This little piggy went ‘yum-yum’

This has been the third time I’ve used this recipe and every time it has been a success. Each time I make a change or two based on what I have or what I think it needs. There’s no exact recipe for a good smoked meat. However, the way it’s smoked is more important. Pork shoulders can be tricky because if you aren’t focused and make one mistake you can easily over cook or dry out your pork shoulder. That’s why the smoking process is so important. The key is to not give up and not overlook the small things. The small things are what can turn your pork shoulder from average to excellent.


3/4 cup paprika

1/4 cup black pepper

1/4 cup kosher salt (I used just regular table salt because it’s all I had, and it was fine.)
1/4 cup white sugar

1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons onion powder
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (adjust for heat – 1 teaspoon=mild, 2 = medium, 3 = spicy, I usually use two or three.)

1 cup apple cider
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon prepared rub

Mix and place in a plastic spray bottle. You will use this to spritz the meat during smoking.


Coat meat generously with rub. You will not use all the rub.

Cover and refrigerate until pork is around 40 degrees.

(The colder you have the meat, the more infused the smoke will be.)

Prepare wood chips by soaking in water for at least 30 minutes.

(I used apple wood, until I ran out, then I used a mix of apple wood and Jack Daniels wood chips. In the water tray I decided to use apple juice.)

Replace your smoker chips approximately every 90 minutes.

(During the cooking process you’ll notice that when you open your smoker tray your chips have actually burned up and they produce a more rapid smoke that isn’t smokey at all, sometimes they’ll even flame up. This means your chips have burned out and need to be replaced. After a few chip cycles you’ll be able to tell the difference between the chips producing wood smoke and just burning out.)

When you open your smoker to replace the chips, this is the time you’ll want to spritz the meat with the spray bottle.

When roast reaches 160 degrees internal temperature, pull roast inside. It no longer gets benefit from smoke so the wood chips are no longer necessary.

In the microwave, melt 1 stick of butter on medium heat. Lay out a sheet of heavy duty aluminum foil. Make sure you actually buy the heavy duty foil, otherwise you’ll need a ton of regular foil.

On the foil, sprinkle the prepared rub (in about the same size and shape as the pork). On top of that, sprinkle a light coating of brown sugar. Then spoon about half the melted butter on top of that.

Place the pork on top of foil. Follow the same steps on the top: light coating of rub, brown sugar, and then spoon the remaining butter on top. Take another sheet of aluminum foil and finish wrapping the meat so it is well sealed.

Place back in the smoker and continue to cook until internal temperature of meat is 195 degrees. Pull from smoker, and let it rest 30 minutes. The resting step is a crucial step.

If you have done everything right, when you open the foil, the bone from the pork will just come out without any effort.


Here’s the smoker I used for my barbecue. You can find smokers at most outdoor stores. 

Story by: Zak Laster

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Zak Laster