Can I smoke a pork shoulder a day ahead of time and then refrigerate until ready to use?

I am hosting a BBQ on a sat at noon. The recipe I have says to smoke the pork shoulder for 8 hours. instead of getting up at 4am Could I smoke it on Friday and refrigerate until that day and slowly heat it up in the oven or grill. Will this dry it out at all?



Karen June 26, 2022
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SKK June 10, 2012
shoresdiver is right on - my brother-in-law the owner of smoked meat restaurant does exactly this.
shoresdiver June 10, 2012
The mobile app wouldn't let me complete my answer... As an alternative to re-heating, a pork shoulder will rest happily for probably up to 4-5 hours if you wrap it in a double layer of foil, wrap that in several bath towels, and place all of that in a warm cooler with the cover on tight (the FTC method).

Also, 8 hours for a pork shoulder is a pretty short cooking time - mine usually take 12-15 hours. It is best to smoke the shoulder at a temp of around 220 degrees, and cook the shoulder to an internal temp of 190 degrees. The shoulder will stall at a temperature of 165-175 degrees, typically for several hours. This is the connective tissue breaking down, and is a really important step in the cooking process. If you cook it at a higher temp, you will end up with a dryer product, and if you try to rush things, the shoulder will end up staying tough. Low and slow smoking will result in a shoulder that will practically fall apart on its own...

So, if you cook at the lower temp, it will cook through the night, and then you can FTC the shoulder, so you will have a really succulent fresh pulled pork to serve when you are ready for dinner. (But you can refrigerate or freeze the leftovers in the unlikely event that there are any, and reheat as above).
shoresdiver June 10, 2012
If you wrap it in foil, add 1 or 2 T of apple juice, and heat it in a 350 degree oven, you wont be able to tell it from fresh made!
davidpdx June 9, 2012
Of course! It will be fine. We do that frequently, smoking enough to enjoy refrigerated leftovers throughout the week. Reheating under foil and slathering with your BBQ sauce will minimize any drying out.
singing_baker June 9, 2012
Thanks David!
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