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Barbecue/Speed up cooking time



Last year, i had a roasted, over an open fire using coals and wood, a 20 lbs pork shoulder. I wanted to have pulled pork. But after a good 8 hours or so the pork was only at 160 or so. Not good for pulled pork.

I am doing it again. But i don't want to start roasting at 3 AM. Is there a way to speed up the cooking time or partially cook the pork so that i can get it up to temp during the day?

I thought about poaching, like we do with chicken or sausages, or roasting for a couple of hours the day before. But i am not too sure. Any help is appreciated.

There are a couple of ways to speed it up:  higher temperature, cutting it in half or thirds.  You need to figure about 1 hr per lb. at around 250-275 so that is about 20 hrs. for a shoulder that size to get to 185 degrees for pulled pork  If you smoke it at 300-325 that may cut the time down to about 12 hours.  If you cut it in half then you cut your time in half about 10 hrs at 250-275.

Since you are cooking it on an open fire, that is hard to control the temperature and most heat and smoke is escaping.  I would suggest cutting it into 2-3 pieces.  I would not "poach" it, you'll cook the flavor out of it.

You do mention cooking it ahead of time which is an alternative.  You could cook it over the pit the day before for 8 hours or so, then wrap it in foil and put it in your oven at say 350 degrees to finish about another 8 hours.  If it gets to 185, just cut down the temperature in the oven to hold warm at 175 degrees. The key to pulled pork is getting it to 185 and holding it there for s while. Another key is that if it is not at 140 degrees, at the halfway mark of your cooking time, you need to increase the temperature.  But I would never decrease the temperature, if it is over 140 unless it is near 165-170 degrees. So for the second cook in the oven, if you are giving yourself an 8 hour cook period, at about 4 hours, it should be about 140 degrees.


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John Langenfelder


I can generally answer most questions relating to BBQ, smoked meats, choosing meats, grilled meats, spices, rubs, sauces, grills, cookers, smokers, wood, charcoal and food preparation.


I have been cooking and smoking meats for over 40 years (yep, even as a child). I am a BBQ competitor and certified judge.


Bachelor of Barbeques Science B.S. from the Greasehouse University by the facilities of the Pitmasters College by the K.C. Baron of Barbeque
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