Why is My Pork Shoulder Stuck at 190? – Uncover The True Reasons that Cause Pork BBQ Stall

(Earning Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate, we earn commissions from qualifying purchases at NO additional cost to the customer.)

Do you know the fact that the pork shoulder should be cooked at roughly 190 degrees or slightly more to get the best results?

If yes, then it’s a great news for you to know that!

But if it’s not, then this article is specifically for you.

Because 190 + degrees Fahrenheit is the right level of temperature that causes the fat to melt, and make the meat deliciously moist.

Often times when cooking a pork shoulder in a smoker or a grill, there may be instances where the temperature rises steadily, and then suddenly stops or stalls.

The batteries in your meat thermometer are juiced up, and your smoker thermometer is working perfectly, so what could be the reason for the BBQ stall.

190 degrees + Fahrenheit is the right temperature for pulled pork meat.

Especially if it’s been cooking for a while, so there’s nothing to worry about it if the meat stucks at this temperature.

If the pork shoulder stalls at a temperature lower than 190-degrees, then there’s no need to break a sweat yet.

Because there are several ways to get it to the right pulling temperature.

Today, I will discuss with you some of the most important reasons why your pork shoulder is stuck at 190 degrees temperature level.

After that, we will look at some simple methods to cook your pork shoulder at the temperature more than 190 degrees Fahrenheit.

Table of Contents

Is Pulled Pork Done at 190 F or Can You Pull Pork at 190 F?

According to this USDA article, the pork should be cooked at an internal temperature of 145°F (62.8°C) for food safety.

But every grilling enthusiast that’s worth their salt knows that pork shoulder should be brought to much higher temperatures of 195-205°F (91-96°C).

This temperature level is really important in order to break down the connective tissues of the meat appropriately.

The key to smoking tough meat like the pork shoulder is cooking it gradually over low temperatures consistently for a certain period.

This helps you to get a tender, juicy and flavorful masterpiece every time you enjoy pork barbeque.

Pork shoulder is ready to be pulled when it reaches an internal temperature of 180 degrees F to 190 degrees F.

However, the pork shoulder can be served when it reaches at a 165 degrees F internal temperature.

The real problem is even though you can pull it apart at this temperature level; it probably won’t be tender enough to come apart properly.

There’s good reason why pork shoulder should be cooked until it reaches 190-degrees F and probably higher, and here’s why!

Why Pork Shoulder Should be Cooked Above 190 Degrees F Temperature Level?

Pork shoulder is a triangular cut of meat that is a hardworking muscle of the pig.

Owing to the strenuous activity of this shoulder muscle, the protein fibers within are extremely hard and tough to break.

These muscle fibers are usually held together with several connective tissues.

Pork shoulder may be tough when it is first put into the smoker or grill.

But when it is cooked over a long period of time, those muscle fibers become soft gradually.

And that’s how you get deep, tantalizing flavor, and succulent texture for the pork meat.

Meat experts recommend maintaining your smoker’s air temperature at roughly 225°F (107°C) for low and slow cooking.

By maintaining this temperature, pork shoulder will reach its target temperature of 195-205°F (91-96 degrees Celsius) in 18 hours or so.

And once the 18 hours are over then the pork shoulder will be ready to be pulled.

Since this is a rather longer period of cooking time, it is best to use a smoker that offers automatic temperature control such as the Z GRILLS ZPG-450A 2020 Upgrade Wood Pellet Grill & Smoker.

The Z GRILLS smoker is backed by PID technology, which regulates temperature differently than standard, timed controllers.

Perhaps, the biggest advantage of buying the Z GRILLS smoker is that you get a multifaceted appliance that can smoke, as well as BBQ, grill, bake, roast, braise, and much more.

Click Here to Get Z Grills ZPG-450A Wood Pellet Grill and Smoker.

If you just need a smoker with precise temperature control for even consistent cooking, then the Masterbuilt Digital Electric Smoker is definitely the second best choice for you.

This smoker comes with the most accurate temperature control for your pork cooking.

It also retains internal heat for a long period of time which allows the meat to become moist and soft quickly.

Plus, its side wood chip loading system makes your life much easier by letting you to add wood pellets without any need of door opening.

Click Here to Get Masterbuilt Digital Electric Smoker for Your Kitchen.

Regardless of what smoker or grill you use to cook your pork shoulder, it is really important to keep tabs on the temperature level all the time.

You can do this easily by using a reliable digital meat thermometer such as the one from ThermoPro.

It’s a wireless device, so you can enjoy your company while your pork shoulder is being prepared in the smoker or a grill.

Its hands-free monitor allows you to keep check on the temperature level even from 300 feet of distance.

Its receiver will make a beep sound and flash, once it reaches the preset temperature of 190 degrees F.

The most important thing about this thermometer is it comes with around 9 preset temperature levels recommended as per USDA.

Click Here to Get ThermoPro TP20 Wireless Meat Thermometer.

What Temperature Does a Pork Shoulder Stall at?

Before getting into the temperature at which pork shoulder stalls, it’s a good idea to understand why the meat stalls to begin with.

Many grilling aficionados believe that collagen; a type of protein in the meat; causes pork shoulder to stall.

And this stall happens at roughly the temperature level of 160 degrees F.

Others claim that the stall is caused when the fat renders, and turns lipids into liquids.

But in all honesty, it seems like just another myth.

In this matter, Prof. Greg Blonder of Boston University has a whole new take on why pork shoulder stalls at a certain temperature.

He claims the reason for the stall is because the “meat is sweating”.

This ultimately makes sense because of the fact that fat usually melts in the smoker at a high temperature level.

To explain briefly, Prof. Greg Blonder claims the stall starts roughly at 150°F.

It happens after the meat has been in a thermostatically controlled smoker for about 2-3 hours.

Some of the heat that enters the cooking chamber of your smoker is absorbed by the cold pork shoulder, whereas the rest escapes.

When the pork shoulder heats up, it not only changes the structure of the molecules in the meat, but melts the fat too.

We mentioned earlier that the pork shoulder has a web of connective tissues, which are mostly made from collagen.

Therefore, the stall is caused by the evaporating cooling effect of the pork shoulder’s own moisture released over the long hours of cooking time.

With regards to the temperature at which meat stalls, it depends on several factors including the meat size, shape, moisture content, etc.

But pork shoulder typically begins to stall somewhere between 150 and 170 degrees F.

You can prevent the stall by increasing the temperature or wrapping the pork shoulder in aluminum foil, and adding some liquid such as beer or apple juice.

Click here to check out the guide about how to beat the temperature stalls for pork meat.

Recommended Articles for You:

Is It Possible to Pull Pork The Next Day? Here is Your Answer

2 Simple Solutions to Maintain the Freshness of Pulled Pork

Learn How to Prevent Sulfuric Smell of Your Pork Shoulder

Can You Smoke a Pork Shoulder for Too Long?

You can cook a large pork shoulder for up to 22 hours, but any longer will probably overcook it.

When you cook the pork shoulder for too long, it will dry it out completely or in worse case, it could burn it.

So, what you’ll get as a result of overcooking pork shoulder is a nice big hard rock (pun intended).

If you want to know some of the most important reasons that cause the pork shoulder to become tough and hard, then I recommend to check out this article.

Why is My Pork Shoulder Taking So Long to Cook?

Pork shoulder benefits from a long cooking time, but sometimes may take longer than usual to cook.

There are a few things you can do to speed up the cooking time such as raising the temperature on the smoker.

In many cases, your pork shoulder may take longer to cook due to a stall, which is generally at the 150-degree F mark.

But most importantly, and something that is often overlooked by many grillers is the right calibration of the meat probes.

If the meat probes aren’t calibrated properly, it will result in inaccurate temperature readings.

So, refer to your owner’s manual on how to calibrate the device correctly to get the best cooked pork shoulder after long hours of cooking in your smoker or a grill.

Good luck!

References:

https://blog.thermoworks.com/pork/pulled-pork-time-temperature-matters/

https://amazingribs.com/more-technique-and-science/more-cooking-science/understanding-and-beating-barbecue-stall-bane-all

https://cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/16156/cooking-slow-roasted-pork-to-190f

https://www.smokingmeatforums.com/threads/pork-shoulder-taking-too-long.86367/

https://www.reddit.com/r/biggreenegg/comments/8h92tc/guidance_on_pork_butt_stall_at_190/

Scroll to Top