Smoked Pork Shoulder – this is your go-to recipe for making the BEST smoked pork shoulder!
This picture. Just – yes. Smoked pork shoulder with the most amazing rub ever – it will fall apart and leave you wanting more. I have to be honest – the credit here all goes to my husband. I took the pictures, but he is in charge of the smoker. I tagged along, because I love all things food and cooking with my husband doesn’t get much better. You have to try this.
The first thing you are going to need is a smoker – here is the one the hubby has: Masterbuilt 20070910 30-Inch Black Electric Digital Smoker, Top Controller. If you are looking for a starter smoker that is high quality, but also not the most expensive smoker ever made, he would recommend this one. He has had it for 3 years with no issues and the quality of smoking is fantastic. Also, while I know everyone has their own opinion, electric smokers like the one we have are much easier to control than the charcoal version. So again, if you are just starting out, this Masterbuilt 20070910 30-Inch Black Electric Digital Smoker, Top Controller smoker is the way to go.
Now, for this recipe we used a 4 pound pork shoulder – as always – a better initial product = a better end result (aka go to the deli and get the good pork shoulder!). It will be worth it. Yes. It really does taste better.
Now grab your spices:
You are looking at kosher salt, smoked paprika, lemon pepper, cayenne, smoked garlic powder and black pepper.
Rub with worcestershire sauce and yellow mustard. For the yellow mustard – really any brand should do and you won’t really tell the difference. For the worcestershire sauce – it matters. You gotta use the good stuff. Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce is the way to go, in my humble opinion and my husband’s expert opinion.
And then rub spice mixture all over – I mean all over. In every nook and cranny. Lay it on thick.
Wrap in plastic wrap and put in the fridge for at least 12 hours.
When it is time to go, turn smoker on to 250. At the same time, take pork shoulder out of the fridge and let it come to room temp. Additionally, get some smoking chips – use half hickory (Weber 17056 Hickory Wood Chunks) and half mesquite (Weber 17103 Mesquite Wood Chips, 3-Pound)- put 2 cups of the hickory and 2 cups of the mesquite chips together in a bucket of water to soak. In your electric smoker there should be smoker basket to put your chips in.
When the pork shoulder reaches room temp and the smoker has reached 250, place pork shoulder in the smoker (fatty side up!) and a handful of chips in the smoking box.
Middle rack is fine.
For a 4 pound pork shoulder you will want to smoke it for 4 hours or until it reaches at least 165 degrees (internal temp) or you can go as high as 190. You want to make sure you reach 165 to kill off any bacteria, but if you go up to 190 you will only be able to shred it that much easier.
Throughout the smoking process, you are going to need to do a couple of things. First, you need to apply a mop to the pork shoulder every 45-60 minutes. The “mop” is made up of 1 part apple cider vinegar, 1 part apple juice and 1 part water. Mix that up – the hubs puts that in a spray bottle and just sprays the pork shoulder all over. Additionally, if the smoke coming out of the smoker dies down, you know you need to put additional chips into the smoking basket. This should happen about 1 time per hour.
All that being said, don’t open the smoker if you don’t have to!
Once your desired internal temp has been reached (at least 165) remove from smoker and let rest an hour.
Serve and wow your guests.
Oh – and you don’t know what to serve with your pork shoulder – might I recommend:
Please let me know if you have any other awesome smoked pork shoulder tips and tricks! I would love to hear them!
- 4 lb pork shoulder
- 2 Tablespoons kosher salt
- 2½ Tablespoons smoked paprika
- 2½ Tablespoons Lemon Pepper
- 1 Tablespoon cayenne pepper
- 1 Tablespoon smoked garlic powder
- ½ Tablespoon ground black pepper
- Yellow mustard (approximately ½ cup)
- Worcestershire sauce (approximately 2-3 Tablespoons) (for Whole30 either omit this or use a compliant version)
- plastic wrap
- ½ cup apple cider vinegar
- ½ cup apple juice
- ½ cup water
- 2 cups hickory smoking chips
- 2 cups mesquite smoking chips
- Rinse pork shoulder under water;
- Pat dry;
- Combine salt, smoked paprika, lemon pepper, cayenne pepper, smoked garlic powder and black pepper in bowl.
- Place pork shoulder on cookie sheet.
- Take worcestershire sauce and pour all over pork shoulder ensuring it is thoroughly covered.
- Take yellow mustard and pour all over pork shoulder ensuring it is thoroughly covered.
- Take spice mixture and start sprinkling/rubbing in generous amounts all over pork shoulder ensuring that a thick layer is created - every nook and cranny.
- Completely and tightly wrap pork shoulder in plastic wrap. Then double bag it in plastic bags and put in fridge for a minimum of 12 hours.
- After a minimum of 12 hours has passed, remove pork shoulder from fridge and let come to room temp.
- Start smoker and bring up to 250 degrees.
- Soak smoking chips in water in a bucket by the smoker.
- Combine apple cider vinegar, apple juice and water and put in spray bottle.
- Once smoker reaches 250 and pork shoulder is at room temp, put handful of smoking chips into the smoking basket and put pork shoulder in smoker.
- Spray every 45-60 minutes with spray bottle all over.
- Add additional smoking chips about every hour.
- Smoke until pork shoulder reaches a minimum of 165 internal temp or go up to 190 for better ease of shredding.
- A 4 lb pork shoulder should need about 4 hours of smoking time.
- Let rest for an hour (wrap in foil) before shredding and serving.
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