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Pork shoulder is a natural cut for barbecue because it becomes amazingly tender and juicy when slow-roasted over low heat. Adam Perry Lang says that it's almost impossible to overcook because the meat bastes itself and must reach an internal temperature of 195 degrees in order for it to pull apart easily. A whole pork shoulder (which takes about 18 hours to cook) consists of two main parts: the pork butt and the picnic shoulder. Perry Lang often uses just the pork butt end of the shoulder because it takes less time (about 8 to 10 hours) and there is less fat to trim after the meat is cooked.Plus: More Grilling Recipes and Tips

Adam Perry Lang
April 2005


Recipe Summary test

4 hrs
9 hrs 30 mins
6 to 8


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Rub the Garlicky Barbecue Marinade all over the pork and refrigerate overnight.

  • Bring the meat to room temperature and sprinkle with the Seven-Spice Dry Rub.

  • Light a charcoal fire in a covered grill. Set up the grill for indirect grilling: When the temperature reaches 225°, carefully push the hot coals to one side and place a drip pan filled with 1 cup of water on the opposite side. Alternatively, bring a smoker to 225°. Put the pork shoulder over the drip pan and cover the grill; you'll need to cook the pork for about 8 hours total. Maintain the temperature at 225° by replenishing the charcoal with a fresh batch of burning coals every hour. Every hour, drain 1/2 cup of the wood chips and scatter them over the hot coals. Add more water to the drip pan when half of it is evaporated.

  • After the first 6 hours, spray the pork shoulder with the Cider Mop Spray every 30 minutes and continue to cook for about 2 hours longer, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the meat registers 195°. Transfer the pork shoulder to a roasting pan and let it rest for 30 minutes.

  • Skim most of the fat from the liquid in the drip pan. Measure out 1/2 cup and transfer to a small saucepan. Add the Sweet and Sticky Barbecue Sauce and bring to a simmer. Scrape any excess fat from the pork shoulder. With 2 forks, remove the meat from the shoulder and pull it into long, thick shreds. Discard the fat and bones. Add the diluted Sweet and Sticky Barbecue Sauce to the roasting pan and simmer very gently, without stirring too much, until heated through. Serve with the buns, sliced onions, hot sauce and the Crunchy Coleslaw with Cayenne and Toasted Caraway Seeds.

Make Ahead

The barbecued pork shoulder can be refrigerated overnight in the roasting pan with a little water. Cover with foil and bake at 325° until heated through, about 1 1/2 hours, before proceeding.

Suggested Pairing

Tangy, fruity Italian Barberas have an affinity for spicy, smoky barbecue, especially lighter meats like pork.