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Pull Pork a photo tutorial from noway

Discussion in 'Food Forum' started by noway, Jan 25, 2006.

  1. I was speaking to somebody about some wood for smoking and BBQing and was given an idea of doing a pullpork 101 kinda like a photo exhibit. Will here's my photo 101 lesson for smoking a pork shoulder for some pull pork.

    1st you have to select your cut of pork. Most people select a whole shoulder or a smaller cut know as the picnic of boston butt. These are the upper or lower parts of the shoulder and easier todo if you are a 1st timer or wants a quicker cut to cook. I would suggest the smaller cuts do it is easy to cook and make sure you get a shoulder or picnic/butt that fits your smoker. If you have a sml town butcher , asked them for a select cut. You can also use the pork sirloin for this but it's a drier meat and I would not suggest you try this for the 1st time but wait till you get some experience behind the grill & smoke ;)

    Here's my whole picnic shoulder from my local store. I think the price was $1.59 per/lb.


    It's critical that you select a good cut. Look for one with some fat trimming on the side and nicely trimmed. You don't want a cut with no fat. The internal fat ( called marbling ) is helpfull in moisturizing the meat as it slow cooks. It will dissolve and breakdown with the low smoking temps and drip away when on the smoker grates

    Once you get the meat selected, coat the shoulder with mustard. This helps in holding the dry rubs.




    Then prepare your dryrubs and/or use a store bought. My seasoning are hand blended by myself consisting of various peppers chilli powder, sugar and on this shoulder I 'm trying cinnamon out on it. I have other stuff include but that's my secret ;)

    Once you get the pork coated. let it sit in the bottom part of the refrig for at least 24-48hours wrapped up. The meat with absorb the rub and drain off some juice buts that cool and desireable.


    here we go all wrapped up;


    next page will be the fun part, the cooking it ;)
  2. I like cooking with pecan and apple woods for the most part. But today I'm using 50/50 of cherry and maple with some sml bits of hickory. You will have to experiment on the wood that you like to use. The wood is where alot of the flavor comes from.

    Here's a bucket of wood chunks.


    Before you start the fire get the meat out of the refrig and let it comes up to room temp. No need in putting a cold piece of meat on the smoker. It can create a creosote condition that will turn a nice cut of meat into a bitter tasting chunk or meat that even a dog would not eat.

    Start you fire and let it burnd down to a bed of coals. Place your meat on the smoker and close it up. I try to keep the meat center with the fat trim upwards. Also keep the fire hot and adjust for the smoke w/ the air vents. Good smokers have good airflow and controls. I'm using a cheap so-so brinkman.

    After the meats gets to a 130-140 deg internal temp, I like to wrap my cut up. This does 2 things;

    1> reduces how much smoke get on the meat

    2>holds the juices in

    This cut has been on the smoker for 2.25 hours and is just getting started.


    You will need thermometer to get accurate internal temps. Stick the pointed thing in off the bone and about halfway thru and within seconds to 1min the temp should stablize. The coldest part of the pork would be the inside. So a general rule of thumbs is to cook pork to a internal temp of 160-180degs. Trichinosis is a serious problem in ALL animals that eat uncooked /raw meats. Hogs,coons,bear and even humans are candidates of this. Deer/Elk/Moose/bison/cow/etc...are not, they eat grass and aren't consumers of meat or at least I hope not ;)

    My 4H training shows that trichinosis can be killed at temps of 140degs but the CDC reccommends 160-170degs for an additional safety blanket and to CYA themselves.

    Also note that if you do the 20-5 or 5-20 rule and freeze the meat for 20days at 5deg -neg or 5days at 20 deg -neg, you will also kill any possible residual trichinosis parasites.

    We are almost done;


    Tomorrow I will finish this off with actually pulling the pork. It will sit wrapped up for now. Stay tuned in Pull Pork 101 ;)

  3. Okay my dentist appointment got cancel. So here's the wrap up.

    The final outcome is a pork shoulder cook to a internal temp of 180degs;


    I normally add salt, onions and cilantro and serve with rice or potatoe but here I cooked up some natural organic bacon and crumble it and added onions.


    bon appetit ;)
  4. major

    major Rejected member

    Aug 19, 2001
    Cochrane, Alberta
    Thanks for taking the time to do this!

    I had wondered about doing this and had SO many questions, all of which you have answered. Thanks again.
  5. No problem.

    I do want to correct something I said earlier that I just notice, the picnic cut is actually the bottom portion of the shoulder while the boston butt or just plain butt is the top. Alot of people perfer the butt over the picnic and "say it has more flavor" but I can't tell either which way. I do know the upper parts of the shoulder has more fat, so you might have to trim more away in your initial prep and the butt cut per/lb is slightly more in most stores that I shop at. You also get more juices run off when doing the butt vrs picnic. A whole shoulder is good also but can be quite big unless you find local butcher or a smallish hog shoulder. This sml picnic cut will provide about 5 big adults servings ;) A whole shoulder is alot of meat. I've cooked 15lbs shoulders and they took about 5-7 hours and imho you MUST use a thermo meter to know if they are done. It hard to eyeball it ( just my 2ct opinion here )

    One more thing when you pull you shoulder after cooking, the meat will be hot. Wear gloves (plastic) or wait for the meat to cool down and this can take some time so don't be in a rush. Letting the meat sit is a good wait to get it cool down plus some the jucie to run and the flavor to lock in. Tomorrow this pork will be even more tasty ;)

    Also whatever you do, don't remove the shoulder bone and try to avoid buying a "boneless" shoulder cut. It will cost you more in $$.$$ and I personaly think the bone hold in some heat. When reading your thermo, avoid reading the temp of the bone but somewhere else in the thickest spot and halfway thru.

    The wood use does make a big difference in how much smokeis absorbed & the taste. Most woods outside of mesquite are okay for pork. In this order light to heavy on smoke is what I've experience;


    My picnic in this example has a nice mellow taste due to the wood with a hint of cinnamon and pepper in my other seasonsing that I blended for my dry rub. I do wish I added some salt and that was the only thing lacking in my pork.

    So experiement, You can also use regular or lump charcoal and add some wood to the fire during the initial cook off. The meat will only absorb so much smoke and you should have a smoke ring ( coloring change ) in the outer portions of the pork. Mainly a reddish to pinkish color depending on wood, amount of time exposed and the heat of the fire. Try to keep the smoker going at no lower than 200 and no higher than 250degs for a good easy cook. Don't over do it or rush the proccess, this is "sloooow" smoke pork and called slow for a reason.

    bon appetit ;c
  6. Thanks, someone should put this in for a sticky...;c
  7. MrsKitty


    Mar 23, 2003
  8. BL33D 4 M3

    BL33D 4 M3 SDMF

    Nov 19, 2005
    Chicago/North Burbs
    That looks friggin awesome! Sticky it!
  9. My ex-girlfirend hosted a enagement party for a new couple that will be married this June and I had the oppurtunity of doing the dinner latin style with pulled pork. I cooked 3 sml shoulder to feed 12 people for this small gathering.

    Here's pulled pork in a light Habanero & Arbol salsa with fried boniato. Yes pull pork can be western, southern or latin style ;)
  10. oops ..... the picture
  11. Glockdude1

    Glockdude1 Federal Member CLM

    May 24, 2000
    Just reading your post and looking at the pics mad me hungry!!!

  12. Heckler&Koch


    Dec 14, 2004
    Oakland Ca
    Both pulled pork look great but ur Latin style looks so deliciouso
  13. Cross-X

    Cross-X CLM

    Jan 1, 2005
    Boston, MA
    Great post!

    You might want to try an experiment: keep the shoulder on the smoker a bit longer, until it reaches 195 degrees internally.

    When it has reached temperature, take it off the fire and wrap it in aluminum foil, then wrap it in a beach towel and stick it in a pre-heated ice chest for an hour or two.

    Cooking to 195 degrees does a better job at breaking down the stringy, hard to chew connective tissue, and the ice chest trick aids tenderness.

  14. Glockdude1

    Glockdude1 Federal Member CLM

    May 24, 2000
    How do you "pre heat" a ice chest?

  15. Cross-X

    Cross-X CLM

    Jan 1, 2005
    Boston, MA

    Simple. Before you use if for the the pork shoulder, fill it with warm to hot water, let the water sit a bit, then dump it out before you put the smoked meat in.

    Pre-heating conserves the heat in the bbq.

    This technique works best with a plastic cooler like an Igloo Playmate. There is no need to preheat a styrofoam cooler. :)
  16. {Cooking to 195 degrees does a better job at breaking down the stringy, hard to chew connective tissue, and the ice chest trick aids tenderness.

    The shoulder I cook can be broken apart with bare hands no fork no knife after it reaches a 180deg w/ " no problems ".
  17. Cross-X

    Cross-X CLM

    Jan 1, 2005
    Boston, MA

    I guess true pork shoulder pullability depends on the pig, and the bear!
  18. It actually goes back to my 1st rule of cooking a shoulder ( picnic/butt or whole ) You have to select the right one ;) Once you find a good store or shop that have that shoulder cut, stick with them.

    If you get a shoulder off a wild hog vrs a domestic one it wouldn't be as easy to cook nor a shoulder with no inter-connecting fatty tissue or no to little marbling. No need to cook it to 195degs unless you want to. Slow and low heat over a long time will break down anything.
  19. rhikdavis

    rhikdavis U.S. Veteran

    Jul 22, 2002
    In Remembrance
    That does it, I'm inviting myself to dinner.