Equipment

For this cook you’ll need a Plate Setter, Water Pan, and a Digital Thermometer.

BGE Set Up

Indirect with the Plate Setter on the Fire Ring, legs facing up.  Water Pan beneath meat. Smoking wood of choice.

Dome Temp

Cook at a dome temperature of 225 – 250F

The Cook

Smoke with Dome closed until the internal temp is at 200F. About 1.5 hr/lb. Check for doneness with poke test.

Ingredients

  • Bone-In Pork Shoulder
  • BBQ Seasoning of Choice
  • Smoking Wood of Choice

Preparation

Think about when you are going to want to eat and how long it may take (12-17 hours) to cook. Prepare ahead of time, and start smoking earlier rather than later. You can always wrap in foil and keep it in a cooler for 3-4 hours, but trying to get hungry guests to wait a few more hours is another story.

Trim the pork shoulder of any excess fat deposits, but try to leave a layer about 1/8″ thick. Lightly brush the entire pig with olive oil and heavily season with your rub of choice. Wrap the meat in plastic and store it in the fridge overnight to allow the rub to penetrate a bit. Season the pork again right before you put it on the Egg for some extra flavor.

My first pulled pork cook lasted 17 hours! You can’t have your fire going out, so don’t skimp on the charcoal. In fact, I recommend cleaning the entire Big Green Egg out and put fresh charcoal in. I used an entire 9 lb bag for my first pork shoulder. Probably overkill, but better safe than sorry.

BGE Configuration

We are slow smoking this pork shoulder, so set your Egg up to cook Indirect. Place the Plate Setter on the Fire Ring with the legs facing up. On top of the Plate Setter, place your Water Pan (filled with water). Last, place the cooking grate on top of the Plate Setter.

Don’t forget to put your smoking wood in with the lump charcoal!

The Cook

Before putting the pork shoulder on, make sure the smoke coming out of the Egg is “Sweet Blue” and NOT thick white smoke. This is the key to great tasting smoke flavor. Stabilize the Dome temperature to 225 – 250F, and put the pork shoulder on the Egg fat side down.

Once the pork is on the Egg, close the Dome and smoke it until your digital thermometer reads at 200F. This should take approximately 1.5 hr per pound. I have smoked pork shoulder anywhere from 12 to 17 hours; every piece of meat is different so the times are just estimates. Always cook to temperature.

During the cook the internal temperature of the pork will continue to rise until about 150 – 160F, and then plateau for a few hours. Don’t panic as this is absolutely normal; the famous “Stall.” Basically, this is a process known as evaporative cooling. The meat has moisture on the surface and the heat in the Egg is used evaporating that moisture instead of cooking the meat.

When the internal temperature finally hits 200F, you can check the doneness with a poke test. Simply poke around the pork shoulder with a skewer. If the skewer slides in with no resistance, then it’s done! If not, close the Dome and give it until 205F. Keep checking until the meat is probe-tender.

Once taken off the grill, the pork shoulder can sit in a foil & towel lined cooler for up to 3 hours before serving. This is good method to keep the meat hot until guests arrive, and provides some time buffer in this cook.

Additional Notes

Smoking pork shoulder for 12+ hours leads to some amazing flavors, but the preparation is the key to this cook. Seasoning overnight, building a solid fire, and timing the cook are all critical to the perfect pulled pork.

Remember, start your cook an hour or more before you think because you can always keep the pork hot in a cooler. But trying to tell hungry guests to wait a few more hours is not as easy!

Having a digital thermometer really helps me sleep at night, as I tend to smoke most of my shoulders overnight. I no longer have to worry if my fire has gone out, or if somehow the Dome temperature rose too high.

Lastly, when smoking pork shoulders I always fit as many on the Egg as I can. Pulled pork is a crowd favorite and it goes fast! I try to make more than people can eat, so that I get left overs for a day or two.