How Long to Smoke Pork Butt: Time, Temperature, and Tips
Perhaps you’ve consumed juicy, melt-in-your-mouth pork butt (also known as ‘Boston butt’) at a festive family BBQ before, but know little about this succulent cut of pork. Surprisingly, pork butt actually comes from the shoulder blade, upper arm, and neck of the pig, and not the rear—despite its descriptive name.
If you’re looking to serve meat that has an explosion of juicy flavor and tenderness that pleases the crowds—pork butt is one of the best options. Although you can prepare pork butt multiple ways, smoking pork butt at home is one of the easiest, most convenient meals to make, while still tasting 100% gourmet. You might even have leftovers for the whole week!
Whether you plan to dunk a standalone piece in tangy BBQ sauce or assemble a delicious pulled pork sandwich with buttered buns, smoked pork butt is a versatile treat. At this point, your mouth might be watering, so let’s dive into how long to smoke a pork butt!
Choose the Right Pork Butt
When it comes to smoking pork butt, there are a few different cuts you can use, such as all-natural boneless center, bone-in, or boneless—all yielding tasty results. It really comes down to personal preference.
For example, boneless center and boneless pork butts tend to cook quickly and more evenly. Plus, if you want to expedite the process even more, it’s slightly more convenient to chop up boneless pork butt before smoking.
However, if you want to enjoy a ‘full-flavor’ experience and retain the juicy, rich essence of the meat, choosing bone-in pork butt is usually the best way to go. Plus, you can easily tell if bone-in pork butt is done, just by wiggling the bone to see if the meat falls off.
Now, when it comes to achieving “tenderness” of the meat, this will always depend on the quality of cut you choose. At Coleman Natural Foods, we take the term “all-natural” to a whole new level. What all natural means to us is that we strive to only source our pork from American family farms that raise their animals crate-free—with no antibiotics, artificial ingredients, or added hormones ever. This ensures that you always get fresh, quality pork that’s better for you and your family.
What’s the Ideal Temperature for Smoking Pork Butt?
When it comes to smoking pork butt, most pitmasters will agree that smoking low and slow is key, and reaching 225 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal for a tender tasty piece of meat—yielding the best balance of lean and fat meat while melting the connective tissue.
To capture the most accurate temperature, you’ll want to use a quality meat thermometer and remove the pork butt when it hits an internal temperature of around 195 degrees Fahrenheit. Now some BBQ aficionados might argue that 250 degrees Fahrenheit is optimal since it speeds up the smoking process. However, to ensure the best results, 225 degrees Fahrenheit is recommended.
Anticipate the Stall
Have you ever heard of the great BBQ “stall?” Well if you haven’t, don’t be alarmed if you encounter such a thing. The stall will likely occur when the pork butt’s internal temperature sort of lingers around 150 degrees Fahrenheit.
Why does this occur? Well, this is because the water trapped inside the pork butt is trying to maneuver its way to the surface, which inevitably cools down the meat and releases heat. To “control” this, you can wrap your meat in aluminum foil to keep water from evaporating—regulating the meat’s internal temperature.
How Long To Smoke Pork Butt?
When it comes to how long to smoke pork butt, this will vary depending on the thickness of your cut, weight, smoker, and applied method.
However, If you plan to employ the “low and slow” concept and keep your internal temperature around 225 degrees Fahrenheit, below is a general time chart based on the size of your pork butt.
Note- the average pork butt weighs around 6-8 pounds.
How Long to Smoke Pork Butt by Weight
- 5 pounds: 6-7 hours
- 8 pounds: 8-10 hours
- 10 pounds: 10-12 hours
How to Smoke a Pork Butt: Helpful Tips
Now that you’re aware of the optimal time and temperature to smoke pork butt, here are five tips to get started.
1. Trim the Fat
Most pork butts come with a “fat cap,” which should be trimmed down so it’s about ¼ thick or less, so the texture remains satiating and the meat remains tender.
You’ll also want to remove any excess cartilage that might make the pork too chewy. After completing this phase, always rinse your pork butt, pat it down with a paper towel, and let it dry.
2. Make Time for Your Pork Butt to Sit, Pre-Smoke
If you don’t allow your pork butt to sit out before smoking, you might be left with an undercooked interior and burned exterior. To help avoid this, we suggest allowing your pork butt to sit out for around 30 minutes. Then, you can add any preferred rubs or seasonings.
3. Let the Quality of the Meat Shine
High-quality pork butt already carries an abundance of natural flavor—the last thing you want to do is dress it up with too much seasoning that overshadows these intrinsic characteristics. We suggest straying away from any overpowering brines or marinades. Instead, keep your recipe simple and use light seasonings, such as salt and pepper.
Pro Tip: To prevent the pork butt from sticking to the smoker, you can add a rub before seasoning. Many pitmasters prefer using a yellow mustard rub all over the pork. This also helps the seasoning adhere to the meat.
4. Use Fruity Pellets
Anything light and fruity really complements the natural flavors of pork, so when choosing wood pellets for smoking, think along those lines. For example, this could be a combination of sweet cherry, pecan, and oak.
Some pitmasters prefer mesquite chips, but sometimes this aroma can overpower the already poignant flavors of the pork butt.
5. Allow for a Post-Smoke Snooze
Once you remove your pork butt from the smoker, refrain from digging in right away and allow for a brief 30-60 minute rest. This helps ensure that the meat retains all of the flavors and juices, preventing them from oozing out.
Pro Tip: Build a little “rest cooler” for your pork butt. To do this, take a standard cooler and line it with a towel. Wrap your pork butt with aluminum foil, and another towel, and leave it inside the cooler.
Try Coleman Fresh, All-Natural Pork Butt Now
Since 1875, we’ve always instilled the highest standards for animal care and quality ingredients—this family philosophy is actually woven into our DNA.
At Coleman Natural Foods, our pork is always American Humane Certified, which means our farmers must meet or exceed more than 200 science-based humane animal care standards, which include crate-free living conditions. We are one of only two pork producers in the country to hold this certification. You can have peace of mind knowing our pork is better for you and your family.
By choosing Coleman’s Natural Pork Butt, you’ll always get a tender, juicy cut of meat—empowering you to be a pitmaster at home. If you’re ready to begin smoking the best pork butt on the market, find a store near you or purchase online.
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