This week’s Sunday dinner…drum roll…pulled pork! I have only started cooking pork shoulders in the last year or so since I got my smoker and according to my wife it’s is one of the best things I cook. I think she’s just impressed that I cook and doesn’t want to say anything that will disrupt the delicate genius that I am.
I saw this little gem at the store the other day while on a quest for pecan wood chunks, it’s a meat injector. Kind of like main-lining flavor directly into the meat. To test my new toy I mixed up an injection seasoning of a stick of melted butter and a cup of chicken broth then seasoned it with my bbq-rub. Then injected syringes full of the seasoning at various points in the meat until it was all gone. I thought for sure this was going create a flavor explosion in the pork. Well it didn’t quite give me the flavor punch I was looking for, but it did add flavor and moisture to the meat, like a quicker easier brining. This is going to take some more practice, like injecting the Thanksgiving Turkey with butter and herbs? I’ll keep ya posted on that one.
This pork shoulder was 8.5 lbs and I expected it to take about 12 hours to cook at about 200-225 F. I have learned that in order for the shoulder to completely fall apart it has to be cooked to an internal temp of 190-200 degrees. When the shoulder hits 180 degree all of the connective tissues in the meat start to dissolve. The dissolving tissues add flavor and allows the meat to fall apart. What I’m really shooting for is a fall apart pork, I’m too lazy to actually pull apart the pork.
The thing I love about BBQ is the same thing I hate about it. You never really know when it’s going to be done cooking. It’s done when it’s done. After about 9 hours on the grill the the shoulder was still a long way from done. The problem is probably that cheap ass meat thermometer anyway, dinner time was fast approaching and I had promised the wifey it would be done by 6:30. So I improvised and wrapped the shoulder in foil and let it finish cooking for the last 2 1/2 hours. I used this trick on the last brisket I cooked and figured it couldn’t hurt. Well it worked out perfectly. The injected seasoning keep the meat moist and created a nice steam within the foil to finish cooking the meat to a nice 200 degrees. The easy test for doneness, the meat has pulled away from the shoulder bone and the bone will slide right out.
Here’s the shoulder just before I wrapped it up in foil. You can see some of the juices oozing out of the meat. I have no idea what happened that chunk of meat missing near the bone.
That shoulder was so tender it just feel apart on the plate in this perfect little pile.
Well the final result was pure pork-a-licious. Although the injection didn’t work like I expected it did a exactly what I needed it to do, keep the meat moist and created a nice steam to break up the meat. I’m really happy with the foil trick, the meat was tender moist and just feel apart. I don’t know if that was cheating or not, but the end justifies the means, right?