Smoked Pork Butt is a mouth-watering, juicy cut of meat, perfect for those who enjoy rich, savory flavors. It has a smoky aroma that will have your taste buds tingling. Smoking pork is an art form, and with a bit of patience and the right equipment, anyone can master this delicious dish.
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Smoked pork butt is ideal for a wide range of occasions. Whether you’re hosting a summer cookout, tailgating with friends, or simply want to indulge in some comfort food, this recipe is sure to satisfy you.
It’s also great for meal prep or as a make-ahead option for busy weeknights. The best part? You can easily make a large batch and enjoy the leftovers for days to come.
Although smoking a pork butt may seem like a daunting task, it’s actually quite straightforward with the right tools and technique.
This recipe is perfect for those who want to challenge themselves in the kitchen and create something truly special.
So, roll up your sleeves, put on your apron, and get ready to impress your family and friends with the best-smoked pork butt they’ve ever tasted!
The Ultimate Cut for Smoked Pork Butt
First things first – the name pork butt can be misleading, mainly because despite it being called ‘butt,’ this particular cut of meat actually comes from the pig’s shoulder. It can be bone in pork butt or bone less.
Now, choosing the right pork butt (also called pork shoulder) cut can be tricky. While there are loads that fit the bill, the ultimate choice has to be the blade roast.
Not only is this section full of marbling that adds immense flavor to your meal, but it’s also known to become like butter to the touch. This makes it the perfect smoked pork shoulder cut to serve in smoked pork butt recipes.
Fat on a Pork Butt – To Be or Not To Be
If there’s one thing that pork lovers are known for, it’s their love of fat. There are simply no two ways about it. But the question is – should you leave all of the fat on your pork butt before smoking it, or is removal necessary?
It’s a good idea to trim a little bit of the fat off, but care needs to be taken not to take off too much; otherwise, you could waste beautiful pieces of meat. Plus, the fat is a great source of flavor for the pork butt itself!
When cooking, it’s best to keep the fat cap on as the fat melts and trickles into meat, adding an intense, delicious flavor. If you want, the fat cap can always be removed once you’re done smoking.
While we’re on the topic of fat, it’s a good time to take a look at marbling. Marbling within the meat is when there are fat veins present within the piece of meat. Since these veins are typically thin, they tend to melt away as the meat cooks, leaving it with a gorgeous, lasting taste.
You might be surprised to know that not all pork butt is marbled, so it’s important to be on the lookout if you want to pick the best cut. But be prepared; the more marbling a piece of pork butt has, the more it is likely to cost. But it’ll be worth it!
How Long To Smoke A Pork Butt
The general cook time for a smoked pork shoulder varies depending on the size and thickness of the cut of meat. In general, you can expect 2 hours of smoking time for every pound of pork butt.
Use a meat thermometer and time the cook based on your meat’s internal temperature. Remember, the right temperature is essential to achieving success with most BBQ recipes, and that goes for most cuts of meat.
Our recommendation is to wrap the pork butt once it reaches an internal temperature of 160°F and remove it from the smoker once it reaches a final temperature of 195°F to 210°F.
The Perfect Seasoning
Good meat needs good seasoning to make it truly sing – and this is where your seasoning mix comes in. While this recipe used a standard seasoning mix – brown sugar, salt, black pepper, paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder – there are a couple of variations you can have a go at to add some extra zest to your dish!
Some of the best ingredients to try incorporating into your dish are brown sugar, sugar, oregano, lemon, and white pepper.
Whatever your choice of seasoning, make sure to thoroughly rub the pork and then wrap the pork in butcher paper to really pack in that flavor.
How To Make Smoked Pork Butt
- Prepare the Pork Butt
To start, you need to prepare the pork butt. Trim away any excess fat and remove silver skin. This will help the meat to cook more evenly. Any hard pieces of fat can be removed as they will not render during the smoking process.
- Brine the Pork Butt
Next, soak the pork butt in a simple brine solution made from salt, brown sugar, and water. This will help to tenderize the meat and add flavor. Ideally, you should soak the pork overnight in the refrigerator, but if you don’t have enough time, soak it for at least four hours prior to smoking.
- Preheat the Smoker
On the day of smoking, preheat your smoker grill to 225°F. This is the optimal temperature to smoke a pork butt cut
- Apply Mustard and Rub
Lather a thin layer of yellow mustard on the pork butt. This will help the seasoning to stick to the meat. Combine the spice rub of your choice. We used brown sugar, salt, black pepper, paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder.
Layer the rub onto the pork butt, making sure to work it in with your fingers. Adjust the amount of seasoning per pound of meat.
- Prepare the Spritzing Solution
While the Boston butt is smoking, prepare the spritzing solution. Combine equal parts of apple juice and apple cider vinegar in a spray bottle. This will be used to spritz the pork shoulder as it smokes, helping to keep it moist and flavorful.
- Smoke Pork Butt
Place the pork shoulder onto the pellet smoker and fill the drip pan with water. Smoke the pork for 4 hours uninterrupted. After 4 hours, start spritzing the pork butt every hour with the spritzing solution until it reaches an internal temperature of 160°F.
- Wrap the Pork Butt
Once the pork butt reaches 160°F, remove it from the smoker, spritz it one last time, and wrap it in foil. This will help to trap in the juices and flavors.
- Smoke the Pork Butt Again
Return the wrapped pork to the smoker and continue to smoke it until it reaches an internal temperature of 195°F. The smoking time for this will depend on the size and thickness of your pork shoulder.
The general rule of thumb is 2 hours of smoking time per pound of pork butt.
- Let the Pork Rest
Remove the pork shoulder from the smoker and let it rest for at least an hour. This will help the juices redistribute throughout the meat, making it even more tender and flavorful. The best way to rest a pork butt is to wrap the entire wrapped piece of meat in towels and place it in an insulated cooler.
- Pull The Pork Apart
After the smoked pulled pork butt has rested, it’s time to pull it apart. This is where the magic happens. Carefully transfer the foil-wrapped pork butt to a tray and dump the liquid and pork into it. Start pulling the pork apart, adding more seasoning and BBQ sauce as needed.
The tender pulled pork should fall apart effortlessly. Use a couple of forks to pull the meat apart into thin, juicy shreds.
Serve the smoked pulled pork as a delicious main dish, or create pulled pork sandwiches by piling the tender meat onto buns with your favorite toppings. Enjoy the delectable flavor of the perfectly smoked pulled pork!
How To Serve Smoked Pork Butt
So, you’ve managed to perfectly smoke a beautiful pork butt. Now, what are you going to do with it? Sure, you can pop a few shreds into your mouth, but a true smoked pork butt meal is incomplete without the sides.
Pork butts taste divine with creamed corn, potato or egg salad, light coleslaw, freshly baked cornbread, mac and cheese, and of course, your serving of veggies however you like them – we’re talking carrots, parsnips, cauliflower – whatever makes your taste buds sing! So, whip up these sides and get ready to enjoy a meal that’ll leave you feeling full and good.
If you’ve been following along for a smoked pulled pork recipe, keep reading.
Once you have shredded pork butt, the options for pulled pork recipes are truly endless. You can make shredded pork wraps, shredded pork burgers, pulled pork tacos, or an amazing pulled pork sandwich with your favorite BBQ Sauce and coleslaw.
Tips For Making Smoked Pork Butt
Here’s a few cooking tips and tricks to help you improve your culinary skills and create delicious meals every time.
Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned home cook, these tips are sure to come in handy in the kitchen.
Make It Ahead Of Time
Smoking a pork butt takes serious time, and it comes as no surprise that many people simply do not have that many free hours in a day.
Don’t worry, even if you’re in a time crunch, you can still get to smoking pork butt for your friends and family!
Smoked pork shoulder is pretty flexible, and the cooking process can easily be carried out a day in advance.
Simply smoke the pork butt as you normally would, cool, and shred. Make sure to store it covered securely with foil and refrigerate if storing overnight.
Use the Right Equipment
The equipment you use when cooking smoked pork butt is crucial for success. The essentials include a smoker grill, spritzing bottle, tongs, meat thermometer, meat scissors or knife, and foil or peach paper.
Use a meat thermometer to ensure the internal temperature of the meat is at the required level, and use tongs to shred the meat for serving.
With the right equipment and proper technique, you’ll have a delicious and satisfying meal of smoked pork butt.
Pulled Pork Leftovers
Pork shoulder typically keeps good for about four days after the initial cook. If you’re looking for a longer save time, then freezing is also a viable option. Just make sure that when you’re heating it back up, you add a little liquid and cover it up with foil.
To reheat your leftover pulled pork, you’ll once again need to make use of the smoker grill and a low-and-slow method, just like when it was initially cooked.
Place the pulled pork in a pot or a baking dish and add a small amount of liquid, such as chicken or beef broth, or even apple juice or water to keep it moist.
Cover the dish with a lid or foil, and then reheat it for about 30 minutes, or until the pulled pork reaches an internal temperature of 165°F. Be sure to stir the meat occasionally to ensure that it heats evenly.
Best Beer To Serve With Smoked Pork Butt
When it comes to pairing beer with a smoked pork butt or a pulled pork sandwich, you want something that can stand up to the bold and smoky flavors of the meat. Here are our top 3 picks.
American Pale Ale
This classic beer style is perfect for pairing with smoked pork. With a nice balance of hops and malt, an APA will cut through the richness of the meat while complementing the smoky flavor. Plus, the fruity and citrusy notes in the beer can enhance the flavors of any barbecue sauce you choose to use.
A brown ale is a great choice for those who prefer a more malt-forward beer. The nutty and caramel flavors in a brown ale pair well with the smokiness of the meat, while the beer’s slightly sweet finish helps to balance out any spice or heat in the dish.
If you’re looking for something a little more adventurous, try pairing your smoked pork with a Belgian saison.
The spicy and fruity notes in this beer style can bring out the smoky flavors of the meat, while the effervescence of the beer helps to cleanse the palate between bites. It’s a unique and refreshing pairing that’s sure to impress your guests.
Smoked Pork Butt (Pork Shoulder)
- Smoker Pellets (applewood, pecan or cherry)
- Small bowl
- Baking Dish
- Baking Sheet
- Liquid spray bottle
- 6 lb lb pork shoulder
- 2 tbsp yellow mustard
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 tbsp kosher salt
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar
- 2 tbsp black pepper
- 2 tbsp kosher salt
- 1 tbsp paprika
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp onion powder
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/4 cup apple juice
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- Prepare the pork butt by trimming away any excess fat and silver skin
- Place the pork butt in a simple brine solution (salt, brown sugar, and water) to soak in overnight in the refrigerator. If you don’t have enough time, make sure to soak the meat at least four hours prior to smoking
- When you're ready to begin, preheat your smoker to 225°F
- Lather pork butt with a thin layer of yellow mustard
- Combine the spice and rub it onto the pork butt, making sure to work it in with your fingers. Adjust the amount of seasoning per pound.
- Prepare a spritzing solution by combining equal parts of apple juice and apple cider vinegar in a spray bottle
- Place pork shoulder onto the pellet smoker, making sure to fill the drip pan with water
- Smoke for 4 hours uninterrupted and then start spritzing the pork shoulder every hour until it reaches an internal temperature of 160°F
- Remove the pork butt from the pellet smoker. Spritz one last time and securely wrap it in aluminum foil
- Return the wrapped pork to the smoker and continue to smoke the pork for another two to four hours, depending on the size of your meat.
- Remove pork shoulder from the smoker once the internal temperature reaches 195°F
- Wrap the foil-wrapped pork butt in towels and place in an insulated cooler for at least an hour.
- Carefully transfer the foil-wrapped pork butt to a tray, along with the liquid inside the wrap. Pull the pork apart, sprinkle some pork rub over it, and add some BBQ sauce.
Smoked Pork Butt FAQs
Pork butt is a cut of pork that comes from the upper shoulder of a pig, also known as pork shoulder. This cut is perfect for smoking as it has a good amount of fat that will keep the meat moist and flavorful.
To smoke a pork butt, you will need a pellet smoker, BBQ tongs, a sharp knife, a meat thermometer, wood pellets, and aluminum foil.
It takes about 1.5-2 hours per pound of meat to smoke a pork butt.
You can season a smoked pork butt with a dry rub or a marinade. Some popular seasonings for smoked pork butt include salt, black pepper, paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder.
You should smoke pork butt at a temperature between 225-250°F. This will allow the meat to cook low and slow, resulting in a tender and flavorful pork butt.
You can check the internal temperature of the pork butt with a meat thermometer. The ideal internal temperature for a smoked pork butt is between 195-205°F.
Wrapping your smoked pork butt in foil can help keep the meat moist and tender. You can wrap the pork butt in foil once it reaches an internal temperature of 160-170°F.
You should let your smoked pork butt rest for at least an hour before pulling it apart. This will allow the juices to redistribute and make the meat more tender.
You can store leftover smoked pork butt in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days like leftover smoked pulled pork. You can also freeze it for up to 3 months
Smoked pork butt is a versatile meat that can be served in a variety of ways. Some popular serving suggestions include pulled pork sandwiches, tacos, burritos, and nachos. You can also serve it with coleslaw, baked beans, or potato salad.