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Sep 1, 2010 08:57 AM

How do I cook an 11lb pork shoulder?

I just got a great deal on an 11lb bone-in pork shoulder. It doesn't fit in my crock pot and I have a party on Saturday. I really want to make pulled pork but I have never done it before. HELP!

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  1. Stick it in your oven @ 215-225* for 11-14 hours.....when the meat pulls away from the's done.

    2 Replies
    1. re: fourunder

      At what point to I add bbq sauce, onion, or liquid smoke? Also after it is in the oven and I "pull it" should I trasfer it to the crock pot (if it fits) and serve it that way?

      1. re: cpatton2

        Any seasonings, dry rubs or marinades(liquid smoke) you have in mind for your recipe, I would apply a day in advance to allow the meat to absorb the flavors. I would take the roast out of the fridge a few hours ahead of putting in the oven, to warm and get the chill out of the meat. This aids greatly in reducing the overall time it takes to reach the 185-190* desired. Some recipes will call for 170-175, but I prefer the higher 185-190 to allow all the fat to melt and the collagen to turn into gelatin. The rendered fat is collected and saved for other frying/basting eggs or greasing a pan.

        When the roast reaches the final temperature, it will have a nice crust and bark on the meat exposed areas and will be very easily handled. After the bone is removed and you have either shredded the meat by hand or fork, or chopped the meat up with a's only then I would add any barbeque sauce or peppered vinegar toppings....

        Last, my method for a large pork roast, is to place it in the oven before I go to bed.,,,usually around midnight, That takes care of the first 12 hours and I do not have to worry about tying up the oven for other side dishes.

        As for using the crock all means if you want to keep it warm without using any type of buffet or chafing dish.....but no further cooking is needed.

    2. I just did this, though with around 3x the quantity. Roasting pan with Dr. Pepper and harissa, and at a higher temp than fourunder suggested (I used 300ºF); still took about 10 hours before I could pull out a clean shoulder blade.

      1. I'm not an expert, but I did just want to warn you that when cooking (and hopefully monitoring the internal temperature with a thermometer) it may seem that the pork is cooking too fast and will be done much earlier than expected.
        However, after the initial relatively fast rise in temperature, somewhere around 150-170 degrees F, you will reach what "they" call a plateau. The rise in temperature will then stall at this point. This stalling can last for hours, you may (if you are like me when I did my first one) start to panic and be tempted to increase your heat. - Just resist temptation. Eventually, after the fat and connective tissues have broken down the meat will break through the plateau and continue to rise to the "pullable" stage at around 190-200 degrees F.
        Finally, don't forget the coleslaw.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Bryan Pepperseed


          interesting information....I roasted plenty of meat in the last 20+ years since I became a low and slow roaster convert. For a full size fresh ham or pork shoulder, I can tell you that you can easily go 9 hours before you need to check on the roast for temperature. I'll baste or mop a little, but I really do not find either is necessary when roasting between 215-225*. What I will do ever few hours though is rotate the meat on the rack in the oven.

          The beauty of low and slow roasting's impossible to overcook and dry out the meat. Just have patience and you will indeed be rewarded.

          1. re: fourunder

            Yep, the plateau is the when the collagen starts melting. The process takes engery, which would otherwise go to raising the temperature. As others have noted, take off the skin, cook uncovered, and you'll get a great bark low and slow (though I now smoke outdoors, but process is essentially the same).

            You CAN overcook a shoulder - if you leave it on for 20 hours, for example, or let the internal temp get into the 250 range. Above 212 and the moisture starts boiling out.

            Best thing you can do is buy a thermometer. Time varies depending on size of roast, but also density (think 10 lbs of Schwarzenegger vs. 10lbs of Justin Bieber). But 200 degrees is always 200 degrees, and you can be sure at that temp the pork roast is hot enough to have developed a nice bark, will have pullable texture, and still be moist.

          2. re: Bryan Pepperseed

            For roasts I like to use one of the remote thermometers that you stick a probe in the meat and run the cord through the oven door to a digital display outside the oven. That way you don't have to open and close the oven door to check the temperature. Opening the door can release a lot of the heat and give uneven cooking especially if you have to wait for an 'instant read' thermometer to get up to temperature. For shoulders and brisket big drops in temperature that can lead to longer cook times and tough meat.

          3. I generally agree with others: low and slow around 250 in the oven.

            One point: since you have a full shoulder (butt and picnic) at 11 lbs, it probably has the skin still on. If so I would try to remove most of it, while leaving as much fat as possible on the shoulder. At the low temp, it will not get to good craklins, but will block the meat from picking up a good crisp finish (called bark).

            With skin off, hit the meat with a rub, e.g., paprika, brown sugar, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion, cayenne, whatever you like. Let it dry roast. I go to 200 internal temp for easy pulling. When the therm says 200, reduce oven to 200 and let it hover there for an hour or more. This ensures the whole roast gets to 200. You may want to cover with foil for the last couple of hours, to retain moisture.

            When you pull it, you may want to mix in a bit of a nice vinegar sauce (N. Carolina style). I like western N Carolina, basically, cider vinegar, a little ketchup, (I use a little brown sugar) and some crushed red pepper flakes. Thin and tangy. Pile on hamburger buns with slaw on top.


              It took me for-f***ing-ever to find this link, since Chow/Chowhound search is so dreadful. Finally got there via Google. Will Owen's pork shoulder recipe has been the topic of countless CH posts but search on this site came back no matches. Ditto for the recipes section of Chow.
              So I hope if you make it (it's on my to-do list for fall) you love it as much as everyone else does.