Introduction: Pork Shoulder Roast - Apple Wood Smoked

About: I'm a 49 year old Systems Architect living in the Midwestern United States. After travelling the world for 20 years as a consulting architect I became disabled, as a result, I am now embracing a Slow life. F…

Our local butcher had some great deals on pork and beef cuts that were perfect for smoking, so we loaded up. Here is one of the results. You might also want to check out the Flat Beef Brisket that was prepared at the same time. Both Instructables were created using a pellet grill/smoker during a rainstorm, so for more information on running your pellet during adverse weather, check out Pellet Smoking in the Rain.

Using a few simple steps, we transformed a simple pork shoulder roast into a bbq pork spectacle. We used a rare and hard to find sauce and a great rub, but you can substitute your favorites. The slow smoking in apple wood not only creates an incredible flavor and texture, but also helps to bring out the best in less expensive cuts of meat.

This Instructable assumes you are familiar with the safe operation of a pellet smoker and have already prepped it for use.


  • Pork Shoulder Roast (tied or netted)
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil (not extra virgin)
  • 1 bottle CaJohn's 20 Years After Sauce (or your own favorite sauce)
  • Amberfyre Sassy Rub

Helpful Gear:

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Step 1: Prep and Season Meat

Preheat and prep pellet smoker for high smoke using apple wood pellets.

Pat down roast. Lightly rub with olive oil and season with salt, pepper, and your favorite rub, if so desired.

Step 2: Smoke Part I

Place the shoulder directly on the grate. At this point, I like to insert an oven-safe thermometer or thermocouple. Since my only oven-safe thermocouple probe was being used in the Flat Brisket in the back, I went with the thermometer.

Allow shoulder to smoke for several hours (based on weight) until it reaches an internal temperature of 160 degrees. This is called the stall point. The stall point is when evaporative cooling overtakes the ability of the smoker to add heat to the meat effectively enough to keep the temperature rising.

Step 3: Smoke Part II

Since we want our pork shoulder to keep cooking to our desired internal temperature of 203 degrees Fahrenheit, we need to get past the stall point. The best way to do this is to wrap the shoulder in aluminum foil. It doesn't have to be wrapped airtight, just enough to substantially reduce the cooling effect. Make sure to keep your thermometer or probe in place.

Keep the roast in the smoker about an hour or two more (based on weight), until the internal temperature gets close to 190 degrees. Open the foil and liberally coat with sauce. close the foil and continue to smoke until around 203 degrees Fahrenheit.

Note: Most commercially sold bbq sauces are made to be finishing sauces, that is, used in the final minutes of cooking. The earlier you apply them, the more vinegary the sauces will be in flavor.

Step 4: Rest and Release

When the roast reaches the desired temperature, remove it from the smoker and keep it in the foil. Remove the thermometer or probe and tighten the foil up.

Allow to rest for at least 15 minutes.

Once the meat has rested, open the foil and remove the trussing or netting from the roast.

Step 5: Pull and Sauce

Place the roast in a large bowl and pull it apart using your hands or forks. Sauce with additional sauce, reserving some for dipping, if desired. We like to enjoy ours on soft tacos with baby red lettuce and toppings like diced onion and tomato.

Serve and Enjoy!