The Best Pork Shoulder I’ve Smoked (So Far)

Last Sunday even with the threat of rain I decided to crank out another pork shoulder. This time I rubbed it with mustard and managed to find time to brine it for about 16 hours. This is how it looked after it came out of the brine. I love seeing the molasses adhere itself to the fat cap.

At 4:45am the shoulder was on the smoker and this time I changed the way I handled the wood. I hid hickory and apple chips throughout the charcoal while setting up the bowl for the minion method. Then when I put the shoulder on I added a large chunk of hickory. I then alternated apple and hickory chunks every hour until the shoulder hit 160 degrees. I was planning on wrapping the shoulder but I was getting such good heat out of the smoker that I skipped it.

This is what the shoulder looked like towards the end of the cook. The bark was super dark and crunchy which is how I like it but I am very interested in doing a wrap one of these days. I was going to do a shoulder this weekend but my schedule didn’t allow for it.

After 12 hours the shoulder came off the smoker and after a 45 minute rest I pulled it. I mixed it up with additional rub and the spice and moisture level was perfect. Doling out the smoke every hour worked great. The meat had a perfect smokey aroma and it didn’t dominate the flavor of the pork. I also think the brining is a must. It adds so much moisture to the finished product. After finishing this shoulder I feel like I’m getting closer and closer to finally doing that brisket. Maybe Memorial Day weekend? Stay tuned!


43 degrees
225 degrees


77 degrees
240 degrees


112 degrees
240 degrees


7:45am (Water pan refill)
135 degrees
238 degrees


152 degrees
218 degrees


160 degrees
227 degrees


10:45am (changed coal, water pan refill)
165 degrees
225 degrees


166 degrees
233 degrees


12:45pm (water pan refill)
171 degrees
258 degrees


178 degrees
240 degrees


184 degrees
243 degrees


190 degrees
232 degrees


195 degrees
247 degrees