Overnight Baptism Pork Shoulder BBQ

I tried my first overnight barbecue and am excited about the decrease in work along with tasty results. The goal was to make a ton of pulled pork for my daughter’s baptism. The last pork shoulder I smoked was an all-day stressful affair. It turned out well, but even with starting in the morning it was not ready for dinner because it took 13 hours. This time, I decided to start a day before so there was no risk of running out of time.

For this smoke, I decided to try the Minion Method, which is supposed to allow the longest amount of time without having to tend to the smoker. Basically you are filling up the charcoal ring to the max, and placing a small number of hot coals in an opening in the middle of the ring.

There are a number of nuances on how to do this, but basic concept is to allow the coals to slowly light over time to keep heat steady over a long period. I used 25 lit coals in the center a put 5 chunks of cherry wood on top of the unlit coals, evenly distributed.

For the meat, I used two 8 lbs pork shoulders from Walmart. The rub was the simplified version of Slap Yo’ Daddy rub with the McCormick Montreal Steak Seasoning and Lawry’s Seasoning Salt, minus the cayenne pepper (personally, I would keep the pepper in, but the wife and kids do not appreciate the spicy 😟). I covered the pork in mustard and applied the rub.

I put the meat on the grill at 8:45 pm and set the bottom dampers to open. When the temperature reached 270, I put the dampers at 1/2. That did not bring the temperature down much, so I went to 1/4 and got it to 260. Then I went to sleep, cuddling my remote temperature gauge.

At midnight, I groggily noted the temperature was at 230. The next time I woke up, it was 3:45 and the temperature was at 170. Much too cool!

I checked the grill and 90% of the charcoal was expended. I poured in as many coals a I could fit in the ring and added another 25 lit coals to the top. I also refilled the water pan, which was almost empty. I added four more pieces of cherry wood and opened the dampers. When the temperature got back up to 200, I put the dampers at 1/4. The temperature got back in the 270s, so I closed all the dampers so they were just barely open and went back to sleep.

At 9:40 am the temperature was at holding steady at 260. The meat had reached 194 and I decided to check it. It was falling apart when I put a fork in it! Game over.

The resulting pulled pork was tender, smoky, and delicious. I got about 9 lbs total (I want to take a more accurate weight next time). It was a hit at my daughter’s baptism party. I look forward to trying this approach again and refining my method.

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