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Pulled Pork, Trying a New Method

A local supermarket had Pork Picnic Shoulder on sale for $0.98 a pound! At that price, you have to make pulled pork.

Normally, when I make pulled pork, I wrap it in foil for part of the cooking time. However, some smokers I admire don’t wrap it in foil and cook it right through without wrapping it in foil except for the resting time. So, I decided to give that a try.

I took the pork shoulder and cut off the skin layer and most of the thick fat pad under it. I then rubbed it down with my own Chumpionship Rub. You can use any good pork rub but here is my
recipe if you want to try it.

2 tablespoons/30 ml brown sugar
2 tablespoons/30 ml white sugar
2 tablespoons/30 ml paprika
1 tablespoon/15 ml garlic powder
1/4 cup/40 ml kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon/3 ml chili powder
1/2 teaspoon/2 ml oregano
1/4 teaspoon/1 ml cayenne
1/4 teaspoon/1 ml ground cayenne
1/2 teaspoon/3 ml black pepper
1/2 teaspoon/2 ml dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon/2 ml cumin
1/2 teaspoon/2 ml ground ginger

I put it in the fridge uncovered overnight. This develops a dry surface called pellicle that helps the meat take the smoke well. I got up at 4 am and put the pork shoulder in my smoker at 250 F over a blend of hickory and pecan. I smoked it for 5 hours.

At this point, I normally put the pork shoulder in foil and add a bit of apple juice. This time, I didn’t wrap it in foil. However, She Who Must Be Obeyed doesn’t like a heavy smoke flavour so I decided to finish it in the oven. The fact it is very cold outside had nothing to do with it.

I do note that I didn’t pierce the meat with any probes up to this point. If you put a temperature probe or an instant read thermometer in the pork shoulder before this, you run
the risk of pushing bacteria from the surface into the meat. As the interior of the shoulder will take a long time to get to a safe temperature, you don’t want to introduce any bacteria to it for
the first several hours.

Anyway, I put the shoulder in a 250 F oven. I sprayed it with apple juice every two hours and ten hours later, it had an internal temperature of 205 F. Then I wrapped it in foil and put it a
towel lined cooler to sit for an hour.

I removed it from the cooler. The bone pulled out easily and the pork was easy to shred.

The Verdict

This is delicious but there was a problem. The meat in this recipe is excellent. It has a better texture than the pork I cooked foiling after 5 hours. There is better chew and it isn’t as spongy.

The bark or crust is very good but not as good as when I foiled after 5 hours.

So, do I foil and get very good pork and excellent bark or do I eschew the foil and get excellent pork and very good bark. I can’t make up my mind so I will make both depending on how I feel at the time.

Here is a video of this smoke.

The Old Fat Guy

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4 Responses

  1. Oh my! I need to try this! Thanks for making it looks so easy…I’m pretty new to smoking and have only braved chicken, pork tenderloins and ribs so far.

    1. Smoked pulled pork is sooooo easy. The main problem with it is you just don’t know how long it will take to cook. Each piece of pork is different and will only be ready when it gets to over 200 F and that can vary greatly. I usually make it the day before I need it and reheat it.

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