Low and Slow: How to Cook Smoked Pork Shoulder with Recipe

Smoked pork shoulder
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Don’t miss out on any of the joys of summer by being stuck in the kitchen cooking dinner.  Use your smoker to create no fuss feasts that need only a little attention.  You can make great barbecue just by setting the smoker with wood chips and leaving the heat to do all the work for you.  With this easy recipe, we’ll show you how to cook smoked pork shoulder in no time and get back to enjoying the carefree living of summer.

Why smoke pork shoulder?

The shoulder is perfect for smoking because this meat is typically more fatty and this fat slowly melts to add flavor and tenderness.  Pork shoulder is also usually a large cut, so it’s great for feeding a lot of people at parties or families.  If you’re looking for a cut of pork that’s easy to work with, shoulder is your best bet.  Buy bone-in to help keep things together.  Then, just throw in the smoker as is, and the meat will easily shred off the bone once done.

Steps for How to Cook Smoked Pork Shoulder:

  1. Prepare cut.  Season with a smoked pork shoulder rub, but avoid using marinades, injections, or brines.  Pork shoulder is already naturally moist and the cut is too thick to really be affected by any added moisture.
  2. Heat smoker.  Turn on smoker (we used The Big Easy Smoker and Roaster) and add wood chips of a sweet variety like hickory or cherry to smoker box.
  3. Add pork.  Let smoke at 225°F for about 8 hours or until the internal temperature is about 190°F.  Use a digital meat thermometer to be sure.

Pork Shoulder 

 Smoker Temperature:  225°F
 Smoking Time:  8 hrs
 Finished Temperature:  190°F
Smoked Pork Shoulder on a Charcoal Grill 


  • Dry wood chips instead of soaked chips or pellets produce the best smoke for this recipe.  Be sure to add more chips periodically throughout smoking to keep the smoky flavor strong during the long roast.  Read more about smoking techniques in our Beginner’s Guide to Smoking article.
  • Cooking times will vary for based on size of pork shoulder, but be sure the pork is done by using a digital meat thermometer.  Char-Broil has more to say about smoked pork temperature and cook times here.
The Big Easy® Smoked Pork Shoulder

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 14 hours

Total Time: 14 hours

Yield: Serves 10-15

Serving Size: 5-6 oz

Calories per serving: -

Fat per serving: -

Smoking low and slow in the Big Easy - this pork shoulder is amazing.


  • 1/4 cup paprika
  • 1/8 cup kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup turmeric
  • 6 tablespoons cumin
  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • Pork shoulder, bone-in


  1. Mix rub and generously coat pork shoulder with it.
  2. Let set for 2-3 hours in the refrigerator.
  3. Turn The Big Easy on setting 15 and fill smoke box with dry wood chips.
  4. Take out pork shoulder to sit at room temperature for 20-30 minutes before putting in The Big Easy.
  5. Place shoulder in basket, fat cap side up and smoke on setting 15 for one hour. I know that sounds high and contrary to slow and low barbecue, but it will give you the best smoke results. Add chips if needed.
  6. Turn down to setting 10 for two more hours to keep up ample smoke.
  7. After three hours, turn setting down to 6 and leave until internal temperature of the meat reads 185-190 degrees. Bone-in pork shoulders typically take about 14 hours to get tender.
  8. Sit back and relax. Go to sleep or read a good book. The Big Easy does all the work for you.
  9. Once done, let meat rest for at least 20 minutes before pulling apart or chopping.
  10. Serve with your favorite barbecue sauce and dig in!


I tried pellets and wet chips and found the best smoke was produced by dry chips.


Char-Broil is here to help – Our expert food bloggers are sharing their best tips and tricks for outdoor cooking on our community page.  Visit today to start your next grilling adventure.   

10 thoughts on “Low and Slow: How to Cook Smoked Pork Shoulder with Recipe

  1. I don’t have much experience using the big easy, but I’m very excited of trying new recipes on the gas SRG model. I had placed the pork shoulder on top of part of the rack because I didn’t want to spend all day babysitting my grill since I live in an apartment complex and they have strict rules about using grills. I have read that the meat cooks faster on top and I learned this hard way. One hour on high and the skin was halfway burnt. I lowered it low and the 8 lb shoulder was ready in less than 3 hours.

    My question is: How much temperature difference is there from the top part to the lower part of the cooking chamber. I had it set to low and with the lid closed, I couldn’t get the temperature to read less than 350F. The thermometer I used is a few degrees off, but I don’t understand why it is reading so high. I haven’t tried placing the thermometer in the lower part. That is my next step if nobody happens to know the answer.

    P.S. The shoulder still tasted delicious despite the fact that it reached an internal temperature of 205. My fault for not checking internal temperature sooner. I thought it was going to take over 4 hours.

    1. As a rule of thumb its best to have you meat in the center of the cooking basket. This will give you the best IR cooking experience.
      To lower the temperature, you’ll want to leave the lid open. Closing the lid will keep the heat inside the cooker. Leaving the lid up for most of the cook, will help keep the temperature low, but you may want to lower the lid for the last 20-30 minutes or so to put a nice crisp to the outside of the meat.

  2. Same problem here with the temp. My big easy don’t have settings, just high and low. Even though I had it at the lowest setting, internal temp was always higher then 350. Cooked for 1.5 hour till reached 145,then another 1.5 hour wrapped in foil till reached 190. If I cooked it for 14 hours like it says. I wouldbe eating ashes. If I left lid open, wouldn’t that affect moisture ?

    1. With the Smoker Roaster Grill, you should cook with the lid open to help lower the temperature. The moisture will not evaporate out, and you’ll get a better cook with the lid open. Close the lid on the last leg to color up and crisp the outside of the meat.

  3. I am really unhappy with this smoker. Any smoker should have a low setting to get the temperature down to a smoking temperature. 350° is not a smoking temperature. I will not be purchasing anymore charbroil products due to this matter. It would be a great product if I was grilling steaks. I wish there was a way you could address this problem. Also you said fill the thing with wood chips and leave it all night??? At any setting the wood chips always burn up and are gone within 30 minutes… very poorly thought out design. Is there any way you can address this and make it right? I see many people are having thsee same issues!!!

    1. Note…this recipe is for the older electric model of Big Easy that is not avaiable anymore…..The gas Big Easy is not a smoker per say..you could put a smoker box in the bottom or off to one side…but is best for wings, turkeys and roasts that cook and do not need to be tenderized by slow cooking……thats my experience

  4. I use this recipe. A LOT! Since I found it, it’s the easiest recipe for delicious pulled pork…my neighbors HATE me when I do it because the smell of delicious smoked pork shoulder keeps them up all night! Tonight I’m doing 3 Pork Butts in my BEESR and feeding people in the local ACS Relay for Life. I just might have to throw in a 4th one. It’s too easy, and I just start it, and go to bed. The next morning I have pulled pork with beautiful delicious bark.

    Remember, NEVER trust a skinny cook!

  5. I got suckered into doing 2 boneless butts for work. I had to throw in a third, because last time there were no leftovers and I had angry neighbors. This recipe is too easy with my BEESR!!

  6. I love my big easy 3 in 1 I have yet not to get a tender an juice anything. Roast beef chicken (breast) hamburgers and Turkey, I cook with the lid open all the time till the or the first 20 minutes have never had a problem. I like it because I have a stick smoker an it will take longer to get the meat cooked low an slow an I cooked the same pork shoulder in the big easy had it done in half the time and tasted the same. You don’t have to put smoke to it the whole time either I got a great smoke ring by refilling my pellet box once.

  7. Ok….you guys who smoke with the 3in1. If you keep the lid open, how do you smoke? wont the smoke just go out without infusing the meat?

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