Smoked Pork Shoulder and Pulled Pork – Beginner’s Guide (part 2)

smokedshoulderIn part 1 of my adventure in smoking my first pork shoulder I outlined my recipe.  Here’s where we get to the smoking…

For smoking I used a combination of charcoal briquettes, lump charcoal and soaked hickory chunks.  While I was heating up the charcoal, I soaked the hickory chips in a bucket of water for about 30 min.  At this time I was also preparing the pork with my rub.

Once the coals were ready and had the smoker at around 225 to 250 degrees, as recommended by, I placed the pork on the grill, fat side down.  I then threw some of the soaked hickory chips onto the coals and the smoking began!

The coals started off at a temperature of 250 degrees, but I knew I wanted to get down to 225 degrees.  After about 90 minutes of smoking they finally started to cool down.  From there I would add just one or two lumps of charcoal and one or two chunks of hickory every 45 to 60 minutes.  I was able to continue this for about 5 hours and then I had to add more of each as the temperature dropped much faster to below 200 degrees.

At the same time the temperature dropped, about 5 hours into smoking, I noticed that my meat started to sweat and as a result would not get hotter than about 155 degrees.  At this point I took the pork off of the grill and placed it into an aluminum roasting pan and poured about 4 TBSP of apple juice in the bottom.  I then wrapped the top of the pan with foil.  I stuck my thermometer through the foil into the meat.  This is known as the Texas Crutch method according to the article I linked to above.

In about an hour the temperature of my meat rose to around 200 degrees and it was time to do the fork test.  I lifted the foil off, stuck the fork in and twisted.  Without much work a nice chunk of beautifully smoked pork came off.   I quickly took a bite to find out that my 8 hours of patience payed off!  I now had a tasty smoked pork shoulder that was ready to pull apart.

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