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My first pork shoulder!

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    My first pork shoulder!


    I decided to try a ~7lb bone in pork shoulder this past weekend. Previously I'd only done ribs and chicken, so this was by far the longest smoke I've attempted. I came up with my own rub based off of recipes I'd seen here and general cooking knowledge:

    2/3 cup turbinado suger
    2 tbsp paprika
    2 tbsp sage powder
    1 tbsp garlic powder
    1/2 tsp cumin
    1/2 tsp cayenne
    1/2 tsp coriander powder
    1/4 tsp nutmeg

    I let it dry brine for about 24 hours before I put the rub on. Since I was doing it on Saturday, the plan was to wake up around 5:30 to put the rub on, and then get the smoker ready later. However, I made the decision to stay out drinking until 2:30am on Friday, so I ended up applying the rub around 3am. I'm proud that the majority of the rub made it onto the meat. Even more proud that I actually woke up at 6 and was able to get the smoker up and running! I used Royal Oak charcoal and pecan wood chunks.

    It is super humid right now in Chicago, even at 6am, so I made the decision to smoke for 9ish hours at 250° instead of what I'd read about 10-12 at 225°. I assumed the humidity would help keep the meat moist but also slow down the cook time. I'm not sure if that is true or not but in my head it made sense. I ended up leaving it for 9.5 and it turned out really well! It was the first time I was able to achieve a good looking "bark". The meat turned out very moist, tender, slightly sweet and very savory, though not as smokey as I'd hoped.

    There are definitely some things I need to learn still. For one, I'm not sure if I put enough wood on. I used 3 chunks of pecan wood, and didn't add any later in the smoke. I'm not sure if that is enough or maybe pecan is just not the flavor I was hoping for. Do you typically add more wood at the beginning? Later into the smoke?

    Also, about 5mins after I took the meat off there was a downpour. Thank the rib gods the meat had just finished, because the temp on the smoker dropped down to like 150° in the rain. How would I combat the temp drop if it starts raining during a smoke?

    Overall everyone was very happy with the turnout. Many thanks to all the articles and forum posts on here!

    I don't ever add more wood through out a cook. I just put the wood on right when I put the meat on. I usually bury a few chunks of wood in the unlit charcoal so they can catch later in the cook. This is a great way to ensure you get adequate smoke. Also, remember that most of the smoke and smoke ring are developed at the beginning of the cook, so its not imperative to have wood going in the fire at all times to achieve smokiness.
    As for the temp drop, If there is a change in temp because of rain, you can always open your bottom dampers. That way you can get more OXY to the fire and thus more heat. I don't usually see large temp drop when the rain hits but this should help if you are seeing temp drops. I don't run a WSM but I know a lot of folks here do and they may be able to give you some tips on exactly what they do to combat the problem. But I would assume that they would say something very similar to this.
    All of that aside it looks like you did a great job on this cook. That is some great bark you have on that shoulder. I really enjoying doing these cooks. After you cambro the deal, its like opening a represent on X-mas morning when you pull it. it looks nice and pretty on the outside with all the wonderful bark, but the real gift is on the inside. Then you start pulling and when you first see that reddish-pink smoke ring you know you nailed it!!
    Sorry I got carried away.......time to go fire up one of my cookers.


      Originally posted by Spinaker View Post
      I usually bury a few chunks of wood in the unlit charcoal so they can catch later in the cook.
      Ahhhh, all of mine were just sitting on top. Will definitely try this next time. As for the rain issue, I've been keeping all the bottom dampers open just to keep the temp at 225-250, and using the top to adjust. I guess I'm not adding enough hot coals from the start.


        makes you want to go out and do another one right away, doesn't it?


          I keep adding smoke when it dies down until at least 150ºF at least or the stall. After the stall, you won't get any or much additional smoke flavor.



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