How to Smoke a Pork Shoulder
2 years ago

How to Smoke a Pork Shoulder

It’s amazing how a handful of hours on the smoker transforms a pork shoulder. It emerges so tender, you can shred it with a fork. When you take a bite, the meat is melt-in-your-mouth tender and unbelievable juicy. Well, not all the meat is so lush; the end pieces are lightly charred and caramelized. In the L&B test kitchen, our tasters will dig through the shredded meat to steal those concentrated bits of crispy, smoky deliciousness. It’s like meat candy.

Once you’ve shredded the pork, there are all kinds of things you can do with it. Here we’ve put it on a platter with all our favorite barbecue sides: sweet cornbread, creamy coleslaw, savory beans and zesty collard greens. Our favorite bite: a stack of cornbread, coleslaw and a chunk of tender pork.

You could also tuck the pork into a bun with your favorite barbecue sauce (serve it with a side of kettle chips and some cut fruit for an easy meal). And it’s simply terrific piled in a homemade flour tortilla with avocado, crisp radishes and a big scoop of pineapple salsa.

16 servings
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 6 hours

1/2 cup salt
1/2 cup black pepper
1/2 cup brown sugar
3-4 tablespoons Dijon mustard
7-8 pound pork shoulder
Apple cider vinegar, for basting


  1. Heat the smoker to 300 F.
  2. In a small bowl, mix salt, pepper and brown sugar together.
  3. Slather the pork shoulder with Dijon mustard, and then coat it with the rub, pressing it into the meat.
  4. Place the pork shoulder on the grate of the smoker, and cook it for four hours. Every half hour, add a small amount of dry smoking wood. Every hour, open the smoker and quickly spray or mop the pork with apple cider vinegar.
  5. After four hours, wrap the pork shoulder with two layers of heavy aluminum foil, put it back in the smoker and cook it for two more hours, or until the internal temperature reaches 195-200 F.
  6. Remove the pork shoulder from the smoker, but let it rest in the foil for 30 minutes to an hour.
  7. Remove the foil, shred it with forks and serve immediately.