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Can I smoke 2 pork shoulders at the same time? (Explained)

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Now that the weather is finally starting to warm up, many of us are already making plans for a summer filled with grilling and smoking delectable meats.

So, perhaps you’d like to kick off the season’s first backyard BBQ with a bang with a large gathering of family and friends. This means you’ll need a lot of food.

The problem is that if you’re smoking pork shoulder, one may not be enough, and one already takes several hours to cook. So, can you smoke multiple pork shoulders at the same time?

You most certainly can. In fact, people frequently smoke multiple meats at the same time. Of course, there are a few things you should keep in mind while doing so

Smoking Two Pork Shoulders at Once

Generally, the smoking process will be the same, with the exception of a few extra precautions.

However, instead of the traditional smoking temperature of 225 degrees Fahrenheit, you might want to try a slightly hotter temperature, such as 250 degrees Fahrenheit.

The benefit of smoking two pork shoulders at the same time is that they are of the same cut and thus require the same internal temperature. This is far more convenient than keeping track of three different cooking times for four different cuts of meat.

Does Smoking Two Pork Shoulders at Once Take Longer? 

When smoking pork shoulder, you don’t really follow a timeline; instead, you go by the internal temperature of the meat. Regardless of what any cooking time a recipe will throw at you, the meat is not done until the thermometer says so. 

That being said, it is possible that smoking two pork shoulders at once may take little longer than smoking one at a time. Normally, a pork shoulder will cook at a rate of about 90 minutes per pound of meat when smoked at 225 degrees (F). (A 5-pound pork shoulder, for example, would take roughly 10 hours to smoke.) When multiple shoulders are added to the smoker, it’s possible that may decrease to 2 hours per pound of meat.  

However, this is also dependent on the size of the smoker and the amount of airflow it allows. If the smoker is too small to fit two pork shoulders, there will be too little space between them, resulting in very limited airflow around them. This will cause them to cook at a slower rate.

Make sure that each shoulder has enough space and that there is plenty of room between them. This way, no matter how many pork shoulders you have, the cooking time should stay relatively the same. 

Note: when smoking multiple pieces of meat, some people will raise the ambient smoke temperature to 250 degrees (F) to help shave off some cooking time. Raising the temperature of a pork shoulder is not usually recommended, but it may benefit multiple pork shoulders at once.

Can Two Pork Shoulders Finish at Different Times? 

As long as the shoulders are roughly the same size, you should be fine. However, if one is significantly larger than the other, you’ll most likely have to pull it from the smoker before the other. Besides that, two shoulders could finish at different times if only one was pre-rested and brought to room temperature first.

If this occurs, wrap the cooked pork shoulder in cloth towels and keep it warm in an oven or a cooler.

How To Smoke Two Pork Shoulders Together

The fundamentals stay the same. Prepare them the same as you normally would. 

Make sure your smoker has enough space. There should be plenty of airflow between the individual cuts. This helps them cook better individually. The smoker should be set to 225 degrees (F), but no one will judge you if you set it to 250. 

Place them into the smoker with enough space apart.

The length of time will depend on the size of the cut. For example, two 8-pound pork shoulders will fully smoke in just about 12 hours.

Also, remember to use two separate drip pans or one large one. If you overlook this, the drippings from the extra pork shoulder will result in far more flare-ups during the smoking process.

Final Thoughts

Smoking multiple pork shoulders at the same time is not an uncommon occurrence. BBQ restaurants across the country would struggle to stay in business if they could only smoke one at a time.

Simply be aware of both of their internal temperatures and use an accurate meat thermometer to monitor your meat. Also, ensure that the smoker is capable of handling multiple meats at once and has enough space to separate the meat from one another.