Perfect Smoked Pork Shoulder
Food and Drink

Courtesy of BBQ Guys,

Perfect Smoked Pork Shoulder

Prep: 20 minutes Cook: 5-6 hours


Lump charcoal & applewood chunks for the smoker

Spray bottle with half water & half apple cider vinegar

8 pound pork shoulder


Ingredients for Brine:

2 T unsalted butter

1 1/2 quarts water

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup salt

1/2 cup sugar

1 T whole peppercorns

2 bay leaves

5 cloves of garlic


Ingredients for Rub:

2 cups brown sugar

1/2 cup dry mustard

1 T cayenne pepper

1 T smoked paprika

1 T garlic powder

1 T onion powder

1 T salt

2 tsp fresh black pepper


Ingredients for Rub Glue:

2 Tbsp yellow mustard

1 Tbsp honey

Cooking Instructions:

  1. To make the brine, combine the butter, water, vinegar, salt, and sugar. I like to use a stock pot over very light heat and whisk to help the ingredients dissolve (about 3 minutes.)
  2. Once dissolved, remove from heat and move the brine to a bowl and cool in the refrigerator.
  3. Place the pork in a large zip tight bag.
  4. Add the peppercorns, bay leaves, and garlic to the bag as well.
  5. Pour the brine over the pork. Make sure the pork is fully submerged while squeezing as much air out of the bag as possible.
  6. Seal it up and leave it in the refrigerator overnight.
  7. Combine all the rub ingredients in a mixing bowl.
  8. Combine rub glue ingredients in a separate mixing bowl.
  9. Remove pork from the brine and pat dry. Make sure to keep the brine as we will use this as the liquid in the moisture pan underneath the pork.
  10. Cover the pork with a light coating of the “glue” mixture to help the rub stick.
  11. Apply the rub generously, making sure to work it into the meat.
  12. Fire up your smoker to about 225℉ and add the soaked applewood chunks to the lit charcoal. (soak the wood chunks in water for at least 30 minutes)
  13. Place the pork on the smoker. Be careful not to over-smoke.
  14. After 2 hours, spray the entire shoulder with water and apple cider vinegar mixture. Continue smoking the pork for another hour.
  15. Spray with water and apple cider vinegar mixture again and continue to smoke for another hour.
  16. Repeat one more time with spraying and smoking for 1 more hour.
  17. Remove pork from the smoker, wrap in aluminum foil and return to the smoker until the pork has an internal temperature of 200°.
  18. When the pork has reached 200°, remove from the heat and allow to rest for 20-30 minutes while still wrapped in foil.
  19. Pull the pork and mix with your favorite BBQ sauce.