Prep Time:  20 mins
Cook Time:  360 mins
Total Time:  380 mins
Servings:  6

Learn how to make the perfect smoked pork shoulder!


Ingredients for Pork Shoulder

  • Lump charcoal & applewood chunks for the smoker
  • Spray bottle with half water
    & half apple cider vinegar
  • 8 lb pork shoulder

Ingredients for Brine

  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 quarts water
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp whole peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 5 cloves of garlic

Ingredients for Rub

  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup dry mustard
  • 1 Tbsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 Tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp onion powder
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 2 tsp fresh black pepper

Ingredients for Rub Glue

  • 2 Tbsp yellow mustard
  • 1 Tbsp honey

Items You'll Need


Instructions for Brine

  1. 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.

    Instructions for Pork Shoulder

  1. Combine all the rub ingredients in a mixing bowl.
  2. Combine rub glue ingredients in a separate mixing bowl.
  3. 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.
  4. Cover the pork with a light coating of the “glue” mixture to help the rub stick.
  5. Apply the rub generously, making sure to work it into the meat.
  6. 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)
  7. Place the pork on the smoker. Be careful not to over-smoke.
  8. After 2 hours, spray the entire shoulder with the water and apple cider vinegar mixture. Continue smoking the pork for another hour.
  9. Spray with the water and apple cider vinegar mixture again and continue to smoke for another hour.
  10. Repeat one more time with the spraying and smoking for 1 more hour.
  11. Remove the pork from the smoker, wrap in aluminum foil and return to the smoker until the pork has an internal temperature of 200℉.
  12. When the pork has reached 200℉, remove it from the heat and allow it to rest for 20-30 minutes while still wrapped in foil.
  13. Pull the pork and mix with your favorite BBQ sauce.