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Thread: Rain delay! Sort of...

  1. #1
    TVWBB Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    NJ USA

    Rain delay! Sort of...

    I ran into an issue this morning that had me believing my results were going to be pretty bad. However I was surprised by the results so thought I’d post this to help demonstrate how bbq is pretty forgiving if you are patient!

    Last night I prepped a pork shoulder for smoking today. Got up at 6:30 am to torrential rain that was going to last until the afternoon. Major problem. I thought through the options and at around 7:30 am stuck it in the oven at 250 planning to move it over to the WSM as soon as I could get a window. Well that didn’t happen until around 11:30 am.

    Pretty much anyone will tell you that initial four hours is when the smoke has the most effect on the meat and is the most critical time. I figured I’d missed the window but in it went. I used a couple more chunks of smoke wood than I normally would thinking that may help flavor during whatever window I had left. After four hours in the oven the meat was close to the stall at around 152 dog when I probed it before putting the lid on the WSM. I let it go at around 240-260 on the WSM for about two hours and then wrapped it, putting some apple juice in the foil. It was around 160 deg then. At about 5:30 pm I pulled it and let it rest, wrapped, for a half hour in the (cool and off) oven. Similar to a cooler, it’s a good sealed box. When I pulled it the meat had again stalled for a good 45 mins at 188 deg, but it was tender - bone was moving around freely.

    Well, here was the surprise. It was one of the best pork shoulders I’ve done in the 12 years I’ve been cooking with my WSM. The smoke penetrated just fine. Not as deeply, only a quarter to half inch smoke ring, but it was as good as any pulled pork either my wife or I have ever had. Really surprised that starting it in the oven, against all convention, resulted in a really great end product.

    Now I’m not ready to throw the traditional method out, not at all. However in a jam this method also works even though the rules say it really shouldn’t, at least all the ones I know. I credit a good rub, letting it sit overnight (10 hours) and reapplying a bit more right before cooking, and patience waiting for the thermometer and meat to tell me when it was done for the final result. BBQ has a lot of rules, but it’s also pretty forgiving.

    As a side note, starting the shoulder in the oven this way reminds me of how I saw Michael Lomanaco do one many years ago on his Food Network show. He prepped the shoulder and started it in a covered casserole type dish. At some point a couple hours in he removed the lid and left the shoulder finish uncovered. Same low cook temp the whole way through. I’ve done this in the past as well. While not bbq, it makes decent pulled pork as well and is easily reproduced in a home or commercial kitchen where smokers may not be an option.

    So there we go. I’ve now documented something I couldn’t find already documented. You can start a shoulder in the oven, move it to the smoker as soon as you can, and still get some smoke into you bbq. Hope this helps someone avoid a panic attack in the future.
    22 Redhead (2017)|Genesis EP-310 (2016)| Smokey Joe Silver (2013)| 26" OTG (2011)| 18.5" WSM (2005)

  2. #2
    TVWBB Wizard Rich G's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    SF Bay Area
    Good save, John!! I think you can get plenty of smoke flavor throughout the cook, and I think you just proved it. I don't think I'll be planning to do a hybrid oven/WSM shoulder on purpose, but appreciate you posting up your results in case I need to get creative.

    Nice work!


  3. #3
    TVWBB Diamond Member Len Dennis's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2011
    GTA, Canada
    Good to hear! I'll usually do the opposite when I'm running out of coals at the back end. In your case, you were a brave soul to do the reverse.

    Write it down in your smoke book so you don't forget (or can't remember ).
    So many recipes, so little time
    : Genesis gas grill 18.5" WSM Maverick ET-732 :

  4. #4
    TVWBB Diamond Member Timothy F. Lewis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Kalamazoo, MICHIGAN
    Great information for a sometimes needed “save” thanks for sharing.
    Distinguebant Sed, Ignoret In Particulari!
    "If brains was lard, that boy couldn't grease too big a skillet!" J. D. Clampett

  5. #5
    TVWBB 1-Star Olympian Rich Dahl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Prescott Valley, Arizona
    That's helpful to know, thanks for sharing it
    "Rescuing just one dog won't change the world, but it surely will change the world for that one dog."

  6. #6
    New Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Love this post! Don't be afraid of using the oven. While we all know you can finish a pp in the oven this frees up a whole lot of stress! There are situations where starting a long cook may run into weather or other problems. Over 90% of the pulled pork I make is oven only. Works great. Is it spectacular, to everyone who eats it it is. Is it as good as a smoke-ringed beauty no. So when you can't smoke use the oven. Great post! This could save a lot of worry and stress. I too thought the first two hours were the crucial time for smoke to have an effect. While we all know that you can finish in the oven (albeit with a bit of smokiness into the house, unless you have a catalytic oven) I was hesitant to compare it to a true smoked one. So now if weather or a late night start gets in the way the oven can be an excellent solution. What a great stress reducer.
    I cook all my pulled pork in the oven. Start to finish. No smoke But it works. Is it as spectacular, to the ones who eat it yes. To a true smoked-ring beauty no. As a bonus they are finished in around five hours. Yep heavy four to six hours and its all done. The picture is before wrap. I usually go unwrapped for the first two to three hours then wrap for the rest. Best one was just plain mustard to hold the Amazing ribs rub then oven it. Sure people here have a better way to improve this method. Works great when you have a lot of women coming over who don't want to wait around cooking. The oven can be your friend! If my oven were a bit bigger I would cook eight but is is small so three is really hard.

    Been meaning to thank the board here. My last cook seemed to go fast. Then I remembered all the advice and tips here. Realized the bone was not doing its thing. Yep you guessed it, my thermometer was off by quite a bit. I even wrapped too soon. Lucky you had my back! Thank You!
    PS Pulled Pork is forgiving enough even for me! Love

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