How Long Does It Take To Smoke A Pork Butt? | Tips & Tricks

Smoking a pork butt is an age-old tradition that goes back centuries. It is an incredibly easy way to prepare that, when done correctly, produces delicious and tender results. Despite its long pedigree, many people still don’t understand the basics of smoking a pork butt: how long does it take to smoke a pork butt? In this blog post, we will provide you with all the information you need about timeframes for smoking a pork butt – from preparation and seasoning through to cook times and conclusions.

What Is Pork Butt?

Pork butt, also known as Boston butt or shoulder butt, is a cut of meat from the shoulder of a pig. It has a high-fat content and is usually sold bone-in. When cooked properly, it can yield extremely juicy and tender results.

2 pork butts on the grill
2 pork butts on the grill

Pork Butt Vs. Pork Shoulder

Although the terms are often used interchangeably, there is a difference between pork butt and pork shoulder. The pork butt is cut from the upper part of the shoulder and contains more fat than the pork shoulder. It’s usually sold with the bone still in, which adds flavor during cooking.

What You Will Need To Smoke Pork Butt?

To smoke pork butt, you will need the following ingredients and equipment:

  • 8-10 pound bone-in pork shoulder roast (or Boston butt)
  • 2-3 Tablespoons yellow mustard
  • 1/4 cup + 1 Tablespoon Signature Sweet Rub (divided use)
  • Smoker or grill with indirect heat capability

That’s all you need for some delicious smoked pulled pork.

How To Smoke Pork Butt?

Trim any excess fat from the pork butt, then season it generously with a Pork & Poultry Rub. Choose hickory, apple, or a blend of wood pellets for smoking.

Preheat your grill to 225 degrees Fahrenheit. Smoke the pork butt until it becomes fork-tender, which usually takes about 6-12 hours. Once the internal temperature reaches between 195 and 204 degrees Fahrenheit, it is ready to be pulled. Allow the pork butt to rest for 30-60 minutes before pulling it apart using your hands. Apply sauce to the pulled pork, being careful not to overdo it.

Finally, sit back and enjoy the delicious smoked pork butt.

Pork butt with seasonings on the grill
Pork butt with seasonings on the grill

How Long Does It Take To Smoke A Pork Butt?

The estimated cook time for smoking a pork butt is generally around 2 hours per pound, at a steady temperature of 225 degrees F. For instance, an 8-pound pork shoulder would require approximately 16 hours to reach completion.

However, it is worth noting that variations in cook time may occur depending on the specific cut of meat. Thus, it is advisable to plan accordingly. In some cases, an 8-pound smoked pork butt may finish in as little as 12 hours, while a 10-pound smoked pork butt may take up to 20 hours to reach the desired level of doneness.

What Affect The Time To Smoke A Pork Butt?

There are several factors that can affect how long it takes to smoke pork butt. These include the size of the cut, how hot your smoker is, how often you open the lid of the smoker, and how much wood or charcoal you use for fuel. If you find that your pork butt isn’t cooking as quickly as you’d like, you can always add more fuel or increase the temperature of your smoker.

Watch this video to know how long does it take to smoke a pork butt in reality.

Timeframe For Smoking Pork Butt

The total time for smoking pork butt will depend on how large the piece of meat is and how you season it. The seasoning process should take around 30 minutes while prepping the smoker and charcoal typically takes around an hour or two.

Once your pork butt is ready to hit the heat, plan for a cook time of around 4 hours per pound of meat. That means that a 4-pound piece of pork butt should take around 16 hours to smoke. Some smokers will cook faster than others, so you may want to check the internal temperature of your meat periodically during the cooking process. You should look for an internal temperature of at least 203°F before serving or storing your pork butt.

Read on to learn more: how long to cook pork tenderloin in oven at 350

Tips To Smoke A Pork Butt

There are several tips that can help you get the best results when smoking pork butt. First, make sure to keep your smoker running at a consistent temperature of around 225°F. The low and slow-method are essential for getting juicy, tender results with smoked pork butt. You should also check the internal temperature of the meat every hour or so to make sure it’s cooking properly. Finally, be sure to let your pork butt rest for at least 30 minutes before slicing into it, as this will help the juices redistribute throughout the meat.

Cooked pork butt on the grill
Cooked pork butt on the grill

What To Serve With A Smoked Pork Butt?

When serving a smoked pork butt, there are several delicious options to consider. One excellent choice is a bowl of fresh salad with chopped veggies such as cucumbers and a light dressing. Another option is to serve a classic potato salad, macaroni salad, or black bean salad. For bread, you can’t go wrong with cornbread, rolls, or honey butter biscuits.

How To Store Leftover Smoked Pork Butt?

To properly store leftover smoked pork butt, follow these steps:

  • If you plan to store it for longer than four days, freeze the cooked meat.
  • For leftovers that will be consumed within four days, use Ziploc bags, wide, heavy-duty aluminum foil, or plastic storage containers.
  • Prior to sealing, try to remove as much air as possible.
Cooked pork butts on the foil
Cooked pork butts on the foil

How to Reheat Smoked Pulled Pork?

To reheat smoked pulled pork, follow these steps:

  • Place the meat into foil pans or large cast iron skillets.
  • If you have reserved juices, pour them evenly over the top of the pulled pork. If not, no problem.
  • Add a stick of butter to the top of the meat. (Note: A whole stick is recommended for the best results.)
  • Sprinkle more seasoning over the top of the meat to taste.
  • Reheat the meat uncovered in a smoker set to around 225°F (107°C) or up to 275°F (135°C) for a faster option. Alternatively, in a pellet smoker, set it to the specialized smoke setting. In the oven, reheat covered with foil at 275°F (135°C) for approximately 30
  • minutes or until the butter is fully melted and the meat is thoroughly heated.
  • When finished cooking, stir the meat to mix in the butter, extra seasoning, and smoke flavor (if applicable).

FAQ: Smoked Pork Butt

How long does it take to smoke a pork butt?

The estimated cooking time for smoking a pork butt is approximately 2 hours per pound at a steady temperature of 225 degrees F. For instance, an 8-pound pork shoulder would require about 16 hours to reach completion.

What temp is a pork butt done?

The USDA recommends cooking pork to an internal temperature of 145°F (62.8°C) for food safety. However, for cuts rich in collagen, such as pork butt, proper breakdown of connective tissues requires a higher temperature. A pork butt is typically considered done when it reaches a temperature of 195-205°F (91-96°C).

Can you smoke pork for 20 hours?

Close the lid and smoke the pork until it reaches an internal temperature of at least 195 degrees F. For a softer texture, you can cook it to 201 degrees F. The smoking process typically takes 15-20 hours, depending on the consistency of heat in your smoker and the size of your pork shoulder. Remember to wrap and rest the meat afterwards.

Should you cover pork when resting?

During the resting period, it is recommended to cover the pork loosely with aluminum foil. This helps to prevent the surface from cooling off too quickly. Additionally, it is advisable to place the meat on a cutting board with a “gravy groove” or a rimmed baking sheet pan to capture any juices.

Does smoking pork longer make it more tender?

Yes, smoking pork for longer durations can indeed make it more tender. When smoking meat for extended periods, the collagen in the tough muscle tissue breaks down due to the smoke, resulting in a tender texture. This effect is not achieved when simply grilling meat.

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