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Old 03-11-2013, 04:40 PM   #1
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Question Pork Shoulder without Bone with Speck: Speck upwards or downwards?



Looks like it will be a fresh pork shoulder without bone with speck next weekend.

I have never used any pork with speck on my WSM before, so I have to ask before it goes wrong. The plan is to cook it untrimmed on the upper cooking grate at ~350-400°F without foiling:
  • Do I want to put it on with the speck facing upwards or downwards (the agenda here is to still have a juicy meat but with crispy speck)?
  • Do I want to score the skin and apply rub to the speck-side?
  • Up to which IT do I want to take it without foiling?
  • Any idea how long such a pork shoulder with about 8.82 lbs will need to be done at the mentioned grate-temp?
  • How do I want to let it rest without softening the bark (if done without foiling till ready, so that I don't have to re-crisp in the oven after resting)?
If it's a bad idea to try it H&F without foiling, I'd rather use a pork without speck, because using my usual technique (H&F till IT 165°F and then foiled in apple juice till IT 203°F) there would be no advantage having the speck on.

My idea to do it H&F without foiling relies on the speck acting either as shield (if facing downwards) or for self-basting (if facing upwards) to keep the meat juicy, which was a major problem so far when trying without foiling, as the product always got way too dry.

Any suggestions very much appreciated.
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Old 03-11-2013, 05:14 PM   #2
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Ahh, the age old speck up or down debate again. I prefer speck side down giving me protection from the heat source and better bark on the top side. This is assuming speck means skin or fat.
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Old 03-11-2013, 05:21 PM   #3
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The speck/fat cap will be an insulating factor face down - and will separate once lifted easily. There's no problem running hot and fast or low and slow.
However - if pushing hot and fast, reduce the amount of sugars in the rub - will crystallize under high heat.

Its not mandatory - some folks chose to wrap - once the color reaches a deep mahogany color.

Temps that fast will be around 4-6 hours.
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Old 03-11-2013, 05:35 PM   #4
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Interesting. I haven't thought about crispy skin on a smoke before. Never tried that high of a temp either. Reminds me of lechon.

One suggestion is to score the skin into about 1"-1.5" squares. While cooking baste the skin with a saltwater brine. This will help crisp the skin. When you remove the meat to rest, remove the skin and do not cover it. This will help the skin from softening.
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Old 03-12-2013, 06:48 AM   #5
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Looking good so far. The rub will contain no sugar (next cook will definitely have our lemon pepper again), and I'd say speck downwards and scored.

But will I take it to IT 203°F or should I pull it earlier, like at IT 195°F? When foiling I always take it to 203°F and never have to worry about dryness or tenderness.
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Old 03-12-2013, 06:59 AM   #6
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Probe the center of the meat to determine when to pull it.
If the center is still feeling resistance - let it go a little longer.
Will most likely be somewhere between 195-205.
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Old 04-19-2013, 04:29 AM   #7
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And another try without foiling gone utterly wrong! Have a look for yourself here. I have absolutely no clue what I do wrong. My recent results using foil were all perfect, but every time I tried to omit foil the result was an EPIC FAIL. That's really sad.
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