How I Got Perfect BBQ Bark on Pork By Using a Pellet Grill
I will preface this by saying I am not an expert barbeque pitmaster, but I do know my way around the grill. My adventures into smoking started about a decade ago when I inherited my dad's offset smoker. I started off with charcoal and hardwood for the occasional weekend smoke session. Since then, it has become a bit of a tradition to smoke the Thanksgiving turkey, to hold a monthly pulled pork smoke and more.
Since getting my pellet grill last fall, I have been experimenting more and more with this specific grill. I opted to pick up a Grilla Silverbac pellet grill due to the quality of the build that features double insulation. The price point was in my ballpark, too, so how could I say no?
To date, I have done a total of four pork shoulders that have been smoked into pulled-pork goodness. My recent smoke session over the weekend has officially changed the way I will smoke my pork shoulders from here on out.
Normally, I would smoke a pork shoulder until the meat reached 205 degrees with the smoker temperature around 250 degrees. This would take around 10 to 12 hours to cook depending on the size of the pork shoulder. The new method goes lower and slower.
On Saturday night at 11 p.m., I fired up the pellet grill to 200 degrees. While the pellet grill was coming to the desired temperature, I seasoned the pork shoulder. My niece got me a new rub for my birthday and I was excited to give it a try. A liberal amount of rub on all sides of the pork shoulder turned the meat a reddish-brown in a matter of minutes.
When the pellet grill got to 200 degrees, I placed the pork shoulder on the rack, fat cap facing down, and left it to smoke for the night. This is what I woke up to the next morning.
At this point, at around 10 hours, I opened the lid for the first time to take this photo. The pork is in the cooking phase known as the "stall." The halt in the temperature increase starts anywhere between 150 to 170 degrees and can last for hours. This is nothing to be worried about, as it is where some of the barbeque magic happens.
At this point, there was nothing for me to do but kick back and wait. Six hours later, we reached the optimal temperature of 205 degrees. I removed the pork shoulder from the pellet smoker and brought it in the house for the meat to rest for about an hour under a tinfoil blanket.
Above shows off the tasty results of the long overnight smoke. The shoulder bone practically fell out of the chunk of meat and I was able to pull the pork quickly. I paired the pulled pork with caramelized onions and my favorite Colorado-made barbeque sauce. That barbeque sauce is Colorado Smokin' Butts Pueblo Green Chile sauce. I am a huge fan of it and will use that flavor any chance I can get.
Dinner was served with homemade coleslaw and baked beans. It was certainly a tasty Sunday dinner with the family. If you have a pellet grill, I would encourage you to give this method of smoking a pork shoulder a shot, you won't be disappointed.
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