How Much Time For Smoking a
Pork Shoulder?

Kimberly wrote:

How many minutes per pound will it take to smoke a pork shoulder at 200 degrees? Is 200 degrees hot enough, and what's a good wood to use for smoking?

Answer by: Anonymous: 

Kimberly, smoke your shoulder at 225 degrees. Smoking time averages 90 minutes per pound, depending on the level of doneness desired. If you're going to slice it, cook to 185˚. If you're going to pull the pork smoke it longer, until it reaches 205°.

Pork Shoulder On a Weber Smokey Mountain CookerShoulder On a Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker

Comments for Time For Smoking Pork Shoulder

A long,long,long time...
by: BBQ Bob

I set my pellet smoker (fast eddy pg-500) at 225˚ and put my 5.5 pound pork butt in at 8:30 AM. To get decent pulled pork the internal temperature has to reach at least 195 degrees or better yet 203 degrees for the best result.

That said it took almost 15 hours to reach that temperature. The temperature stopped rising at 170 and sat there for about two hours before starting to rise again. This is normal when cooking pulled pork. At 170 the collagen and fat melts and the meat "sweats" cooling the outside.

I've read after the first 4 to 6 hours the meat won't absorb any more smoke. Next time I will finish in the oven at 350 till the internal temperature reaches 203.

A Whole, Raw Pork Shoulder In a Stainless Steel Sink, Ready to Be TrimmedUse a Sharp Knife For Trimming The Shoulder

Smoking (4) 1.3 pound pork shoulders

by: Ted

Hi! Came across this page on "Google." Need some friendly and helpful advice please!

My "Taylor" meat thermometer BROKE on me and I'm smoking (4) pork shoulders in my "Big Green Egg" at (hopefully) 225 degrees.

Yes, I already know about the accuracy of thermometers on the grills.... That said and understood, does anyone have any safe advice about timing before I open the hood? I don't want to open it until I have too!

I've read one and a half hours per pound but since these are sliced (from Costco) I'm wondering what the right timing will be for nice pulled pork! Please advise!


The Initial Stage of Trimming a Pork Shoulder Has Been CompletedSome Skin Remains On This Trimmed Shoulder
2- 5 1/2lb shoulders

by: Ben

I'm smoking 11 lbs of meat in my smoker. They're pretty even at 5 1/2 lbs a piece. I'm smoking them at 225. I've heard to count on an hour per pound, but I'm not sure what to do since there's 2 of them.

Do I cook them for roughly 11 hours since there is 11 lbs, or would it be more like 6-7 hours since they're only 5 pounders. Please help.

Cook Until They're Done

by: Ralph J.

Cook them until they reach an internal temperature of 190˚ - 200˚+. Check for tenderness, cooking as long as it takes. Typically, no matter the size a pork shoulder will take a minimum of 10 hours in the smoker.

Is it safe
by: Kelly

We started our smoker and when we went to bed at midnight it was at 100 degrees. At 6 am the smoker shut off and was at 90°. We continued to smoke it. Will it be safe to eat?  Thanks

A Fully Trimmed Pork Shoulder Is Ready For the Rub!Skin Has Been Trimmed From The Shoulder

Excellent Pork Shoulder Rub and Mop Recipes

14 hours

by: Ben Molloy

A 10-12LB pork shoulder cooked at 225 for about 14 hours is done. You'll use probably 25lbs of charcoal to achieve this, and your hair will smell like smoke for 2-3 days even after washing. :)

I only apply smoke to shoulders and pork butt for the first 4 hours or so... after that it doesn't do much good other than dry it out. Try this rub and mop:

The Rub:

  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper (adjust to taste, this won't really be that spicy.)
  • 1/4 cup paprika

The Mop:

  • 1 Cup Cider Vinegar
  • 1/2 Cup Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1/2 Cup Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Cup Water
  • 2 TBS Honey
  • 2 TBS of above rub

Apply rub to shoulder and let sit wrapped in foil overnight. Use ALL but 2 tablespoons of rub, the rest you use in the mop. You're not going to over season that much meat.

Don't Forget The Time it Takes to Prepare The Shoulder For Smoking

A Well Seasoned Pork Shoulder, Ready For The SmokerA Thoroughly Seasoned Pork Shoulder

There's another stretch of time related to smoking a pork shoulder that hasn't been mentioned here, and that's the time it takes to get the pork shoulder ready for the smoker. It has to be trimmed of excess skin and fat and then seasoned with your dry rub.

And if you haven't made the rub yet, that's going to require even more time. And you may decide to inject some flavor into the pork to pump flavor deep into the meat.

Once it's been seasoned and/or injected with flavor the shoulder should be wrapped with plastic film and stored in the refrigerator for several hours at the minimum, and up to two full days. During this time the flavors absorb into the meat fibers.

All of this preparation isn't part of the pork shoulder smoking time, but it is relevant to the entire process. In total, the entire period required for preparing and smoking a shoulder can be anywhere from 18 hours up to two and a half days.

It All Comes Down to Size, Time and Temperature

Pork Shoulder Smoking Time

by: Bill

Whole pork shoulders take a long, long time to smoke. So long that recipes don't give minutes per pound in the directions, but give the average cooking time in hours per pound.

With a smoker operating at 225-250° Fahrenheit, it can take from one hour per pound (if you're lucky) to one and one-half hours per pound to cook, and maybe even longer depending on the size and fat content of the shoulder.

When the pork shoulder reaches about 190°F, start checking it for tenderness with a fork. Poke it in the meat and give it a twist. That way you'll know exactly when it's done enough to shred.

If you'll be smoking your pork shoulder at 200°F, it could take an awful long time to smoke, maybe 2 or more hours per pound. If at all possible, smoke your shoulder at a higher temperature, around 220 degrees.

By wrapping the shoulder in aluminum foil after the first few hours of smoking, the cooking time can be reduced. But this method also has it's drawbacks. Normally, when a shoulder is smoked without using foil, an outer crust forms. This crust is called the "bark" and is quite tasty.

By wrapping the smoked pork shoulder in foil, you lose the bark because of moisture buildup, but you cut back on cooking time. The choice is yours.



Smoking a Pork Shoulder In a Charcoal Smoker

Weber Smoky Mountain, Bag of Charcoal, Briquettes Lit In Fire RingGetting Ready to Smoke a Pork Shoulder

If you're using a charcoal smoker to cook a pork shoulder, it's important to have enough charcoal at the ready. When looking at a cooking time for a large shoulder of up to 14 hours or more, it takes a considerable amount of charcoal briquettes to keep the heat going.

When using my Weber Smoky Mountain Cooker, I can usually get 10 to 12 hours of heat out of a single, fully loaded ring of charcoal when the conditions are ideal. In poor conditions, I might count on getting only 6 to 8 hours of burning time from a full charcoal load.

To achieve the longest burn time, the Minion Method is a time-proven way to cook 12 to 18 hours on a single load of charcoal.

Factors You Can Control

Lighting Briquettes In a Charcoal Chimney In Preparation of Smoking a Pork ShoulderDon't Bend Over! Light Your Charcoal Chimney On a Grill

Of the factors affecting length of burn time, a couple can be controlled. First is the adjustment of the air vents at the bottom of the smoker. They need to be closed down enough to maintain the desired smoker temperature consistently for hours.

If the vents are being constantly adjusted, reacting to temperature swings, the charcoal will burn up quicker. After the vents are adjusted it can take 30 minutes or more for the smoker temperature to stabilize, so be patient after opening or closing a vent.

When initially setting the vent openings on a Weber Smoky Mountain that has a full load of burning briquettes, I typically close the vent completely on the windward side and open the other two halfway. That's my starting point.

After half an hour, if the temperature is too high I close one of the halfway open vents a bit, then wait another half hour. Once the vent settings are correct for the conditions, the temperature will stabilize.

Another factor under your control is the number of times the smoker is opened. Removing the door to add more smoker wood chips will cause the smoker temperature to temporarily rise due to the inrush of extra fresh air.

Don't worry about this spike. Add the wood, close the door, and the temperature should drop back down to its previous level.

Every time the lid is removed, whether to baste the pork shoulder or to check its temperature (Why don't you have a remote smoker thermometer?), the smoker will lose a lot of heat and the temperature will drop.

And then it may spike a bit from the air that was allowed to enter.  After that it should stabilize on its own. Try to minimize the number of times the lid is removed.

Just How Long Does It Take To Smoke a Pork Shoulder? Read the Great Tips on Time and Temperature Requirements For Smoking Shoulders.

Factors That Are Out of Your Control, But Can Be Compensated For

Factors that are out of your control are wind speed and ambient outdoor temperature. Wind can cause a couple of problems.

When air is pushed into one of the lower vents, it fans the flame, so to speak, of the charcoal briquettes, causing them to burn hotter and faster. Aim one vent directly towards the incoming wind and close that one completely to minimize this problem.

Lots of Charcoal Is Needed To Smoked a Pork Shoulder.It Takes Lots of Charcoal To Smoke a Pork Shoulder!

Wind will also pull heat from the exterior of the smoker, causing the temperature to drop a bit. Try to find a location that's protected from wind when locating your smoker, and wind problems can be minimized.

You can't do much about the outdoor temperature. Just be aware that on a hot day, vents will need to be closed more than on a cold day. A load of charcoal will last longer on a hot day than when smoking that pork shoulder on a cold day.