View Full Version : pork shoulder questions for the mbn teams...

08-17-2013, 03:07 PM
Guys I'm doing an mbn comp in a couple of months and this is the first time that I have ever had to do a pork shoulder. I have no idea how to break down a shoulder and was wondering if any one had any tips. With a butt I will slice the MM and then provide chunks and pulled. For those that cook shoulders how do you break them down. I'm not even sure if the butt is a part of the shoulder???? Anyone have any pics that can help me get an idea of the anatomy of the shoulder so that I can get an idea of what areas of the shoulder are good, better, best??

Also, what is the direction they give the judges for rib tenderness? Is it more done than what we expect fornthe kcbs comps.

08-17-2013, 04:10 PM
can't answer about mbn, but to your other question....

yes, the butt is part of the whole shoulder.. specifically, the top portion of the shoulder.. The bottom is called the picnic.

Lake Dogs
08-17-2013, 04:35 PM
Shoulders, you'll be cooking 18-20# shoulders, give or take. Figure 2 for blind, 3 (one each) for on-site, and another 2 for finals; 7 MINIMUM. I usually buy them by the case; so I cook 9.

They cook exactly like butts; exactly. They cook in about the same time as a 9.5# butt. Your MM will be at the very end (top end) of the shoulder. It's going to be EXTREMELY tender, almost mushy. You wont remove it (except for perhaps the blind, if you want to). Take them apart right in front of the judge. Talk more about how tender the meat is and the cooking process. Get a tube or two, some pieces with bark, etc. Ask the judge what portions he/she likes best.

Ribs tenderness, in MBN, is defined as "pull cleanly from the bone with only slight resistance". It tends to be slightly more cooked than the KCBS bite through rib. Because of the "pull cleanly" piece, we see more baby backs come across the table than we do spares. Historically a 2 bone cut facilitates the pull better; very different cut than you'll see in KCBS. Not all do this, but IMHO the smarter guys do...

http://i570.photobucket.com/albums/ss141/hance_patrick/IMG_0576_zps0a97867b.jpg (http://s570.photobucket.com/user/hance_patrick/media/IMG_0576_zps0a97867b.jpg.html)

http://i570.photobucket.com/albums/ss141/hance_patrick/P1020127.jpg (http://s570.photobucket.com/user/hance_patrick/media/P1020127.jpg.html)

http://i570.photobucket.com/albums/ss141/hance_patrick/P1020145.jpg (http://s570.photobucket.com/user/hance_patrick/media/P1020145.jpg.html)

http://i570.photobucket.com/albums/ss141/hance_patrick/P1020147.jpg (http://s570.photobucket.com/user/hance_patrick/media/P1020147.jpg.html)

DONT stand over the judge. Even thought we got straight 10's, DONT do this:
http://i570.photobucket.com/albums/ss141/hance_patrick/DSC00364.jpg (http://s570.photobucket.com/user/hance_patrick/media/DSC00364.jpg.html)

http://i570.photobucket.com/albums/ss141/hance_patrick/DSC00366.jpg (http://s570.photobucket.com/user/hance_patrick/media/DSC00366.jpg.html)

http://i570.photobucket.com/albums/ss141/hance_patrick/DSC00356.jpg (http://s570.photobucket.com/user/hance_patrick/media/DSC00356.jpg.html)

Diva Q
08-17-2013, 05:09 PM
Malcom does some really great videos on youtube. Here is some of his practice for MIM its a series on his channel. Maybe these could help you with shoulder https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JHGrS8WqRtw

Lake Dogs
08-17-2013, 08:20 PM
interesting difference, MBN to KCBS, is that MBN allows sauce presented on the side, and multiple sauces at that. If you can, use this to your advantage. I've always presented at least 2 sauces, and only presented sauce on ribs... I try to check up with the judges after the fact; historically 2 have preferred one of the sauces, 1 preferred the other. That's perfect to me; they're given choices and they choose differently... It all works. Just know that if you do present it with sauces, they must judge with a sauce, but they choose which they like best and how much sauce they prefer...

08-18-2013, 10:51 AM
Thanks everyone for the feedback. I really appreciate all of the help.

Lake Dogs - thanks for the pics and the tips on cook times for the shoulders and which parts are which. Also the tips on the multiple sauces. I think I made a big mistake cooking in the backyard division of this contest the last couple of years by putting my one sauce on the meat instead of multiple options on the side so that they could put it on the meat. One question about that, given how quickly the pork can dry out, how do you keep it moist for the blind turn in? do you spritz it or put a little sauce on it?

Diva - thanks for the links to the vids, I will definitely check those out.

08-18-2013, 10:59 AM
Great write-up and pics, Hance!