Smoked Pork Butt

4.50 from 2 votes
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Smoked Pork Butt – A super simple recipe with just a few ingredients for the most tender, juicy, and delicious pulled pork!  Add your favorite sauce or just dive in!  

As soon as the weather is nice not only do I like to cook as many meals as I can on the grill, I love to use our smoker.  This year with being home more, we are using it more than ever!  The first recipe I ever made on it was Smoked Tri Tip, and since them we are using it for so many different meats.  And lots of them are getting shared here this summer!

Smoked pork butt on cutting board with pile of pulled pork out front

 

Is Pork Butt The Same As Pork Shoulder

Contrary to the sound of if, pork butt is not from the shoulder of the pig,  It comes from the shoulder area, so it is they are from the same general area.  The pork butt is from higher up on the leg, and the shoulder is a little further down.  They are both relatively tough and fatty, but if you cook them low and slow it makes for the most tender meat ever!  

When you are at the grocery store you sometimes see pork butt labeled as Boston butt.  Really, you can buy pork butt, Boston Butt or pork shoulder for this, and they will all work exactly the same!  When you cook them low and slow the tissue starts to break down and this is how you get super tender pulled pork.  

smoked pork shoulder on cutting board with 2 forks

How to Smoke A Pork Butt

Smoking takes practice to get to know your smoker and how it behaves, but it is one of the simplest ways to cook.  You really just season the meat, put it on the smoker and let it go.  Sometimes there is wrapping with foil part way through, but that is as hard as it gets.  

  1. For this pork butt I used my Best Dry Rub For Ribs recipe. That is our favorite rub recipe when smoking pork.  You just generously rub it all over the pork.  I let the meat sit out while I am getting the smoker ready and up to temp, so it isn’t quite as cold when I put it on.  
  2. Heat the smoker to about 225 degrees F.  That is the goal temp, but anything between 215-240 degrees F is low enough that it will make delicious pork. 
  3. You want to insert a meat thermometer into the meat before you place it on the smoker, so you can monitor the temp.  
  4. Once the pork gets to around 145° and the rate the temperature is rising slows to a crawl you can wrap the meat in butcher paper or foil.  This will help the meat get through the “stall” and continue to rise.  
  5. Once the meat reaches 195° you can remove it from the smoker and let it rest.  Ideally you wrap in foil and a towel to keep it warm and let it stand for 30 minutes before shredding.  This helps to ensure you have juicy pork throughout the entire cut of meat.

smoked pulled pork with bbq sauce on plate with corn on the cob

How Long to Smoke Pork Butt

As an at home smoker knowing how long to cook something is the hardest part!  Monitoring the temperature is how you know when it is done.  For a pork butt, I like to plan on about 2 hours per pound of meat. Some recipes call for less, but I find it takes almost the full 2 hours per pound whenever we make it. 

We always shoot for a smoked pork butt temp of 195°.  It is easy to shred, the meat is super tender and juicy.  Some people like to go as high as 200°.  So anywhere in that range is the perfect temp.  

Measuring the temperature of your meat is the best way to know when it is actually done. The time can vary so much, temperature is really the accurate way to know. I use this one from Thermoworks every time we grill or smoke.  You can measure the temperature of the meat and the smoker, so it is makes getting it done right super easy with no guess work. 

Smoked Pork Butt - A super simple recipe with just a few ingredients for the most tender, juicy, and delicious pulled pork!  Add your favorite sauce or just dive in!  

To Wrap Or Not

You will notice in this recipe I say once the meat reaches about 145° to wrap in butcher paper or foil. What this does is not only lock in the moisture and keep the meat from drying out, it helps push the pork past the stall.

What is the stall? This is where the temperature stops rising as the collagen in the meat starts to breaks down. It is perfectly normal in large fatty cuts of meat, like smoked pork belly or even brisket. There is no need to worry or even adjust the temperature of your smoker, it is doing what it is supposed to and it is how you get that juicy meat you are looking for.

Buying Pork Butt

When you buy pork butt at the store it can be a lot and kind of intimidating. The smallest one you can find at Costco is usually around 15 pounds.  Those are usually pre-cut in half, so once you open it you have 2 pork butts about 8 pounds each.  But even from there, smoking an 8 pound piece of meat can take 16 hours.  So I like to cut those in half as well, and smoke two 4 pound pieces of meat. 

Some people say if you are using a smaller cut of meat it can dry out on you, but if you use liquid when you wrap (as directed in the recipe) the meat is anything by dry.  And you are done in closer to 8 hours, which is more doable for the average person on the weekend.  

This pork butt recipe is really super easy to follow and will give you some of the best pulled pork you have ever had!  Top with your favorite barbecue sauce and you have an over the top delicious meal!

What to Serve with Smoked Pork

Smoked Pork Butt - A super simple recipe with just a few ingredients for the most tender, juicy, and delicious pulled pork!  Add your favorite sauce or just dive in!  

More Summer Dinner Recipes

4.50 from 2 votes

Smoked Pork Butt

By Erin
Smoked Pork Butt – A super simple recipe with just a few ingredients for the most tender, juicy, and delicious pulled pork!  Add your favorite sauce or just dive in!  
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 10 hours
Additional Time: 30 minutes
Total: 10 hours 35 minutes
Servings: 10

Ingredients 

  • 4 to 5 pound pork butt, Boston Butt or Pork Shoulder
  • 1/3 cup Dry Rub, recipe linked in notes
  • 1/2 cup apple juice

Instructions 

  • Generously rub the dry rub evenly over the entire piece of meat. Let is sit out for 30-60 minutes while you set up the smoker.
  • Heat the smoker to 225 degrees F
  • Insert a thermometer into the meat and place in the smoker. The meat will take about 2 hours per pound to completely cook.
  • Cook until about 145 degrees F and then wrap with foil or butcher paper. Pour apple juice into the foil with the meat.
  • Place back in the smoker and cook until it reaches 195 degrees F.
  • Remove from the smoker and wrap in a towel. Let stand for 30 minutes before shredding.
  • Serve with your favorite barbecue sauce

Notes

You can use meat labeled as Pork Butt, Boston Butt or Pork Shoulder in this recipe.
Recipe for Dry Rub – https://dinnersdishesanddesserts.com/best-dry-rub-for-ribs/

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 616kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 52g | Fat: 43g | Saturated Fat: 16g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 23g | Cholesterol: 195mg | Sodium: 152mg | Sugar: 1g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Author: Erin
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 hours
Additional Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 10 hours 35 minutes
Course: Dinner Recipes
Cuisine: American
Servings: 10
Calories: 616
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About Erin S

Welcome to Dinners, Dishes, & Desserts where my love of food meets my busy life. My name is Erin and I’m a casual home cook who loves to feed people. On this blog, you’ll find hundreds of quick and easy recipes made mostly from scratch. My days are spent in the kitchen, creating new recipes to share with family and friends.

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9 Comments

  1. Yum! This looks so delicious and tasty! So excited to try this! My mouth is watering from the pictures. Saved for this weekend! Thank you!