Smallest Pulled Pork cook ever

Bob Marlatt

TVWBB Member
May 2020. We know availability is an issue. No ribs so, I bought a 5.90 lb. bone-in cut at the local supermarket labeled "Fresh Shoulder Picnic Half." Cooking for one this weekend I decided to cut it up in thirds: 1/3 to smoke. 1/3 to grind for sausage or loaf. 1/3 with the bone to crockpot some carnitas. A fine plan I figured.... until I opened the package. I suppose I've been spoiled by the Boston Butts from the big-box warehouse store as I hadn't bought a shoulder in quite some time. I did manage to cut it up and here are the resulting weights: 1lb. of skin (that was one tough piggy!) 2.6 lbs. of bone with meat. 1.3 lbs an intact chunk to smoke. -and- about a pound left over to grind. I didn't trim much fat.

So, I'll be smoking the 1.3 lb. chunk on my 22" Weber Kettle today with the skin alongside. Never had cracklings... first time for everything. Should be an interesting micro-smoke. Snake method. Plan A was to put the old WSM back into service. That will have to wait... for now.
 

Rich G

TVWBB Guru
You'll need to find some friends for that little guy, he's going to be awfully lonely in that kettle by himself!! ;) Good luck with your cook!

R
 

Mike Shook

TVWBB Member
I would be afraid the smoke would take pity on it and bypass it completely.

At least you won't have to worry about too many leftovers!
 

Bob Marlatt

TVWBB Member
The main event was (by our standards) a failure and a learning moment. 1.3 lbs of shoulder is just too small to do right. My cooking temps were good throughout and a nice amount of smoke hit the meat, but because of its small size the results varied from dry and overcooked to okay but undercooked. Still enough was pullable and edible but the great mix of fat and lean wasn't achieved. I didn't like the cooked skin, but my neighbor's dog certainly didn't complain.

Round 2: Carnitas in the crockpot was great. I stuffed it bone-intact, spices, and all into the slow cooker and it completely rendered down over the course of 6 hours. I fired the kettle back up and cooked the pulled pork in an aluminum pan over direct heat until it charred slightly and most of the excess liquid cooked off. I understand the temptation to make pulled pork this way now, but we know that low and slow with charcoal and smoke is a commitment to great BBQ... I'll not be tempted to go over to the dark side.

Round 3: I ground up the remaining pork with my trusty hand grinder. It was surprisingly lean, so I'll freeze it as is and use it in some kind of loaf or make sausage.

Biggest lesson learned: if you're going to overpay for a cut of meat, make sure you know what you are getting yourself into. A 6 lb. 12-14 hour smoke event wasn't on my agenda so I should have passed.
 

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