I picked up a pork shoulder yesterday morning, and put it into a salt and molasses brine before I went to bed last night. I hauled the smoker out of the garage after Sarah left for work this morning and let it preheat to 210°. While that was warming up, I rescued the pork from the brine, patted it dry, and applied a rub to all surfaces. Finally I put it in the smoker and set the timer for 6 hours.
The timer was really a formality, since the goal was to get it to 150° internally for the next step in the cooking. Unfortunately, the smoker malfunctioned. For some reason it was not advancing the smoke pucks, so rather than the 2 hours of smoke I was hoping to give it, the pork only got about 40 minutes of smoke from me advancing the puck manually.
The manual advance button worked, so I know the mechanism is fine. Hopefully this was just a software glitch, but I'll give it a test run before I smoke anything else. It's not the end of the world - it would just mean that I could not leave it to smoke unattended since I would need to be around to advance the pucks. In any event, the 40 minutes proved to be enough smoke, giving it a light, rather than a heavier smoke signature.
Once the meat reached the temperature goal, I wrapped it up in foil and threw it in the oven at 300° until it hit 200° internally. I was a little concerned by that last once since you usually only cook pork to about 160°, but the recipe was specific on that point. I am guessing that the extra heat was to help break down connecting tissue and make the pork easier to shred.
I was worried that the pork would be dry after nearly 8 hours of cooking, but after I let it rest for an hour, I unwrapped it and used a pair of forks to shred it. It was far from dry. In fact it literally squirted juice when I first stabbed it with a fork.
We had it for dinner tonight, topped with broccoli slaw in artisan rolls. It was delicious, and definitely made it onto our list of things to do again.
I think that sometimes the best monuments are the ones from which the plaques that explain them have been removed.