How to Smoke Pork Shoulder

Char-Griller Ambassador James Llorens of Certified Creole BBQ knows a thing or two about smoking pork.

Over the years, he's perfected his technique and after a lot of trial and error, has come up with some fool-proof tips and tricks. He's sharing them today in the first of many of his new blog series with Char-Griller.

"Pork butt to me is classic BBQ that while expensive, feeds a large crowd and is forgiving piece of meat to make.

Pork butt taught me many lessons on my BBQ journey. It’s taught me how to be patient on a long smoke, how to maintain my fire on a long smoke (including when to go and low n’ slow or when to bump up the heat when the meat stalls), and the the endless meals you can make from it. But I have to say, my all time favorite and go to it the classic pulled pork sandwich.

When purchasing the pork butt at the store, I look for one that has a full fat cap on it. They may not always have a full fat cap but I try to get one that has the most fat. I’ll trim any excess fat or meat that may be loose.

After trimming, I like to score the pork butt in squares diagonally. I have tried other scoring methods, but this one is my favorite. It allows the rubs to penetrate into the meat.

After the rub, I inject the pork with apple juice for added flavor & moisture.Something I learned along the way is to season and inject your pork butt, wrap in plastic wrap, and let rest in the fridge for at least 12 hours. This allows the rubs and apple juice to penetrate deep inside the meat. It also allows for an easy start up when you go to smoke it the next day.

Prior to smoking, remove the pork from the fridge and let it get to room temperature. I go low n’ slow at 225° on the grill but if the temperature is at 250° that’s fine too, just let it play out. Keep in mind if you're running hotter then that, don’t hesitate to remove a piece of charcoal/wood from the pit and place in a chimney or metal bin of some sort as this is part of learning to maintain your fire.

Around internal temperature 145° the pork will sometimes begin to stall and when that happens, I’ll bump up the heat to about 275° but no more than 300° and cook until it reaches internal temperature 160°.

When it hits 160°, I double wrap using foil and go back to the low n’ slow temperature of 225°.

A major key to a good pork butt is to add liquid to the wrap. My wrap consists of apple juice, butter, rubs & bbq sauce.After the wrap, I add the pork back to the smoker until it reaches internal temperature 199°. I then remove it, wrap it in a towel, and place in a cooler. This technique allows the meat to stop cooking and cool down. By doing this, you will get the nice clean bone removal experience we all love and shoot for.

After the bone is removed, shred the meat and enjoy it in a sandwich, on nachos, or just on its own.

Pork butt is a crowd favorite and you can’t go wrong with it especially when you're hosting a large crowd."