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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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Old 11-18-2003, 08:53 PM   #11
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Just to revisit the whole cooking temps thing:
I've got a pork shoulder thawing out in the fridge--after posting some tips to get pork to pull in response to Bamacooker, I'm just double-checking that my tips aren't particular to a certain type of smoker: I just bought (another) smoker 2 days ago--a vertical heavy-gauge steel box smoker, and this weekend I'm going to cook the thing at 225 and it WILL pull!! But if it doesn't I'll be honest and report it. I'm too stoopid to have pride
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Old 11-23-2003, 09:47 AM   #12
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Perfectly Pullable Pork

Ok, as i mentioned before i generally cook my pork at 225, unless i'm in more of a hurry and/or don't care if it pulls or not.
I started a 4 pound pork shoulder at 10:30am yesterday in the new smoker. I had a LOT of trouble keeping the smoker running at even 225--i think i went through a whole bag of charcoal. As a result it took about 11-12 hours to get the meat's internal temp up to 195 deg. I would say the average smoker temp was 200-220.
When it was finally done i put it on the cutting board, put on my "pullin' gloves", picked up the meat, and it just fell into pieces. It was easily the most tender, pullable pork i've ever cooked.
Now I'm not saying that this would not have happened if i had cooked it at 275 :) but since it was MORE tender when i cooked it at a lower temp than normal...well, you know where i'm going with this....

BTW, although the pork had a slightly different texture when eaten, there was no appreciable taste difference.
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Old 11-23-2003, 11:13 AM   #13
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Thanks for the review carnivore - much appreciated - and about 10:30 last night a bite of that pork sure would have been good 8)
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Old 12-04-2003, 08:42 PM   #14
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If I May...

I live in North Carolina and we are very proud of our pulled pork Barbecue. I have been making my own for years and I believe that 225 IS the magic temp! In addition, I always cook mine to an internal temp of 200 degrees as, at that temp, all the connective tissue will completely break down. If you find that your barrel type smoker (the only kind I use) tends to fluctuate, then erect a foil barrier between the shoulder and the firebox SHINY SIDE TOWARD the firebox. This will keep the shoulder from reaching too high a heat even though the grill may register higher. LOW AND SLOW IS THE WAY TO GO and it also works for ribs.
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Old 12-04-2003, 09:20 PM   #15
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Ok, I have to know - where in North Carolina? I live in Hickory.
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Old 12-05-2003, 06:26 AM   #16
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Oak Island, NC. Formerly known as "Long Beach"
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Old 12-08-2003, 05:21 PM   #17
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posk shoulder smoking

I am from eastern NC and we smoke alot of pork. The secret to the meat falling off the bone is cook it about 5-6 hours longer then you think. you can not over cook it, along with that try mopping it with viniger after about the first six hours and do it every hour or two. I once smoked a 10 pound butt for over 18 hours it was so tender I had to use a spoon to get it of the grill, good luck..
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Old 01-14-2004, 10:22 PM   #18
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Pull-Apart Pork

Here is a cheat method for pull-apart pork that has worked for me . I just got myself a smoker and havent even had the chance to use it yet, but I had to share this with you. I enjoyed reading your tips, I will definately try the apple cider method. Thanks, I look forward to using your tips on my new smoker. So here is a cheat method for those days it may be raining, snowing or your just unable to smoke.

A crock pot has worked out perfect for me cooking pork shoulder roasts. A 3-4 lb. pork bone-in shoulder roast works best. Go ahead and put your favorite rub on it, leave all fat and trimmings on as well. Fill the crock pot with your favorite bbq sauces or your own homemade which I use. Go ahead and be generous here because you want to roast almost drowning in the sauce. Add a little liquid smoke to the crock pot, about a tblsp or two. Let that baby simmer on slow all day long roughly about 9-10 hours. I usually turn it up to high for the last hour or so. You may not need to. I usually turn it over every couple of hours, this way I know how it's coming along. Remove pork roast and enjoy, you will have to be gentle taking it out of the crock pot, as the meat will litterally fall apart. Go ahead and use some of the warm bbq sauce out of the crock pot to drench the roast to your desired liking. And of course with many reciepes, you can add just about anything to the bbq sauce at the beginning, chopped onions, garlic, peppers. Whatever you want to add to this mix will only make it better.
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Old 01-14-2004, 11:47 PM   #19
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Liquidh20holic,
that's sounds like a great alternative. I'll tell you what--my GF and i own 3 crockpots between us, and i have never found a use for them other than keeping queso warm when we have a party. But the next rainy day, i'll definitely give your method a shot.
And after reading your post, I was thinking that it might be really good to boil & simmer the BBQ sauce that's left over and bottle it, since it would have all the good pork juices in it--that's if i don't use it up on the pork itself :)
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Old 09-14-2004, 02:18 AM   #20
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crock pot cooking

crock pot cooking.....

pork loin pork chops.......

brown in olive oil and onion and garlic powder (or real if you want) then add to the crock pot.

add 2 large cans of mushroom soup, 1 large can of celery soup, 2 cans of water.....stir, cook while at work on low.

skim the fat off the top and serve over egg noodles (can do the same with most meatballs but also add sour cream.

you can do most spegetti sauces this way also

round steak in tomato sauce (only way to go).

hope this gives you seom ideas
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