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Pork Shoulder cooking method questions

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    Pork Shoulder cooking method questions

    the meat we get in Europe tends to be a lot leaner and butchered differently than what it is in America. Today I just bought a piece of pork shoulder (schweinenacken) (I think it may be what is referred to as a picnic shoulder) to smoke and I wanted to ask some for some advice on the cook.

    Since it is leaner than what I cooked in the states I was thinking about wrapping with foil once I hit the stall to maintain moisture and promote tenderness.

    Does this sound like a reasonable way to go about the cook? I am planning on smoking it on a Weber kettle with a Fireboard installed to monitor the temperature. The piece of meat is about 4lbs, no bone. I am planning to dry brine and then hit it with Meathead's Memphis Dust.

    The plan is to smoke it at 250°F and use hickory wood for the smoke. Thanks in advance!

    That sounds like a good plan to me. I do at least a 24 hour dry brine with bigger hunks of meat. I also hold off on the wrap until you have the bark you like. I also put a foil pan under the meat on the charcoal rack with a little water to start. This will catch the drippings that you can add to the meat when finished. Good luck!


      Sounds like a good plan to me.

      +1 on the water pan.

      Send pics when done!


        Sounds like a good plan. While the meat is only 4# remember it is the thickness of the meat that determines cook time. If it is 4” thick it will probably move you into 7-8 hour range with wrapping.


          Don't be afraid to up the temp either, I regularly do shoulders at 300 plus depending on what mood my smoker is in.
          Cuts down on cook time too.
          Right out of the fridge on on to the Weber.
          If your wrapping drop in a few ozs of dark beer, I use Killkenny. If this meat is as lean as you say you may have to make up for the lack of fat content with the beer.
          And yes, pics are a must....or it didn't happen....
          Good luck


          • 1bottlerocket
            1bottlerocket commented
            Editing a comment
            I never thought of the beer idea, thanks for the suggestion I'll give that a go today. I also made some Lexington dip sauce this morning to baste on during the cook.
            Last edited by 1bottlerocket; July 21, 2020, 01:20 AM.

          Thanks for all the super quick replies. I just finished setting it up with a dry brine and have it wrapped and sitting in the fridge. The plan is to use a water pan, for sure. Thanks!

          I am waiting for the Slow-n-Sear to arrive but for the time being, I set the briquettes up in the snake method arrangement and lay the wood chunks across the top. I can usually get pretty stable temperatures that way but it does require some watching.

          Yesterday, I installed the fireboard and pit viper fan so it will be interesting to see how stable it becomes with that. The charcoal I am getting here definitely reacts differently than Kingsford Blue that I normally use when I visit.

          I will post pics for sure. Hopefully, things go well.

          This is the cut I was able to find today. I went for the most marbled looking piece I could get.

          Click image for larger version  Name:	pork shoulder.JPG Views:	0 Size:	2.73 MB ID:	883622
          Last edited by 1bottlerocket; July 20, 2020, 08:06 AM.


          • LA Pork Butt
            LA Pork Butt commented
            Editing a comment
            It looks like a a typical shoulder well trimmed to me, but looks larger than 4#.

          • 1bottlerocket
            1bottlerocket commented
            Editing a comment
            Yes, it is slightly larger than 4# it is actually closer to 5 when I put it on the scale. I did a quick calculation in my head from 2kg and just put 4# for posting purposes.

          The cook went pretty well as far as holding a steady temperature, though the fan was constantly running. I am not sure if it had more to do with the charcoal we get over here or the snake set up with the wood on top. When I set it up like that using Kingsford charcoal in the US the charcoal burned really well. Using the charcoal we get in Switzerland it was a lot of work for the fan to keep the temps holding steady.

          I am going to place an order for a slow-n-sear bundle next and give that a go when it arrives.

          The Texas crutch really helped to power through the stall but the trade-off was the bark got a bit soft, but not too badly. Everyone ate it up so that was great. There was a small section that got a bit dry, but it shredded very easily using forks.

          I made a batch of Meathead's Lexington-style sauce and I have to say it paired VERY well with the pork. My wife was a big fan too.

          So here is the cook at about mid-way:
          Click image for larger version  Name:	midway.JPG Views:	13 Size:	1.46 MB ID:	884232

          And here is at the finish when I started to shred it:
          Click image for larger version  Name:	shredding.JPG Views:	12 Size:	1.16 MB ID:	884233
          Last edited by 1bottlerocket; July 21, 2020, 04:26 PM.


          • Huskee
            Huskee commented
            Editing a comment
            Something I've found that helps blend the speed of wrapping with good amounts of bark is waiting until after the stall to wrap, at say 180 or 190F. Best of both worlds!

          • 1bottlerocket
            1bottlerocket commented
            Editing a comment
            I'll give that a go next time. Thanks for the suggestion!

          • dugmik
            dugmik commented
            Editing a comment
            Looks like it turned out great!! I went with the SnS setup and man does it work good!

          Waiting for 180 or 190 tries a mans nerve and soul!


          • Huskee
            Huskee commented
            Editing a comment
            Indeed. I've found it's usually 7-8hrs in, at 225-250, if that helps.

          I have been using my MB 560 and still haven't got to the point of trusting what it is telling me on the temperature readout.
          Put a pizza in that would be done in 30 minutes in the oven at 400 but at 410 on the MB, 30 minutes not done. I know this is not the right area to post my inability to master a frozen pizza but anyone with any insight is most welcome to voice their opinion. Thanks all!


          • Huskee
            Huskee commented
            Editing a comment
            Interesting. I've found the MB560 to be pretty close, if not 15-20 degrees higher than the set level. Have you verified your home oven's temp?

          • Towering Inferno
            Towering Inferno commented
            Editing a comment
            I have used my probes and such. I do have an oven temp gauge that is dead on. I could hang that in the chamber. Great suggestion even though the oven is now the suspect. :-)

          Here’s a graph of the cook for the pork shoulder. As you can see, the set temperature was pretty solid. The fan, however, was working its tail off the entire time. It saved me a ton of time fiddling with the dampers and I was thankful for that.

          I wrapped about 163 F and finished. Everything was pretty tasty and tender.

          I have come to the conclusion that the briquettes made over here don’t burn the same as B&B or Kingsford blue like I would use in the States. I am going to trial some wood lump charcoal next and see how that goes.

          Click image for larger version

Name:	Screen Shot 2020-07-21 at 2.27.47 PM.png
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            Congrats on a great cook! Looks like it went well!


              Nicely done!


                Excellent looking cook!

                Lexington dip is a favorite of mine with pork.


                • Potkettleblack
                  Potkettleblack commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Lex Dip seconded.

                For a pork shoulder, I usually only wrap as a way to get "done" in the last couple of hours. But there are plenty of other ways to accomplish this.


                • surfdog
                  surfdog commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I rarely wrap anything...unless I’ve decided that I’m in a hurry all of a sudden. LOL

                  When I first started smoking stuff...on a gasser...I didn’t even know that wrapping was a thing. Doh!

                  That coupled with having a friend that wrapped ribs...that had zero bark and almost no smoke flavour put me off even trying, so I just experimented until I got it "right." (Clearly he wrapped WAY too early...but back then I didn’t know that. I just knew they were terrible.)

                I have been MIA for a while and catching up. My school is back in session now and I am in the classroom teaching full time again.



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