How Do I Barbecue Pork Shoulder?

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  • Written By: Misty Amber Brighton
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 08 May 2020
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Before you barbecue pork shoulder, it can be a good idea to season the meat for several hours first. Cooking pork shoulder can be done in a smoker or a charcoal grill, but wood chips are generally preferred over other fuels. It can take some time to completely cook this meat because the pork will have a better flavor when barbequed over very low heat. You may need to take steps to prevent the pork shoulder from drying out while it is cooking.

Using a rub to season the meat is a good way to add flavor to pork shoulder. Some popular varieties might contain garlic, pepper, or brown sugar. It is very important to use plenty of rub, and to make sure this piece of meat is entirely covered. You should do this at least one hour before you barbecue pork shoulder, but if you can allow the meat to cure overnight this could be even better.

Just before you barbecue pork shoulder, it can be a good idea to heat the grill or smoker slightly. This is done by placing a few wood chips around the perimeter of the unit, lighting it, and then closing the lid. Hickory chips are a popular choice for grilling this meat, but apple, pecan, or walnut chips could also give pork a unique flavor. Charcoal can be used if wood chips are unavailable, but cooking with propane gas should be avoided if possible.

After the grill reaches between 250° and 275° F (121° to 135° C) you are ready to start cooking. Place the entire cut of meat on the center of the grill; you may want to sit a shallow pan just below the pork shoulder to catch the drippings in. Close the cover and make sure the vents in the lid are open. You should barbecue pork shoulder for anywhere between four and eight hours depending on the size this cut of pork is.

It can be very important to check the meat from time to time while it is cooking. You may want to turn it every one to two hours to make sure the pork cooks evenly. Since it takes a great deal of time to barbecue pork shoulder, the meat may sometimes become very dry while doing so. If this appears to be the case, basting the meat with a mixture of brown sugar and vinegar or a commercial barbeque sauce can help moisten the pork, thereby creating a juicier finished product.


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