Are you planning to cook a succulent pork shoulder for your next family gathering or backyard barbecue?
If so, you may be wondering how long it will take to cook an 11-pound pork shoulder to perfection. With so many different cooking methods and variables to consider, it can be challenging to know where to start.
But fear not, because we’ve got you covered! In this article, we’ll explore some of the best techniques for cooking an 11-pound pork shoulder, including smoking, roasting, and slow-cooking.
So grab your apron and let’s get started on creating a mouth-watering masterpiece that will have your guests coming back for seconds (and maybe even thirds!).
How Long To Cook A 11 Pound Pork Shoulder?
The cooking time for an 11-pound pork shoulder will depend on the cooking method you choose. For smoking, plan on approximately 1 hour per pound at a temperature of 225-230 degrees Fahrenheit. This means that your 11-pound pork shoulder will take around 11-12 hours to cook to perfection.
If you prefer to roast your pork shoulder, preheat your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit and cook the shoulder for 45 minutes. Then, reduce the heat to 225 degrees Fahrenheit and continue cooking for approximately 7-8 hours, basting every hour. The roast is done when the internal temperature reaches 170-175 degrees Fahrenheit.
For slow-cooking, set your slow cooker to low and cook the pork shoulder for 8-10 hours until it reaches an internal temperature of 195-205 degrees Fahrenheit.
It’s important to note that these cooking times are estimates and may vary depending on factors such as the type of meat, the cooking equipment used, and the desired level of doneness. Always use a meat thermometer to ensure that your pork shoulder is cooked to a safe internal temperature.
Preparing The Pork Shoulder
Before cooking an 11-pound pork shoulder, it’s important to properly prepare the meat. Start by trimming off any large pieces of fat from the outside of the pork shoulder, but leave small pieces and the interior fat intact. If using boneless pork, cut the pork into several large fist-sized pieces. If using bone-in, leave the pork as is, on the bone.
Next, season the pork by sprinkling it with salt, pepper, and any desired spices. Rub the seasoning into the pork with your fingers so the meat is evenly coated on all sides. If you have time, searing the pork will deepen the final flavor and give it some textural contrast. Heat a tablespoon or two of oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat and add the pork. Sear on all sides, working in batches as needed so as not to crowd the pan. If not searing, just place the pork in the Dutch oven.
Onions, garlic, and other vegetables also deepen the final flavor of the pork but are optional. If using, nestle them around the pork in the Dutch oven. Pour in your desired liquid and liquid smoke (if using) over the pork until it is only partially submerged with some of the pork remaining above the surface of the liquid.
Place the Dutch oven with the pork over medium-high heat and bring the liquid to a simmer. Cover and transfer to a preheated oven set to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Let the pork cook undisturbed for 2 hours, then begin checking it every half hour until it reaches an internal temperature of 195-205 degrees Fahrenheit and is fork-tender (when meat can be easily pierced with a fork without resistance and easily falls apart with a little pressure).
Once done, remove from oven and let stand until cool enough to handle (about 30 minutes). Lift the pieces of pork out of the liquid and transfer to a large bowl. When cool enough to handle, use two forks or your fingers to shred the meat into pieces. Strain the cooking liquid into a measuring cup and skim off any excess fat from the top of the liquid. The vegetables can be chopped and mixed in with the pork if desired. For more moist and flavorful pulled pork, you can mix some of the cooking liquid back into the pork or mix in barbecue sauce for barbecue pulled pork.
Smoking An 11-Pound Pork Shoulder
Smoking an 11-pound pork shoulder requires time and patience, but the end result is worth it. Start by removing the pork shoulder from the refrigerator at least an hour before cooking to allow it to come to room temperature.
Next, prepare your smoker according to the manufacturer’s instructions for indirect heat cooking and bring the temperature up to 225-230 degrees Fahrenheit. Place a water-filled aluminum drip pan under the grates to catch drippings.
Insert a remote probe thermometer into the thickest part of the pork shoulder, then place it on the grate above the drip pan in the smoker. Smoke the pork shoulder for approximately 1 hour per pound, or until the internal temperature reaches 195-205 degrees Fahrenheit.
During smoking, it’s important to continuously monitor the temperature with a probe thermometer and maintain a consistent temperature in the smoker. You can add wood chips or chunks every hour to keep the smoke going and enhance the flavor of the pork shoulder.
Once the pork shoulder reaches its desired internal temperature, remove it from the smoker and wrap it in foil or butcher’s paper. Let it rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes to allow the juices to redistribute throughout the meat.
After resting, use two forks or meat claws to pull apart the pork shoulder into tender, juicy shreds. Serve with your favorite barbecue sauce and sides for a delicious meal that’s sure to impress.
Roasting An 11-Pound Pork Shoulder
Roasting an 11-pound pork shoulder can be a bit of a challenge, but with the right technique, you can achieve a perfectly cooked and juicy roast. Here is a step-by-step guide to roasting an 11-pound pork shoulder:
1. Temper the meat: Take the pork shoulder out of the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature for about an hour. This will ensure even cooking.
2. Preheat the oven: Preheat your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
3. Season the roast: Mix garlic, salt, pepper, thyme, oregano, and olive oil in a small bowl. Rub this mixture all over the pork shoulder.
4. Roast the pork: Place the pork shoulder on a rack in a roasting pan and roast it uncovered at 450 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 minutes.
5. Add liquid: Remove the pork shoulder from the oven and decrease the heat to 225 degrees Fahrenheit. Add sliced onions, chicken broth, beer, and chili flakes to the bottom of the roasting pan. Baste the pork with the pan liquids.
6. Tent with foil: Tent tin foil over the roast and return it to the oven. Check every hour or so and baste the roast with liquids from the pan; add more chicken broth if needed.
7. Check for doneness: Roast for about 7-8 hours, basting every hour until the internal temperature reaches 170-175 degrees Fahrenheit.
8. Rest and carve: Let the roast rest for 20-30 minutes before removing the skin and fat and carving it into pieces.
It’s important to note that cooking times may vary depending on factors such as oven temperature accuracy, altitude, and humidity levels. To ensure that your pork shoulder is cooked to perfection, use an instant-read thermometer to check its internal temperature before serving.
Slow-Cooking An 11-Pound Pork Shoulder
Slow-cooking an 11-pound pork shoulder is a great option for those who want to set it and forget it. To begin, pat the pork shoulder dry and cut it into two pieces, making sure to avoid the bone. Combine the spice rub ingredients and rub all over the pork, getting in every nook and cranny. Put both pieces of the pork shoulder in the slow cooker with the fat cap facing up. Place the onion and garlic around the pork and pour in the chicken broth. Quarter the orange and lime and squeeze both of their juices into the cooker. Stick the spent orange wedges in with the onion & garlic, but discard the lime.
Cook the pork either on low for 8-10 hours OR on high for 5-6 hours OR until the meat is fall-apart tender. The cook time will vary based on the weight of your pork and the size/temperature of your slow cooker, so it’s best to check it after about six hours on low and 4 hours on high just to see how it’s doing. You’ll know it’s done when you stick a fork into the meat and it takes barely any effort to fall apart; however, you can also use a meat thermometer to see that it’s reached a minimum of 195-205 degrees Fahrenheit.
Remove the pork from the slow cooker and let it cool for a few minutes, then shred the meat with two forks, making sure to pick out and discard any chunks of fat that remain (like the fat cap). At this point, you’ll have a lot of meat and several cups of cooking liquid (approximately 9-10 cups of shredded meat & 4 cups of liquid for an 11 lb roast). Don’t throw away the liquid! It’s full of flavor + yummy fat and helps to keep the meat moist. (See notes below for what to do with it).
Store extra pork in the fridge (it’ll give you meals for the next week) and consume within 5-6 days, otherwise, mix the leftovers with the rest of the cooking liquid and freeze in an airtight container (I use ziplock bags smooshed flat to take up less space). Slow-cooking an 11-pound pork shoulder is a great option for those who want juicy, tender, fall-apart meat without too much fuss or effort.
Checking For Doneness
Checking for doneness is an essential step in cooking a pork shoulder. The internal temperature of the meat should reach at least 195°F before it’s considered safe to eat. To check the temperature, use a meat thermometer and insert it into the thickest part of the shoulder, being careful not to touch any bones.
When checking the temperature, make sure to avoid hitting any fat or bone as this can give an inaccurate reading. If the thermometer reads below 195°F, continue cooking the pork shoulder until it reaches the desired temperature. Keep in mind that the temperature will continue to rise as the pork shoulder rests after cooking.
Another way to check for doneness is by testing the tenderness of the meat. When the pork shoulder is fully cooked, it should be tender and easy to pull apart with a fork. If it’s still tough, continue cooking until it reaches the desired tenderness.
Once your pork shoulder has reached the appropriate internal temperature and tenderness, remove it from the heat source and let it rest for about 15 minutes before slicing or pulling. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, resulting in a more flavorful and juicy end product.
Resting And Serving The Pork Shoulder
Once your pork shoulder is cooked to the desired internal temperature, it’s time to let it rest. Resting is a crucial step in the cooking process as it allows the meat to reabsorb its juices and become more tender.
The resting time for a pork shoulder can vary depending on the size of the cut, but a minimum of 30 minutes is recommended. Keep in mind that the internal temperature of the meat will continue to rise as it rests, so it’s important to monitor it with a meat thermometer.
You can let your pork shoulder rest for up to two hours before serving, but be sure to keep it at a safe temperature above 140 degrees Fahrenheit. One way to do this is by placing the pork shoulder in an insulated container such as a Cambro or cooler lined with towels.
When you’re ready to serve, there are several ways to present your pork shoulder. You can carve it into slices, shred it with forks or claws, or pull it apart by hand. Whatever method you choose, be sure to remove any excess fat and connective tissue.
If you’re serving a large crowd, you may want to consider holding the pulled pork in an insulated container until ready to serve. This will keep the meat at a safe temperature and allow guests to serve themselves.