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Jan 23, 2012
Pork Shoulder on Top, Brisket Flat on Bottom


I've been smoking pork shoulders on my Weber Smokey Mountain Smoker for quite some time now. They have been turning out great but I wanted to try something new. I have recently been reading about a method of smoking where a pork shoulder is placed on a grate above a beef brisket. The reasoning is that the fat and juices from the pork shoulder will drip down and "mop" the brisket. I figured this was worth a shot. Here's what I did:


pork shoulder on top of a brisket

Main Ingredients:

Bone In Pork Shoulder (Boston Butt)
Beef Brisket Flat
Pork Shoulder Injection (recipe below)
Brisket Dry Rub (recipe below)
Pork Shoulder Dry Rub

Ingredients for the Pork Shoulder Injection:
3/4 cup apple juice
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup salt
2 T Worcestershire sauce

Ingredients for the Brisket Flat Dry Rub:
1/2 cup salt
2 T black pepper
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp of ground chipotle chili pepper
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried onion flakes

If you are familiar with the Weber Smokey Mountain Smoker you'll know that it has a top grate and a bottom grate for cooking. The plan today was to place a rather small brisket flat (~4 lbs), the standard grocery store brisket cut, on the bottom grate and have two pork shoulders sitting on the top grate. The idea was that the pork shoulder drippings may help keep the brisket moist.

The night before I put a standard BBQ dry rub on the pork shoulders. I didn't put the dry rub on the brisket the night before because I was afraid it would overpower the beef flavor if it was left on too long. I put the above brisket dry rub on in the morning while the smoker was warming up. This rub is from Myron Mixon's booked called "Smokin' with Myron Mixon".

In the morning I prepared my smoker to achieve 250 degrees, injected the pork shoulder with the above injection mix and put the meats on around 7am. The injection was really easy to make, I just mixed together all of the ingredients in a bowl and used my injection syringe to pull up the fluid for injection. I injected the pork shoulder about 10 times on each side using slow release pressure while pulling the needle out of the pork. You can really see the pork shoulder swell up with liquid when you do this.

pork shoulder injection photo

I put a temperature probe in the beef brisket flat before assembling the smoker that way I wouldn't have to take off the hot top grate to add it later.

brisket on the bottom with a thermometer in it

I was maintaining great temperature all day long. The temperature needle was pretty much stuck on 250 degrees. However, after about 4 hours it started to dip around 225. At this time I normally take a handful of unlit coals, a big chunk of apple wood and toss them into the fire. For about 5-10 min after this I'll leave the side door of the smoker open to allow the wood and coals to ignite a bit. I've found that this really helps keep the fire going. I also jam some aluminum foil in the door to help keep the meat on the bottom grate shielded from the cold air.

refueling a weber smokey mountain smoker

Since the pork was injected I chose not to mop the pork. This was quite handy and helped my temperature hold strong since I was only opening the dome to snap a few photos!

pork shoulder photo

I switched the camera over to manual focus for the photo below so you can see the juices that have accumulated on top of the brisket during the smoke. The darn autofocus kept locking on the grates! This photo was taken about 4 hours into the smoke. It sure looks juicy down there.

brisket on bottom

At the 8 hour mark I added more unlit coal to keep the temperature at 250 degrees. At 8 hours the meat was starting to get a bit darker. I also added thermometer probes into the pork shoulders at the 8 hour mark.

chili dog sauce

After 13 hours the internal temperature of the pork shoulders registered 195 degrees so I took them off the smoker and wrapped them tightly in foil for about 1 hour before pulling. Immediately after pulling I could see that this was the juiciest pork shoulder I've ever made. I really think the injection made a huge difference. Especially since this pork shoulder wasn't exposed to a mop solution.

pulled pork

I read online that you know when a brisket is done when you can insert a thermometer probe into it and it slides in and out like butter. This normally happens somewhere in the 190-200 degree internal temperature range. After 13 hours the brisket was about 192 so I tested the tenderness. It was tender but it didn't really feel just like butter yet, so I kept it on for another hour. At 14 hours the brisket was 199 degrees so I took it off and tested it again. It was much softer and more tender this time. I brought it inside and wrapped it tightly in foil for about 1 hour before slicing.

sliced brisket with a smoke ring

You can really see the smoke ring that formed on the brisket! It was very tender. I'm really impressed with this method.

a photo of a plate of BBQ

The above picture was taken with my cell phone. We had quite a spread for the football game. I did all of my smoking on Saturday for the Sunday games. This meant that I had to do some thinking about how to reheat my BBQ meat. Here's what I did:

I pulled the pork the day it was smoked, wrapped it tight in an aluminum tin and put it in the fridge. The next day about two hours before we were going to eat I put it in a 275 degree oven with BBQ sauce. I reasoned that the BBQ sauce would help keep things moist during the reheat. It really did keep it moist. Clearly, I would have preferred to smoke and eat on the same day but it just wasn't practical for this smoke.

For the brisket I cut the fat off of the bottom of the brisket flat before slicing it. I then sliced it about the thickness of a pencil and put it in an aluminum tin. I then took all the fat that I cut off of the bottom of the flat and laid it on top of all the slices! I reasoned that this would really help keep things moist during the reheat!!! I put this foil tin in the 275 degree oven along with the pork shoulder also poured some BBQ sauce into the tin to help provide some moisture.

I am confident that this is a good way to reheat BBQ. I really wasn't sure the best way to reheat smoked meat for serving it the next day but I think I nailed it. The pulled pork was so juicy and smokey and the brisket was tender and really tasty.


The above pork injection solution was found on the internet and is called "Chris Lilly's Six-Time World Championship Pork Shoulder Injection." Fantastic!


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By John Thomas
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