Home » RECIPES » Smoked Pork Butt

Smoked Pork Butt

Total Time: 16 hrs 30 mins

You are going to love this smokey, tender, melt in your mouth Smoked Pork Butt. It requires few simple ingredients, is great to feed a crowd, and cooks low and slow all day long.

Here are a few more smoker recipes you might enjoy: Smoked Queso Dip, Smoked Cheez Its, Smoked Peach Cobbler, and Smoked Cream Cheese.

Smoked Pork Butt sitting on a tray ready to be shredded with two forks.

The Best Smoked Pork Butt Recipe

Get your smoker warmed up because we are making the BEST pulled pork with this Smoked Pork Butt recipe. There is nothing better than this tender, juicy, and flavorful Smoked Pork Butt. Well I lied, there are a few things even better than the taste:

  • Low and slow for the win. This gives your pork butt lots of time and consistent heat to break down and tenderize. At the end of the day you’ll have tender, juicy, and smokey strands of pulled pork.
  • Nothing fancy here. This recipe doesn’t require spritzing, injections, brine, or anything complicated. All you need is a few simple ingredients, your smoker, and some tin foil.
  • Makes lots of delicious meat. I love how this can feed a large crowd or be made into a lot of different meals. It can be used in everything from pulled pork sandwiches to pulled pork tacos to pulled pork pizzas. You can even throw it on a salad or in your morning eggs.

What Is Pork Butt?

Spoiler alert! Pork butt is NOT from the butt of a pig. Pork butt is actually from the shoulder region of the pig and is often referred to as a Boston butt or pork shoulder. Many believe pork butt, Boston butt, and pork shoulder are the same thing but they are not, each are a different cut from the same area of the pig. Because these cuts of pork cook the same, they are often referred to as being the same.

Pork butt is meatier than the others and has really great marbling throughout. It is a very tough cut of meat making it perfect for slow cooking and in this case, smoking. Pork butt is made up of a lot of tight muscles, connective tissue, and fat which takes time to break down and tenderize.

Video Tutorial:

Ingredients for Smoked Pulled Pork:

Here is what you will need to make your pork butt in the smoker…

  • Bone- In Pork Butt: I like to use an 8 pound pork butt. If you cannot find a pork butt, you can also use a pork shoulder or Boston butt.
  • Mustard: This is used to bind the seasoning the pork butt and to create a delicious crust on it. Carolina Gold BBQ Sauce is what I use. It is tangy, sweet, and slightly spicy. You gotta try it!
  • BBQ Rub: I love Memphis BBQ Rub by Pit Boss, it has a blend of brown sugar, paprika, garlic, and smoke flavor in it. You can any type of BBQ Rub you prefer.
  • Salt and Pepper: Because salt and pepper is essential on everything!
  • Apple Cider Vinegar: We put this in the pan with the pork butt to tenderize the meat and keep it moist as it smokes. The acid in the apple cider vinegar is what makes the pork butt even juicier (apple juice can be used but it just isn’t the same).

Equipment and Tools:

  • Smoker: I use a vertical pellet smoker by Pit Boss. Any wood pellet smoker will be great for this recipe.
  • Baking Pan: Disposable aluminum pans are the best because it keeps the moisture close to the pork butt. This is great if you want to make gravy with the juices too.
  • Digital Meat Thermometer: I use a Taylor and absolutely love it because I plug the probe right into my smoker and monitor the temperature as my pork butt smokes. Always remember to place the probe at the thickest part of the pork butt. If this is not possible for you using any digital meat thermometer throughout the day will work.
  • Aluminum Foil: This is used to wrap the partially cooked pork butt in. There is a stage called “stalling” which I explain later and this helps the pork butt get up to temperature quicker while reserving the use of your wood pellets.
Ingredients. Pork butt, Carolina Gold BBQ Sauce, Memphis BBQ Rub, Salt, and Pepper.

How To Smoke Pork Butt

This is a short summary of the steps, the recipe card below will have more details.

  1. Preheat your smoker to 225° F.
  2. Rub mustard, BBQ rub, salt, and pepper all over the pork butt.
  3. Smoke FAT SIDE UP until it reaches 145° F.
  4. Pour the apple cider vinegar into your disposable aluminum pan and continue to smoke.
  5. Smoke until it reaches 165° F, remove from the smoker.
  6. Wrap the pork butt in aluminum foil, place back in the smoker.
  7. Smoke until it reaches an internal temperature of 205° F, remove from the smoker.
  8. Rest for 30 minutes to 2 hours.
  9. Shred the pork butt with two forks (removing the bone, fat, and gristle).
  10. Sprinkle with a little more BBQ rub.
  11. Serve!

PRO TIP: Allow the pork butt to sit at room temperature for an hour or so before throwing it into the smoker. This helps it to cook faster and more evenly.

Notes on Smoked Pork Butt Internal Temperature:

Pork butt should reach an internal temperature between 195° F and 205° F. I like mine closer to 205° F because that is when it is most tender which makes it even easier to pull and shred apart.

You may be wondering, why so high? Well it is because pork butt is tough and the higher temperature allows for tissue break down and tenderizing. If you stopped at 165° F you would be chewing for decades.

The Stall

Initially your meat will rise in temperature very quickly, but once it gets to 145° F it slows which is called the “stall.” I like to add the apple cider vinegar at this point because it allows moisture and acid to be infused into the meat as it makes it’s way to 165° F.

Once our meat reaches 165° F we wrap it in aluminum foil. This is what gets our pork butt out of the stall period to shorten the smoke time while retaining heat and moisture. Don’t worry, your pork butt will still have a crust.

How Long to Smoke a Pork Butt

This will vary on a few different things, the temperature of your meat before it goes in the smoker, the outside temperatures, and how large your pork butt is. A great rule is for every pound of pork, it takes about 2 hours to cook (at 225° F). For example, an 8 pound pork butt takes about 16 hours to smoke.

This is a great reminder to start your smoker early and plan ahead of time (it’s a labor of love but oh so worth it). If you are worried about getting it smoked in time, you can cook it the day before you plan on serving it. I also recommend investing in a really good digital meat thermometer or probe. You can easily keep track of the internal temperature throughout the day.

Best Wood Pellets for Smoked Pork Butt

Pork goes great with fruit, so think light and fruity wood pellets. I used a mixture of Apple and Competition Blend pellets by Pit Boss (it is my go to combo). Others you could use are cherry, maple, oak, pecan, or a combination. I don’t like using mesquite or hickory because they tend to be a little too strong for pork.

Shredded smoked pulled pork on a tray with two forks.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

What is the difference between pork butt and pork shoulder?

I feel like pork butt and pork shoulder are used synonymously, but they are not the same thing. Pork butt is the upper portion of the pig’s shoulder while the pork shoulder is the lower portion. Pork butt is meatier with a good amount of fat marbling throughout while pork shoulder is more common but has less fat marbling.

Do I need to spritz the pork butt?

No you do not (and it is messy in my opinion). This is because the pork butt is smoked in an aluminum pan the juices run down and pool underneath the meat. The addition of apple cider vinegar to the pan helps keep everything moist too.

How much pork butt do I need?

Every 1 pound of smoked pork shoulder serves 1 to 2 people. This means an 8 pound pork butt (used in this recipe) will serve about 12 to 16 people. I always plan to make more than what I need because it can always be frozen and used later.

How do I store leftover smoked pulled pork?

Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 7 days in a gallon bag. Just make sure to squeeze as much air from the bag as possible. It can also be frozen for 2-3 months in a gallon bag or vacuum sealed bag.

Bowl of smoked pork butt shredded.

How to Reheat Leftover Smoked Pulled Pork

  • In the smoker: Place the shredded pulled pork in a disposable aluminum pan with a little beef broth or water. Cover it with aluminum foil and place it in the smoker at 225° F for 2 hours (or until 165° F).
  • In the slow cooker: Place the shredded pulled pork in the slow cooker with a little beef broth or water. Set it at “keep warm” and let it heat up.
  • In the oven: Place the shredded pulled pork in a pan with a little beef broth or water. Cover it with aluminum foil and place it in the oven at 325° F for about 30 minutes (or until 165° F).
  • In the microwave: Place the shredded pulled pork in a heat safe bowl with a little beef broth or water. Reheat for 1 to 2 minutes or until it has warmed through.
Shredded and pulled smoked pork butt on a pan with two forks.

The Best BBQ Sauce for Smoked Pork Butt

A good BBQ sauce and smoked pulled pork just go together, am I right?! Here are some of my favorite homemade BBQ sauces that go great with this recipe:

Ways To Use Smoked Pork Butt


Thanks for dropping in! Be sure to SUBSCRIBE to my weekly newsletter for fun NEW CONTENT and CONVERSATION delivered to your inbox. If you love this recipe save it now so you can find it later. Thank you for your support!

Enjoy Entirely, Elizabeth
Smoked Pork Butt sitting on a tray ready to be shredded with two forks.

Smoked Pork Butt

Elizabeth Swoish
Get your smoker warmed up because we are making the BEST pulled pork with this Smoked Pork Butt recipe. It is tender, juicy, flavorful and did I mention simple? Let's make it!
Prep Time 30 mins
SMOKE TIME 16 hrs
Total Time 16 hrs 30 mins
Course Main Course
Servings 16
Calories 274 kcal

Equipment

Ingredients
  

  • 8 pound pork butt;
  • ¼ cup mustard; I use my Carolina Gold BBQ Sauce (linked below)
  • 2 tablespoons Pit Boss Memphis BBQ Rub; or your favorite BBQ rub
  • ½ tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar; or apple juice

Instructions
 

  • Remove the pork butt from the refrigerator and allow to sit at room temperature for an hour or so.
  • Preheat smoker to 225° F. I used a mixture of Apple and Competition Blend pellets by Pit Boss.
  • Place pork butt in the disposable aluminum pan and rub evenly with mustard.
  • Sprinkle with the BBQ rub, salt, and black pepper. Be sure the pork butt ends FAT SIDE UP. This allows the juices from the fat to run down the meat as it smokes.
  • Place the digital meat thermometer probe into the thickest part of the pork butt.
  • Place pork butt in the smoker on the middle rack (avoiding direct heat). Make sure the thermometer probe wire is outside the smoker and plugged into the smoker or unit so internal temperatures can be monitored.
  • Smoke pork butt until it reaches 145° F.
  • Pour the apple cider vinegar into the disposable aluminum pan and continue to smoke until the pork butt reaches 165° F.
  • Remove the pork butt from the smoker and wrap it tightly in two layers of aluminum foil so the juice says contained with the pork butt.
  • Place the pork butt back in the disposable aluminum pan and smoker until the meat reaches 195°F to 205° F. The higher the internal temperature, the softer the pork will be.
  • Remove from the smoker and allow the Smoked Pork Butt to rest for 30 minutes to 2 hours prior to shredding.
  • Shred the pork butt with two forks. Discard the bone, any chunks of fat or gristle.
  • Sprinkle the pulled pork with an additional tablespoon of BBQ rub and serve.

Video

Notes

How Long to Smoke A Pork Butt:

  • This will vary on the temperature of your meat before it goes in the smoker, the outside temperatures, and how large your pork butt is. A great rule is for every pound of pork, it takes about 2 hours to cook (at 225° F). This recipe takes about 16 hours to smoke (8 pounds multiplied by 2 hours equals 16 hours).
 

Storing Information:

  • In the refrigerator for up to 7 days. Store it in a gallon bag with as much of the air squeezed from it.
  • In the freezer for 2-3 months. Freeze the shredded pulled pork in gallon bags or vacuum sealed bags with the air removed. 
 

How to Reheat Leftovers:

  • In the smoker: Place the shredded pulled pork in a disposable aluminum pan with a little beef broth or water. Cover it with aluminum foil and place it in the smoker at 225° F for 2 hours (or until 165° F).
  • In the slow cooker: Place the shredded pulled pork in the slow cooker with a little beef broth or water. Set it at “keep warm” and let it heat up.
  • In the oven: Place the shredded pulled pork in a pan with a little beef broth or water. Cover it with aluminum foil and place it in the oven at 325° F for about 30 minutes (or until 165° F).
  • In the microwave: Place the shredded pulled pork in a heat safe bowl with a little beef broth or water. Reheat for 1 to 2 minutes or until it has warmed through.
 

Carolina Gold BBQ Sauce recipe HERE!

Keyword PULLED PORK, SMOKED, SMOKED PORK BUTT, SMOKED PORK SHOULDER, SMOKED PULLED PORK

If you make my Smoked Pork Butt, don’t forget to leave this recipe a rating, comment, or like. Tag me on social media using the hashtag #EntirelyElizabeth when sharing your own personal photos making this recipe. I would love to see your version and know your thoughts!

By Elizabeth Swoish on September 16th, 2022

Leave a Comment

Tell me how you like it!