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Kamado Joe Roast Pork With Crackling

Kamado Joe Roast Pork With Crackling

The versatility of the Kamado Joe means that you can easily set it up to slow a roast bone-in pork shoulders and render the fat cap into flavorful crispy crackling. Though there are a few tricks to getting it right.

This starts with the kind of pork roast you choose, how you prepare it, how you season and strategically use the heat of the Kamado Joe.

The best type of pork roast for making crackling on a Kamado Joe is a picnic shoulder, which has more skin and subcutaneous fat than a Boston butt pork shoulder. Then you want to score it deeply and salt it liberally.

When you are ready, you can fire up your Kamado Joe with the heat deflectors in place for indirect cooking.

Then start out on high heat around 350 to 400 degrees for the first 10 to 15 minutes, before dialing the heat down to roast the picnic shoulder slow and low.

Finish with a little more high heat to put the final crisp on the crackling.


Cooking Pork Roast on Kamado Joe

Cooking pork roast on a Kamado Joe starts with choosing a picnic shoulder or pork picnic roast, over a more-common Boston butt pork shoulder.

Picnic shoulders are the upper arm of a hog, and most come with skin and a fair layer of subcutaneous fat, which makes the best pork crackling.


Seasoning and Preparing A Picnic Shoulder Pork Roast

Prepping and seasoning the picnic shoulder calls for deeply scoring the skin and fat right to the very surface facia of the meat.

If you have the time, liberally salt the skin and wrap the picnic shoulder to rest overnight. This will help to draw out some of the water-soluble proteins, which will make for crispier crackling later on.

You should only use salt on the skin and the fat cap of the picnic shoulder. Pepper, herbs, and spices will only burn, which will affect the flavor and texture of the crackling.

You can season all the other surfaces of the meat on the other side of the picnic roast.


Smoking A Picnic Shoulder with Crackling on A Kamado Joe

You will need to use indirect heat to roast a picnic shoulder roast with crackling, which calls for installing the heat deflectors in the bottom of your Kamado Joe.

You would be wise to place a drip pan above the heat diffusers as the rendered fat can get a bit messy. Though leave the drip pan dry. Steam will make it hard to develop the crackling skin.

When building the fire, you want to use jumbo lump charcoal. If you want to add smoking woods, go with something mild like applewood or hickory.

Step One: Fire up your Kamado Joe with the lower damper all the way open. You are targeting an initial temperature of 400 to 450 degrees.

Step Two: Lay the scored and salted picnic shoulder with the skin side up, and keep the lower damper wide open for the first 10 to 15 minutes. This will help kick start the rendering process of the fat and skin.

Step Three: Close the lid vent and reduce the lower damper to about one-inch wide. You are looking to reduce the temperature on the lid to 275 to 300 degrees.

Step Four: When the internal temperature of the thickest part of the meat reaches 180 degrees, you can open the lower damper up to the halfway position. This will drive the heat up and give the crackling the last little bit of crispness it needs.

Step Five: Pull the picnic shoulder off the Kamado Joe when it reaches an internal temperature of 190 to 200 degrees. Tent it under aluminum foil for 15 to 20 minutes before serving.

Can You Get Crackling on Smoked Pork?

It is pretty easy to get crackling on picnic shoulder pork roast as they tend to have a fair amount of skin with a subcutaneous fat layer.

Boston butt pork shoulders tend to have the skin trimmed away leaving just a fat cap, which doesn’t do as good of a job of becoming crackling.


How Do You Get Crackling Hard on Pork?

Rendering fat and moisture reduction are critical for turning pork skin into truly crisp crackling. This starts with deeply scoring the skin and subcutaneous fat cap on a picnic shoulder roast.

Then liberally salt the scored fat and give it several hours, if not overnight to dry out the water-soluble proteins and moisture. You can then pat the surface of the crackling to remove this moisture.

When it comes time to roast the pork picnic shoulder, you need to start with high heat around 350 to 400 degrees for at least 10 to 15 minutes.

This will kick start the rendering process and cause the meat fibers to rapidly contract to expel moisture.

You can then lower the temperature of your Kamado Joe to roast the picnic shoulder slow and low like any other bone-in piece of meat. Toward the end, you want to bring the temperature of the Kamado Joe back up to the 350-degree range to finish and crisp the crackling.


How Long Does It Take to Get Crackling on Pork?

With some pork roasts, like a picnic shoulder, you can get crackling in as little as 3 hours.

Though this calls for rapidly heating the pork in a way that will still leave the underlying meat a little tough.

If you want crackling, and tender meat, you should expect it to take at least 5 to 8 hours for a small-to-medium size picnic shoulder.


Final Thoughts

One of the great things about the versatility of a Kamado Joe means that you can easily set it up to slow a roast bone-in pork shoulders and render the fat cap into flavorful crispy crackling.

Though there are a few tricks to getting it right.

This starts with the kind of pork roast you choose, how you prepare it, how you season and strategically use the heat of the Kamado Joe.

The best type of pork roast for making crackling on a Kamado Joe is a picnic shoulder, which has more skin and subcutaneous fat than a Boston butt pork shoulder.

Then you want to score it deeply and salt it liberally.

When you are ready, you can fire up your Kamado Joe with the heat deflectors in place for indirect cooking.

Then start out on high heat around 350 to 400 degrees for the first 10 to 15 minutes, before dialing the heat down to roast the picnic shoulder slow and low. Finish with a little more high heat to put the final crisp on the crackling.