Author Topic: heritage pork shoulder went awry--not sure why  (Read 3173 times)


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heritage pork shoulder went awry--not sure why
« on: September 05, 2022, 07:38:32 PM »

Bought a Model #1 last November and have been really enjoying it, with consistent success smoking brisket, wings, a whole chicken, and a pork shoulder.

Then this weekend happened, and a pricey heritage pork shoulder (from a locally-raised KuneKune pig) went awry.  Still not sure what happened, so hoping someone else might have a thought.

I dry brined the shoulder (5 lb, bone-in) for ~24 hours then added a rub and put it into the smoker at 225 F a little before 9am. I have a decent Thermoworks thermometer with 2 channels, and set that up to measure both the interior of the smoker and the pork.  Put a small bottle of apple juice in the flavor savor.

Things seemed to be going well, and hit the stall by around 12:30 pm, when it start hovering around 160-165 for the next 3+ hours.   I’d figured 1-2 hours per pound total, so figured it’d be done by 4:30-5 in time to rest for 30-60 minutes before our friends came over at 5:30.   However, it was still in the 160’s at 4:30, so I pulled it out of the smoker after reading a tip that finishing it in a 250 F oven can help power through the stall. 

I knew that might dry it out more than ideal, but the thing was, it was clearly already way too dry when I pulled it from the smoker, with a much darker burnt bark than the last shoulder I smoked.  I should note that the apple juice had fully evaporated, but I was still surprised how dry it was given that the meat temp was still just at 170…far from the 190 F target.   I went ahead and stuck it in the oven at 250 wrapped in butcher paper—hoping to get it up to 190 without too much more drying out.  An hour later, it was just barely to 190 in one spot, and definitely too dry throughout.   Flavor was really great (all the cuts from this KuneKune pig have had deep flavor), particularly with some vinegar sauce, but was much less luscious than the last pork shoulder I smoked, which was just a standard one from the grocery store.

Any suggestions on what I did wrong?  Could’ve it have just been that I should’ve refilled the flavor savor?

Thanks in advance!


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Re: heritage pork shoulder went awry--not sure why
« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2022, 12:31:32 AM »
That's really bizarre.  Occam's razor would suggest that you got a bad cut of meat.  I don't understand meat well enough to say exactly what how/why that would be, though.
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Re: heritage pork shoulder went awry--not sure why
« Reply #2 on: September 07, 2022, 08:50:10 PM »
Thanks for the reply, LarryD.  Could be the meat...although KuneKune pigs are supposed to have plenty of fat, the farm I got it from told me it was their first time raising that breed, so maybe didn't fatten up the pigs up as much as needed.  And the chops I've cooked from them were indeed pretty lean (although lots of flavor).  So maybe just too lean a shoulder for the usual smoking approach?

Hank R

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Re: heritage pork shoulder went awry--not sure why
« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2023, 01:12:27 PM »
Thanks I have learned something, now just have to remember it.  HR
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old sarge

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Re: heritage pork shoulder went awry--not sure why
« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2023, 07:15:43 PM »
Happy to see you are still with us Hank! 
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