- Pork Shoulder/Pork Butt/Boston Butt (yes, they’re all the same cut of meat), 5-10 pounds
- BBQ Dry Rub (choose your favorite), ~2-3 ounces
- Thermometer (preferably a digital dual-probe smoking thermometer)
- Lava Stone (or other heat deflector for indirect heat)
- Smoking chips/chunks of your choice
- Drip Pan (optional)
- Aluminum Foil
- Food Preparation Gloves
- Sharp Knife
- Bear Claws (or a couple of forks)
The Prep (30 minutes)
- Get your grill started. You’ll be cooking for quite a while, so we recommend a healthy amount of lump charcoal. We’ll be shooting to cook the shoulder “low and slow” between 225°F (107°C) and 250°F (121°C), so place your Lava Stone and don’t let the grill get too hot!
- Glove up (optional). This next part will be messy.
- Trim the fat (optional). Use a sharp knife to remove excess fat from the thick fat cap. There is plenty of fat throughout the cut, so don’t be afraid to go to work. That said, many do not remove the fat until after the shoulder is finished cooking. Experiment to find out what works best for you!
- Rub it down. Coat the shoulder liberally with your favorite BBQ Rub. We used one of our soon-to-be-released (shhh… don’t tell anyone) Vision Grills BBQ Dry Rubs. Tip: don’t just sprinkle the dry rub over the shoulder, rub it in – you won’t regret the extra flavor in all the little nooks and crannies.
- Chip/chunk it up. Add smoking chips/chunks of your choice to the grill. We used apple. It was amazing.
- Set yourself up for grease-catching success (optional). Position a drip pan on the 1st tier grate. If you don’t have a lava stone, fill this pan with water as stand in for a heat deflector.
The Cook (approximately 9-12 hours)
- Place shoulder on grill. Add the shoulder, fat cap downward facing (new yoga position?), to the 2nd tier grate and insert the meat probe into the thickest part of the shoulder. Make sure that the probe isn’t touching the bone, as that will skew the reading. Position the other probe to measure the ambient temperature of the grill. Many experienced grillers may not need to use temperature probes for this cook, but we always like to know exactly what’s going on in the meat.
- Hold between 225°F (107°C) and 250°F (121°C) until shoulder reaches an internal temp of 195°F (90.5°C)-205°F (96°C)). We aim for an internal temperature between 195°F (90.5°C) and 205°F (96°C), though, if the grill temp is held constant, it’s just about impossible to overcook a pork shoulder. This cut needs to cook at a low temperature for a long period of time, as it is very tough and fibrous. By cooking it for a long period of time, we can break down those fibers, resulting in incredibly tender pork. Tip: if the internal temperature of the meat seems to stop rising during the smoke, wrap the shoulder with foil to get back on track.
- Let it rest. After you take the shoulder off the grill, wrap it in foil (if you haven’t already), wrap the foil-wrapped shoulder in a towel, then store in a cooler for about an hour.
- Do your best Wolverine impersonation. Okay, we may have had a little too much fun with the bear claws, but they really are an incredible tool for pulling pork.
Have tips and tricks to share? Questions? Chime in below!