Pork Shoulder – part two
The next stage of the process is to cook the meat! In part one, I explained how the pork shoulder was divided into two parts – a roundish joint including the bone, and a flat, boneless “slab” . After bringing the barbecue to a temperature of around 350 degrees Fahrenheit, I put on a few pieces of Apple wood, for smoke and adjusted the air vents to regulate the temperature. The air vents were set to about 2 thirds open – allowing enough intake air to maintain the temperature, but not too much to burn too high.
I put the joint on the bottom grill and the flat slab on the top grill. I then cooked the meat for about 4 hours without even checking on it! The only thing to ensure is that the temperature remains a constant 330-350 degrees Farenheit. This is quite easy with a Weber Smokey Mountain barbecue! Just open and close the air vents to raise and lower the temperature. This initial cooking time allows the bbq rub to form a crust around the meat and seal in the moisture. If you start basting the meat before the crust has formed, it will just wash away the spice rub!
In the mean time, I made up a batch of Memphis basting sauce. I got the recipe from Paul Kirk’s “Championship Barbecue” and will give the details of the recipe in a future post. This sauce is thick, dark and tart. Perfect for basting pork shoulder, to keep it moist and give it that deep mahogony finish.
After four hours, I checked on the meat, and turned it around inside the barbecue (upside down and 90 degrees) . Every hour I checked on the meat, I did the same maneuver in order to turn the meat fully. After about 10 hours I checked the meat with an internal thermometer. Pork on the bone should take 2 hours per pound, and as the heaviest joint was 5 pounds, then 10 hours should have been enough. But barbecue is not an exact science! All sorts of factors can affect your cooking times, including the exact temperature of the cooker, weather conditions and the temperature of the meat. While the flat slab felt ready (remember, it was only 4 pounds with no bone), the internal thermometer told me that the joint was not quite up to the ready temperature. Therefore, I put it back onto the heat to cook it further.
Stay tuned for part three to find out how it it turned out and my observations from this marathon BBQ cook out!