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Jul 15, 2005 11:14 AM

Pork shoulder on the grill?

  • c

Can anyone make suggestions about a good marinade and/or spice rub and timing/heat level? I'll be using a charcoal grill. Also, this is for my very culinarily conservative family; no hot spices, no cumin. Thanks.


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  1. I can't help with a rub/marinade recipe, as they're all on my home computer (I can look when I get home, but there will probably be lots for you to choose from by then), but I wanted to say I like your blog. Cute little piggies. :-)

    Twice before, when my mother and stepfather raised a steer or two, I bought a quarter side of beef from them and over the next year, enjoyed everything from beef bones to sirloin for an unbelievably low price. Sir Charles was one of their names - "Sir" for sirloin, "Charles" for chuck. Don't have the capacity to do so now, so I'm a bit envious of your pork supply.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Linda W.

      Wow, thanks so much! I feel a little silly about it - why on earth would anyone want to read my babbling about what I'm eating? But I feel like writing about it, so I figure what the heck. I really appreciate the feedback.

      The pork is incredibly good. One of the friends who split it with me described the pork chops as tasting "like pork chops wrapped in bacon." The fat crisps up beautifully, and the meat just tastes so, well, meaty. That's why I want some tips on the cooking of the shoulder - it's too good to mess up. And pork shoulder is probably my favorite roast, but I usually cook it in the oven, since I don't have a grill. But Sunday I'll be at my parents' house, so I have a grand opportunity for pork excellence.


      1. re: curiousbaker

        You don't say whether you're using gas or charcoal. Either way, the strategy is indirect heat, slow cooking, to an internal temperature of 160+, or until it's just pink inside (trichinosis bugs die at around 150). Let it rest for 20 minutes or so. Smoking chips are your option, if you want that flavor.

        If the meat is as special as it seems to be, I wouldn't brine it or overseason it. A good rubdown with salt, pepper and dry herb(s) of your choice an hour or so before cooking, then letting it sit under a clean towel, should be all the prep required. Tying it up might seem a waste of time, but I find it can help to keep the meat together and juicier. You can also use the trussing string to hold sprigs of rosemary or thyme to the meat, if you want that.

        1. re: curiousbaker

          You're quite welcome! It's an enjoyable and "comfortable" read - as if you're talking to the reader in person.

          Anyway - here's a rub I've used on pork chops before; don't see why it couldn't be used on a pork shoulder. (From - it's at the link below, along with many other recipes.)

          Sweet Meat Rub -- Mix the following ingredients in a small bowl -- 6 Tbsp. medium brown sugar, 3 Tbsp. dry mustard, 1 Tbsp. coarsely ground black pepper, 2 Tbsp. chili powder, 2 Tbsp. granulated garlic, 1 Tbsp. onion salt, 3 Tbsp. onion powder, 2 Tbsp. salt, 1 Tbsp. ground cumin and 1 Tbsp. celery salt. Store in the refrigerator when not using.

          Yes, it has cumin, but I think it could be left out. Also, my notes in MasterCook show that I've omitted the onion and celery salts completely, and cut back on both the onion powder and regular salt each by 1 Tbsp., and added 1 Tbsp. of dried parsley.

          But with pork, I also think you can't go wrong with olive oil, salt and pepper, minced or crushed garlic, and finely minced fresh rosemary. Simple, classic.


      2. Below is a link to a recipe that I have made several times using a pork shoulder rather than the leg called for in the recipe. You'll need only half of the marinade. The flavor is outstanding!

        I have yet to have enough time to do a 6 hour stint entirely on the grill, so I cook at 250F for about 4 to 5 hours in the oven then finish on the grill using indirect heat (charcoal) for about 1-1/2 hours.


        1. Our favorite pork slow grill is "butt" with all the marbling, but I think the simple "rub" translates. In the little food processer or m & p we make a paste of good salt, fresh black pepper, maybe a half healthy head of garlic, lemon including zest & juice- about 2, and a dash of olive oil to help it come together, Smear it on and roast to the side of the heat for about 3 hours or more. Crunchy outside bits, and incredible pull apart tender insides. By side of the heat I mean we use a Weber kettle and make a big charcoal fire on one side, and when getting gray, put the meat on the other side.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Torty

            I like this rub minus the MSG and cut down on the salt and sugar a little.

            What kind of grill are you using? For an 8 # butt, I cook 8-10 hours @ 250 over apple and/or hicory or maybe peacan.

            Sprinkle rub generously on the pork and refergerate in a freezer bag over night. I bring the meat to room temp before placing on the grill. Low and slow and watch your temps.

            Good luck


          2. Sound Like you just want to cook it to the slicing stage. We like to cook to the pulled pork stage which about 200 internal. Since pork shoulder has so much connective tissue and fat it is very moist at the stage. I lake to spread a cheap yellow mustard ie: frenches than add a rub. Whick could be just Salt and pepper. The mustard holds the rub and gives the pork butt a nice bark. do not be in a hurry and it will turn out great. Some add a Bar b que sauce to the pulled pork I like a simple carolina sauce made with cider vinader sugar and hot pepper. Enjoy!!!!