If you are looking for a good piece meat to start your new smoking journey, pork shoulder is what I would recommend. It is a forgiving cut of meat that produces a flavorful and versatile product. You can use it on sandwiches, tacos, nachos or all on its own. You can pair it with a sweet sauce or a vinegar sauce, the possibilities are endless. Give this recipe a try and you will be the envy of the neighborhood!
1 bone in or boneless Pork Shoulder
1 bottle of Mustard
1/3 cup Kosher Salt
1/3 cup Course Ground Black Pepper
1/4 cup Granulated Garlic
1/4 cup Onion Powder
1/4 cup Paprika
Water, Apple Juice or Apple Cider Vinegar
Total time 10 to 12 hours
Begin by mixing the rub ingredients in a small bowl. Once mixed, transfer to a spice shaker for seasoning convenience.
Preheat your pellet grill to 225 degrees. If your grill has an extra smoke setting use it. We like to use applewood pellets for this cook. While the grill is heating remove the pork shoulder from the packaging and use some paper towels dry the outside of the shoulder on all sides. After drying, apply just enough mustard to coat the pork on all sides. Coat the pork with an even amount of the rub you just made. Pork can handle a large amount of seasoning so do not be scared to use a liberal amount.
Once the pork has been seasoned and the grill has preheated, place the shoulder on the grill and let it smoke for 6 hours. After two hours of smoking begin to spritz the pork with water, apple juice or apple cider vinegar every 45 minutes. This will help form a delicious bark and not let the outside dry out too much.
Once the pork has smoked for 6 hours, remove it from the grill and wrap the shoulder in butcher paper or foil.
Increase the temperature of the grill to 250 degrees. Place the wrapped shoulder back on the grill and cook for an additional 3 hours.
Once the pork has cooked for a total of 9 hours, remove it from the grill and place the shoulder on a cookie sheet. Wrap the pork with a large towel. You can also place the wrapped shoulder in a small cooler. Let the pork rest for a minimum of 1 hour. You can let the pork rest in a cooler for up to 4 hours. Resting allows the juice to reabsorb into the meat and it will also tenderize the meat during this process.
Pulled pork is pulled not chopped. The pork should be tender enough to easily tear apart using your hands. The outer bark will be flavorful and delicious while the inside is moist and tender. Using a pair of cotton gloves with latex gloves over the top allows you to handle the hot meat while pulling.
Pork Shoulder is fairly easy to make, however, where most people mess up is not getting the pork tender enough to pull. This usually is because they do not cook the shoulder long enough or they do not let it rest while wrapped. Make sure you plan for enough time to do both of these steps.