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How Long To Let Pork Shoulder Rest

How Long To Let Pork Shoulder Rest

The resting period is an essential part of the smoking process. 

If you dig into your pork shoulder as soon as you pull it from your pellet smoker, you will instantly regret it when you taste the meat. 

Although you should let it rest, how long is too long to let pork shoulder rest.

Why Is It Important To Rest Meat?

There are multiple reasons skipping the resting phase of meat when making pork shoulder is not optional. 

The pork shoulder will continue to cook for a little while after you remove it from your electric smoker.

Large cuts of meat are more impacted by carryover cooking than Denver steaks or pork chops.

Since the average pork shoulder weighs between 12-and 18 pounds, the internal temperature will continue to rise as the meat rests.

The additional 5-10 degrees the pork shoulder’s internal temperature will rise, making it harder to shred the pork since it won’t break apart when gently prodded with a fork.

Therefore, you should remove the pork shoulder from your propane smoker 5-10 degrees before it reaches your desired temperature to prevent it from overcooking.

Furthermore, resting the pork allows its juices to be reabsorbed into the meat.

While the pork shoulder is cooking, the protein fibers will firm up and release moisture.

While the meat rests, the protein fibers will contract and reabsorb some of the liquid that is lost.

With that being said, if you cut the pork shoulder too early, the juices will spill all over your butcher block.

Essentially, your pork shoulder could end up chalky and dry if you cut into it too early.

What’s the Difference Between Pork Shoulder and Pork Butt?

While pork shoulder and pork butt are the best options for pulled pork, they are not the same thing.

Both cuts of pork originate from the same area of the animal.

However, a pork shoulder can be divided into 2 parts: the butt, also known as the Boston butt, and the picnic shoulder.

The entire pork shoulder weighs between 14-18 pounds.

Even though pork shoulder is pretty popular commercially, you are most likely to find smaller cuts when shopping.

In contrast, the pork butt is fabricated from the top region of the shoulder.

Pork shoulder has a rich flavor due to its healthy amount of marbling and thick fat cap.

Even though a blade bone runs through a portion of the pork butt, it can also be sold boneless.

Conversely, the picnic shoulder is the lower part of the shoulder just above the front leg.

The shoulder does not contain as much intramuscular fat as pork butt.

However, it becomes tender and delicious when cooked low and slow. The shoulder may also be sold bone-in or boneless.

Ultimately, because pork butt is thicker and has more marbling, it is the preferred option for pulled pork.

However, it is perfectly fine to use pork shoulder for pulled pork even though it is better for slicing.

What Temp Do You Pull Pork Off?

Pork shoulder and pork butt will be tender enough to shred once they reach a temperature of 195°F.

However, when it has a temperature between 200°F-205°F, it will have a softer consistency that allows it to shred easier.

As previously mentioned, the pork shoulder internal temperature will continue to rise once it rises.

Therefore, it’s best to remove the pork shoulder when your infrared thermometer registers 195°F before removing the pork shoulder from the heat.

How Long To Let Pork Shoulder Rest?

At a minimum, you should let your pork shoulder rest for at least 15 minutes before pulling it.

However, 30-45 minutes is the preferred time to let pork shoulder rest.

Nevertheless, you can let your pork shoulder rest for 15 minutes to 2 hours.

Do not allow your pork shoulder to rest too long, or it might become co.

The goal is to allow the pork shoulder to reabsorb the meat while still retaining the heat, not to serve cold meat.

Additionally, remember to trim away any big chunks of fat that did not render before you shred the pork shoulder.

Do You Rest Pork Shoulder Covered or Uncovered?

While there are those in favor of wrapping pork shoulder and those firmly against it, you should consider a few factors before deciding which side of the fence you are on.

If you tent the pork shoulder with aluminum foil, it will preserve more heat, contributing to carryover cooking.

It’s best to only wrap your pork shoulder if the pork shoulder is well below your desired temperature when you remove it from the smoker.

However, if your pork shoulder has an internal temperature of 195°F-200°F, it will be overcooked if you cover it with foil.

Nonetheless, leaving the pork shoulder uncovered will cool the meat down much faster.

If you wait too long to pull or slice the pork shoulder, it may become cold.

You should still have a substantial amount of time to pull the meat since large cuts like pork shoulder retain heat for long periods of time.

Fortunately, this isn’t often a problem with pork since the cuts are large enough to retain their heat.

If you are worried about your uncovered pork becoming cold, let it rest in a warm oven rather than on your countertop.

Simply turn your oven to 150°F or to the lowest temperature your oven will go to, and turn the oven off as soon as you place the pork shoulder in the oven.

Final Thoughts

Resting pork shoulder plays an integral role in how successful your end result will be.

Because pork shoulder’s rich, juicy, tender texture is the highlight of the dish, the last thing you want is to serve your family and friends dry, chewy pulled pork when you have been bragging about how delicious your pulled pork is.

Nevertheless, you can avoid this unfortunate fat by waiting 30-45 minutes to let your pork shoulder before pulling or slicing it.

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