Last Updated on: 26th April 2023, 10:00 pm
Smoking is a lengthy process that can take several hours to complete.
During this time, you need to maintain the moisture of the pork shoulder to avoid it drying out.
Spraying is the most effective way to keep pork shoulder from drying out.
However, spritzing must be done at the proper time to avoid affecting bark development and drying out the pork.
The most common question that I get from beginners is how often you should spritz the pork shoulder when smoking.
As a general rule, you should wait at least 3–4 hours before starting to spritz your pork shoulder.
After that, you need to spritz every 30 to 40 minutes to maintain the moisture content of the pork shoulder.
The spritzing needs to be continued until the pork shoulder is wrapped.
Although it may not be a major concern for seasoned pitmasters, it is a common question that most pitmasters ask.
I was also afraid of going wrong with the spritzing when smoking for the first time.
But after experimenting with it for years, I have now mastered it.
Today I am going to share my experience with you to avoid any confusion in the future.
Let’s get started.
How often to spritz pork shoulder
Pork shoulder is one of the first things that comes to mind when deciding to plan the BBQ.
It doesn’t require as much effort as brisket.
But if smoked properly, it can be one of the finest cuts of meat to present to your guests at a gathering.
Smoking a pork shoulder is a really long process, and it may take several hours to complete.
The moisture present inside the pork evaporates as the internal temperature of the meat increases.
So you need to spritz the meat to avoid it drying out.
Spraying the pork shoulder should be done with caution to avoid ruining its appearance.
Usually, it is a good idea to start spritzing the pork after 3–4 hours of smoking and then keep spritzing it every 30–40 minutes until it is wrapped.
While deciding when to start spritzing, you need to keep in mind the development of bark.
Spraying can affect the development of bark, so you should spritz the pork shoulder once the bark is developed.
After that, keep spritzing until it’s time to wrap the pork shoulder.
Is it better to spritz pork shoulder too often?
Spraying the pork shoulder is really important because it helps to maintain the moisture content of the meat and prevent it from drying out.
Furthermore, moisture allows the pork shoulder to absorb more smoke and develop a more smoky flavor.
But spritzing too often can mess up the flavour and appearance of the pork shoulder.
Spraying is only done to maintain the moisture, not increase it.
Smoking too often can result in softer bark due to higher moisture.
So, in short, you should avoid spritzing pork too often.
You should only spritz pork when it is at risk of drying out.
Otherwise, you need to smoke pork without spritzing to evaporate as much moisture as possible.
Is it better to avoid spritzing pork shoulder at all?
The short answer to this question will be “no” on all three counts.
The reason for this is that smoking is a time-consuming process that can take several hours, and the moisture in the pork evaporates.
So you need to spritz the pork to avoid it drying out.
Spritzing is not a required step in the smoking process.
But doing so can help you retain the tenderness of smoked pork.
There are also some pitmasters who want to smoke pork without spritzing to get a better bark and avoid softening the bark due to spritzing.
So spritzing is more of a personal choice than a rule.
Whether you want to spritz pork or not is entirely up to you.
If you want to get a good bark, then you should avoid spritzing, but if you want your smoked pork to be soft and tender, then spritzing it is the way to go.
Why do we spritz the pork shoulder while it is smoking?
Spraying liquid onto pork shoulders while smoking has been around for ages.
There are several reasons for spritzing pork shoulder, but the main purpose of spritzing is to maintain the moisture content inside the pork and avoid it drying out.
Smoking is a tedious task that can take several hours to complete.
The moisture content of the pork shoulder evaporates during the first couple hours, which can result in the hardening and drying of the pork shoulder.
To cope with this situation, pork shoulder is spritzed with different liquids.
Another benefit of spritzing pork shoulder is that it helps the smoke stick to the surface of the meat.
If the surface of the pork shoulder remains wet and cold, the pork will absorb more smoke, resulting in a good smokey flavor. Similarly, if the pork dries out, then it will absorb less smoke.
Spraying also aids in the formation of a good bark.
Bark is an important component of properly prepared pork shoulder and contributes to its appetising appearance.
Spraying can help in absorbing more smoke and the breakdown of spices present in rubs, which helps in getting good bark.
Last but not least, spritzing aids in the formation of a smoke ring on the surface of the smoked pork shoulder.
Gases present inside the smoke stick in greater amounts to the surface of the cold pork shoulder and react with the myoglobin present in the pork shoulder.
This reaction leads to the production of smoke rings.
Does spraying help get better bark?
The short answer to this question will always be yes.
Spraying can prolong the smoking process, which can help you get a darker bark.
However, keep in mind that bark created with spritzing will be softer in texture than bark created without spritzing.
If done properly, you can also get a dry, crispier bark on your meat while spritzing during the smoking.
The most effective way to do so is by using the 3-2-1 method of smoking.
With spritzing, you can achieve a good, dark bark.
To do so, you need to smoke the meat for the first couple hours without spritzing, so that the moisture can be evaporated and the bark should start to develop.
After the first couple of hours, you should start spritzing the meat.
When the meat stalls, you can either wrap it for 2 hours or raise the temperature to force it through.
Once the meat has been removed from the stall, remove the wrapping and place it in the smoker unwrapped.
It will evaporate the moisture present on the bark, and the bark will dry up.
This way, you can get a good bark while spritzing at the same time.
The final takeaway
Spraying is a common smoking technique used to keep the meat from drying out.
Its frequency depends on the condition of the pork.
If the pork is starting to dry up, then you should spritz more often.
But if the pork has its own moisture content, then you need to spritz less frequently.you can check out our guide on what to spray on chicken while smoking for more information about spritzing liquids.