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How Long to Get Pork Shoulder To Room Temp? (Explained)

How Quickly Does Pork Shoulder Get to Room Temp?

Before cooking, most meats should be set out and brought to room temperature.

People refer to this technique as “tempering.” Tempering your meat between 20 and 30 minutes when pulled straight from the refrigerator before cooking time is recommended by most chefs.

Some Pitmasters will let their pork shoulder temper for 3 to 4 hours, depending on the size of the cut.


Why Do We “Temper” Meat? 

When tossed on the smoker or grill, tempering meat helps it cook more evenly. The outside of the meat will cook faster than the inside if it is taken straight from the fridge to the smoker. It runs the danger of burning the bark before reaching the necessary internal temperature.

Tempering also helps moisture to evaporate from the surface of the pork shoulder, resulting in more consistent cooking. Some folks even pad the meat with a paper towel before sprinkling and tossing the rub on.


Can You Temper Pork Shoulder for Too Long

We all forget things from time to time and forgetting about your beautiful pork shoulder you left to temper can happen to any of us. 

When pork is cooked, it can be left out for as long as its internal temperature remains above 140 degrees (F).

However, raw pork (or any meat) should not be kept out for more than two hours. When handling and preparing meats, always keep the “danger zone” in mind.

The danger zone for pork is between 40- and 140-degrees Fahrenheit. Any pork temped between these ranges should be considered unfit for consumption.


What Temperature Should Pork Shoulder Reach When Tempering? 

As previously said, as long as your pork stays below 40 degrees(F) (before smoking) and above 140 degrees(F) (after smoking), you’ll be good to go! Although some people do prefer to temper at a specified temperature, such as 20-25 degrees (F).


What Temperature Should Pork Reach before Pulling Off Smoker

The internal temperature of pork shoulder should be between 195- and 205-degrees Fahrenheit (F) when it’s time to pull it from the smoker, that is the golden zone you’re aiming for. 

The smoking process takes a long time. Meats can be smoked for up to 20 hours! Different cuts of beef cook at varying rates.

Don’t be afraid to invest in a high-quality meat thermometer to combat this. Throughout the majority of the process, you’ll need to keep an eye on the pork.

You rely on the temperature of the pork shoulder, not how long it’s been smoking. 

Keep in mind that the temperature range of 195-205 is a professional recommendation.

If you like your meat a little more on the well side, you may keep it on for a little longer or experiment with other roasting temperatures.


Should Pork Shoulder be Wrapped While Tempering? 

No, the pork shoulder should be allowed to temper at room temperature, uncovered.

Wrapping a pork shoulder should be done only when it reaches internal temperatures between 150 and 170 degrees (F). It not only keeps the pork shoulder from becoming overly smoked, but it also helps it get over “the stall,” which is a temperature plateau which commonly happens when smoking pork shoulder.


Where Should you Place Pork Shoulder to Rest After Smoking? 

The Countertop Can be Just Fine

Meat does not necessarily need to rest for several hours. Pork shoulder typically requires only a 30–45-minute rest period. If this is the case, leaving the pork shoulder to rest (while wrapped) on the counter is totally OK.

The Oven

Resting pork shoulder in the oven allows you to keep it warm for up to 12 hours, though this is entirely dependent on how hot the pork is when it goes into the oven. So be fast moving it from the smoker to the oven.

Preheat the oven to 150 degrees (F) before taking the pork off the smoker. This strategy can be applied to both wrapped and unwrapped meats.

The Cooler Method

The cooler approach is ideal for camping and other situations where an oven is not available. A cooler can retain a properly insulated pork shoulder for hours. Just make sure the pork is wrapped in a towel (while still wrapped in foil) and that the cooler is also lined with towels.

It’s also a good idea to filter boiling hot water into and out of the cooler ahead of time. This “preheats” the cooler in preparation for the pork.


Final Thoughts 

It takes hours to smoke a beautiful pork shoulder, but the excellence begins before it even touches the smoker.

Allowing the pork to temper at room temperature before smoking is an important step, and you won’t have to worry about it if you use some ingenuity and a trustworthy meat thermometer.