You have finally scored a delicious pork shoulder, and you plan to smoke it using your brand-new smoker. But, how long do you cook it for, and at what temperature? You have heard conflicting accounts of how to go about this process.
Well, we are here to tell you everything you will need to know about smoking your pork shoulder. As you will have seen in the title of this article, we are going to talk about how long you should smoke your pork shoulder at 225 degrees Fahrenheit.
But that is not all, we are going to cover several topics surrounding this process, so you can smoke your pork shoulder with confidence.
So, without further ado, let us start this article by talking about pork shoulder and its rival, pork butt. Which one is better? Let’s find out.
Pork Butt or Pork Shoulder?
Pork butt and pork shoulder are both delicious cuts of meat. But, how are they different and which one is better?
Pork butt and pork shoulder are both quite similar and can be swapped out for one another in most cases. But, they are inherently different.
Pork shoulder is the largest muscle group on the whole pig. It comes from the upper part of the back and also contains some muscles that help it move its head around. The loin section includes the leg muscles of the pig.
The pork butt is the large area between your shoulder blades. This is where the ribs meet up with the shoulder blade. You could cut straight through this area, but not until you get to the top of the rib cage.
It has just enough fat around it so that when cooked properly it gets crispy as well as tender. And because of the extra fat, it tends to have more flavor than any other cut of meat. But beware! There’s something about the bone marrow in the
Pork butt or pork shoulder? It all depends on your cooking preferences and what you like best. When smoked it will taste great whether it was made into pork butt or pork shoulder. So, if you prefer dark meat, then make sure you buy a pork shoulder. If you don’t mind lighter meat, go ahead and buy a pork butt.
Pork butt is rich in flavor and extremely low in calories. They are much healthier compared to many traditional meats. Because it has less muscle mass, it is lower in fat content. It can even rival fish in certain healthy properties.
However, it does contain high levels of connective tissue and therefore takes longer to cook. Some people may find that it doesn’t absorb flavors very well. That’s why we recommend using flavored rubs when barbecuing pork butt.
The main reason for choosing a pork butt over a pork shoulder is if you want to save money. It is cheaper to purchase a pork butt when buying a complete piece of meat. It’s possible to remove some bones and still use them in your dish.
A pork butt will weigh five pounds while a pork shoulder weighs seven pounds. For those who enjoy making their own stock or broth, it would be easier to make a batch of stock or broth using a pork shoulder instead of a pork butt. Finally, there is always a huge difference in price.
A pork shoulder sells at a higher dollar value than a pork butt. But, if you’re looking for quality, you should consider purchasing a pork shoulder.
So, which one is the best? Well, you are going to have to take your personal preference into account. It will depend on your taste and how much money you are willing to spend on your pork meat.
How Long do you Smoke a Pork Shoulder at 225 Degrees Fahrenheit?
Pork shoulder is one of our favorite meats to smoke. The flavor and texture it gives out after smoking is simply amazing, but we have been hearing some people say that they can never get the pork done in less than 5 hours.
We have found that 225 degrees Fahrenheit is the perfect temperature to smoke your pork shoulder. That cut of meat has the perfect amount of fat which melts to dissolve the connective tissues which leaves you with mouth-watering meat that is tender and succulent.
So, if you smoke your pork at this temperature it should cook at about 60 to 90 minutes per pound. But, this is more of an estimation than an exact science. This is because each cut of meat that you get will be different.
When is my Pork Shoulder Done?
If you are going to smoke a pork shoulder you will probably want to know how to tell your pork shoulder is done. It is actually quite simple. You will know your pork shoulder is finished smoking when the internal temp of the pork reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
This should take about 3 hours for a 5-pound pork shoulder. If you have a thermometer, it would be best to use that instead of guessing.
What is Bark?
No, we are not talking about the sound your dog makes. Bark in the smoking, grill, and BBQ world is something different entirely.
So, when we are talking about bark in reference to grilling or smoking we are talking about the dark mahogany crust that forms on the outside of this cut of meat. This crust is called the bark, and it is a sign of a perfectly cooked piece of meat.
Bark will appear when the smoke particles stick to the seasoning and get hard and crispy. This forms the outer shell of the meat. Bark can come in a range of colors ranging from a beautiful deep red to a dark black.
But it is not there only for the appearance, bark adds an amazing flavor profile to your meat and adds that extra dose of smokiness to the meat.
So, when you are barbecuing pork shoulder, and you shred the meat, you get an absolutely perfect contrast between the soft and tender meat and the crunchy bark. It is a perfectly delicious combination and one you are not likely to regret.
Do you Wrap Pork Shoulder When it is Being Smoked?
Wrapping your meat when it is partially cooked or smoked is often referred to as ‘Texas Crutch’. This technique will speed up the cooking time, this is because the foil traps the steam and heat inside the aluminum foil. Crutching your meat creates succulent and delicious meat and works really well with pork shoulder.
The only issue is that this extra steam and moisture will soften the bark. Because of this phenomenon, pit masters will typically take the foil off the meat for the last hour or more. This will bring that delightful crispy bark.
You can Texas Crutch by wrapping the whole pork shoulder tightly in aluminum foil. Then place the wrapped meat into a smoker where it will finish cooking.
Wrapped in foil, pork shoulder will usually be ready in 2 to 4 hours depending on many factors such as ambient air temp, humidity, the size of your pork shoulder, etc.
Should Pork Shoulder be Spritzed?
Spritzing is an important step in the process of spraying special liquids on smoked meat. This liquid adds to the overall moisture and flavor of the pork shoulder. Some spritzes will include ingredients like apple cider vinegar, apple juice, broth, chicken stock or a mixture of secret ingredients.
Many people will swear by spritzing pork, but it is not always necessary. Pork has plenty of fat that helps it stay moist and succulent all by itself. If you cook your pork shoulder at a low temperature this should stop your meat from drying out too much.
But, this will only be the case if you take the pork out of the smoker before it overcooks. Spritzing is not the best idea when you are smoking your pork shoulder because when you lift the lid you let the smoke and heat out every time which lengthens the process altogether.
Should I Marinade My Pork Shoulder?
Pork shoulder is an excellent cut of meat; it’s tender, flavorful, and cheap! These cuts are generally sold whole or split down the middle into 2 slabs. This means you can grill or roast it as-is, or turn it into delicious dishes such as pulled pig sandwiches and pork tacos.
You can marinate your pork shoulder if you so wish but if you want to do this it is recommended to brine the shoulder for a few days before you smoke or grill the meat.
A brine would consist of: 1 cup kosher salt, 3/4 cup brown sugar, 6 cups cold water, 3 bay leaves, peppercorns, onion flakes or powder, garlic powder, fresh thyme, oregano, and sage. Anytime you choose to use a dry rub, make sure to add some of these seasonings and herbs.
Dry rubs work great over long periods of time and have been found to produce incredible results. But this step is not always necessary.
What is the Best Wood for Smoking Pork Shoulder?
Pork shoulder can be great smoked over any wood type. There are some guidelines though to follow while selecting the right kind of wood. First, try to avoid using green wood! Greenwoods do have a lot of strong flavors that make them unsuitable for smoking.
You might think that the stronger the flavor the better, but this is not always true. Greenwood is just about as good as charcoal. However, they do differ in how they burn, so sometimes there can be a slight difference in the taste.
Second, choose woods with different properties. For example, hickory burns hot and long but makes a dry smoke, and oak burns slow but gives a rich and mellow smoke.
Thirdly, use woods that give that nice smoky flavor without being overpowering. Applewood and cherrywood work really well and both smell lovely while giving a sweet smoke.
Using wood chips is a great place to start, however, once you get away from these easy options, things get complicated. Some folks like to use mesquite, pecan, hickory, maple, and other specialty woods.
They will come in bags (as chips) or loose and are used similarly to chips. In order to maintain their freshness, they should be stored in large containers in a ventilated area. Using wood chips can add a unique layer of complexity to the flavor profile.
It’s hard to tell what effect the wood itself will have until after the fact. It’s also important to remember that a smoker made with these specialty woods is likely to cost more than one made with standard woods. So don’t go overboard unless you need to justify the expense…just buy two!
As for mesquite, it may not be available everywhere, but you can find it online. The benefits of using mesquite are similar to those of hickory but without the bitterness associated with hickory.
Well, that is all for this article, we hope that we have been able to shed some light on this topic. We would appreciate feedback if you feel we missed something critical. Feel free to share questions or comments below.
To answer your question one final time, if you cook your pork shoulder at 225 degrees Fahrenheit it should take about one hour per pound of meat.
But this time may vary depending on the size of your pork shoulder. The temperature you are cooking at and the method of smoking can have an effect on how long it takes to smoke a pork shoulder.
Because of this, it will be important to check your meat when you think it is done and learn from your findings. You will not be perfect the first time you try. Even pitmasters took a while to learn the trade. So, don’t push yourself too hard. In time, you will understand how to time things and what to look out for.
That is all for this article. We hope you have a great day. Thanks for reading and good luck smoking that pork shoulder.