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Old 11-13-2003, 09:58 AM   #1
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For those who like to use the smoker

I have a question for you. yesterday I smoked a pork shoulder for about 9 hrs at 175-275 with charcoal. It turned out very good but it did not fall off the bone when I took it off. I have family coming in this weekend and would love to use the smoker but I need some advise. How can I make my bbg fall off the bone. Should I boil it first cook it longer......?Everytime I try to smoke a butt or a shoulder it turns out good but I have to carve it instead of "pull" it apart. what are ya'lls recomendations

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Old 11-13-2003, 10:03 AM   #2
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Hi again bama!

Carnivore????? I need you................you'll know the answer.....

I do "some" smoking and I find that when I cook it longer it tends to pull apart better and fall off the bone. How large was the shoulder? And as far as the smoking aspect of it, what kind of wood did you use to flavor the meat? Or did you just use indirect charcoal heat?
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Old 11-13-2003, 11:27 AM   #3
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I have the type of smoker that has the big barrell to put the meat on and a little barrell attached to put the charcoal or wood in. I used charcoal with hickory wood chips. The shoulder was about 5-7 lbs. Next time I try it I will leave it on longer but I do not want to dry it out or I might boil it first. What do you think. I could put a shoulder on Friday night around 10 or 11pm and take it off Sat about 5 or 6pm, smoking it at about 175 or I could boil it for 2-3 hours and then put it on the smoker for a few hours to get that smokey flavor. What do you think?
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Old 11-13-2003, 11:51 AM   #4
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Do you have a bowl to put a liquid in in your smoker?? 5-7 lbs. for me usually takes 9 - 10 hours or so. I put apple juice in my bowl and it gives the pork a great subtle flavor but if I don't use it I can tell a huge difference, doesn't have near the flavor.

Just for the record, mine usually doesn't just shread either, I end up cutting off hunks and then chopping. The outer edges may shred but that's about it. I wonder if you cut it into smaller chunks????

I don't use the wood chips I get the bigger chunks of Hickory - I really like the flavor they impart better than the chips. I soak them for about 45 minutes before putting on.

I'm not sure about the boiling first. But when carnivore logs on I know he'll have some suggestions for you - he is the smoker expert around here. He will probably know exactly what to do.
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Old 11-13-2003, 12:23 PM   #5
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hi bamacooker,

here are a few tips:

1. don't trim the pork shoulder--find a good bone-in piece of meat with lots of fat on it, leave the fat on, and place the meat on the grill rack fat side up. You can trim the fat off after it's done cooking if you want to.

2. don't let the smoker temp get above 250 deg. 275 is too hot. 200-250 is probably the best range. if you've got a decent smoker with enough air vent controls you ought to be able to keep the temperature pretty steady--225 degrees is kind of the 'magic' number.

3. baste the shoulder every hour or so. wrap it in foil the last couple hours of cooking (this will also keep it from drying out).

4. cook the shoulder to at least 195 deg.--I think kitchenelf said before that cooking it to 200 or so makes it even easier to pull.

5. Don't boil it!!!! sorry, i had to cringe when I saw that. it will probably end up more tender, but it will also suck all the flavor out of it. (Plus, it's "cheating")

hth--if i think of anymore tips I'll post them.
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Old 11-13-2003, 02:16 PM   #6
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thanks

that sounds great. I will try that this weekend. I went online and did some research about smoking a butt or shoulder and I came across this website that was all about bbq and smoking. I e-mailed him and basically asked him the same thing I asked you and this is what he had to say. What do you think?

You don't say what kind of smoker you have, although that's relatively unimportant in the grand scheme of things. My choice is the Weber Smokey Mountain because it holds heat for 8 to 10 hours at about 250 degrees.

Now to your question about why a pork shoulder won't "pull" after cooking it for nine hours. The main reason is that if you are cooking for any length of time at temps below 250 degrees, you can't break down the collagen in the meat. I explain that in some detail in the book.

Here's what I suggest for this weekend's cooking venture: Go to Sam's Club (if you have one) and buy a pork butt, butterfly it so it will cook a bit faster and give you more "Mr. Brown," and put a good rub on it the night before. Then bring it to room temp before it goes on the smoker. I also like to mop it during the final couple hours it's in the smoker. I have my own recipes for a rub and a mop in the book that still are as good as any I've ever tried.

Keep your temps no lower than 250 degrees--275 is ideal--and you should have an internal temp of at least 165 degrees in about 5 hours. At that point, a pork butt (or whole shoulder) "hits the wall" and may not move much above 175 degrees in the next two to three hours. You just have to be patient as the collagen breaks down, adds moisture and flavor, and then reaches temps of 190 and above. When this happens, a boneless butt will literally fall in on itself, so to speak, and can be easily pulled.

Don't worry about the meat drying out at internal temps approaching 200 degrees. The internal fat in a pork shoulder is sufficient to keep the meat moist.

You'll learn much more when you read my book, but the key to delicious pulled pork is PATIENCE. Hope this helps.
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Old 11-13-2003, 02:28 PM   #7
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I do recall waiting for that 190 degree mark the last time I smoked. The only thing I put on my shoulder (or butt :oops: ) is some kosher salt and olive oil. Like carnivore said fat side up. I don't think the person that gave you this information you posted for us mislead you at all - he made some excellent points. And 275 being too hot or just right could all be a matter of "calibration" and not right or wrong. Stick to somewhere around in there and wait for the 190 degrees. And don't peak too many times or you will be waiting much longer!! LOL

If carnivore reads this again you can count on the fact that he'll know a good rub - but I have always been happy with the apple juice in the bowl and just salt and olive oil, and the large Hickory wood chunks - and not too many either, I have a "bullet" type smoker (I cheat with electric though) and use about 8-12 chunks of wood - depending on the size.

bamacooker - do you have a bowl in your smoker for a liquid?
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Old 11-13-2003, 07:02 PM   #8
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hmmm....i'm not saying that the guy you quoted is wrong, but that's the opposite of my experience. I've heard people swear by temps anywhere from 200 to 300. Each person says it's the only temp to cook at and anything else will make the pork unpullable. :roll:
Worse case scenario you'll have to make a few of them before you figure out what temperature works best for you and your smoker. You'll be eating a lot of pork--oh darn :P
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Old 11-14-2003, 11:01 AM   #9
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meat therm.

when I check the temp. of the meat should I check every hour or so in the fatest part of the meat or should I get the meat therm. in the entire smoking period.
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Old 11-14-2003, 11:26 AM   #10
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you can leave the thermometer in--just be careful: some meat thermometers, expecially the cheaper digital kind have plastic parts that can melt when subjected to the heat for long periods of time. there are some really nice digital thermometers you can buy that have a lead that you can leave in the meat while it's cooking, and a cord that extends off it so that you can put the actual 'guts' of it outside the smoker. Makes it nice because then you don't lose heat (and extend cooking times) by having to open the smoker up to check temps all the time.
Personally i just have a cheap thermometer, so I just check the meat temp when i'm basting/mopping or whatever and take out the thermometer the rest of the time.
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