When it comes to smoked meats one of the most popular with beginners is the Pork Shoulder. Shoulders are by far the easiest to get right due to their high fat content and even if you neglect the grill because you are being chased by a swarm of bee’s and overcook them (true story) they are more forgiving than a brisket and less delicate that a chicken.
We decided that we were going to cook our first shoulder on the Traeger. Something always seemed to get in the way during the weekend so I reluctantly gave up the tongs and apron to my wife. It is not an easy thing for a man to relinquish the cook fire but it was either that or not eat it at all. I think I made a monster…….again, first there was fishing, and then there was shooting, and now there is BBQ. I even caught her out polishing and scrubbing the smoker. I have to admit it is nice to be married to someone that loves the same things as me. The hardest part is the reciprocation, she does what I like and I guess I need to do what she likes now, ie…. chick flicks, sharing feelings, snuggling (Don’t tell I actually like the latter). So I will make a compromise we can watch Steel Magnolias on the iPad, while fishing and reading a gun magazine with a Pulled Pork sandwich and all will be well
Any way….. I made the marinade the night before and got everything ready to go for the morning. The plan was for me to put the shoulder on the smoker before I went to work and she would tend it until it was done. I didn’t do anything fancy. No injections, no incantations, no prayer to the BBQ gods, just dip, smoke and roast. Because I like the Smoke Ring I made sure to add it to the smoker directly from the refrigerator. The smoke ring doesn’t affect the taste or texture but it does affect the presentation. Cooking time can be 1.5 and 2 hours a pound for a slow cooked roast, so prepare accordingly.
To cook, place the shoulder fat side down on the grill for 3 hours at 210 to 225 degrees at the 1 and a half hour mark baste the shoulder.
After the three hour mark remove the roast from the grill and place fat side down in a disposable pan. Increase temperature to 235-250 and cook until the internal temperature of the meat is 190 at the thickest point. (Do not temp close to the bone). Optionally you can spray the shoulder down with Apple Cider or Apple Juice every hour or so.
When the shoulder has temped place the roast on a cutting board and let rest for 20 min, By this time the meat should be falling apart.
Shred the meat removing large chunks of fat and connective tissue. You can serve the meat as is with a side of your favorite BBQ sauce or you can use my recipe. You can also put it on buns and serve it with Sandwiches. I will post some of our favorite uses for pulled pork in future installments. But for now invite friends and families over and enjoy.