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Holding Pork Shoulder in Oven | 9 Things To Consider!

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Holding a pork shoulder can be an excellent option when you are needing to let it rest.

Resting a pork shoulder is a necessity, and can be done for up to 12 hours while holding in an oven.

Pork shoulders can be kept warm overnight with the help of some ambient heat inside the oven, and they do not need to be wrapped.

It is not recommended to shred a pork shoulder before resting, always let it come down in temperature before shredding.

Let’s dig into how to hold a pork shoulder in an oven!


How long can you hold a pork shoulder in oven?

Holding a pork shoulder in the oven can be from 3 – 12 hours.

This is largely dependent on how hot the meat is when you place it inside the warming oven, the weight of the pork shoulder, and whether you wrap it or not.

Furthermore, you have the ability to set an ambient temperature within the oven that will do an excellent job at keeping the meat warm.

Length of time a pork shoulder can be rested while in an oven starts to increase if you decide to wrap the meat in butcher paper in foil.

This is because it adds another layer of preservation to the meat and does not let the heat inside the meat to escape as quickly. 

If the pork shoulder is relatively large – around 10 or more pounds – it can also rest a longer period of time than anything less than 10 pounds. 

Larger cuts of meat can rest longer because there is frankly just more connective tissue, fat, and moisture to cool down.

Basically, there’s just a lot more meat that needs to come down in internal temperature. 

For these larger cuts of pork shoulder that weigh in at the 10 pound or more mark, you can expect to keep them warm for 8 – 12 hours with no significant cooling effects.

For smaller cuts that are less than 8 to 10 pounds in weight, you can expect to safely hold it for roughly 3 – 8 hours without having to implement ambient heating.

Implementing ambient heating in an oven while resting a pork shoulder is just setting the temperature to a very low amount – roughly 100 – 150 degrees – to allow for a longer warming period.

This little trick is very popular among bbq professionals, and allows them to consistently produce amazing results every single time they smoke barbecue.


Keeping pork shoulder warm overnight

Keeping pork shoulder warm overnight is a recommended choice for pit masters that want to completely rest their barbecue.

This is made possible by the oven not letting too much heat escape from the meat.

You also have the ability to control the ambient temperature, ensuring you can keep the meat warm for a very long period of time.

This range in temperature is between 100 – 200 depending on the length of time holding in an oven.

When a porks shoulder is finished late at night and is in need of some resting, an oven is a common choice to keep it safe and sound. 

Holding a pork shoulder in an oven overnight helps preserve the moisture content, and is practically a dedicated place to ensure the heat element is always under control.

You can set an ambient temperature to whatever you want, and can even turn it off if you do not wish to keep warming your pork shoulder.

Some ranges in ambient temperature you can use to keep a pork shoulder warm over night are anywhere from 100 – 200 degrees.

This temperature range is certainly wide, and is because you may not need to actually let it warm for an extended period of time.

If you are wanting to intentionally try and keep the pork shoulder warm for a period longer than 8 hours, you should be setting the ambient temperature at a lower range.

For shorter holding periods in an oven overnight, the temperature range can be in the upper range of 190 – 200 degrees. 

The longer you hold, the Lower the temp. You don’t want to risk recooking or overheating your pork shoulder.

Same thing with holding for shorter periods, you can keep it warm at the internal temperature you want by keeping the ambient temp higher.

Since you are doing this for a shorter period of time, you won’t risk over cooking and you still reap the benefit of having a warm pork shoulder.


Pork Shoulder Done Too Early

Pork shoulders that are done too early are great candidates for holding in a warming oven.

This not only lets the meat have a place to completely rest, but offers the PitMaster the ability to directly control the ambient temperature within the chamber. 

Barbecue in general can be hard to get right.

You need to consider when the right time to pull it off the smoker is, and how long to appropriately let it rest.

A variety of factors directly impact these aspects, such as type of cut, weight, marbling, and grade. 

In other words, no single cut of barbecue is the same.

That is why you need to understand all these little tips and tricks that you can employ to ensure you get a great after product.

If a pork shoulder happens to be ‘done’ too early or earlier than expected, place it in a warming oven.

You will want to then assess how long you need to rest it in there, and when exactly do you plan to shred the meat.

This will impact your next decision, which is whether to wrap or implementing ambient temperature warming inside the oven.

When you figure out when you need to serve the pork shoulder – wrap it if the event is any longer than 8 hours away.

This can ensure further heat retention, and also allows the moisture to be held within the meat.

At this point, you should also consider setting the ambient temperature of the meat to the lower end of 100 degrees to ensure that nothing gets cold.

If the event is less than 8 hours away, don’t feel the need to wrap in foil, but do consider still setting an appropriate ambient temperature within the oven to make sure it never goes cold.


Holding Pork Shoulder In Oven VS Cooler

Holding a pork shoulder in an oven is better than holding in a cooler if you want to have full control of ambient temperature within the holding device.

If setting a constant ambient temperature to assist in warming is not important, consider holding your pork shoulder in a cooler instead.

Benefits Of Holding A Pork Shoulder In An Oven:

  • Ability to control ambient temperature
  • Dedicated warming area usually within every kitchen
  • Insulates meat very well

Benefits Of Holding A Pork Shoulder In A Cooler:

  • Portable
  • Different brands that can insulate better than others
  • Compact area that is easy to fit any type of meat in


Should there be any heat in the oven while resting?

You should turn on a warming setting in the oven while resting a pork shoulder if you want to keep it warm for roughly 3-12 hours.

Anything past the 12 hour mark and you should consider putting the meat in the fridge. 

Having ambient heat in the oven while you are resting your pork shoulder is a great way to keep it warm for any length of time you want.

The heat will actually start to increase the time you are able to hold the meat, and may even let the moisture content of the meat come out better than expected.


Does the pork shoulder need to be wrapped while in an oven?

You should be wrapping your pork shoulder if you wish to continue resting it for any period longer than 3 hours.

Wrapping a pork shoulder while in an oven simply lets it hold its temperature better over a long period of time, and allows for excellent moisture retention. 

Not wrapping the pork shoulder while in an oven helps to keep it warm for periods of time around 3 hours.

Anything longer than this will warrant either wrapping the meat or implementing ambient temperature warming. 

Keeping the meat warm is essential, since you do not want to serve cold meat.


Keeping pork shoulder warm all day in oven

Keeping a pork shoulder warm all day while in an oven can be accomplished by setting a warming temperature ranging from 100 – 200 degrees.

This helps the PitMaster have a mechanism to intentionally control the temperature of the meat and plan ahead accordingly. 

When you need to plan ahead with a pork shoulder that is in the resting stage, a warming oven is one of the best ways to ensure a great after product. 

It can be better than even holding in a cooler, since you don’t have the ability to directly control the temperature within the holding area.

There’s ways around this if you’re using a cooler, but usually – when you are wanting a simple and easy to use method of keeping a pork shoulder warm all day long – just use a warming oven.


Effects holding pork shoulder in the oven has on the bark

Holding pork shoulder in the oven can both preserve and destroy the bark.

If you happen to wrap your pork shoulder in foil, then the bark will be effectively destroyed.

Otherwise, if there is no direct wrapping on the meat while in an oven, the bark should stay in tact.

The reason why wrapping in foil destroys your bark is due to the fact that there is a lot of condensation occurring.

While wrapped, the meat is still very hot and will start to emit water vapor inside the casing, which will start to seep back into the meat and thus taking the bark with it. 

Not wrapping your pork shoulder preserves your precious bark, and it is recommended to not wrap your meat if you want to keep it in tact even throughout the warming period.


Should the pork shoulder be shredded before resting in the oven?

Never shred a pork shoulder before resting.

This will completely ruin your cook, and certainly dry it out.

You need to let the meat come down to a reasonable internal temperature before ever thinking about pulling it apart.

When you let a meat rest completely, it will be very juicy, moist, and tender.

If it is pulled too early, the meat will unfortunately be to tough and dry to eat. 

Cuts of barbecue need to let the connective tissue inside to cool down. 

After being pulled off the smoker, they are still raging hot and the moisture will completely evaporate before your eyes if you decide to cut into it.