David’s 10 Steps to Succulent Smoked BBQ Pork Picnic Shoulder

David's 10 steps to succulent smoked BBQ pork picnic shoulder. By following these steps, you will have perfectly cooked meat that's tender, moist and juicy. | TheMountainKitchen.com

Today we are talking smoked BBQ pork picnic shoulder!

I am sharing David’s 10 steps to succulent smoked BBQ pork picnic shoulder. By following these steps, you will have perfectly cooked meat that’s tender, moist and juicy.

David loves to hunt and David loves to fish, but more than any other hobby he loves to grill. And when I say he loves to grill, THE MAN LOVES TO GRILL! It isn’t that he wants to grill, the man has to grill!

With his great cooking skills, top-notch charcoal grills, this grill master knows how to make mouths water with his creations, but this man’s joy is in the process. It’s therapeutic to him to go outside and manage a grill all day. It doesn’t matter if it is 40 degrees or 90 degrees, he’s gonna get outside and grill.

From smoky ribs at home and whole roasted pigs at his family reunion, to delicate homemade pizzas, this man at the grill takes a lot of pride in it all and I think he deserved that new smoker he bought a few weeks ago.

BEHOLD: Introducing David’s brand NEW 18″ Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker!!

David's 10 steps to succulent smoked pork picnic shoulder. By following these steps, you will have perfectly cooked meat that's tender, moist and juicy. | TheMountainKitchen.com

All week before he purchased his new smoker, I toyed around with ordering one for him. He kept talking about getting a new smoker and I painfully watched him toy around with the display model of a cheap smoker. I told him he could not purchase some “crap smoker” and that he needed to wait for Christmas or his birthday to get a “good one”. It is all I heard for months. I was on the verge of buying him one to shut him up when low and behold, good ole Wally-World put one on clearance. Folks, THAT NEVER HAPPENS with Weber Grilling products. They’re prices are pretty much locked in across the grid. Never on sale and always within a couple of dollars the same price. The day he bought this, the store had marked it down $100 OFF! DEAL! He immediately went back up front to get a cart to put that bad boy in. If he hadn’t of loaded it up, I would have! I’m so glad I didn’t order one. WHAT A DEAL!!!

David's 10 steps to succulent smoked BBQ pork picnic shoulder. By following these steps, you will have perfectly cooked meat that's tender, moist and juicy. | TheMountainKitchen.com

Before breaking in his new smoker, David had to have a place to put it. It won’t fit on our deck along with the Performer, and I refused to let him just sit it in the dirt. I talked him into making a small pad for him to sit it on, a pedestal… A THRONE!

Just as I would not let him just sit this new smoker on the ground, he would not christen his new smoker with anything else but pork. A pork picnic shoulder would adorn this new smoker. Yes, a Succulent Smoked BBQ Pork Picnic Shoulder!

Juicy pork with hours of slow smoke, this smoked BBQ pork picnic shoulder is a hell of time investment, but well worth the wait. Here are David’s 10 Steps to Succulent Smoked BBQ Pork Picnic Shoulder:

David's 10 steps to succulent smoked BBQ pork picnic shoulder. By following these steps, you will have perfectly cooked meat that's tender, moist and juicy. | TheMountainKitchen.com

David’s 10 Steps to Succulent Smoked BBQ Pork Picnic Shoulder

What’s Needed:

  • 1 pork picnic shoulder (about 5-9 pounds)
  • Water Smoker or Charcoal Grill – Sorry folks, gas grills simply cannot produce a properly smoked picnic shoulder
  • A bag of Hickory Wood Chunks, soaked in water
  • Grilling gloves
  • Charcoal (Kingsford is our brand of choice)
  • Charcoal chimney
  • Water
  • Tongs
  • Meat Thermometer
  • Injector
  • Heavy-Duty Aluminum Foil

Pork Rub:

  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

BBQ Sauce of your choice – ours is kind of secret… made of butter, ketchup, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, sugar, salt pepper, and chipotle peppers. We also have another recipe if you are interested. You can find it HERE.

David's 10 steps to succulent smoked BBQ pork picnic shoulder. By following these steps, you will have perfectly cooked meat that's tender, moist and juicy. | TheMountainKitchen.com

#1 Prep the pork

Pork picnic shoulder is a hunk of meat that is laced with flavorful fat and connective tissue. Start with a picnic shoulder in the 5 pound range, which is just the right size to fit on any smoker or grill. Trim the pork so as to leave at least a ¼-inch cap of fat. (Any less and the pork will dry out; any more, and the fat will prevent the rub from seasoning the meat.)

Rinse the meat under cold running water and blot dry with paper towels. Combine all the ingredients for the rub in a small bowl (make sure to work out any clumps from the brown sugar for even distribution) and stir to mix. Rub onto the meat on all sides. If you have time, wrap the picnic shoulder in plastic wrap and let it cure in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or as long as overnight. Smoking the meat right away is ok, but sitting in the refrigerator for several hours allows the rub to penetrate the meat.

David's 10 steps to succulent smoked BBQ pork picnic shoulder. By following these steps, you will have perfectly cooked meat that's tender, moist and juicy. | TheMountainKitchen.com

#2 Prep the Smoker or Grill

Smoking is a form of indirect cooking and usually takes place over a period of hours over low temperatures. Set up your smoker for what is called the burn-down method. To do this, fill the charcoal bed with unlit coals and add only a few lit coals to the very top. The coals on top slowly light the ones underneath and burn down slowly over time. If using a charcoal grill, set it up for an indirect heat technique with a drip pan with water directly underneath the meat to stabilize the temperature.

Soak a few handfuls hickory wood chunks for about 30 minutes in warm water before placing atop the coals.
Preheat the grill from 225 to 250 degrees F. To maintain this low temperature, use only half as much charcoal as usual. (A half chimney-full.)

David's 10 steps to succulent smoked BBQ pork picnic shoulder. By following these steps, you will have perfectly cooked meat that's tender, moist and juicy. | TheMountainKitchen.com

#3 Smoking the pork

When the smoker or grill is the ideal temperature range, you are ready to smoke, place the picnic shoulder onto the hot grate over the drip pan, fat side up, toss a hand full of the soaked wood chunks and some dry wood chunks onto the coals and cover the grill.

David likes to use a combination of dry and wet wood chunks, alternating between the two. The dry gives a quick intense smoke and brings the heat up. The wet wood chunks provide a lower, slower smoke and brings the heat down. Heat adjustments can be made using this technique.

Bring the temperature up to 225 degrees F, using the vents to regulate the temperature. Knowing the temp in your grill is crucial, so if your grill doesn’t have a temperature gauge, purchase a digital BBQ thermometer.

You will need to add fresh coals and more wood chunks to each side of the grill every hour for at least the first 4 hours.

David's 10 steps to succulent smoked BBQ pork picnic shoulder. By following these steps, you will have perfectly cooked meat that's tender, moist and juicy. | TheMountainKitchen.com

#4 Low and slow

Check the temperature of the grill every hour, staying as close to 225 degrees F as possible. Resist the temptation to open the lid. Only open the charcoal door or the lid if you need to add more charcoal or soaked wood chips to maintain temperature and smoke. After at least 4 hours, check the temperature of the meat to see where it is and get an idea of how much more time it will need to smoke.

David's 10 steps to succulent smoked BBQ pork picnic shoulder. By following these steps, you will have perfectly cooked meat that's tender, moist and juicy. | TheMountainKitchen.com

#5 Test for doneness

Smoke the picnic shoulder until a dark “bark” (outside crust) forms and the internal temperature of the meat is about 190 degrees F, about 5 hours; use a meat thermometer to test for doneness.

#6 Never mind the stall

When the pork’s internal temperature reaches about 165 degrees F, the surface evaporation causes the meat’s internal temperature to plateau. Pit Masters call this “the stall.” Don’t panic. It will pass. Just wait out the stall. The ideal temperature of a properly smoked pork shoulder is 190 to 195 degrees F. The internal temperature of the pork can increase by 10 degrees even after it’s been removed from the grill, so keep that in mind. If the internal temperature is 190 degrees F when you take it off the grill, it may rise to an optimal 200 degrees F, perfect! Any hotter than that and could overcook your pork, which results in dry, chewy meat, no thank you!

David's 10 steps to succulent smoked BBQ pork picnic shoulder. By following these steps, you will have perfectly cooked meat that's tender, moist and juicy. | TheMountainKitchen.com

#7 Saucing the pork

Start basting the meat with a sauce using a brush or mop for the last 1 ½ hours.  Then mop it every 30 minutes after that.  It’s okay to be messy with it. Just slather it down and cover it back up.

David's 10 steps to succulent smoked BBQ pork picnic shoulder. By following these steps, you will have perfectly cooked meat that's tender, moist and juicy. | TheMountainKitchen.com

#8 Injecting the pork with sauce

David prefers injecting his meat with sauce during the last hour of smoking. Rubs and sauce sit on the meat’s surface and penetrate only a few millimeters into the meat. Injecting gets the flavor to the center of the food in seconds with the push of a plunger. Basically, injectors look like oversize hypodermic needles. Don’t waste your time with plastic injectors they don’t last. Instead, find a stainless steel injector. They typically comes with a 2 to 4-ounce capacity—which is enough for most anything you slap on your smoker or grill.

To inject the meat, you may need to pour your sauce into a narrow container so you can suck the sauce up inside the needle. Once the injector is full of sauce, that is where all the fun begins! Insert the needle and go all the way to the center. Press the plunger slowly and ease the needle out. Insert the needle again about every 1 ½-inches apart and leave behind about 1-ounce of sauce per pound. Some sauce will almost always follow the needle out of the hole, but if it comes spurting out like it hit an artery, use less pressure. You want to avoid pockets of liquid and have the sauce evenly distributed inside the meat. He usually injects it when he sauces the outside, but only once or twice.

David's 10 steps to succulent smoked BBQ pork picnic shoulder. By following these steps, you will have perfectly cooked meat that's tender, moist and juicy. | TheMountainKitchen.com

#9 Resting the smoked BBQ pork picnic shoulder

After the pork is literally about to fall apart and it is dripping with sauce, remove the smoked BBQ picnic shoulder from the smoker or grill and allow it to rest as you would with grilled or roasted meats. Allowing the pork to rest before chopping or serving it lets the meat fibers relax, moisture that was driven out is redistributed and reabsorbed by some of the dissolved proteins. Rested meat holds on to more of its natural juices. This also keeps your cutting board from flooding with meat juices when you slice it into the pork. A good 15 to 20 minute rest should do under loosely tented foil.

David's 10 steps to succulent smoked BBQ pork picnic shoulder. By following these steps, you will have perfectly cooked meat that's tender, moist and juicy. | TheMountainKitchen.com

#10 Slicing and Serving the smoked BBQ pork picnic shoulder

While holding the meat firmly with the carving fork, repeat the diagonal downward cut (using wide, sweeping strokes) to create thick slices, leaving them attached at the bottom.

Perfectly cooked meat should be moist and juicy. If you wish, drizzle some sauce and serve slices of flat fanned out like a deck of cards surrounded by chunks of burnt ends from the point. You can serve it simply sliced on a plate or you could pull it to serve on a pulled pork sandwich.

David's 10 steps to succulent smoked BBQ pork picnic shoulder. By following these steps, you will have perfectly cooked meat that's tender, moist and juicy. | TheMountainKitchen.com

We served the smoked BBQ pork picnic shoulder with some Hash Brown Potato Casserole and grilled cabbage.

David's 10 steps to succulent smoked BBQ pork picnic shoulder. By following these steps, you will have perfectly cooked meat that's tender, moist and juicy. | TheMountainKitchen.com

I’m vegetarian for the night, unless David throws on a burger or something. I just don’t like smoked BBQ pork picnic shoulder, and I am okay with that. As long as David’s happy, I’m happy. And that man is happy when he is grilling or smoking meat!

Like this smoked BBQ pork picnic shoulder? Follow David’s steps to succulent smoked BBQ pork picnic shoulder this Labor Day Weekend!

David's 10 steps to succulent smoked BBQ pork picnic shoulder. By following these steps, you will have perfectly cooked meat that's tender, moist and juicy. | TheMountainKitchen.com
Print
Smoked BBQ Pork Picnic Shoulder

David's 10 steps to succulent smoked BBQ pork picnic shoulder. By following these steps, you will have perfectly cooked meat that's tender, moist and juicy.

Course: Main Course
Servings: 12
Author: David & Debbie Spivey
Ingredients
What's Needed:
  • 1 pork picnic shoulder (about 5-9 pounds)
  • Water Smoker or Charcoal Grill
  • A bag of Hickory Wood Chunks soaked in water
  • Charcoal
  • Water
  • Tongs
  • Meat thermometer
  • Small pot with mop or basting brush
  • Injector
  • Heavy-Duty Aluminum Foil
Pork Rub
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • BBQ Sauce of your choice
Instructions
#1 Prep the pork
  1. Pork shoulder is a hunk of meat that is laced with flavorful fat and connective tissue. Start with a pork shoulder in the 5 pound range, which is just the right size to fit on any smoker or grill. Trim the pork shoulder so as to leave at least a ¼-inch cap of fat. (Any less and the pork will dry out; any more, and the fat will prevent the rub from seasoning the meat.)

  2. Rinse the meat under cold running water and blot dry with paper towels. Combine all the ingredients for the rub in a small bowl (make sure to work out any clumps from the brown sugar for even distribution) and stir to mix. Rub onto the picnic shoulder on all sides. If you have time, wrap the picnic shoulder in plastic wrap and let it cure in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or as long as overnight. Smoking the picnic shoulder right away is ok, but sitting in the refrigerator for several hours allows the rub to penetrate the meat.
#2 Prep the Smoker or Grill
  1. Smoking is a form of indirect cooking and usually takes place over a period of hours over low temperatures. Set up your smoker for what is called the burn-down method. To do this, fill the charcoal bed with unlit coals and add only a few lit coals to the very top. The coals on top slowly light the ones underneath and burn down slowly over time. If using a charcoal grill, set it up for an indirect heat technique with a drip pan with water directly underneath the meat to stabilize the temperature.
  2. Soak a few handfuls hickory wood chunks for about 30 minutes in warm water before placing atop the coals.
  3. Preheat the grill from 225 to 250 degrees F. To maintain this low temperature, use only half as much charcoal as usual. (A half chimney-full.)

#3 Smoking the pork
  1. When the smoker or grill is the ideal temperature range, you are ready to smoke, place the picnic shoulder on the hot grate over the drip pan, fat side up, toss a hand full of the soaked wood chunks and some dry wood chunks onto the coals and cover the grill.
  2. David likes to use a combination of dry and wet wood chunks, alternating between the two. The dry gives a quick intense smoke and brings the heat up. The wet wood chunks provide a lower, slower smoke and brings the heat down. Heat adjustments can be made using this technique.
  3. Bring the temperature up to 225 degrees F, using the vents to regulate the temperature. Knowing the temp in your grill is crucial, so if your grill doesn’t have a temperature gauge, purchase a digital BBQ thermometer.
  4. You will need to add fresh coals and more wood chunks to each side of the grill every hour for at least the first 4 hours.
#4 Low and slow
  1. Check the temperature of the grill every hour, staying as close to 225 degrees F as possible. Resist the temptation to open the lid. Only open the charcoal door or the lid if you need to add more charcoal or soaked wood chips to maintain temperature and smoke. After at least 4 hours, check the temperature of the meat to see where it is and get an idea of how much more time it will need to smoke.
#5 Test for doneness
  1. Smoke the picnic shoulder until a dark “bark” (outside crust) forms and the internal temperature of the meat is about 190 degrees F, about 5 hours; use a meat thermometer to test for doneness.
#6 Never mind the stall
  1. When the pork's internal temperature reaches about 165 degrees F, the surface evaporation causes the meat’s internal temperature to plateau. Pit Masters call this “the stall.” Don’t panic. It will pass. Just wait out the stall. The ideal temperature of a properly smoked pork shoulder is 190 to 195 degrees F. The internal temperature of the pork can increase by 10 degrees even after it’s been removed from the grill, so keep that in mind. If the internal temperature is 190 degrees F when you take it off the grill, it may rise to an optimal 200 degrees F, perfect! Any hotter than that and could overcook your pork, which results in dry, chewy meat, no thank you!

#7 Saucing the pork
  1. Start basting the meat with a sauce using a brush or mop for the last 1 ½ hours. Then mop it every 30 minutes after that. It's okay to be messy with it. Just slather it down and cover it back up.

#8 Injecting the pork with sauce
  1. David prefers injecting his meat with sauce during the last hour of smoking. Rubs and sauce sit on the meat’s surface and penetrate only a few millimeters into the meat. Injecting gets the flavor to the center of the food in seconds with the push of a plunger. Basically, injectors look like oversize hypodermic needles. Don't waste your time with plastic injectors they don't last. Instead, find a stainless steel injector. They typically comes with a 2 to 4-ounce capacity—which is enough for most anything you slap on your smoker or grill.

  2. To inject the meat, you may need to pour your sauce into a narrow container so you can suck the sauce up inside the needle. Once the injector is full of sauce, that is where all the fun begins! Insert the needle and go all the way to the center. Press the plunger slowly and ease the needle out. Insert the needle again about every 1 ½-inches apart and leave behind about 1-ounce of sauce per pound. Some sauce will almost always follow the needle out of the hole, but if it comes spurting out like it hit an artery, use less pressure. You want to avoid pockets of liquid and have the sauce evenly distributed inside the meat. He usually injects it when he sauces the outside, but only once or twice.

#9 Resting the smoked BBQ pork picnic shoulder
  1. After the pork is literally about to fall apart and it is dripping with sauce, remove the picnic shoulder from the smoker or grill and allow it to rest as you would with grilled or roasted meats. Allowing the pork to rest before chopping or serving it lets the meat fibers relax, moisture that was driven out is redistributed and reabsorbed by some of the dissolved proteins. Rested meat holds on to more of its natural juices. This also keeps your cutting board from flooding with meat juices when you slice it into the pork. A good 15-20 minute rest should do under loosely tented foil.
#10 Slicing and Serving the smoked BBQ pork picnic shoulder
  1. While holding the picnic shoulder firmly with the carving fork, repeat the diagonal downward cut (using wide, sweeping strokes) to create thick slices, leaving them attached at the bottom.
  2. Perfectly cooked meat should be moist and juicy. If you wish, drizzle some sauce and serve slices of flat fanned out like a deck of cards surrounded by chunks of burnt ends from the point. You can serve it simply sliced on a plate or you could pull it to serve on a pulled pork sandwich.

6 thoughts on “David’s 10 Steps to Succulent Smoked BBQ Pork Picnic Shoulder

  1. Max Gillaspie

    That sounds delicious. Ask David to make just one change. Try Stubbs, or Royal Oak charcoal. If He does he will never go back to Kingsford. Its to full of fillers and does not burn well on low and slow cooking. Love the blog and the website!

    Max

  2. Patrons of the Pit

    Well I’ll be! Look at that. How the heck did I miss this! Congrats to David, half a year belated!

Comments are closed.