Patricks BBQ Pork Recipes

Top 5 Mistakes Beginners Make When Smoking Pork

Common pitfalls to watch out for when cooking BBQ pork.

Smoking pork is a great way to impress your friends and family with your fancy barbecue skills. But it's more challenging than it sounds. Some common pitfalls can ruin your pork and make you look foolish. Here are the top 5 mistakes newbies make when smoking pork and how to avoid them. BTW - I am guilty of all of these!

  1. Choosing the wrong cut of meat. Not all pork cuts are suitable for smoking. You want to choose a cut with enough fat and connective tissue to keep it moist and tender during the cooking process. Some of the best cuts for smoking are pork shoulder, pork butt, ribs, and ham. Avoid lean cuts, as they can dry out and become tough.
  2. Not seasoning the pork properly. Seasoning is essential for adding flavor and creating a nice crust on your pork. You can use a dry rub, a wet marinade, or a combination. The key is to apply the seasoning at least a few hours before smoking, or even overnight, to let the flavors penetrate the meat.
  3. Using too much or too little smoke. Smoke is what gives your pork that distinctive flavor and aroma. But you don't want to overdo it or underdo it. Too much smoke can make your pork bitter and acrid, while too little can make it bland. The ideal amount of smoke depends on the type of wood you use, the size of your smoker, and your personal preference. A good rule of thumb is to use one handful of wood chips or chunks per hour of smoking.
  4. Not controlling the temperature. Temperature is crucial for smoking pork. You want to maintain a steady low temperature of around 225°F to 250°F throughout cooking. This will ensure your pork is cooked evenly and slowly, allowing the fat and collagen to melt and creating juicy and tender meat. If the temperature is too high, your pork will cook too fast and dry out. If the temperature is too low, your pork will take too long to cook and risk spoiling. This is why I like to finish my cooking in the oven, versus the smoker.
  5. Not resting the meat. Resting is the final step in smoking pork, but beginners often overlook it. Resting allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, making it more moist and flavorful. It also makes it easier to slice or pull apart your pork without shredding it. You should rest your pork for at least 15 minutes, or up to an hour, wrapped in foil or butcher paper and placed in a cooler or oven.

Proper pork shoulder placement in smoker rack

Patrick's BBQ tips:

Avoid smoking meat with softwoods. Woods such as pine, cedar, or spruce can impart a bitter or resinous taste in your pork.

Also, avoid using lighter fluid or briquettes that contain chemicals or additives that can alter the flavor of your pork.

Here are some regional styles of pork barbecue, including Carolina, Kansas City, Memphis, and Texas BBQ.

Patrick's Pork recipes feature a simple "smoker to oven" BBQ cooking method.

 Pulled Pork •  Pork Ribs •  Pork Loin •  Hot Dogs •  BBQ Dry Rub •  Deep Fried Pork Tenderloin

 Mac and Cheese