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August 28, 2012

Pork Shoulder – part one

by BBQ Insanity

What madness would drive a man to buy a 10lb joint of pork shoulder, and spend a whole day cooking it?

What special blend of crazy drives this behaviour when he knows there’s only himself and his wife to eat it?

10lbs, 14 hours and a week of eating cold cuts…

What form of insanity could this be?   The answer as you know, is BBQ Insanity!

Pork shoulder is a tough cut of meat – as tough as old boots really.  It’s cheap as chips to buy, but there is a price to be paid, and that’s in the cooking.  Because the meat is so tough, it must be cooked really slowly to break down the fibres to get it tender.  You won’t get away with grilling this hunk of meat on a disposable bbq tray!

To even contemplate cooking a piece of meat this formidable, you really need a dedicated smoker.  I use a Weber Smokey Mountain which is “water smoker” and well up to the task.  You could try smoking the meat on a regular kettle barbecue but due to the length of time required, you would need to be prepared to replenish your coals every hour or so…


The first decision I needed to make was how to prepare this huge lump of meat.  I had two options, cook it whole as a 10lb behemoth or divide it into two more manageable pieces.  Paul Kirk’s excellent “Championship Barbecue”, recommends 2 hrs per lb for Pork Shoulder with the bone in (temp 230F – 250F).  Even I wasn’t prepared to commit 20 hours to a hunk of meat, so I elected to divide and conquer.  The shoulder piece I bought was made up of a joint with a bone sitting on top of a flat slab of meat.  I separated the rounder joint from the slab and after trimming away excess fat, was left with a 5.5lb joint and about a 4lb flat slab.

I slathered both pieces of meat with olive oil before rubbing in generous amounts of barbecue rub (aka barbecue spice mix).  The particular blend I used for the rub was the famous “Magic Dust” by Mike Mills.  Mike’s recipe for his “dust” can be found in his book, “Peace Love and Barbecue”.  If you can’t be bothered to recreate “Magic Dust”, just use your own favourite barbecue spice mix.

In the next post, I’ll tell you what happened next!

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