Pork Shoulder

I have two pork shoulders that weigh in at about 10 lbs a piece. Normally I would smoke these for 14 or so hours at 225°F until the colagen had all melted and they are easy to pull apart.

I was thinking about cutting one of the shoulders into more manageable pieces and trying to cook a piece sous vide. I really like the smoked flavor and bark I get the normal way. Has anyone tried combining smoking with sous vide? I was thinking about smoking a piece for a couple of hours at 185°F then cooling it and after vacuum packaging cook it for 24 hours at 160°. I would hope to get the smokey flavor and tender juicy meat. I would evaluate the bark after cooking and see if it needed some more smoker time or maybe some torching.

Any opinions on this plan?


If I was to do this I think I would reverse your sequence, sous vide first then smoke.  The reason for this is that the smoking will finish the shoulder with bark that you like that if done the other way will make the outside smoky, moist, and mushy.

@Guy_H My concern is that if I smoke the meat after it is cooked the smoke will not penetrate the meat: When meat gets above 140°F the density changes and smoke does not have much of an impact. I could also finish it in the Mexican fashion by frying each portion in a little pork fat. I do think that maybe some time in the smoker before pulling may restore the bark but I need to try it.

Great thing about sous vide is that I can try several variations at once with cuts from the shoulder. When I experiment with smoking or rubs on pork shoulders each variation results in 10-12 pounds of pork. My last set of experiments were conducted with tenderloin and even with the smaller size I faced a pork rebellion by mid-week.

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John you are correct about smoke penetration, you would have to cool the pork overnight and then put it on to smoke till internal raised to your liking , or you thought it was smoked enough, I might try 3 hours. The bigger concern is getting it on your smoker in one piece ! After I had SV my butt for 20 hr @ 155 it was so " fall off the bone " I couldn’t get it on the Kamado whole. Next time I’m going to smoke them all for 3 hours, THEN bag and SV. That should be epic !
Btw it was so very tasty, I felt like I was cheating :wink:
Pork rebellion?? !! Say it aint so! It does freeze well though and makes a wicked cubano or burritos ! Use shredded cabbage in the burrito , it is fabulous