Smoke a Pork Picnic Shoulder
You may need to start smoking before sunrise if you want tasty pulled pork come supper time! This cut of meat takes a l-o-n-g time to cook, so be prepared to keep your smoker company for at least eight hours, and very possibly twelve hours or more! The last picnic shoulder I smoked took a total of twelve and a half hours to reach 195°F. The roast weighed in at 10 pounds, which translates to 1 hr, 15 minutes per pound, at an average smoking temperature of 225°F.
If you have a smoker that maintains a fairly steady temperature, it's really not too much of a hassle. I used my Weber Smokey Mountain charcoal smoker, which provides really good temperature control by using the air vent adjustments. The three intake vents on the bottom were kept a little less than halfway open throughout the session, with the one facing the wind closed just a bit more. The top vent was kept completely open the entire time. The first addition of charcoal kept the temperature at 225°F for ten hours straight. I then added about 20 more unlit briquettes just to make sure I'd have heat as long as I needed it. In hindsight, I could have easily made it through the entire 12-1/2 hours without adding more charcoal. The Weber Bullet is a very efficient charcoal smoker.
I haven't installed a thermometer on the smoker yet, and I doubt that I will. I use a remote wireless thermometer to monitor the smoker temperature. That way, I can sit indoors in my easy chair, all the while keeping a close eye on the smoker temperature. I set the alarm to go off if the temp rose above 230°F, just in case I decided to take a little nap.
Why would you want to commit twelve hours of your day to smoking a pork shoulder picnic? Because they make some of the best darned pulled pork around. Give one a try and you'll see what I mean.