When to Wrap Pork Butt  (2023)

Wrapping pork butt is like adding BBQ sauce to ribs. It’s essential.

Wrapping pork butt has many benefits.However, you can only reap the benefits of wrapping pork if you know when to wrap it.

But before we get to wrapping pork butt, let’s discuss the definition of pork butt.

What Is Pork Butt?

The name pork butt, also known as Boston butt, is very misleading. The name pork butt pork butt is the rear end of the pig.

However, this is untrue. Contrary to popular belief, pork butt is not the animal’s rear end.

Pork butt is a pork cut that originates from the animal’s upper back.Specifically, the pork butt sits just above the shoulder.

Because of its location, most individuals assume it’s a part of the shoulder. However, the pork butt is actually near the spine of the pig.

I know what you’re thinking. If it’s not the pig’s butt, why on earth is it called pork butt or Boston butt.

Most sources believe the name Boston butt came about during the colonial era.

At this time, butchers in New England would stuff undesirable cuts of pork such as pork butt into barrels. The barrels were called butts.

The butts were shipped to other regions.However, since the pork was placed in butts and the barrels were shipped from Boston, New England, it became known as Boston butt.

Of course, this is just one explanation of the name Boston butt. Some people do not believe this story is true.

They argue that no other kind of food has been named after a shipping container.

Furthermore, Southern states were the big dogs in the pork industry during the colonial era.

Therefore, historically speaking, this story may be inaccurate. Unfortunately, there is no evidence of a printed record of Boston butt until the late 1800 post-colonial era.

Nevertheless, even though the history of this great cut of pork is unclear, it is a delicious thing of beauty.

Although it contains a hefty amount of connective tissue, the marbling sets this pork cut above popular cuts such as pork tenderloin or pork shoulder.

Either way, pork shoulder needs to be cooked low and slow to get the most tender results.

Why Do You Wrap Pork Butt?

Wrapping pork butt has many benefits. For example, wrapping pork butt can seal in moisture, creating a more robust flavor, and speed up the smoking process.

Seals in Moisture

The pork is not wrapped until the last stage of the smoking process, which helps the meat retain more moisture.

Once you wrap the pork butt, the butcher paper or foil acts as a makeshift container that holds the pork’s juices.

Leaving the pork butt unwrapped causes the juices to drip onto the hot coals. In addition, the pork is likely to dry out before it is thoroughly cooked.

Nothing can be more frustrating since it can take the entire day to smoke a pork butt.

Stronger Flavor

During the initial stages of the smoking process, the pork butt is exposed to smoke. It absorbs the smoky flavor generated by the electric smoker.

Therefore, wrapping the pork butt will seal in the smoky flavor as well as moisture.

Speeds up the Cooking Process

The most popular reason for wrapping pork butt is to speed up the cooking process.

Whether you are smoking pork shoulder, brisket, or pork butt, the stall will occur.

The stall is when huge chunks of meat such as chuck roast or brisket hit a roadblock, and the temperature does not move.

The stall occurs at temperatures between 155°F-165°F.

As the pork cooks, moisture is pulled from the pork’s center to the meat’s surface. The moisture will pool on the outside of the meat.

Basically, it will look like your pork butt has beads of sweat on its exterior surface.

The beads of moisture cool down the pork butt inhibiting the cooking process.

The stall is definitely the most frustrating part of smoking meat, as it can last for hours.

Therefore, you must always add the stall time to the pork’s cooking time, especially if you plan to have your pork butt cooked by a specific time.

Wrapping pork butt is the best way to navigate the stall.

Not only will wrapping the pork seal in the moisture, but it could shave as much as 2 hours off the total smoking time.

Does Wrapping Your Pork Butt Ruin the Bark?

Unfortunately, the downside of wrapping pork butt is that it ruins the bark.

As I mentioned above, moisture pools on the surface of the pork when it is wrapped.

The foil or butcher paper traps the moisture inside. However, it will also steam the pork butt, softening the bark.

Therefore, you must decide which is the best option for your pork butt.

If you want a juicy, succulent pork butt and want to speed up the cooking process, wrap your pork.

In contrast, skip the wrapping process if you want your pork to develop a beautiful, crispy, rich bark and have the entire day to smoke it.

Should I Wrap Pork Butt in Foil or Butcher Paper?

Whether to wrap pork butt in foil or butcher paper depends on your preference.

Wrapping pork butt with aluminum foil will seal in moisture, but it will also soften the bark.

In contrast, wrapping pork butt with butcher paper will cause some of its moisture to be lost.

Butcher paper is a breathable material, allowing some moisture to escape through the paper’s pores.

This will prevent the [bark from softening up too much.

When to Wrap Pork Butt

The timing is everything when it comes to wrapping pork butt.In general, you should wrap pork butt when it has an internal temperature of 165°F.

The pork will reach this temperature within a few hours if it is smoked at a temperature between 225°F and 250°F.

If you smoke the pork butt at a temperature above 250°F, it will reach this temperature faster. If you smoke the pork butt at a temperature below 225°F.

The pork’s time it takes for the pork to come up to temperature can also be affected by the meat’s size, fat content, and the type of smoker you are using.

Can You Wrap Pork Too Early?

Yes, you can wrap pork too early.If you wrap your pork butt too early, it will not develop its characteristic bark.

This is why you should always wait until the pork has an internal temperature of 165°F before removing it from the smoker and wrapping it with foil or butcher paper.

How to Wrap Your Pork Butt

To wrap your pork butt, measure the length of the pork butt. Multiply the figure by four.

Cut 2 sheets of butcher paper or foil that are the exact same length as the figure.

Arrange the first layer of foil or butcher paper vertically on a flat surface in front of you.

Arrange the second sheet of foil or butcher paper horizontally on top of the butcher paper. The two sheets of foil or butcher paper should overlap.

Remove the pork butt from your electric smoker and place it onto the foil or butcher paper fat side up.

If you put the pork butt fat side down on the butcher paper or foil paper, the moisture will accumulate at the bottom of the makeshift container instead of drip down the meat.

Ultimately you will end up with dry pork butt.

Spritz the pork butt with apple cider vinegar or apple cider. Make sure you get the apple cider vinegar or juice onto the butcher paper or foil too.

Fold both layers of foil or butcher paper over the pork butt. Continue folding the butcher paper or foil paper over the pork butt.

Fold it over the foil one last time, then flip it over and tuck the edges of the paper in to seal the pork butt. Make sure you wrap your pork butt tightly.

The package should be free of holes or gaps.

Return the pork butt to the propane smoker and cook it for a few more hours.

Make sure you use an external smoker thermometer to keep track of your pork butt’s internal temperature.

Your smoker’s thermometer only measures the unit’s ambient temperature, not the internal temperature of the pork butt. Therefore, it is inaccurate.

The final temperature of the pork butt should be 190°F.

Remove the pork butt from the smoker and let it rest for a minimum of 30 minutes before you unwrap it and slice it.

Final Thoughts

Wrapping pork butt is crucial to the smoking process. It is the perfect way to manage the stall.

In addition to this, it will also seal in moisture, speed up the cooking process, and give the pork a more robust flavor.

However, the most important thing is to wrap the pork butt at the right moment. If you wrap the pork butt too early can prevent the bark from forming.

Remember to wrap your pork butt once it has a temperature of 165°F, and you will have the most delicious tender and juicy pork butt.

You might also be interested in the following:

  • When To Wrap Ribs
  • When To Wrap a Brisket

When to Wrap Pork Butt (1)

William Thomas

I have been smoking and grilling meat from an early age and enjoy sharing my knowledge and expertise through the hundreds of articles I have written about BBQ. I hope to make everyone’s BBQ journey that little bit easier.


What happens if you wrap pork too early? ›

Yes, you can wrap your pork too early. This can lead to uneven cooking and a dry, tough texture. Make sure to wait until the internal temperature of the meat is at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit before wrapping it for maximum flavor and tenderness.

At what temp should I wrap my pork shoulder? ›

It is always encouraged to wrap your pork shoulder at some point in the smoking process. Many BBQ pitmasters believe that you should wrap it in foil or peach paper once it hits an internal temperature of 165°.

When should I start spritzing pork shoulder? ›

Spritz – After 3 – 4 hours of smoke, use a spray bottle to lightly spray the shoulder every 30 minutes until the internal temperature of the pork butt reaches 165 degrees F.

Do you keep pork wrapped while resting? ›

If you chose to wrap your pork butt during the cooking process there is no need to unwrap it before the resting period. If anything, it's better to keep it wrapped and keep as much of that moisture touching the meat as possible.

What temperature does pulled pork fall apart? ›

After the pork has reached 200F-205 degrees, it's time to shred. There are a few different ways to shred slow-cooked meat…

Can you overcook pulled pork? ›

Although it's possible to overcook pork and other meats when pressure cooking, usually if the meat isn't tender enough it's because it wasn't cooked long enough.

What temp is smoked pork butt done? ›

Place the pork butt roast in your smoker. Cook until the internal temperature reaches 160°F on an instant-read thermometer, about 6 hours. Spritz with apple cider vinegar every hour to keep moist.

Does spritzing help bark? ›

Many many many of the top bbq chefs in the world promote the spritzing method. They swear by it. Saying it does wonders to help keep the bark from overcooking, giving you a deeper smoke ring, and keeping the meat more moist.

Is it better to smoke a pork shoulder at 225 or 250? ›

For the best results, smoking pork shoulder at a low temperature of 250°F for 8-10 hours will help ensure that it doesn't dry out.

How long to smoke a 5lb Boston butt at 225? ›

How Long Does it Take to Smoke a Pork Butt at 225 °F? At 225 °F, a pork butt will take 8-10 hours to reach the optimal internal temperature of 195-203 °F.

Can you let pork shoulder rest too long? ›

The longest you should let a pork butt roast rest is about two hours. That's because, at this point, the temperature will have dropped down to a level that is approaching the danger zone. You never want to let meat (raw or cooked) sit between 40 degrees and 140 degrees.

When should you wrap pork? ›

You should wrap your pork butt when the internal temperature stops rising – typically when the temp is between 150°F and 170°F.

Can I take pork shoulder off at 190? ›

Is It Safe To Pull Pork At 190 Degrees Fahrenheit? It is safe to pull pork at 190 degrees Fahrenheit. According to the USDA, pork is safe when cooked to 145 degrees Fahrenheit. However, an internal temperature of 190 to 195 degrees Fahrenheit for pulled pork is ideal for achieving that tender and juicy consistency.

Can you overcook pulled pork at 225? ›

Can You Overcook Pork at 225? Yes, it is possible to overcook pork at 225°F (107°C) if it is left in the smoker for too long. While smoking at a low temperature for a long time can result in tender and flavorful meat, leaving the pork shoulder in the smoker for an extended period can cause it to become dry and tough.

Should pulled pork be 190 or 200? ›

Once the meat reaches an internal temperature of 180 F to 190 F, it is ready to be pulled. You can serve the meat once it reaches 165 F, but it won't be tender enough to pull apart properly.

Should I pull pork at 195 or 203? ›

The ideal internal temperature for pulled pork is between 190 to 195 degrees Fahrenheit, ensuring tender and juicy meat with a rich flavor.

What is the secret to tender pulled pork? ›

Cooking the pork low and very slow is the secret to the juiciest and most tender pulled pork. Serve the pork as is or feel free to stir in your favorite barbecue or other sauces at the end of cooking.

What is the max rest time for pulled pork? ›

Allow pork butt to rest for as little as 30 minutes to as long as 5 hours; however, the ideal resting period to rest pork butt is between 1 and 2 hours. This gives the meat enough time to relax and allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat.

Why is my pulled pork not shredding? ›

If the pork does not shred easily, it might be due to undercooking or improper cooking methods. In such cases, consider returning the meat to the smoker until it reaches the appropriate temperature, or adjusting the heat and cooking time in your oven or crockpot.

Should I wrap my pork butt? ›

Wrapping also captures the meat's fat, juices, and smoke flavor from the dry rub paired with apple cider vinegar, so it can all be reabsorbed once the meat is taken off the smoker to rest at the end of the cooking process, making for tender and juicy pulled pork.

How long can you leave pork belly uncovered in the fridge? ›

Can cooked pork belly be stored? You can keep cooked pork belly in the fridge for 3-4 days.

How long can pork rest before shredding? ›

The BBQ Host also says that 30-45 minutes is the optimum time to let the meat rest before shredding. If you are prepping your pulled pork for a party that's later in the day, Bearded Butchers say it can rest for up to roughly two hours.

Is it OK to make pulled pork ahead of time? ›

Test Kitchen Tip: Making pulled pork ahead of time is a great way to have the makings of a meal at the ready. After shredding pulled pork, divide it into shallow containers. Cover and refrigerate up to 3 days or freeze up to 3 months.

How long can you leave pork uncovered in the fridge? ›

Remove pork roast from packaging and season with olive oil, course salt & cracked pepper, leave in fridge uncovered for up to 24 hours before cooking.

Why do you pour boiling water on pork belly? ›

Pour boiling water over the rind. This allows the fat to render out easily. Dry the crackling, and then allow to sit uncovered at room temperature for an hour or two to ensure that it is completely dry.

Should I cover pork in fridge overnight? ›

You want the skin and fat to be as dry as possible. If time allows, chill the piece of pork uncovered for 4 hours or overnight (the air in the refrigerator is very dry).

Do I cover pork belly in the fridge? ›

Uncooked pork belly should be wrapped as tightly as possible in freezer bags or wraps, or store in an air-tight container towards the bottom of the fridge. Store at 5°c or below in the fridge (check your fridge is cold enough by using a fridge thermometer) for up to 2 days and 4-6 months in the freezer at -18°C.

Can you leave fat on pulled pork? ›

Remove some of the fat. Pork shoulder has a decent amount of fat on the surface. It's a good idea to cut away this excess fat prior to cooking, but do leave a small amount as it adds to the flavour.

What temp is pork butt done? ›

Return pork to the grill (or smoker) The pork is finished cooking when it pulls apart easily and reaches an internal temperature of 190 to 195 degrees F, about another 1 to 2 hours. Let rest for 1 hour, then unwrap the pork butt and pull the bone out.

What is the secret to moist pulled pork? ›

Cooking the pork low and very slow is the secret to the juiciest and most tender pulled pork. Serve the pork as is or feel free to stir in your favorite barbecue or other sauces at the end of cooking.

Is it better to shred pulled pork hot or cold? ›

Shredding reduces temperature significantly, saving time and energy in the chill cycle. Fine shreds are only possible if you shred hot. It gives you a more hand-pulled look.

What sauce keeps pulled pork moist? ›

Piedmont Barbecue Sauce

It's a thin sauce that is perfect for mixing into pulled pork as soon as it's shredded. It helps keep the meat moist before it hits the plate or the bun. Simply cook vinegar, ketchup, water, sugar, salt, and pepper flakes. That's it.

What does vinegar do to pork? ›

The vinegar tenderizes the meat and the result is a super flavorful and tender roast. As the pork roasts, the marinade is used as a basting liquid, and when the meat's cooked it's served as a delicious sauce with the tender slices. It has an appealingly tangy aroma and a pronounced balsamic vinegar taste.

Can I use pork that was left out overnight? ›

If a perishable food (such as meat or poultry) has been left out at room temperature overnight (more than two hours) it may not be safe. Discard it, even though it may look and smell good. Never taste a food to see if it is spoiled.

Why does my pork crackle go hard? ›

Insufficient heat will make it hard for the skin to get really crisp. Make sure to take the pork out of the fridge 30 minutes before you cook it so that the meat reaches room temperature. A high starting temperature (240C/220C fan/gas 9 in this recipe) is essential for crisping up the pork.


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