Electric smoker pulled pork
i am have a electric smoker and i want to do a pork shoulder. the last time i cooked in it i did brisket at 225 and i didn't get any smoke the chips just dried out. i want to the the pork at 250 or 275 any suggestions on wood, temp, or recipes
250 to 275 F is a good temperature for slow cooking pork, but wood burns at a higher temperature. You have to keep the meat at the earlier temperature while heating the wood more so it will smoke. I don't have an electric smoker (mines charcoal), but wood starts burning and smoking at about 450 degrees or above, so you probably have to get it closer to the electric element. In a charcoal smoker, we soak the wood in water to make it smoke without burning up immediately. I don't know how that is handled in an electric smoker.
For pork shoulder or pork butt, you want to cook it until internal temperature reaches at least 195F. This allows it to break down and become tender. This can take 4 to 8 hours (or even longer) depending on the size of the cut of meat. A meat thermometer is an essential tool.
You can't really time it. You have to check for doneness. Temp of 195 F or above (center, internal) is one sign. Another is being able to remove any shoulder bone with tongs easily. It's going to take at least 4 hours and on some larger cuts I've heard of them being cooked overnight.
This is for pork shoulder/butt. Pork loin is different and should not be cooked for a long time.
For pulled pork use bone in pork butt which is really pork shoulder. When I'm not cooking it in my Weber smoker I cook it in a crock pot. Here's my crock pot pulled pork method. Place a cup of water in bottom of crock pot. Add about a 5-lb pork butt (shoulder). Sprinkle pork butt with a couple of tablespoons of barbecue rub. Rub it in. Cook until pork butt internal temperature is 195 to 205 F. This can take 4 to 8 hours. Use a meat thermometer to make sure. When bone pulls out easily from the pork butt, it is done. It's the slow cooking at low temperatures (220 - 250F) that breaks down the collagen in the meat and makes it tender.
Here's my homemade BBQ pork rub. It's my adaptation of Ray Lampe's Big Time BBQ Rub.
1/2 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup turbinado sugar
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon granulated garlic
1 tablespoon granulated onion
2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons freshly ground pepper
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
Combine ingredients in bowl, mix well. Makes about 2-cups. Store unused rub in an airtight container.
To more easily pull the pork butt, I place chunks in my Kitchenaid mixer and use the triangle shaped mixing paddle to knock apart the pork butt. This seems to pull it quite well. If it is a little dry, add a few tablespoons of the drippings from the crockpot. Remove any pieces of fat from the pulled pork.
Here's my homemade BBQ sauce that you can serve on the pulled pork:
Sweet and Spicy Barbecue Sauce
1/4 cup distilled vinegar
2/3 cup (6-oz can) tomato paste
3/4 cup ketchup
3/4 cup water
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
2 Tbs granulated sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp seasoning salt
1-1/2 Tbs prepared yellow mustard
1/4 tsp ground cayenne (red) pepper
1/4 cup onions, yellow - chopped
1/3 cup celery, chopped
1-1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp chili powder
1 or 2 tsp liquid smoke, hickory -optional (I add liquid smoke when not cooking in the smoker to get that smoke flavor, not as good as the smoker, but ok)
Makes about 2-1/2 cups.
Combine all ingredients. Stir well. Simmer for 30-minutes, stirring occasionally. When cooked, blend ingredients until smooth.
You can add coleslaw to the sandwich or serve it on the side. Try both to see which you prefer.
Here's my homemade coleslaw recipe:
8-cups (16-oz) cabbage, shredded (you can use a pre-shredded bag of coleslaw mix)
1/4-cup carrots, shredded
3-Tbs yellow onion, minced
1/4-cup lemon juice
2-tsp cream style horseradish
2-Tbs white vinegar
1/2-cup granulated sugar
1/4-tsp ground black pepper
Place shredded cabbage and shredded carrots in a large bowl. Combine remaining ingredients in a small bowl, mix well and stir into cabbage and carrots.
Place in fridge and chill at least 2-hours before serving.
You only want to actually add smoke for an hour or so. Otherwise you can add too much smoke flavor and make the food bitter. The rest of the time, the food is just slow cooking in the smoker.
You can actually remove the food after an hour or so and finish it in the oven at 250 to 275 F.
IMHO 1 hour of smoke will just not give you the flavor, not to mention the all important "smoke ring". When I smoke my pork butts, I smoke em all the way with lite smoke the whole time. Cook to 190-195 degrees, rest for an hour or three and pull and eat. Doesnt get much better than that.