Just because you do not own a standalone smoker or Big Green Egg does not mean that you cannot smoke meat.
I’ve shown my Cameron Stovetop Smoker here before. It’s the same basic concept as the fire-fueled smokers you would use outside: heat source, wood, meat, rack, and drip tray. Yes, you smoke your kitchen up a little bit, but it’s the tradeoff for not having an outside unit. Plus, you can control the temperature better and cooking time easier than going outside. I’m not saying that it’s ideal, but it works.
Since I would be entertaining 20+ for The Kid’s birthday party, I wanted something that was universally liked, cooked easily and could be reheated for serving. Pork shoulders are cheap cuts of meat ($1.49 to $2.29 per pound in Syracuse, depending on the outlet) that retain their juiciness and, when pulled and shredded, and served with good barbecue sauce, is a crowd pleaser.
It does not take a rocket scientist or expensive equipment to cook a pork shoulder for pulled pork, but you need some basic tools: a large pan, a rack that fits inside of the pan, smoking wood, aluminum foil and plastic wrap.
For this recipe, I purchased a 7-pound bone-in shoulder, which produced enough meat to feed 18 adults and five children.
WHAT WORKED: A good quality pork shoulder with a fair amount of fat on it. You don’t want one that’s too lean because the fat is essential in self-basting roast.
WHAT DIDN’T: Not much.
EASE OF PREPARATION: Easy.
BEST FOR: Entertaining a crowd.
SERVE WITH: Rolls and good barbecue sauce. And cole slaw. Pork screams for good slaw. Here are a couple of options (1|2).
Oven-Smoked Pork Shoulder
- 5 to 7 lbs. pork shoulder roast (bone-in or boneless)
- Barbecue seasoning (see my recipe for a very easy rub)
Remove the pork shoulder from its packaging and rinse thoroughly under cool tap water. Pat dry with paper towels and set on a countertop lined with plastic wrap.
Apply a liberal amount of dry rub to the exterior of the pork shoulder, taking care to rub the spices into the meat and flipping the shoulder over to season both sides. Wrap the shoulder tight and refrigerate at least 24 hours before cooking.
One hour before cooking, remove the pork shoulder from the oven and let it come to room temperature.
Preheat your oven to 300 degrees. If you have a stovetop smoker, prepare it as instructed by the manufacturer. Otherwise, tear off a medium-sized piece of aluminum foil and pour about 1/4 cup of wood chips (I used hickory) into the center. Fold the foil over and use a toothpick or fork to poke a series of holes into the pouch. Set it in the pan then place a baking rack over it so that the wood chips are at the side of the rack lengthwise. Unwrap the pork shoulder and set it on top of the rack. Tent the pan with foil. Set on two burners of your stove over medium heat for 45 minutes, or until a robust smoky scent emanates from the pan. Transfer to the oven and roast at least 6 hours, or until an instant read thermometer reads 145 degrees when inserted into the thickest part of the roast.
Remove from the oven and let stand 20 minutes.
Transfer to a clean work surface, such as a baking sheet. Using a sharp knife, cut away the fat cap. Using a pair of large serving forks, shred and pull the pork, transferring the meat to a pan.
Serve immediately. Or, if you plan to serve later, let the meat cool and wrap the pan in foil and refrigerate. Remove from the fridge 60 to 75 minutes before serving. Let the pan come to room temperature, then reheat in a 350 degree oven for 30 to 45 minutes.
By Jared Paventi
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