go next Friday/Saturday on a butt.

        Injecting butts is no big deal, especially on the Competition Circuit. Those guys fight time deadlines with high temp cooks compared to what I do on my patio.

        Comment

        • Nate
          Banned Former Member
          • Apr 2015
          • 3808
          • Quarantined

          #5
          I inject pretty well all the time (especially if i am trying to change things... i only want one thing to change at a time and all other things to be consistent... for me it is part of the process)... Everyone has their own take on injecting and what to inject... My injections are to act as or sort of quickie/forced brine. Honestly I use Chris Lilly's injection most often (although I have done what Boftx said about apple juice and some rub)...

          Chris Lilly's injection:
          3/4 c. apple juice
          1/2 c. water
          1/2 c. sugar
          1/4 c. salt
          2 tbs. worcestershire sauce

          You mentioned you would probably do this and I HIGHLY recommend it.... Reserve all the glorious Pork Juice you can from wrapping it... I love to mix that back in with a little rub once pulled. If I am saving some pulled pork just to heat back up during the week then I make sure that is in the container because it helps with some moisture and flavor. IMHO.

          Comment


          • Powersmoke_80
            Powersmoke_80 commented
            Editing a comment
            I have used this for the graduation party I did for friends and was a big hit. I also lightly dry brined as I think pork can take that extra salt.

          • Nate
            Nate commented
            Editing a comment
            Powersmoke_80 , I agree.... I really like Chris's combination of injection and rub. Occasionally I will use the mop too... But it is always a real big hit for our parties. And I absolutely agree on the salt... I will dry brine some too as well. I also use the injection on pork loin when I smoke it.
        • LA Pork Butt
          Charter Member
          • Dec 2014
          • 5527
          • Grew up in New Orleans, lived in Texas for 20 years, lived in Mandeville, LA for 22 years. I now liv

          #6
          I've injected brisket, but don't see the point in injecting a butt unless you are trying to acd some specific flavor which you could mix in after you pull it.

          Comment

          • rat88
            Banned Former Member
            • Jun 2016
            • 262

            #7
            Johnny Trigg claims he has never injected anything and he has done pretty good. I dont think I have ever tried pulled pork and thought "I bet he injected that"

            Comment


            • Powersmoke_80
              Powersmoke_80 commented
              Editing a comment
              Yes true but he is a competition cooker and they use 5 percent of the product for turn in which is the money muscle and a little pulled that is doctored up. Most of us use the whole shoulder, and there is no way salt is going to penetrate to the center of a shoulder without injecting.

            • Nate
              Nate commented
              Editing a comment
              I would also argue that Chris Lilly is a multi time champion as well &nobody has had more success in pork at Memphis in May than him. He injects. Before you flip, yes I have a lot of respect for Johnny Trigg. My point being that diff guys do it diff ways & still win.
          • Nate
            Banned Former Member
            • Apr 2015
            • 3808
            • Quarantined

            #8
            All of that said either way... My opinion is that injecting pulled pork that you are going to eat as soon as it is done is going to make a marginal change at best and probably isn't going to be noticed by your everyday pulled pork eater...

            Competition Q.... You are looking for an edge and this is one way a number of teams try to find it. Yes the money muscle is where a lot of the love is going. As meathead has said though you have to be careful because you can over do it and all the sudden you are eating pulled pork that instead tastes like apple juice and not pork.

            Leftovers and warming later... Air is your enemy and as soon as you pull, slice, cut that thing it is going to start to dry. Any help you can give it to fight against that in my opinion is worth it. In this case injection and my favorite thing to do is saving the juice to add back in and/or pour back over.

            Comment

            • DWCowles
              Founding Member
              • Jul 2014
              • 9703
              • Smiths Grove, Ky
              • Hi, my name is Darrell. I'm an OTR truck driver for over 25 years. During my off time I love doing backyard cooks. I have a 48" Lang Deluxe smoker, Rec-Tec pellet smoker,1 Weber Genesis 330, 1 Weber Performer (blue), 2 Weber kettles (1 black and 1 Copper), 1 26" Weber kettle, a WSM, 8 Maverick Redi Chek thermometers, a PartyQ, 2 SnS, Grill Grates, Cast Iron grates, 1 ThermoPop (orange) and 2 ThermoPens (pink and orange) and planning on adding more cooking accessories. Now I have an Anova sous vide, the Dragon blower and 2 Chef alarms from Thermoworks.

              #9
              I personally don't inject butts or briskets just don;t feel the need to but turkey breast is a different story

              Comment


              • Gunderich_1
                Gunderich_1 commented
                Editing a comment
                I inject butts with an apple juice/juice apple cider mix. I do not inject brisket and all of mine so far have turned out great (knock on wood). I think it does help with the butts flavoring but I can eat them just as well without it.
            • johnec00
              Charter Member
              • Aug 2014
              • 580
              • Orlando, Florida
              • Equipment:
                '88 Vintage Fire Magic gasser with over 3000 cooks to its credit
                18 Inch Weber Kettle (Rescued from neighbor's trash)
                Rotisserie for 18 inch kettle
                Master Forge propane smoker
                Pit Barrel Cooker
                Smokey Joe with mini WSM mod
                Garcima paella burner
                Anova Sous Vide
                Slaiya Sous Vide (gift)
                2X Thermoworks cooking thermometer
                DIY 4 channel bluetooth thermometer
                LEM grinder, sausage stuffer and meat slicer (all gifts)

                Favorite Beer:
                Key West Wheat

              #10
              Just thought I'd add to this post to thank all for the excellent advice. I couldn't follow all of your suggestions as there were many differing opinions (which is exactly what I was hoping for when I wrote the original question). I'll also go through what I ended up doing, and after we get back from vacation I'll let you know how the preplanned "leftovers" went over.
              • Monday evening - Trimmed ~9 pound butt, separated into two pieces, and started dry brine with meat tightly wrapped in plastic wrap.
              • This (Wednesday) morning - Mixed up some of the Chris Lilly's injection with about half the salt, injected about 1/2 cup in each piece of meat and added a liberal coating of MMR.
              • Fired up the PBC with KBB and no wood, let the grate level temperature settle to about 275F. and put the meat on the grate. I'm guessing that was about 9:00.
              • Sometime around 1:00, there was a nice looking bark, and the smaller (boneless) piece was about 172F, while the bone-in piece was about 165F.
              • Wrapped both pieces with the remainder of the injection plus some more apple juice and some cider vinegar. Took the wrapped meat to just short of 200F, removed the wrap and retained the juice (about 1 cup). Returned the meat to the barrel for about 1/2 hour to re-set the bark and declared the cook done.
              • Pulled the bone-in piece (it was excellent, bone slipped out clean, good bark and some smoke ring).
              • Chilled and sliced the boneless piece, most slices get a share of the money muscle, so those I sampled were also good.
              • Vacuum sealed all in 1 pound or so portions with ~1/3 cup of 50/50 water juice mixture in each.
              I'm not real good at remembering to take pics, but I did better this time and they are attached.

              Rubbed . . .
              Click image for larger version

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              Cook done . . .
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              Part Pulled . . .
              Click image for larger version

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ID:	191374 Money Muscle on left . . .
              Click image for larger version

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ID:	191375 And Sliced.
              Click image for larger version

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ID:	191376


              Comment


              • boftx
                boftx commented
                Editing a comment
                Nice! But instead of putting vinegar in the wrap I add it to the juice when I make the sauce. Roughly 50/50 juice and vinegar, then add spices, rub and molasses and reduce to the consistency I want.

              • johnec00
                johnec00 commented
                Editing a comment
                Thanks for the tip boftx, I'm going to play around some more with wrapping butt (which I've never considered needed before). Returning them to the cooker for a short time after removing the wrap really did a great job of restoring the bark.

              • johnec00
                johnec00 commented
                Editing a comment
                And BTW, our go to sauce for pulled pork is a mustard concoction something like meathead's Columbia Gold or a commercial product called hot bone suckin mustard or something to that effect.
            • fuzzydaddy
              Charter Member
              • Nov 2014
              • 4970
              • Winchester TN
              • Hardware
                Blackstone 36” Griddle.
                Slow 'N Sear Deluxe Kamado & Kettle Grill.
                Slow 'N Sear (1.0, Deluxe, 2.0).
                DnG Pans/Racks, Easy Spin Grates, Elevated Cooking Grates.
                Weber Chimney Starters (regular and compact).
                Joule, Instant Accu Slim.
                GrillGrates.
                Maverick XR-50 [my favorite].
                ThermoWorks Smoke & Gateway, Thermapen, Thermapop, ChefAlarms, DOT, probes

                Consumables / Favorites
                KBB (short cooks), Weber (long cooks), B&B Hardwood Briquettes when I'm out of Weber.
                Ribs (beef & pork), Pork Butts, Chuck Roasts, Pork Tenderloins, Shrimp, Fajitas.
                SnS Grills salt free rubs: Not Just for Beef & Rocky’s Rub.
                MeatChurch Holy Cow. MMD, BBBR, S&G, Herbs de Provence, SPG.

              #11
              Whoa johnec00, that was a great cook! Congrats to you - well deserved and you get to eat some very tasty pork.

              Comment

              • badf00d
                Club Member
                • Mar 2016
                • 223

                • Cookers
                  • Karubecue C-60 [aka KBQ]
                  • Weber 22" Performer Kettle [Red gen1 with stainless steel]
                  • Slow 'N Sear
                  • Lodge Sportsman's Grill
                  • Weber Genesis Silver-B [old gasser]

                  Sous Vide
                  • ChefSteps Joule

                  Other Tools
                  • VacMaster PRO380 vacuum sealer
                  • VacMaster VP215 vacuum chamber
                  • Thermapen Mk4
                  • ThermoWorks Smoke
                  • ThermaQ with smoke house and high temp air probes
                  • IR gun
                  • BBQ Dragon

                #12
                boftx and Nate - how does injecting qualify as real BBQ? Seems like a major cheat to me.

                Comment


                • boftx
                  boftx commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I count on one hand how many times I've injected a pork butt. It works, but totally unneeded unless you are planning on serving leftovers.

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