So recently I posted an article on how to slow cook a pork shoulder to make pulled pork. That recipe makes perfect pulled pork in 18 hours, as long as you have the time and patience for it. On the web, you find tons of ideas on how to speed up this process from 18 hours to 4 hours. Personally, the quality isn’t close when it comes to a shoulder cooked in 4 hours time, but at least you can slather on some St. Louis Style BBQ Sauce and enjoy it.
The picture on the left is after an 18 hour cook, so you can see the rich bark with the dark red smoke ring from cherry wood chunks. The bark will degrade based on how long you smoke it and how you wrap it. In the case of this pork, it was wrapped using peach treated butcher paper instead of using aluminum foil. Another personal opinion is that a 4 hour shoulder just doesn’t taste the same as the 18 hour because of the lack of smoke and the penetration from the spices.
I think you’ll find a happy medium if you aim for an 8 hour pork shoulder.
8 Hour Pulled Pork
- Follow the recipe from Perfect Pulled Pork, to prepare the meat for cooking.
- Heat the smoker or Big Green Egg to 275° with a few chunks of wood for smoking. I recommend a combination of Apple and Cherry mix, or Oak and Cherry mix.
- Place a drip pan full of water on top the plate setter and put the shoulder on the grill grate with the fat side down.
- Use a remote meat thermometer, like the Maverick ET-732 and set the alarm for 165°.
- Spray the pork shoulder with a 50/50 mix of apple juice and apple cider vinegar every hour. Don’t leave the lid open too long during this process so the temp doesn’t dip.
- Once the temp has been reached, double wrap the shoulder in foil or butcher paper and continue cooking until the shoulder reaches an internal temperature of 195°. The pork should look like something similar to the image below. This pork shoulder had slow cooked overnight and was being taken off the grill to be wrapped after reaching 165°.
- Remove and place the shoulder in a cooler wrapped in towels for at least an hour to let the juices settle.
- Using your bare hands, forks, or any bear grip style tool, pull the pork. The bone should have pulled out clean during this process.
4 Hour Pulled Pork
- Same process to above, but you cook at 350° instead of 275°.