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For Science! Frozen vs Thawed Pork Shoulder

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    For Science! Frozen vs Thawed Pork Shoulder

    I've been wanting to do this one for a while now. I will update later with some stats, but the frozen and thawed chunks have been seasoned and the chimney is heating up. I wanted these to be ready for lunch, and since i have no idea how long frozen will take, I will be putting in on in about 5 minutes which is 12:30 AM CST, and I plan to add the thawed butt in about 2 hours. I spent 9 hours today helping people move, so if I don't wake up we will at least see what cooking one from frozen tastes like.
    I will be placing the frozen one on the grate until it gets thawed enough to hang, then I plan on hanging.
    Updates to come.

    The frozen one was about a pound larger, that is it on the left. Rub did not stick really at all, try putting dry rub on an ice cube and you get the idea.

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    Off the hooks at about 165, frozen on left, which at this point you can tell has a few extra hours in the pit.
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    Ran a bit long, so I only rest for 30 minutes. Frozen is on the right.
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    End result is that cooking from frozen is a very viable option, especially if you have more cooking time than thawing time. I would recommend pulling it off after thawing and adding another dose of rub. While the frozen got a little darker, I couldn't really tell the two apart when eating except for the bark, the frozen one had 0 flavor from the rub, might as well have not put any on it at all.
    Attached Files
    Last edited by _John_; January 25, 2015, 02:34 PM.


    I thought about installing the hooks before freezing. At least you know they won't come out the first few hours. hehehe
    Last edited by Jerod Broussard; January 25, 2015, 09:06 AM.


      I thought about that as well, but just grated it instead. I got the first one on at 12:45 and set the alarm for 3:30 for the thawed butt. Seems like 2.5-3 hours is just right, these 2 are within 2 degrees of each other as of 9:00 this morning.

      I hoped that I could get a full 10 hours in the PBC at high temp but that didn't work out. The 7% chance of rain I was supposed to get turned into 100% rain and ice which took the pit down to 205 and burned up quite a bit getting back up to operating temp. I just dumped a full large chimney of coals into the pit to finish them off (I hope, they have been stalling for hours).

      I will upload some pics soon, no real surprises in the visuals, 1 looks like it has had a few extra hours to cook, which it has.


        Good call on the timing. I've only added charcoal one time, and that was the last time I used just Kingsford for butts or briskets.


          John I find the frozen had the following additional time at 225*F box temp. I smoke on a pellet grill and the 225*F is pretty consistent.

          9 lb pork butt add 1.5 hr

          rack of full ribs add .75 hr

          You didn't say what size and shape the frozen pieces were so if they are all different sizes you will just have to monitor closely.


            They were about 5.5 for the frozen and 4.5 pounds for the thawed. The frozen one was essentially an ice cube, the rub did not stick well at all with my typical oil slather, would recommend mustard slather I think.
            I'm really surprised a 9 pound butt only takes you 1.5 hours longer, especially at 225.


              I always dry brine and rub before I freeze now.

              In your case, since you use a PBC, I would also install my hooks before they are frozen or take other steps so you can install the hooks in your frozen meats.

              The additional times are just guide lines. I don't use a crutch when doing PBs so they get some extra time in the smoker as they are. At 225 a 9 lb PB usually takes about 12 hrs. So figure.


                Updated the top post with pics and additional info. Cliff notes: very good results, might want to use a mustard slather or reapply rub once thawed.

                Marauderer mentions dry brining AND adding rub before freezing, this may be the best. I will continue to cook thawed for my planned cooks, but I no longer have any hesitation about cooking from frozen. The only real catch here is the PBC, I can usually get thawed butts done right as the coals run out, but for a couple of frozen ones I would definitely have to add coals near the end.


                  try putting dry rub on an ice cube and you get the idea.
                  Too funny, I thought you had rubbed it before freezing. Got scared when I saw your comment about no flavor from the rub.


                    Cool post, good job John!



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