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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, equipment and outdoor cookin' . ** Other cooking techniques are welcomed for when your cookin' in the kitchen. Post your hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures, but stay on topic and watch for that hijacking.


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Old 07-28-2021, 10:32 AM   #1
sudsandswine
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Default prep and cook of whole pork shoulder, looking for tips

I've wanted to buy one of the SRF kurobuta pork shoulders for a long time but have never been able to pull the trigger. I've cooked picnics and I've cooked butts, but never both still attached to one another.

I called a family owned butcher in Kansas City I've bought a whole pig from before if they'd sell me the whole shoulder, and of course they would. They buy their pigs from a local farm(s) "The hogs are a cross-breed of Cheshire White, Yorkshire, Berkshire, Duroc, Landrace and Hampshire."

Anyhow, they asked if I wanted it skin on or skin off. I wasn't sure at the time, so I just opted for skin on and figured I'd remove it if I were so inclined.

Here's the hunk-o-meat





When I buy picnic roasts, like many or most probably are, there is still skin attached on one side of it and the shank. I've always cross hatched the skin/fat and seasoned and been pretty happy with the meat underneath, although the skin isn't really edible after cooking.

I'd planned to at least remove the skin off the "Boston butt" portion of the shoulder, and at most leave the skin on the picnic as I'm used to finding it from the grocery store. However, looking at how SRF sells theirs, they look to remove all the skin. The shoulder weighs 18lbs.

My goal is that the meat underneath is as flavorful from the cooking process as possible. I know the picnic roast is generally considered to be more lean and the skin may help protect it some. My plan is to cook it on my drum, probably using just salt, or maybe salt and a little pepper, something more "Carolina style" than what we're used to doing around these parts.

What do you think?
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Old 07-28-2021, 10:37 AM   #2
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I always remove the skin and freeze it until i get enough to make cracklins. I personally would rather have more surface area for rub to create bark.
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Old 07-28-2021, 10:47 AM   #3
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My suggestion is that if you're wanting "Carolina" style, then go all the way ... salt only, and don't use any smoking wood in the drum.

I would leave the full skin on, and while you will obviously salt the meat side, also salt the skin side with a HEAVY coat. Table salt is what you want here.

For the drum, don't use any baffle/heat diffuser. Go with direct heat with fully lit coals...no minion method. In my WSM I start with a full chimney & then add 1/2-3/4 as needed. You should be high enough over the coals to prevent any charring.

Start with the skin up/meat down and go to somewhere around 175-185 before flipping. The color should be good by then...if you're too dark, then you're keeping it too hot. Brush the salt off the skin before flipping, then cook until tender. When you get close to finishing, check to see if the skin is crisping. If it isn't, then add a full chimney of lit coals...two if needed. You want to crisp it without burning it.

Again, don't add any smoking wood to your coals. The dripping fat will give you that distinctive flavor. Also, smoke doesn't do the skin any favors. "IF" you must add wood, then do it at the very beginning & only do it once. You will not get the true 'Carolina' flavor if you decide to smoke it...that isn't what we're all about.

I would assume you're thinking of using a vinegar sauce. If you do, then remember not to add too much. The barbecue should not taste vinegary...contrary to the belief of many. I often say that when seasoning with sauce after the cook, "If you start tasting vinegar, STOP ... you've likely already added too much." The best vinegar based barbecue is often that in which you really don't taste the vinegar at all...it's in there, but it's a seasoning & NOT a flavoring. This is what many people don't get.

If you want something similar to the style of Eastern/Piedmont NC & PeeDee/Upstate SC barbecue, do what I suggest above. Anything else will simply be something else.

To add to the distinction in regions...Eastern NC & PeeDee SC barbecue is similar to each other in the fact that they both traditionally use whole hogs & pure vinegar based sauces. The Piedmont of NC & the Upstate of SC add a little tomato ketchup to their vinegar sauce, but it's typically still a loose vinegar consistency. In these latter two regions you also see the transition from whole hogs to shoulders.
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Old 07-28-2021, 10:49 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by SmokeRingsMatter View Post
I always remove the skin and freeze it until i get enough to make cracklins. I personally would rather have more surface area for rub to create bark.
He is asking about "Carolina" style ... that immediately crosses off rub & bark created by rubs.
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Old 07-28-2021, 10:55 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cook View Post
He is asking about "Carolina" style ... that immediately crosses off rub & bark created by rubs.

Oh, i did not notice. My bad.


So they don't use a rub in Carlolina? Mop?
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Old 07-28-2021, 11:22 AM   #6
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I'm not saying I necessarily plan to imitate Carolina style exactly, I probably wasn't clear with that (but am not necessarily opposed either). Mainly, I don't want to serve up sweet saucy pulled pork like is common around me, rather be on the savory end of the spectrum. This is a trial run for another cook for guests in the future.
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Old 07-28-2021, 02:52 PM   #7
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When I could get shoulders, the skin was removed from the butt, but not the picnic. Let us know how this comes out. There is a new butcher shop in town and they 'claim' they can get shoulders.... but I'm not holding my breath.

Here is a recent thread where we talked about injecting.

https://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/s...whole+shoulder
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Old 07-28-2021, 03:03 PM   #8
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Not to hijack the thread but does anyone have any typical length and width dimensions of a whole shoulder with the trotter removed? I have never cooked one and want to attempt one direct heat style one day. Just need to make sure it will fit on one of my cookers.



I have a vision of trying to cook one Sam Jones style and chopping the crisp skin into the meat with his vinegar hot sauce
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Old 07-28-2021, 03:09 PM   #9
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I would leave the skin on. It will come off easily when finished. Vacuum seal and save for a pot of beans or greens. That smoked skin which will still have some fat underneath is bbq gold.
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Old 07-28-2021, 07:21 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blackdogbbq21 View Post
Not to hijack the thread but does anyone have any typical length and width dimensions of a whole shoulder with the trotter removed? I have never cooked one and want to attempt one direct heat style one day. Just need to make sure it will fit on one of my cookers.

I have a vision of trying to cook one Sam Jones style and chopping the crisp skin into the meat with his vinegar hot sauce
They will fit on a Weber 22" grate, which is actually 21" in diameter. If you get one that is taller.... just hacksaw off the shank and cook it separately.

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Old 07-28-2021, 08:02 PM   #11
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Quote:
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I would leave the skin on. It will come off easily when finished. Vacuum seal and save for a pot of beans or greens. That smoked skin which will still have some fat underneath is bbq gold.
My concern with that is that smoke, salt, and/or other seasoning or flavor that would otherwise penetrate the meat will get shielded by the skin.
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Old 07-29-2021, 12:04 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by thirdeye View Post
When I could get shoulders, the skin was removed from the butt, but not the picnic. Let us know how this comes out. There is a new butcher shop in town and they 'claim' they can get shoulders.... but I'm not holding my breath.

Here is a recent thread where we talked about injecting.

https://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/s...whole+shoulder
OK, the content of your link has me feeling better about the skin on method (not to detract from the others in this thread that have recommended the same). I normally cook 300*ish give or take in my drum, so cooking with it down around 250* would definitely be some uncharted territory for me. I'm sure I could do it but it might require some fiddling on a cook that long. My other thought would be my Primo kamado, still get the fat on diffuser and coal flavor with the option for me to just hook up the Flameboss to it and let it do its thing.

My clonesaker drum runs pretty efficiently and even at 300* I dont have the intake or exhaust open that much, so if we're talking about airflow differences between a drum and kamado, in this case I'm not sure there'd be a huge difference. Could be wrong though.
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Old 07-29-2021, 12:07 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sudsandswine View Post
My concern with that is that smoke, salt, and/or other seasoning or flavor that would otherwise penetrate the meat will get shielded by the skin.

Good observation captain O.
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Old 07-29-2021, 03:04 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SmokeRingsMatter View Post
Oh, i did not notice. My bad.


So they don't use a rub in Carlolina? Mop?
No...it will burn. Remember when we are talking about "Carolina" barbecue, that nearly all of it is cooked directly over burning coals. That direct heat will turn all that rub black in a hurry...no bueno. That's why the only seasoning you see used is salt.

Mops are commonly used toward the end of the cook...and certain folks will add a seasoning rub to the meat once it is flipped skin down...but you don't see that much.

Our "seasoning" comes after the cook in the form of the ubiquitous vinegar sauces (mustard sauce in the SC Lowcountry & Midlands).
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Old 07-29-2021, 03:07 PM   #15
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My concern with that is that smoke, salt, and/or other seasoning or flavor that would otherwise penetrate the meat will get shielded by the skin.
This is exactly why traditional whole hog barbecue in North & South Carolina has a very light smoky flavor. There isn't much meat exposed for the smoke to stick to. It's part of what makes our barbecue what it is...we simply don't do the overly smoky barbecue you typically see in other parts of the country (no disrespect intended).
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