How to Pit Cook Pork Shoulder

by Catherine Smith

Cooking a pork shoulder in a pit is a common way to prepare this flavorful piece of meat. While grilling is good for thinner pieces of meat, as it uses direct heat, cooking over a pit works best for larger cuts as it cooks slowly over indirect heat and incorporates a smoky flavor. Using hard wood, such as pecan or oak, for the fuel or adding wet wood chips will only increase the meats smokiness. The National Barbecue Association suggests that you keep the pit at 185 degrees for the cooking period.

Dry Rub Seasoned

Place 1 cup of wood chips, pecan or mesquite, in a bowl and cover with water if you are cooking with charcoal. Let chips soak for 30 to 60 minutes. Coat a 6-lb. pork shoulder roast with spice rub. Cover it completely and rub into meat.

Follow the manufacturer's directions and heat your barbecue pit or pit smoker. Get the pit to 185 to 225 degrees. Drain wood chips, if using, and put into a heat-proof pan placed on the pit rack away from direct heat. Place roast onto rack and close the lid.

Turn the roast over every 45 minutes; the total cooking time is around six hours. Place a meat thermometer into the middle of the roast, halfway in, after five hours of cooking to check the internal temperature. Remove the roast when the temperature reaches 165 degrees. Allow the roast to sit for five minutes before slicing or pulling apart.

Marinated

Place a 6-lb. pork shoulder roast and 3 cups of marinade into a tightly covered container. Refrigerate for six hours to overnight. Place 1 cup of hard wood chips, pecan or mesquite, into a bowl of water 30 minutes before heating the pit.

Follow the manufacturer's directions and heat your barbecue pit or pit smoker. Get the pit to 185 to 225 degrees. Drain wood chips, if using, and put into a heat-proof pan placed on the pit rack away from direct heat. Place roast onto rack and close the lid.

Turn the roast over every 45 minutes; the total cooking time is around six hours. Place a meat thermometer into the middle of the roast, halfway in, after five hours of cooking to check the internal temperature. Remove the roast when the temperature reaches 165 degrees. Allow the roast to sit for five minutes before slicing or pulling apart.

Tip

  • Swab the roast every couple of hours with a liquid such as marinade or beer if it appears to be drying out.

    Add liquid to wood chips when the pan is out of water.

    You can finish the roast in the oven, at 325 degrees, after a couple hours of being on the pit.

    If you want to use barbecue sauce, add to the roast in the last 1/2 hour of cooking to prevent it from burning.

Photo Credits

  • Radist/iStock/Getty Images

About the Author

Catherine Smith has been writing professionally since 2000. She runs a client-based wellness office in Bastrop, Texas. She specializes in pain and stress management using herbs and alternative medicine She received her doctorate in natural health with a concentration in herbal studies from Clayton College of Natural Health.