If you’re like most people, you love BBQ but might not know how to smoke pork butt properly. Smoking meat can be a little tricky, but it’s well worth the effort to get that perfect smoky flavor.
Our guide will show you how to choose the right cut of meat, select the right smoker, and prepare your pork butt for smoking. We’ll also give you tips on how to tell when your pork is done cooking.
Table of Contents
About Pork Butt (It’s Actually Pork Shoulder)
Pork butt is a popular cut of meat for smoking, and there are many ways to cook it. One of the most important decisions you’ll make is when to wrap pork butt. If you wrap your pork butt too early, you’ll end up with a tough, dry roast.
If you wait too long, the fat will render out and your roast will be greasy. So when is the perfect time to wrap pork butt?
Pork butt, also called Boston butt, is a cut of pork from the pork shoulder area. It’s a tough cut of meat with a lot of connective tissue, but that’s what makes it so perfect for smoking. The long cooking time allows the collagen in the connective tissue to break down, making it more tender and juicy meat.
Pork butt is usually sold boneless, but you can ask your butcher to leave the bone in. The bone adds flavor to the smoking meat and helps it stay moist during the cooking process. Bone in pulled pork shoulder is a family favorite around here.
When choosing a pork butt for smoking, look for one that’s about two pounds. Any larger and it will take too long to cook, any smaller and it will dry out.
The first thing you need to do when smoking boneless pork butt is to choose the right smoker. There are many different types of smokers on the market, and each one has its own set of features.
Some smokers are better than others, and some are more expensive. The important thing is to find a smoker that’s easy to use and that produces consistent results.
We recommend the Traeger Pro Series 575. It’s easy to use, and it produces great results. Plus, it’s relatively inexpensive, making it a great choice for beginners.
Why Wrap Pork Butt?
You should wrap the pork butt when it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. At this point, the meat will be cooked and will be safe to eat. However, it will still be quite tough.
Wrapping the pork butt in foil or butcher paper helps to tenderize the meat and prevents it from drying out. By wrapping the pork butt, it can continue to cook until the internal temperature reaches 190 degrees Fahrenheit without getting dry and tough. Instead, the meat will remain juicy and become very tender.
How To Prepare Pork Butt For The Smoker?
Once you have your smoker set up and ready to go, it’s time to prepare your pork butt for smoking. The first thing you need to do is trim the fat. You don’t want to remove all of the fat, but you should trim off any large pieces.
Next, rub the pork butt with your favorite BBQ rub. Be generous with the rub, and make sure to cover the entire surface of the meat.
Once you’ve rubbed the pork butt with BBQ rub, it’s time to place it in the smoker. Set the temperature on your smoker to 225 degrees Fahrenheit and let it preheat for about 15 minutes.
Once the smoker is up to temperature, place the pork butt in the smoker and let it cook. The cooking time will vary depending on the size of the pork butt, but it should take between eight and 12 hours.
Next, rub your pork butt with a BBQ rub. There are many different recipes for BBQ rubs, so feel free to experiment until you find one that you like. Just make sure to cover the entire surface of the meat with a thin layer of your favorite BBQ dry rub.
If you don’t have time to make your own rub, you can use a store-bought variety. Just make sure to read the label and choose one that’s made with all-natural ingredients.
Once the pork butt is rubbed, it’s time to add it to the smoker. We recommend using hickory or apple wood for smoking a pork butt. These woods will give your pork a nice smoke flavor without being too overwhelming.
Smoke the pork butt for about eight hours, or until it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Once the pork butt is cooked, remove it from the smoker and let it rest for about 30 minutes.
Spray the pork butts with apple cider vinegar to keep them moist while resting. This will help the juices to redistribute, making the meat more tender and juicy.
How To Get A Crisp Bark On Your Pork Butt?
One of the best things about smoking pork butts is the bark that forms on the outside of the meat. The bark is a mix of rub, smoke, and fat, and it’s absolutely delicious.
The key to getting a good bark is to not wrap the pork butt when cooking. If you wrap the pork butt, the bark won’t be as crisp.
So when should you wrap pork butt? Only wrap it when it’s cooked through and you’re ready to rest the meat. This will ensure that you get a nice crispy bark on your pork butt. The downside is the body of the meat will be more dry, so this is a good technique to use if you plan on shredding the pork butt into pulled pork and adding a BBQ sauce.
If you follow these tips, you’ll be able to make the perfect smoky BBQ pork butt. Just remember to not wrap the pork butt until it’s cooked through, and you’ll be sure to impress your friends and family with your BBQ skills.
When To Wrap Pork Butt?
When you wrap your pork butt be sure to use butcher paper or heavy-duty foil. We prefer butcher paper because it allows the meat to breathe, which prevents it from getting soggy. Foil is also an option, but be sure to use heavy-duty aluminum foil so that it doesn’t tear.
To wrap the pork butt, simply place it in the center of a large sheet of butcher paper or foil. Then, fold up the sides of the paper or foil so that it covers the pork butt. Be sure to leave enough space so that you can easily insert a thermometer into the meat.
Once the pork butt is wrapped, place it back in the smoker and continue cooking until it reaches an internal temperature of 190 degrees Fahrenheit.
Wrapping Pork Butt Using Foil
To wrap your pork butt with foil, place the pork butt in the center of a large sheet of heavy-duty foil. Then, fold up the sides of the foil so that it covers the pork butt. Be sure to leave enough space so that you can easily insert a thermometer into the meat.
Once the pork butt is wrapped, place it back in the smoker and continue cooking until it reaches an internal temperature of 190 degrees Fahrenheit.
Wrapping Pork Butt Using Bucher Paper
To wrap your pork butt with butcher paper, simply place the meat on a sheet of butcher paper and fold the sides over. Then, place the wrapped meat in a baking dish or pan and put it in the smoker.
Be sure to leave enough space so that you can easily insert a thermometer into the meat. Once the pork butt is wrapped, place it back in the smoker and continue cooking until it reaches an internal temperature of 190 degrees Fahrenheit.
Let Your Pork Butt Rest
Once your pork butt reaches an internal meat temperature of 190 degrees Fahrenheit, remove it from the smoker and let it rest for about 30 minutes. This will allow the meat’s natural juices to redistribute, making the meat more tender and juicy.
After the pork butt has rested, it’s time to slice it and serve. We like to serve our pork butt with a side of coleslaw and some BBQ sauce. We hope you enjoy your perfectly smoked pork butt!
Expert Tips For Smoking Pork Butt (Boston Butt)
- When smoking a pork butt, use hickory or apple wood for the best smoke flavor.
- Smoke the pork butt until it reaches an internal meat temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Wrap it in butcher paper or foil and continue cooking until it reaches an internal temperature of 190 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Let the meat rest for 30 minutes before slicing and serving.
Best Wood To Smoke Pork Butt
When it comes to smoking pork butt, there are a few things you need to know in order to achieve perfection. First, you need to use the right wood. Hickory and apple wood are the best woods for smoking pork butt because they give the meat a nice smoky flavor.
If you can’t find hickory or apple wood, you can also use mesquite or oak. We love Traeger apple pellets for smoking pork butts. These pellets will give your pork a nice apple flavor that pairs well with the hickory smoke.
Use A Meat Thermometer
One of the most important things to remember when smoking pork butt is to use a meat thermometer. This will help you ensure that the pork butt is cooked through and juicy. We like to use our Meater Plus wireless probes so that we can keep an eye on the internal temperature of the meat.
The Meater Block has a dual-sensor that monitors both the internal temperature of the meat and the ambient temperature of the smoker. This is important because you need to make sure that your smoker is maintaining a consistent temperature throughout the cooking process.
Using The Right Butcher Paper
When it comes time to wrap your pork butt, you have a few options. You can use foil, butcher paper, or even brown sugar. We like to use butcher paper because it allows the meat to breathe and doesn’t make the pork soggy like foil can.
You can go wrong with Traegers Pink Butcher Paper. This butcher paper is FDA approved and its pink color makes it easy to see when the meat is cooked through. Plus, it’s nice and thick so it won’t tear easily.
Wrapping Up Your Juicy Pork Butt
So, there you have it. Our top tips for smoking the perfect pork butts. It’s not as hard as it might seem, but it does require a bit of patience and attention to detail.
By following our guide, you should be able to produce a tender, juicy, smoky BBQ masterpiece that will have your guests raving! What are you waiting for? Get started on your own pork butt journey today.
Our team has an extreme love and passion for grilling, smoking, and backyard BBQ. We’ve been all over the country tasting, learning, and experiencing the best barbecues in the world. Our mission is to help you find the perfect grill or smoker within your budget so you can create the perfect family barbecue right in your backyard.
Should I wrap pork shoulder at 160 or 165? If you want perfectly smoked meat that's moist and juicy, then listen up! After 5 hours of smoking, the internal temperature should be around 160 degrees. To lock in that delectable flavor and prevent excessive smokiness, wrap your meat in shiny aluminum foil.When should I wrap my smoked pulled pork? ›
Most chefs recommend wrapping your pork butt when it reaches 150-160°F (65-71°C). At this point, the fat has begun to render and you want to prevent further drying out. Once you done wrapping your pork, the final dish should be typically achieved after three to four hours of smoking at temperatures between 225-250°F.How long to smoke pork before wrapping in foil? ›
You are going to need between 10-12 hours to smoke a 10 pound pork butt at 225F. You will want to cook the butt in the smoke for about 5 hours, wrap it in foil and then cook for another 6 hours. Set aside the time, follow this technique and you will have some Extraordinary pulled pork!What temp should smoked pork shoulder be before wrapping? ›
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°.How long to smoke a pork shoulder at 225 with no wrap? ›
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.Should I wrap pork shoulder in foil after smoking? ›
Wrapping in Foil
Meat will generally be juicier and more tender. However, do not overcook. Meats like brisket and pork shoulder are best when taken to an internal temp of 203 degrees. Meat will cook faster and power more easily through the stall (see above).
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.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.Does wrapping meat in foil make it smoke faster? ›
Wrapping your brisket in aluminum foil speeds up cooking time and keeps in the meat's fat and juices, leaving it tender. It also helps keep the temperature constant, allowing it to cook evenly. However, timing is crucial when using tinfoil, especially for those who like their meat slightly crispy.How long to smoke meat before wrapping? ›
Most wood smokers aren't perfect and the temp fluctuates, so a range between 225 and 275 degrees is fine. 6 After about 4 hours, begin to monitor the internal temperature of the meat. When it reaches 160-170 degrees and has a deep reddish brown or nearly black crust on the exterior, it's time to wrap the brisket.
Place the wrapped pork back onto the center of the grill, then increase the heat to 300°F and continue to cook. It's common for the internal temperature of a pork shoulder to plateau, or stop climbing for a while, between 165°F and 170°F.How long to smoke a 10lb pork butt? ›
- Preheat your smoker or grill to 225°F (107°C). ...
- Rub a generous amount of dry rub seasoning over the entire outside of the meat. ...
- Place the pork butt in the smoker or on the grill and let it cook for 8 to 10 hours, or until it reaches an internal temperature of 195°F (91°C).
Well, then, how long does it take to smoke a pork shoulder at 225? At 225, figure roughly 2 hours per pound of meat, so the same piece of smoked pork shoulder takes from 12- 16 hours at 225.How do you keep pork shoulder moist when smoking? ›
Try brine: Choose a wet marinade rather than a dry one. Dry rubs may work fine but brine or a wet rub will add that extra moisture along with the flavor that will penetrate deep inside the meat. Keep a spray bottle handy: Keep spraying the meat during smoking or reheating to replace the lost moisture.Can you let pork shoulder rest too long? ›
The final and arguably most crucial step in creating great barbecue is the resting period. Now allowing enough rest can be the difference between a great cook and a bad one. On the other hand, resting for too long can be dangerous if not done safely.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.How do you get the best bark on a pork shoulder? ›
Get More Bang For Your Bark
More surface area – the more surface area you have the more bark will form. Consider splitting that pork shoulder or brisket, or tie your meat into a tube. You can also gash the meat and really get that rub in there too.
The ideal time to use a water pan in your smoker is anytime you are going to be cooking at a constant, lower temperature for a long period. It doesn't matter what type of meat you plan on cooking, whether it is brisket, pork shoulder, ribs, prime rib, etc.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.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.
The cook time for pork shoulder is around 90 minutes per pound in a 250° F smoker.Is 250 too high for pulled pork? ›
With smoked pulled pork, it is all about going low and slow. This is why you should never set the temperature above 250 degrees F. If you do, you risk drying the meat out. You may also not be giving the meat enough time to break down and become more tender.Is foil or butcher paper better for pork shoulder? ›
Butcher paper is more breathable than foil and it will trap less steam. This fact will keep the brisket or shoulder moist without making the bark soft and mushy. A major drawback with paper is it can be difficult to get a good tight wrap, leaving holes and gaps, allowing too much steam or moisture to escape.Does smoke penetrate butcher paper? ›
Butcher Paper is porous, when using butcher paper for smoking, your meat can breath throughout the process. Smoke is then able to still penetrate the paper and meat.Why use butcher paper instead of foil? ›
Butcher paper is more porous than foil, which allows some additional smoke to seep in creating more flavor and allowing moisture to leak out and preserve a crunchier bark.Do you increase smoker temp after wrapping? ›
Raising the Temperature After Wrapping
While it isn't an essential step, raising the temperature slightly will help power the brisket through the stall and get it to the proper internal temperature more quickly.
Many experts emphasize that pre-cooked meats should not be smoked at all before going into the smoker since it can result in an excessive flavor and aroma of smoke that can overwhelm the taste of the meat itself.Do you rub meat before smoking? ›
As meat cooks, the heat pulls open it pores, and the flavor of the rub seep into the meat. Rubs help produce bark, a crisp and flavorful crust that also helps hold in the meat's moisture. To create a rub, start with something fairly neutral that will mix easily, such as paprika.What temp does pork shoulder fall apart? ›
I aim for an internal temperature between 195°F and 204°F for pulled pork – a thermometer probe or toothpick should slide in and out easily. Usually, I find that 203°F is the sweet spot for me. I have been smoking pulled pork for over a decade, both at home on my Big Green Egg and as a chef.How long should pork butt rest? ›
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.
At 275°F, a 10-pound pork shoulder will take approximately 12 to 15 hours to cook to an internal temperature of 195-205°F, the recommended temperature range for fully cooked, tender, and juicy pulled pork.Can you overcook pulled pork on a smoker? ›
You've also got to watch that meat thermometer while cooking. BBQ Host explains that 205-210 degrees Fahrenheit yields perfectly tender pork, but cooking over 210 degrees causes the meat to dry out and toughen up.What is the rule of thumb for smoking pork shoulder? ›
A good rule of thumb is about 1 hour per pound. But always allow more time than you think you'll need.Is pulled pork better at 195 or 203? ›
Some prefer the slightly firmer texture of pork cooked to 195 degrees Fahrenheit, while others prefer the melt-in-your-mouth texture of pork cooked to 203 degrees Fahrenheit. The good news is that both temperatures will result in delicious pulled pork, so it's just a matter of taste.Can I pull pork shoulder at 170? ›
Cook the meat about 8 to 10 hours or until the internal temperature, using an instant-read thermometer, reaches 165 degrees F for slicing or 175 degrees F for pulling.Why is my smoked pork shoulder tough? ›
The number one tip is to make sure you give the pork plenty of time to cook. If the meat is cooked too quickly, the fat, connective tissues, and muscle fibers won't have a chance to break down, so the meat will be full of gristle and tough.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.What liquid is best for pork shoulder? ›
Chicken Broth – This broth will add some extra flavor to your slow cooker pork shoulder. Beef broth is another one too that can be used when making pulled pork. Apple Cider Vinegar – Just a tiny amount will help to tenderize the crock pot pulled pork.What liquid is best for smoking pork? ›
Mix 1 cup of apple cider vinegar with 8-10 cups of water and pour into the smoker water pan. Spraying The Pork Butt During The Stall - You'll spray the meat with half apple juice and water when double wrapping it in aluminum foil. This process helps add additional moisture and flavor.How long to wrap pork shoulder after smoking? ›
For the final two hours of the 10 hour cook of a pork butt, the meat cooks inside a tight wrap of heavy duty aluminum foil.
Now, you will often find a lot of people telling you to wrap pork butts at a particular time. They will say that if your pork butt takes around 12 hours to cook that you should start the wrapping process two-thirds of the way. Therefore, you should wrap it when the meat has had a chance to cook for about 8 hours.How long should pulled pork rest before shredding? ›
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.What temperature do you stop smoking pulled pork? ›
For pulled or shredded pork, cook until the pork reaches an internal temperature 205°F. Remove the meat from the smoker, but don't open the foil just yet — allow the meat to rest covered for 1 hour.What is the best temp to wrap pork shoulder? ›
For example, as a general rule of thumb, you should wrap the pork shoulder when it reaches a temperature between 155 and 170F and the bark is cooked the way you prefer it. Wrapping the pork shoulder at this temperature helps prevent the stall so that the meat can stay juicy and tender.What is the secret to 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.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.What is the best liquid for pulled pork? ›
Transfer everything to a large slow cooker and add a splash of liquid — water is great, but so is broth, apple juice, or beer if you have them handy. Cover and cook on low until the meat is tender and pulls apart easily.Why is my smoked 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.Can you rest pulled pork too long? ›
The final and arguably most crucial step in creating great barbecue is the resting period. Now allowing enough rest can be the difference between a great cook and a bad one. On the other hand, resting for too long can be dangerous if not done safely.How do you get pulled pork to fall apart? ›
- Place the cooked meat on a large cutting board. Use a large knife to cut the meat into large pieces.
- Insert two forks into a piece of meat and pull in opposite directions to get long, thin shreds. Repeat with remaining meat.
Try brine: Choose a wet marinade rather than a dry one. Dry rubs may work fine but brine or a wet rub will add that extra moisture along with the flavor that will penetrate deep inside the meat. Keep a spray bottle handy: Keep spraying the meat during smoking or reheating to replace the lost moisture.