Pork shoulder is a popular cut of meat, especially in barbecue dishes. It can be tough if not prepared properly, however. The best methods for cooking pork shoulder typically use low heat and a long cooking time. Common ways of preparing it include roasting, smoking, grilling, or slow cooking, as in using a Crock-Pot®. A pork shoulder can be seasoned or marinated before cooking to add flavor and to tenderize it.
This cut is usually covered by a layer of fat which should be left on during cooking to ensure that the meat is tender and juicy. Before cooking pork shoulder it can be marinated or seasoned. If marinating, the best flavor will come by allowing the meat to soak overnight. A dry rub can also be applied to the outside of the pork shoulder. Some people choose to mix the dry rub spices with a liquid, such as apple cider vinegar, and then inject the mixture into the pork.
Before cooking a pork shoulder, the meat should be taken out of the refrigerator at least an hour in advance in order to bring it to room temperature. A meat thermometer is usually used to ensure that the pork reaches the proper temperature. To keep a pork shoulder moist, it should be basted or sprayed with a liquid, such as apple juice or apple cider vinegar, during cooking which can be done with a brush or a spray bottle.
Smoking, grilling, roasting, and slow cooking are all good methods for cooking pork shoulder. The key to cooking pork shoulder so it is tender is using low heat and several hours of cooking time. Most recipes call for a cooking temperature between 240 and 280°F (115 to 138°C). These temperatures usually require 1.5 to 2 hours of cooking per pound of pork to ensure it is fully cooked.
It is important to check the internal temperature of the pork shoulder to know when it is ready to eat. A pork should can be served sliced when it reaches 170°F (77°C). When one reaches 195°F (91°C), the pork should be tender enough to pull apart. For best results, the meat should rest for 15 to 20 minutes after cooking.
When cooking pork shoulder, cooks should remember that its yield is usually around 60% of the raw weight, after all of the fat is rendered. This cut is commonly served pulled apart and mixed with barbecue sauce. Many people also enjoy it sliced with gravy.