How to Brine Pork Shoulder?

The best thing about pork shoulder is that it is full of fat. It has low calories so it is the perfect choice for dieters.

It’s one of the most popular meats and it is widely used in the preparation of BBQ and other dishes. 

It can be eaten as a main dish or in the form of sandwiches and burgers. This meat is very tender and easy to cook.

Pork shoulder tastes great when it’s juicy.

A pork shoulder can take a while to brine correctly. Brining is a way to add salt and flavor to foods.

If you brine your pork shoulder, it will be tender and juicy when cooked. However, the brine will also make the meat too salty if you don’t wait long enough for the brine to penetrate the meat.

If you wait too long, the brine will not be effective, and the pork will be tough.

How do you keep pork juicy and tender after being smoked for a while? 

The pork needs to be soaked in the right brine solution. We will show you how to brine pork shoulder and what ingredients are needed.

How to Brine Pork Shoulder?

Pork shoulder is one of those dishes that tastes great even if it’s cooked differently. If you brine the meat properly, you can make sure that the natural flavors are retained.

Before we understand how to make a brine for pork shoulder and the time for brining, we should know some basics about the meat.

Pork butt doesn’t show up where you think. It is the meat found on the pig’s upper shoulder portion.

Pork shoulder is also known as Boston butt in some areas of the US. There is a question that may arise in the mind of many people, is bringing pork shoulder necessary.

If you don’t bring the meat, it will become dehydrated after it’s cooked. Your entire dish won’t taste good.

If you want to learn how to brine pork shoulder the right way, you should understand why the process is done.

This is because:

  • The salts in the brining solution make the meat tender, juicy, and moist.
  • The taste and flavor of the ingredients you use in the brining solution get absorbed into the pork butt, making it sweeter and juicier.

Making Brine Solution for Pork Shoulder

Here in this article, we have provided you with the basic recipe for brine solution. If you want further modifications you can proceed with them.

Also, we recommend you keep the brine recipe very simple because too many flavors and ingredients will disrupt your dish.

Ingredients and Materials needed

  • Zipper lock bags – the size of 2 ½ gallons
  • Apple juice – 6 to 7 cups
  • Water – 2 cups
  • ACV – 2 cups (simple vinegar would also do)
  • Soy sauce, brown sugar, and kosher salt – ¼ cup each (always use equal quantities)
  • Garlic cloves – about 4 (crush them well)
  • Bay leaves (optional) – around 6
  • Celery sticks – 3 stalks

Modifications you can try

  • It is possible to add additional spices like onion powder and garlic powder to the recipe we mentioned above.
  • If you don’t like bay leaves, you can add cayenne pepper for a spicy solution.

How to Brine Pork Shoulder

  • Pour some water and brown sugar into a bowl.
  • Don’t stop stirring until the sugar is completely dissolved.
  • Before pouring the solution into the bags, you need to mix all the other ingredients in the solution.
  • Don’t put all the brine in the sealed bags.
  • Set aside a couple of cups of brine solution. This will help you in the future.
  • The pork butt should be in sealed bags.
  • You need to seal the bags tightly before putting them in the fridge.
  • It’s a good idea to brine the meat for about 24 hours.

Recommended Time

Pork butt is rich in fat. You don’t need to bring meat for a long time. The best time is between 8 and 24 hours.

The size of the meat affects the time. If you are using a big meat steak and worried about the time, you can soak the pork shoulder in the brine solution overnight.

If you want your meat to turn juicy and moist while cooking, you should leave the shoulder soaked in brine overnight.

Cooking the Pork Shoulder


It is time to begin the actual cooking process. Follow these steps mentioned below to make a delicious pork shoulder.

  • You need to rinse the meat thoroughly to remove all the salt and flavors.
  • To wipe the meat dry, use a clean towel.
  • The smoker should be set to 225 degrees F.
  • The oven can be set to a temperature of 300 degrees F if you are cooking in an oven.
  • Once every hour, brush a generous layer of brine solution and slowly smoke the shoulder for 6 to 8 hours.
  • You can cook pork butt for 2 to 3 hours if you are running out of time. But slow smoking is the best way to cook it.
  • When the meat is at 160 degrees F, stop smoking.
  • Take the meat from the smoker and leave it in the room for 30 minutes.
  • If you want the meat to be moist and juicy, you can wrap it.


Does brining pork shoulder make a difference?

A lot of people try to brine their pork shoulders, but most do not get the results they want.

It is best to cut up your pork in half for each bag and then brine for 12 hours or so.

Brining is a good way to get a tender and juicy pork shoulder.

Can you over-brine pork shoulder?

Brining is used to improve the flavor of foods before cooking. But it can also toughen the texture and make the food dry out.

So, if you are bringing a pork shoulder, it’s important to choose the best time to stop bringing. The best times vary by the cut.

What’s The Best Salt to Use for Brining?

Three major types of salt can be used to brine. These are common table salt (which contains iodine), rock salt, and kosher salt.

Iodine can interfere with the flavor of your food. If you plan to use a smoked ham, using rock salt will help keep the ham from drying out.

It also has a lower sodium content. Kosher salt is an especially useful product to have on hand because it helps with removing moisture from the meat when salting it.


I hope these easy steps will help you to brine the pork shoulder. If you have any doubts, you can comment below. I will try my best to solve your problem.

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