I had a chance to smoke a few pork shoulders over the weekend for my son's 3rd birthday party. The highlight for me was a chance to play with root beer as the base of a brine for the pork. To start I diluted root beer by half and then added whole cinnamon sticks, coriander seed, black and white peppercorns and whole allspice.
After the brine I made a really nice rub for the shoulders that would complement the flavor of root beer without overshadowing it. I went light on the salt and brown sugar - the shoulders got that from the brine - and added black and while pepper, chili powder, fennel, oregano, cumin, these great dehydrated red and green peppers that I pulverized in a spice grinder, onion powder and finally garlic powder.
I smoked these shoulders over apple and pecan for about 10 hours, then rested them for an hour and a half before pulling the pork into strips of moist meat and larger chunks. Many thanks to Jonathan Pollack for the photos, they look as good as this pork tasted.