Apple Cider Smoked Pork Shoulder

Apple Cider Soaked Pork Shoulder.jpg

This smoked pork shoulder recipe uses apple cider vinegar as a brine along with smoking the pork shoulder to deepen the flavor to create an amazingly tender and juicy pork roast.

What makes this smoked pork shoulder recipe stand out is how the apple cider vinegar brine works its way into the pork shoulder, adding flavor and helping to tenderize the pork, so it comes out juicy.

When you combine the brine with a good smoke over mesquite or hickory the pork shoulder takes on a deep richness that compliments the texture from the brine and flavors from the spice rub.

If you’re interested in learning more about how to use smoking to make tasty food take a read through The Best Meats for Smoking & How to Make Them Delicious.

A couple of our favorite side dishes for this smoked pork recipe are Creamy Mac and Cheesy and Garlicky Refrigerator Pickles.

Apple Cider Soaked Pork Shoulder.jpg

Apple Cider Soaked Pork Shoulder

3.8 from 85 votes
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Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 5 hours
Total Time: 6 hours
Servings: 8 servings


  • 4 lb pork shoulder
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp granulated onion
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Ancho chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper


  • Create a dry rub by mincing the garlic cloves and mixing them with the smoked paprika, granulated onion, brown sugar, Ancho chili powder, cumin, salt, and pepper. In a small bowl mix the apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, and lime juice together.
  • Spread the dry rub across the pork shoulder, making sure to get the rub everywhere. Let the shoulder sit for a few minutes before putting the pork into a pan or large plastic bag. 
    Gently pour the vinegar mixture over the meat, moving it around to get it everywhere, without washing off the dry rub. Let the pork soak in the cider mixture for 40 to 50 minutes, depending on how much you want the vinegar flavor to come through.
  • The pork shoulder is best cooked in a smoker at around 200 to 220℉ for five to six hours. It can be done quicker at a higher temperature or in an oven, but the texture won’t be as good.
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