How to Cook Pork Shoulder – It’s All In The Rub

Foods & DrinksCooking Tips & Recipes

  • Author Doug Stranahan
  • Published December 7, 2011
  • Word count 452

Fall, Football and BBQ at the tail gate or on the patio; how can it get better than this?

Pork Shoulder is a great choice for a main fare feature at your next gathering and it has two great advantages. First, it is easy to prepare and second, you can feed a group for somewhere south of three dollars a pound. The pork shoulder is the front leg of the pig and comes in two different cuts. I like the butt cut, which is the top side of the leg and has less bone in it than what is called the picnic cut. The one we recently prepared was a six and a half pound roast, which served twelve people, with some left over.

Most pork shoulder recipes call for using a smoker, which is the key to cooking a pork shoulder, mainly because it is an indirect heat source and allows for a long slow cooking process. Don’t have a smoker? No problem, neither do we. Just remember that the process requires indirect heat. Here are the keys to grilling a pork shoulder, using a three burner gas grill.

It starts with the rub. In a small bowl mix the following ingredients:

¼ cup organic paprika

2 Tbs Salt

2 Tbs Pepper

2 Tbs organic cumin

2 Tbs organic garlic powder

2 Tbs. chile powder

3 Tbs brown sugar

Coat the pork shoulder with the rub. Be liberal. A 6 – 8 lb. roast should use the entire rub mix. By the way, don’t cut off any of the fat on the roast. The butt cut usually has one side with a layer of fat and you want it. Once you have the roast well coated with the rub, put it in the refrigerator and let it set. Overnight works best, but if time does not permit, at least give it a couple of hours.

Using a three burner grill works great. You will need an aluminum pan, a raised rack and some foil. Follow these steps:

Turn the two outside burners on at low heat.

Place the pan, with the rack directly over it, on the middle burner.

Put your pork shoulder on the rack, fat side up.

Close the lid.

Don’t open the lid for three hours. No peeking! At the end of three hours check the internal temperature of the roast. If it’s in the 130 – 140 range you are right on track and your roast should look like it’s done, but it’s not. Next, cover the roast with a tent of foil, reduce the heat to one burner and close the lib. In about 2 -3 more hours you should have a pork shoulder ready to serve at an internal temp of 185 degrees.


Doug Stranahan is the owner of and knows the importance of picking the right organic spice for the right job.

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