Smoking brisket and pork shoulder at the same time
Smoking brisket and pork shoulder together in a smoker can save time and wood, and, depending on the layout of the smoker, it offers an interesting opportunity to baste the brisket with pork fat drippings. For this method to work, careful attention to cooking time and temperature is needed, however.
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Will smoking both brisket and pork shoulder increase overall cook time
To smoke the beef brisket, if you were simply smoking beef brisket by itself, you would set the smoker to 225 degrees F.
The brisket will take between one and a half and two hours per pound at that temperature.
Brisket is cooked when it reaches an internal temperature of 210 degrees F.
This is a higher temperature than usually used with other cuts of meat, because brisket is a tough and fatty cut of meat, and will remain tough and chewy if under-cooked.
To smoke the pork shoulder, if you were simply smoking pork shoulder by itself, you would want the internal temperature of the pork to rise to 200 degrees F.
At that temperature, the meat should be tender enough to fall off of the bone, and to be easily pulled apart with a fork. It will be juicy and completely done.
At a temperature setting of 225 degrees F, this process will take about two hours per pound of meat.
The cooking time per pound of both meats is approximately the same.
Only the ideal temperature is different, with the beef brisket wanting a higher internal temperature than the pork shoulder.
Since they cook at a similar pace, and if you choose two pieces of meat that are about the same size and weight, you should be able to cook both together without drastically increasing the overall cooking time.
Of course, you should be proficient in smoking both brisket and pork shoulder alone, before you attempt to cook them together.
This is not the moment for on-the-job learning by trial and error.
These are large and somewhat expensive pieces of meat, and error, after an entire day spent cooking, would be heart-breaking.
If you know how long it takes for your smoker to cook a brisket, and how long it takes for your smoker to cook a pork shoulder, you can begin to estimate your cooking time for both.
Let us consider an example.
If we have a smoker that cooks a eight pound brisket and does so in twelve hours at a stable temperature, then the smoker cooks the brisket at a rate of 1.5 hours per pound.
Now, if the same smoker cooks an eight pound brisket in sixteen hours at a stable temperature, then the smoker cooks the pork shoulder at the rate of 2 hours per pound.
Each of these rates needs to be known separately before cooking the meat together, because you can then plan for cooking cuts of any size together.
The cooking time for each individual piece must be determined, based upon the weight of each.
Let us consider both eight pound pieces of meat.
The eight pound pork will be done in sixteen hours, and the eight pound brisket will be done in twelve hours.
Once the smoker has reached the setting temperature of 225 degrees F, the pork shoulder goes in first, and the beef brisket is put in four hours later.
Should you smoke both pork shoulder and brisket at the same time?
Whether you should smoke both a pork shoulder and a brisket at the same time depends in part on your preference, and in part on the size of your smoker.
If your smoker is small, it is probably better to smoke one piece of meat at a time.
If you have a larger smoker, you have the capacity to smoke many pieces of meat at once, and, given the long time required for smoking either pork shoulder or brisket, it is probably more efficient to use that extra space well.
When would you smoke both brisket and pork shoulder at the same time
Since you have the extra space, you may as well use it fully.
The only question is how to do so in a way to bring out the best flavor of each meat.
If the smoker has both an upper and a lower rack for meat, you may wish to place the pork shoulder on the top shelf, and the beef brisket on the lower shelf.
As the pork shoulder cooks, the fat will melt from it, and drip down onto the beef brisket below, and the brisket will, in effect, be basted by the pork shoulder’s drippings.
This is very convenient if the brisket is a flat cut, rather than a packer.
Usually, if the pork shoulder was to be smoked by itself, or with other pork shoulders, the best practice would be to place the pork shoulders fat side up.
Ordinarily, this would reduce the risk of flare-ups, and keep the pork shoulder moist with its own fat. In this case, our goal is to use the brisket on the lower level to sop up the drippings.
So, when smoking both brisket and pork shoulder together, on two levels, place the brisket on the lower level, the pork shoulder on the upper level, and place the pork with the fat side down.
Will it take more wood to properly flavor both cuts of meat?
Since the smoker runs for approximately the same length of time for both cuts of meat, it should not take more wood to flavor the meats.
Can you smoke two different meats at the same time?
In order to smoke both brisket and pork shoulder at the same time, a little advanced planning is required.
Since the cuts of meat require slightly different internal temperatures, you should have separate meat thermometers available for each kind of cut.
Ideally, you should also select pieces of meat that are approximately the same size.
You will need to keep careful track of the cooking time for each piece, and to keep the cooking temperature of the smoker at a steady, even level.
Smoking brisket and pork shoulder at the same time in a traeger
If you have a Traeger, you have other options for smoking pork shoulder and brisket.
If time is a consideration, you can set the Traeger to 180 degrees F, and smoke both pieces overnight, then turn the temperature up to 225 degrees F in the morning.
What takes longer, pork shoulder or brisket?
The cooking temperatures and times of the meats are approximately the same, with the brisket perhaps taking slightly less time.
A pork shoulder should be cooked completely at a rate of two hours a pound at a temperature setting of 225 degrees F.
A brisket should cook at a rate of between one and a half and two hours a pound at the same temperature setting.
Each individual smoker is slightly different, so you should experiment with each cut of meat before putting both together.
Despite the best planning, it is quite possible for one meat to finish before the other.
If the second meat should finish fairly quickly, then the first meat can simply be wrapped in foil to begin its resting period.
If you expect the other meat will take longer than an hour to cook, you can keep the meat that finishes early hot in the oven at 180 degrees F. Don’t forget that both meats should rest for a time after cooking to allow the juices to settle.
In preparing both brisket and pork shoulder at the same time, planning and timing are key factors. Smoking both together can save time.
You should pay close attention to the temperature of the smoker, and should be familiar with the time needed to smoke both meats individually before attempting to put both together.
This article was written by Robert McCall, the founder of bbqdropout.com. Robert also owns and operates the BBQ dropout YouTube channel where he demonstrates his first-hand experience cooking all kinds of meats and strives to provide helpful, authoritative content for people looking how to barbecue.
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