Smoked Pork Shoulder
By: Jack Mancuso
Pork shoulders are massive when you first look at them. Ready to eat 18 pounds? The beauty of smoked pork shoulders is you can portion out the meat for different recipes. Examples include
- Burnt ends
- Filler for dumplings and wraps
- Pork Mac n Cheese
- Pulled pork (add your favorite BBQ sauce and have at!)
- Sliders with cheese
- Topper for rice or pasta
Well, you get the picture.
A Peek at Pork Shoulder
As the name implies, this cut of meat comes from a pig’s shoulders. Besides smoking, pork shoulder produces awesome textures and flavors from braising and slow cooking. The crispy skin is a delight. You can thank a layer of fat on top of the shoulder for that spectacular result.
Timing Trick: If you are using a boneless shoulder, it needs between 1 and 1-½ hours. Bone in needs more time: 1 ½ hours to 2 hours per pound.
Smoking is ideal for pork shoulder. As it cooks slowly, the fat cap dissolves along with connective tissue. When you rush smoking shoulder, it’s going to be chewy.
There are a variety of smoking woods on the market. I recommend maple, apple, alder, and orange. You want smoke that doesn’t erase the flavor of the pork.
How to Season Pork Shoulder
You can smoke pork shoulder without seasoning, but why miss out on the opportunity to saturate your meat with flavors? Apply your chosen rub the day before you plan to smoke for best results.
Cuso Cuts has several delectable spices you can try on pork shoulder.
Once on the grill, don’t be tempted to open the smoker too often (no, really, it smells inviting, but there’s a reason). You lose smoke and temperature that way.
When your shoulder reaches 205F, pull it off and tent it for a half hour before carving.
PitMaster’s Memo: Shopping for Pork Shoulder
No one goes into a market knowing everything about various cuts of meat. It’s vital your meat has a secure seal. If not, get a different piece. Look for pork shoulder with good marbling.
Put the shoulder into your fridge immediately. Pull it out a half hour before smoking.
From the Bar
strawberry ginger ale