Sunday, October 30, 2016

Smoked Pork Shoulder

Photo courtesy of the Cooking Corner.

     Over the last few years, I've gotten totally spoiled with an electric smoker. It was a gift and I'm so glad. With the help of an extension cord ran to the front porch, I can cook with smoke and maintain heat for hours. It can be chilly, windy or rainy and with the help of technology and a digital thermostat this convenient little box holds steady. This is not what any big time cooker on the circuit would probably consider legitimate smoking, but I find it right convenient.
     I've done pulled pork before and I've been able to get tender, slightly smoky and a good flavor but I've never quite conquered the crust. It what seem people call bark.
    After listening to one of my food friends that loves to smoke, I finally figured out that it was all in the rub - or lack of. Now I've learned that rubbing a piece of meat is not the same as seasoning it. There's different degrees to the spice coating. 

    On the light side, you sprinkle Italian seasoning on chicken breasts and one step heavier is to coat a piece of fried chicken so that it's covered. But when you put on a rub, you cover it all thickly. That layer of spice caramelizes and gives that extra outside flavor to the meat. 
    This time I finally did it. I got bark. But it did take 5 hours on the smoker and over night (12 hours) in the oven, all low and very slow.

Smoked Pork Shoulder
5 lb. pork shoulder
3 garlic cloves
2 tsp. course ground black pepper
11-12 T. dry rub*
1 can cola (Coke, Pepsi, Dr. Pepper, RC cola etc.)

Insert garlic cloves into slits cut in meat or between meat and fat. Generously coat meat in dry rub. Sprinkle with cracked black pepper. Coat well and rub spices over meat. (This could create spice nails*.) Store in plastic container with lid in refrigerator 2 hours to overnight.

Heat smoker to 220 degrees using hickory chips. 

Smoke 5 hours, refilling chips as needed.

Preheat oven to 200.
Remove to foil lined pan with a rack. Pour cola around the bottom of the meat, covering the bottom. Cover pan with foil and secure edges well.

Roast in oven on low heat 11-12 hours. Remove foil, pull bones out and remove excess fat. With forks, shred or pull pork into serving sized chunks.
Transfer to slow cooker or foil pan for serving if traveling to an event.

Serves about 10.

*Spice nails is the result of rubbing a dry onto a piece of meat and having the spices get under your fingernails.


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