This past weekend, we invited a couple friends over for dinner and figured it would be the perfect time to smoke the pork shoulder that my mom sent us home with last month. This was the very first low and slow cook I did on our new Kamado Joe, so I was anxious to see what kind of barbecue this thing was capable of producing.
I dutifully fired her up around 5:30 am on Saturday morning knowing that we were looking at about a 12 hour smoke since this pork shoulder was about 7.5lbs. Ordinarily, I’d shoot for a temperature of about 225F, but I let this run a little warmer at closer to 245F just to see if I could shave any time off the length of the cook.
It was at this point that I made my first rookie mistake: I only added a few medium pieces of lump charcoal stupidly thinking that the leftovers from my previous cook would hold me over since it would burn so slowly. WRONG. I noticed my temperature started dropping around 11:30 am and when I lifted the lid to take a peek, I saw that not only had the majority of the charcoal burned up, but I had a TON of ash in the ash drawer which was severely impeding air flow.
At that point, I dumped the hot ash into a stainless mixing bowl, set the grate (pork and all) on my table, and filled the firefox with a fresh load of Royal Oak lump charcoal. In just a matter of minutes, the temperature began climbing again and we were back in business.
In fact, it was smooth sailing until internal temperature hit 198 F, at which point I pulled it, wrapped it in foil, and chatted with our guests as I let it sit in an unheated oven.
Around 6:30 pm, nearly 13 hours after lighting the grill, it was time to pull that baby apart…and that’s exactly what we did. All in all, it turned out pretty well. It was incredibly moist and had great pork flavor, but there were two things I wasn’t completely thrilled about:
First, while it did develop a bark, it wasn’t as “intense” and thick as I like. The bark I got when smoking on my Weber Smokey Mountain was always super thick and crispy and this one just really didn’t compare. That could be because I used yellow mustard for this butt as opposed to olive oil like I typically do, so I’ll have to give olive oil a shot on the Kamado next time and compare outcomes.
Secondly, it was sort of lacking in the smoke flavor. It was there, but it just wasn’t quite as strong as I like. I’ll definitely try adding a couple more hickory chunks the next go-around.
All said and done though, it turned out to be a hit with our guests and everyone left fat and happy. Can’t ask for much more than that.