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How Long to Get Pork Shoulder to Room Temperature? (Explained)

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Everything about smoking pork shoulder appears to necessitate time and planning. Even after the meat has thawed, it must be allowed to come to room temperature before cooking.

Warming meat to room temperature before cooking is a common practice.

Resting meat before cooking improves the overall cooking process.

It will also help to improve the quality of the meat, resulting in a tastier outcome.  

On average, it takes 1 to 2 hours for a pork shoulder to reach room temperature.

They should then be cooked right away. Unfortunately, raw pork can no longer be refrigerated or frozen after resting. 

Keep in mind that a few factors can cause this time to change. For instance, how warm is the room to begin with?

If the room is unusually warm or humid (anything above 75 degrees(F)), the pork will warm up faster.

This will necessitate more frequent monitoring. Similarly, if the room is colder, the pork will take even longer to pre-rest.

Regardless, raw pork should never be left at room temperature for more than two hours.

Following that, harmful bacteria begin to grow on the pork, harbouring potentially dangerous foodborne illnesses like Trichinosis

If it helps, set a timer to remind you about the pork shoulder to avoid entering what chefs call “The Danger Zone.”

This may seem perplexing to new smokers. After all, the danger zone is between 40- and 140-degrees Fahrenheit, so wouldn’t allowing the meat to come to room temperature cause it to spoil?

Not quite, in this case, it’s more about time vs. temperature. As long as the pork isn’t left out for more than two hours, the bacteria won’t be able to reproduce and multiply.

This is why you should cook me right away after pre-resting.

How Long Do You Pre-Rest Pork Shoulder Before Cooking?

Even though raw pork can be left out for up to two hours, it does not have to.

Smaller cuts of pork (and other meats) usually require only 30 minutes to an hour of pre-resting.

(If the cut is small enough, no pre-resting is required.)

Larger cuts of pork, such as the shoulder, may benefit from a longer pre-rest period. You should rest pork shoulder for at least one hour. Because it’s a larger cut, it takes longer to warm the centre.

Can the Pre-Rest Time Be Extended Past 2 Hours?

Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do to increase the time. There is no way to work around the danger zone.

Any pork that has been left out at room temperature for more than 2 hours should be thrown away.

Some smokers will pre-rest pork in a refrigerator, even though it isn’t room temperature.

You can keep the raw pork in this manner for up to three days, but it may not be the same as it would be at room temperature.

Why Do You Pre-Rest Pork Before Cooking?

Even Cooking

When you cook a pork shoulder that hasn’t been brought to room temperature, the centre is much cooler than the outside.

So, if you were to cook the pork without bringing it to room temperature first, the outside of the meat will cook much faster than the inside. 

However, allowing the pork to pre-rest allows the centre to warm along with the outside. This ensures that the entire pork shoulder cooks at the same rate all together, all the way through.

Additionally, some cooks prefer to sear their pork shoulder before smoking it.

By bringing the shoulder to room temperature first, you can achieve a much higher quality sear.  

Cooks Faster

The more moisture there is in the meat, the longer it will take to cook.

When meat is allowed to come to room temperature before cooking, a significant amount of the outer moisture wicks away.

This can help to reduce the amount of time required for cooking.

No Shrinkage

After cooking, certain meats tend to shrink or become a little shrivelled. However, by pre-resting, this can be avoided, or at the very least greatly reduced.

This is due to the dehydration process.

It happens when the temperature of the outside of the meat is much higher than the temperature of the inside.

This temperature difference causes the steak to lose moisture, causing it to dry out and shrink.

Final Thoughts 

While you can cook pork without first pre-resting it, the flavour, tenderness, and overall quality will not be the same as if it had been brought to room temperature. 

It’s a small step that results in a big difference.

Also, if you suspect that the pork has been sitting for too long, use a meat thermometer.

Just make sure you follow the rules of the danger zone.

Another thing to consider is the temperature of the room. Warmer temperatures will cause the pork shoulder to pre-rest much faster.