If you are looking for a recipe for smoked pork shoulder, you have come to the right place! Smoking a pork shoulder is perfect for feeding a crowd and lends succulent, moist pork perfect for pulled pork sandwiches, Cuban Sandwiches (use your pulled pork for the roasted pork in a traditional Cuban) tacos or as I show in this recipe, pull apart pork sliders with an epic cheese pull at the end! In fact, smoked pork may be one of the most versatile meats to use in recipes because it is just so good in so many recipes: carnitas, Tacos, Cuban Mojo Pork (this recipe is similar) with Rice and Beans…..

You can see I’ve done all kinds of recipes with pulled pork such as my authentic pulled pork with Carolina Gold Sauce, Mojo Pork, Pulled Pork with a Mango BBQ Sauce, and this recipe for Smoked pork shoulder that I made into Hawaiian Roll sliders – perfect for feeding a crowd such as a tailgate or homegate event. Or just feeding your family for days!

A Florida Spin on Pork: Why this Recipe is Different

Every recipe for Smoked Pork Shoulder is going to give you the same basic concepts which includes applying the rub, smoking it, wrapping it with added moisture and fat, then smoking it some more. This recipe is different because it gives a Floridian spin on pork by first using Sunshine State of Mind Craft BBQ Rub which has orange peel zest, Kaffir Lime, granulated honey and Himalayan salt, then wrapping the pork in citrus during the Texas Crutch phase. 

Best recipe for smoked pork shoulder

Once you hit 150 internal degrees, you want to wrap your shoulder in butcher paper after adding in your coconut water, butter and adding your oranges.



  • Pork Shoulder
  • Olive oil, as a binder
  • Sunshine State of Mind Craft BBQ Rub (use code X for $ off)
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1 large orange, sliced
  • 2 tbsp coconut water

best smoked pork shoulder recipe

Pulled Pork Sliders:

  • Hawaiian Buns -a pack of 12 rolls
  • (Pulled Pork)
  • Onion: caramelized with butter
  • Pickles, look for pickles without polysorbate 80 (cancer causing preservative found in most pickles)
  • Carolina Mustard BBQ Sauce- use this recipe, but if you can’t make your own, I’m a big fan of Trader Joe’s Mustard BBQ Sauce


pull apart pulled pork sliders

These pork sliders were drool worthy- a great way to feed a crowd with all that smoked pork shoulder!

How To Make:

  • Cut off hard fat off the pork shoulder
  • Score the meat so the rub gets into the nooks and crannies
  • Coat the meat with olive oil, then add the rub and get into all the nooks and crannies
  • Smoke at 265 until you reach an internal temp of 150.
  • Proceed to the “Texas Crutch” phase- ie, wrap the meat in either foil or butcher paper (I prefer butcher paper).
  • Add 2 tbsp coconut water and 3 tbsp butter on top of the pork before wrapping – this is going to keep it moist.
  • Seal up the pork in the butcher paper and then put back on the smoker at 350 degrees until the internal temperature reached 203 (203 is the point where collagen breaks down! The more you know!)

How long to smoke pork at 225? How Long to smoke pork at 250?

The general rule of thumb is 90 minutes of smoking time per pound at 225° to 250°. It will cook slightly in this recipe at 265, but temp, never time, is your guide.

best recipe for smoked pork shoulder

Smoked Pork shoulder will feed a big crowd- perfect for tailgating or home gating and feeding a family for the week! You can easily freeze the pork as well to reuse at a future date.


You can easily substitute a pork butt over a pork shoulder. Pork butt is a cut of meat that comes from the thicker section of a pig’s shoulder and includes parts of the neck, shoulder blade and upper leg. A pork butt actually has more connective tissue and fat making it perfect for pulling! Often times, people will slice or chop a pork shoulder. You can pull or slice the pork in this recipe.

What to do with Smoked Pork Shoulder?

Most people think of pulled pork sandwiches when they make pulled pork, but the opportunities are endless! For this recipe, I made pulled pork sliders, the kind made popular on instagram where you make 12 sliders at a time using a sheet of rolls, then add toppings such as pickles and caramelized onions, melt the cheese, and go in for the epic cheese pull. 

Try some of these pork options: Classic Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Carolina Gold Sauce, pulled pork tacos or Cuban style served with rice and beans, such as with my Cuban Mojo Pork with Coconut Rice and Beans recipe

best recipe for smoked pork shoulder

The pork is ready to come off the smoker when it has reached an internal temp of 203 degrees, which is the temp that Collagen breaks down.

Tools Needed:

  • Smoker
  • Fuel- pellets/charcoal/wood
  • BBQ Rub- I used my Sunshine State of Mind Craft BBQ Rub that has notes of orange peel zest, kaffir lime, Himalayan salt and granulated honey. Use code PORK for $1 off to try! Every rub purchase comes with a free sticker!
  • Meat Thermometer – I use Thermoworks Thermapen (the standard in meat thermometers) for quick 3 second readings when I’m smoking meat.
  • The Meater bluetooth enabled meat thermometer is also a great one to use – it will monitor your cook the entire time and give you realtime updates on your cook, even telling you when to remove your meat from the smoker. The Meater has essentially idiot-proofed the entire cooking process- I’m a big fan!
  • Butcher paper or Aluminum foil – I recently switched away from using foil as much as I used to learning that the aluminum can seep into your food and try to use butcher paper instead.


This pork should last up to a week in the fridge. But I bet won’t last that long! It also freezes well if you have more than you can eat within a week’s time.

Tips before getting started:

Take the extra time to prep your meat the night before, letting the meat sit in rub (covered) in the refrigerator for 8 hours before putting it on the smoker.

It is of utmost importance to use a meat thermometer so you know when to 1) wrap and then 2) pull the meat off the smoker. Temp, not time, are your guide when smoking meat! 


  • Pork shoulder is not as easy to shred/pull as pork butt, but it is still possible. Smoked pork shoulder is also great for slicing or chopping before serving.
  • Pork shoulder often comes with the skin attached – many people like this so they can crisp the skin up and serve it. I remove the skin and extra fat before scoring and adding rub.
  • Save some of the juices from the pork to use when reheating. To reheat, place in the oven at 300 with the leftover juice so you don’t dry out the meat. Microwaving is more likely to dry out your meat.

Okay, now that you’ve read all about this recipe, let’s make this Floribbean inspired Smoked Pork Shoulder, Shall we?

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recipe for smoked pork shoulder

Sunshine State of Mind Smoked Pork Shoulder with Cheesy Pull Apart Sliders

  • Author: Robyn
  • Total Time: 8 hours
  • Yield: about 15 lbs pork 1x


This recipe for smoked pork shoulder gives a Citrus spin to add flavor and moisture to the pork with the addition of Robyn's Sunshine State of Mind Craft BBQ Rub that has notes of orange peel zest, kaffir lime, and granulated honey. Smoked pork is great to use for pulled pork sandwiches, such as the pull apart sliders included in this recipe.



Pulled Pork Sliders:

  • Hawaiian Buns -a pack of 12 rolls
  • (Pulled Pork)
  • Onion: caramelized with butter
  • Pickles, look for pickles without polysorbate 80 (cancer causing preservative found in most pickles)
  • Carolina Mustard BBQ Sauce– use this recipe, but if you can’t make your own, I’m a big fan of Trader Joes Mustard BBQ Sauce


  1. First, cut off the skin and fat off this pork shoulder (pork shoulder often comes with skin- it will need to be removed).
  2. Next, score the meat so the rub can get into all those nooks and crannies.
  3. Add a binder such as olive oil (don't use seed oils) and slather with your favorite rub, I used my Sunshine State of Mind Craft BBQ Rub for a citrus twist (use code PORK if you want to give it a try for $1 off- it also doubles as a margarita rimmer!)
  4. Smoke 265 degrees until you've reached an internal temp of 150 internal degrees and remove it from the smoker.
  5. Now its time to wrap this Swift Pork Shoulder- this is know as the Texas Crutch Phase.
  6. . Place your pork shoulder on the butcher paper and add in Pineapple infused coconut water, 3 tbps of butter, layer on orange slices to add citrus flavor and continue to smoke at 265 until you've reached an internal temp of 203 degrees. This will take about 1.5 hours per pound, or slightly less. Schedule your mealtime accordingly.
  7. While the pork is smoking, caramelize red onions to put on the sandwiches. This involves melting butter and cooking the onions until they are cooked down, this will take about 20 to 30 minutes but is totally worth it. And you will have time because pork shoulder takes a while.
  8. Once you've hit 203 degrees, it's time to pull this pork shoulder out of the smoker.
  9. Pull the pork and then chop it finely to put on your sliders OR serve as is. If you are making the sliders, proceed to the next step.
  10. Slice your sheet of rolls and Slather with a Mustard BBQ sauce, I used my Carolina Gold BBQ sauce recipe
  11. Layer on your pork, add more sauce and add provolone cheese, caramelized onions, and pickles. Gotta have the pickles (look for pickles WITHOUT Polysorbate 80- that is a preservative that causes cancer!)
  12. Slather your buns with butter and generously sprinkle them with Everything Bagel seasoning. Throw them into the oven at 350 degrees, just long enough to let the cheese melt.
  13. And there you have it, the epic cheese pull you always knew you could do! When you pull these sandwiches out, you will find that when you pull off a roll, you will get an epic “cheese pull” from the provolone cheese. You can do one to have the fun reveal, and then cut the rest so they are easier to serve.


Affiliate links have been used in this post.

  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 6-8 hours, depending on size of the pork should
  • Category: BBQ, Smoked Meat, Grilling, Smoked Pork Shoulder, Smoked Meat
  • Method: Smoke, Grill
  • Cuisine: BBQ, American BBQ, Tailgating

Keywords: recipe for smoked pork shoulder, how to smoke a pork shoulder, smoked pork shoulder recipe

Easy and Delicious Step by Step Recipe for Smoked Pork Shoulder (with bonus slider recipe)