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Why Is My Pork Shoulder Stuck At 190?

Picture this: you’ve spent hours prepping and cooking your pork shoulder, eagerly anticipating that perfect, melt-in-your-mouth tenderness.

But as you anxiously check the temperature, it stubbornly remains at 190 degrees. Sound familiar?

As a self-proclaimed BBQ enthusiast, I’ve been there too. And let me tell you, it can be frustrating.

So, please sit back, grab a cold beverage, and let’s delve into the science behind why your pork shoulder might be stuck at 190 degrees.

Pork Shoulder Stall at 190

It is a cut of meat that has captured the hearts and palates of many with its tender and juicy texture. Yet, despite its popularity, cooking pork shoulder can be a perplexing task, especially when it gets stuck at 190 degrees.

Even the most skilled home cooks and professional chefs have fallen victim to this enigma.

So what causes this stall in pork shoulder at precisely 190 degrees? The answer lies in the scientific realm. When we cook pork shoulder, the internal temperature reaches a point where it begins to release excess moisture.

This moisture then evaporates, creating a slight cooling effect on the meat and halting the temperature’s rise. This process is known as evaporative cooling and is similar to how our bodies sweat when we get hot.

To fully comprehend why this stall occurs, we must first understand the composition of pork shoulder. You see, this cut of meat contains a high amount of collagen – a tough protein that transforms into gelatin when cooked at low temperatures for an extended period.

As the internal temperature reaches 190 degrees, the collagen starts to melt and break down, resulting in that tender and juicy pork shoulder we know and love.

However, if the temperature rises above 190 degrees, it can cause the gelatin to break down further and revert to its original state as tough protein. This can lead to a dry and chewy pork shoulder – undoubtedly different from our aim.

About Pork Shoulder

From roasting and grilling to slow cooking and smoking, this cut of meat offers endless possibilities for a delicious meal. But when it comes to cooking pork shoulder, there is one crucial question that often arises: what is the ideal temperature for a perfect result?

As an expert on all things pork shoulder, let me share with you the recommended temperature range for cooking this delectable cut of meat. The ideal temperature for cooking pork shoulder falls between 70°F-80°F.

This range ensures the meat cooks slowly and evenly, producing a juicy and tender texture. However, it is essential to monitor the internal temperature of the pork shoulder, as anything above 80°F can lead to dry and tough meat. In contrast, anything below 70°F can result in undercooked and tough meat.

But why is it crucial to maintain a specific temperature range when cooking pork shoulder? The answer lies in science. The pork shoulder stall at 190 degrees is a phenomenon that occurs due to evaporative cooling and collagen breakdown.

When the internal temperature of the meat reaches 190°F, it will stop increasing until the collagen breaks down entirely. To avoid this stall, it is recommended to cook the pork shoulder gently and patiently until it reaches an internal temperature of 200°F.

When cooking pulled pork, the internal temperature should reach 200°F to ensure that the collagen in the meat breaks down, resulting in a tender and juicy texture.

For pork shoulder and ribs, it is best to cook at a low temperature (around 225°F) for an extended period until the meat reaches its desired tenderness.

Apart from monitoring the internal temperature, another critical element in achieving a perfect pork shoulder is letting it rest after cooking. Allowing the meat to rest for 15-20 minutes before slicing or shredding helps retain its juices and enhances its flavor.

Understanding The Stall

As a feline caregiver, you may have encountered the term “pork shoulder stall” while researching the best methods for cooking this delectable cut of meat.

But what exactly is this stall, and how can you conquer it? Let’s delve deeper into the science behind this phenomenon and discover some techniques to help you achieve the perfect pork shoulder every time.

What is the Stall?

The pork shoulder stall, also known as “the plateau,” occurs when the internal temperature of the meat reaches around 160°F-170°F.

At this point, the meat appears to stop cooking, and the temperature remains stagnant for hours, causing frustration and bewilderment for many cooks.

This can be especially vexing when attempting to cook a large cut of pork shoulder, as it can take several hours to reach the desired temperature of 190°F.

The Science Behind the Stall

To comprehend why the stall transpires, we must first understand the science behind cooking meat. As meat cooks, its moisture evaporates, causing the temperature of the meat to rise.

However, at a certain point, all the water inside the meat has evaporated, resulting in a halt in temperature increase. This is known as the stall.

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Foil Wrap Method

One popular technique for overcoming the stall is wrapping the pork shoulder in foil once it reaches around 160°F-170°F.

This traps heat and moisture inside, which helps raise the temperature swiftly. Wrap the pork shoulder tightly in foil and return it to your smoker or grill until it reaches 190°F.

The “Texas Crutch” Method

Another method is called the “Texas crutch.” When your pork shoulder hits the stall, please remove it from your smoker or grill and wrap it tightly in foil.

Why Does Pork Shoulder Stall at 190?

As a feline companion, you know the importance of patience and persistence in understanding your furry friend’s behavior. Similarly, smoking a pork shoulder requires the same level of patience and understanding. Just like how every cat has its unique personality, every pork shoulder has its special cooking process, with one particular hurdle that often leaves cooks scratching their heads in confusion – the stall at 190 degrees.

But fear not, cat lovers and pork enthusiasts alike. We’re here to unravel the mystery behind this temperature plateau and guide you in conquering it like a pro. So, let’s delve into the science behind why pork shoulder stalls at 190 degrees while cooking.

The Science Behind the Stall:

The stall occurs when the internal temperature of the pork shoulder reaches around 150 degrees. At this point, the meat begins to release moisture, which cools down the surface of the meat and causes the temperature to plateau. This process is similar to how our bodies sweat to keep us cool on a scorching day.

Factors That Contribute to the Stall:

  • Size Matters: One of the major factors that can contribute to the stall is the size of the pork shoulder. The larger the cut of meat, the longer it takes for the internal temperature to rise and reach 150 degrees. So, if you’re smoking a hefty pork shoulder, be prepared for a longer stall time.
  • Moisture Content: Another crucial factor affecting the stall is the moisture content of the meat. Fattier cuts of pork shoulder tend to have more moisture, which can prolong the stall. So, when choosing your pork shoulder, remember that fattier cuts may take longer to cook.
  • External Conditions: The external conditions also play a significant role in determining how long the stall will last. Windy or humid weather can slow the cooking process, while dry heat will speed it up. So keep an eye on the weather forecast before starting your smoking session.

How Long Does The Stall Last?

Like deciphering your feline’s behavior, mastering the art of smoking pork shoulder requires patience and knowledge, especially when tackling the dreaded stall.

But what exactly is the stall, and how long does it last when smoking pork shoulder at 225 degrees? The booth refers to a period during the cooking process where the internal temperature of the pork shoulder plateaus or even drops. This occurs due to evaporative cooling, where moisture on the meat’s surface evaporates, causing it to cool down.

The stall can occur at various temperatures, but it is most commonly experienced at 225 degrees. The duration of the stall can vary, lasting anywhere from 1 to 2 hours. However, it is not uncommon to persist for up to 4 hours or more. This can be frustrating for cooks eagerly anticipating their perfectly smoked pork shoulder; however, there are ways to combat the stall and speed up the cooking process.

One method pitmasters use is wrapping the pork shoulder in foil or butcher paper. This helps trap moisture and steam, preventing evaporative cooling and reducing the stall time. Some cooks also choose to increase the temperature of their smoker or grill when they hit the stall to power through it faster. However, this may result in a less tender and juicier result.

Ultimately, patience is critical when dealing with the stall. As with any good thing, it takes time and effort to achieve perfection. So, how long should you cook your pork shoulder? The answer varies depending on various factors, but generally, it takes about 1 hour per pound at 225 degrees.

Tips and Tricks

Many face the dilemma of the pork shoulder getting stuck at 190 degrees during cooking. But fear not. With a few insider tips and clever techniques, you can achieve perfection every time. Let’s delve into the magic.

Start with Premium Meat

The initial step to mastering the art of pulled pork is to begin with high-quality meat. Look for a pork shoulder with excellent marbling and a bone-in cut for enhanced taste.

Consider purchasing from a reputable source like ButcherBox, which delivers premium meat straight to your doorstep on a monthly or weekly basis.

Select Your Cooking Technique

There are several methods to cook pulled pork, such as barbecuing, a slow cooker, or a Dutch oven. Each approach has unique benefits, so choose one that suits your taste. In this article, we will focus on barbecuing.

Create an Incredible Dry Rub

A dry rub is essential in infusing flavor into your pulled pork without making it challenging. A simple yet delightful dry rub can be made by combining garlic powder, brown sugar, smoked paprika, and salt. Adjust the proportions according to your preference and generously coat your pork shoulder before cooking.

Utilize a Foil-Wrapped Brick

To ensure even cooking and retain moisture in your pork shoulder, use a foil-wrapped brick on top of the meat while grilling.

This method helps flatten the meat and remove excess fat, producing a well-structured and flavorful pulled pork.

Slow and Low Equals Perfection

Achieving the desired tenderness of pulled pork requires slow and low cooking to break down its connective tissues.

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Set your grill to 225-250 degrees and cook for several hours until the internal temperature reaches 190-195 degrees.

Can You Eat Pork Shoulder at 190 Degrees?

Pork shoulder, also known as Boston butt or pork butt, is a versatile and economical cut of meat that can be utilized in various dishes. Slow-cooked for hours, it becomes tender and succulent, making it ideal for pulled pork or stews.

However, when it comes to cooking pork shoulder, there is one perplexing question that often arises – can you eat pork shoulder at 190 degrees Fahrenheit? As an authority, I am here to give you a definitive and concise answer.

What is the Suitable Temperature and Cooking Time for Safely Consuming Pork Shoulder at 190 Degrees Fahrenheit?

The concise response is yes, it is safe to consume pork shoulder cooked at 190 degrees Fahrenheit. Nevertheless, it is imperative to comprehend that the appropriate time and temperature settings are crucial for achieving the desired level of doneness and ensuring food safety.

When slowly cooking pork shoulder, the aim is to transform the tough collagen into gelatin, which imparts the meat with its tender texture. This process necessitates a low and slow cooking method, typically lasting one to two days for traditional techniques or utilizing sous vide methods for a shorter duration.

Attaining Various Levels of Doneness at 190 Degrees Fahrenheit

The suitable temperature for cooking pork shoulder varies depending on the desired level of doneness. For medium-rare pork shoulder, the internal temperature should reach 135 degrees Fahrenheit, while the medium should reach 145 degrees Fahrenheit.

As mentioned earlier, cooking pork shoulder at 190 degrees will make it safe to consume, but it may not achieve the desired level of doneness. It is essential to utilize a meat thermometer to verify the internal temperature of the pork shoulder to ensure it has reached the appropriate level.

The Bottom Line

Pork shoulder is a popular choice among cooks due to its affordability and versatility. However, when it reaches the infamous 190-degree mark during cooking, it can be a frustrating experience.

As a pork expert, I am here to share some tips and tricks to prevent your pork shoulder from getting stuck at this temperature and achieve perfectly cooked and tender meat every time.

Understanding the “Stall”

Let’s first understand why pork shoulder gets stuck at 190 degrees. This phenomenon, also known as the “stall,” occurs due to the natural evaporation process during cooking.

As the meat cooks, moisture is released from the surface, causing the temperature to plateau. This is most commonly seen in the 180-190 degree range for pork shoulder.

However, there’s no need to panic – the stall is beneficial as it allows the connective tissue in the meat to break down, resulting in tender and juicy pulled pork.

Tricks to Avoid the Stall

Now that we know why the stall occurs let’s discuss some ways to prevent it from happening. One effective technique is to wrap the pork shoulder in foil or butcher paper while cooking. This method, also known as the “Texas crutch,” traps moisture and speeds up the cooking process. It also prevents the meat’s exterior from drying out, which can happen during a prolonged stall.

Another option is to use a water pan or spray the pork shoulder with apple juice or cider vinegar during cooking. These methods help to keep the meat moist and prevent evaporation. Additionally, increasing the cooking temperature can help push through the stall faster. However, be sure to monitor the internal temperature regularly to avoid overcooking.

Other Factors to Consider

In addition to these techniques, there are a few other factors to consider when cooking pork shoulder. For instance, the size and shape of the cut can affect cooking time and temperature.


In conclusion, cooking the perfect pork shoulder is a delicate balance of patience, expertise, and science. As we’ve explored in this article, the infamous 190-degree stall is a natural phenomenon caused by evaporative cooling and collagen breakdown.

With the proper techniques and understanding of the process, you can overcome this hurdle and achieve succulent, melt-in-your-mouth pulled pork every time.

First things first – start with high-quality meat. Then, carefully select your cooking method, whether smoking, roasting, or slow-cooking in a crockpot. Next, don’t underestimate the power of a flavorful dry rub to enhance the taste of your pork shoulder. And most importantly, cook low and slow until the internal temperature reaches 200 degrees for perfectly tender pulled pork.

But what if you find yourself stuck at 190 degrees? Use foil or a water pan to trap moisture or slightly increase the cooking temperature. These simple tricks can help you break through the stall and continue your journey to pork perfection.

With these tips in mind, you’ll be well on your way to mastering the art of cooking pork shoulder without getting stuck at 190 degrees.

So, next time you embark on this delicious adventure, remember to sit back, relax with a cold beverage, and trust in the science behind achieving that perfect tenderness. Let your patience and knowledge guide you towards that mouth-watering result – succulent pulled pork that will leave everyone wanting more.

Remember: quality meat, wise cooking methods, flavorful rubs, low and slow temperatures – all key ingredients for conquering the 190-degree stall and creating a masterpiece on your plate.