Pork butt is probably one of the most rewarding meats to smoke. The smoke flavor combined with a well balanced pork rub provides a lot of of delicious meat that can be used to make the best pulled pork sandwiches. This pork recipe works great when made on either a pellet grill, offset smoker, or just about any other grill. Add this pork butt recipe to your bookmarks as it’s sure to be one you’ll make time and time again.
How do I store leftover pork butt?
Store leftover pulled pork for 3 or 4 days after cooking for maximum freshness. Use zip-top bags to store it, squeezing out as much air as possible, or use tin foil to wrap the cooked pork butt before shredding. Air-tight plastic or glass containers work for storage as well. If you won't be using the rest of the pork butt within 4 days, freeze the shredded pork in freezer bags with as much air squeezed out as possible, for up to 3 months.
How do I reheat leftover smoked pork butt?
There are several ways to reheat pork butt, so feel free to choose the method that is best or easiest for you. For best results, make sure you have saved the juices from the finished smoked pulled pork, as it will help keep it nice and moist during reheating. No matter the method, make sure you bring the temperature of the meat up to 165 F before eating. (You can use an instant-read meat thermometer to check this.)
Use a slow cooker or Instant Pot for hands-off reheating. Add the juices and the leftover pulled pork to the crockpot or Instant Pot, and use the lowest setting or the "keep warm" function to bring the meat up to temperature.
You can also reheat the pulled pork in the microwave. Add the juices and pulled pork to a microwave-safe bowl. Cover the bowl with either a lid or with plastic wrap to retain the moisture in the meat. Reheat on high for 1 to 2 minutes at a time, tossing the meat and checking the temperature in between to bring it to 165 F.
If you aren’t left with much juice but want to reheat the pork butt, use the spritz bottle to spray down the meat before reheating. The apple juice and vinegar mixture will help add some moisture back to the meat when reheating.
Can I Use Boneless Pork Butt?
Pork butt, which actually comes from the shoulder of the pig, is a cut of meat that does really well with long, slow, cooking processes. It does differ from cuts labeled “pork shoulder” because the butt is the thickest part of the shoulder with rich marbling throughout. The intense marbling of pork butt is ideal when you want the meat to fall apart easily. Boneless pork butt can be substituted for bone-in pork butt and is often easier to find in grocery stores and butcher shops, but keep in mind the cooking times can vary when using a cut of meat with no bone. The bone adds flavor and slows down the cooking process, while a boneless cut will cook slightly faster. This might end up making the pulled pork a bit tougher, so try experimenting with dropping the cooking temperature a bit, or adding a pan of water to the smoker to increase the moisture.
What are some popular recipes or dishes using smoked pork butt?
Smoked pork butt is a versatile ingredient that can be used in various recipes. Some popular dishes include pulled pork sandwiches, tacos, barbecue pork nachos, pork sliders, and pork chili. You can also use the smoked pork butt as a topping for pizzas or in pasta dishes for added flavor. Let your creativity run wild!
Ideas for Leftover Smoked Pork Butt
Pulled pork can be used in a variety of ways. Try adding shredded pork butt to salads with a vinegar-heavy dressing for an easy lunch. Take mac & cheese from a side dish to the main dish by adding pulled pork before baking the pan. Make pulled pork quesadillas with cheese and your favorite BBQ sauce, or even fusion tacos with pulled pork, BBQ sauce, and crunchy lettuce.
Pork Butt Spice Rub Recipe
What is smoked pork butt?
Smoked pork butt, also known as smoked pork shoulder or smoked Boston butt, is a cut of pork that comes from the upper shoulder of a pig. Pork butt has a lot of connective tissue, so it's best smoked low and slow. You'll want to cook it until the internal temperature of the meat is between 195-205°F (91-96°C). This will result in very tender pork that is juicy and pulls apart easily. It's a great cut of meat for beginners and experience pit masters alike.
How do I smoke a pork butt?
To smoke a pork butt, start by seasoning it with your preferred dry rub or marinade. Then, set up your smoker or grill for indirect heat and maintain a steady temperature of around 225-250°F (107-121°C). Place the pork butt on the smoker and allow it to smoke for several hours, until the internal temperature reaches around 165°F. Wrap the pork butt in foil and continue smoking until it reaches an internal temperature of 195-205°F (90-96°C). This slow and low cooking method helps render the fat and tenderize the meat.
How long does it take to smoke a pork butt?
The smoking time for a pork butt can vary depending on several factors, including the size of the cut and the cooking temperature. Generally, it takes around 1.5 to 2 hours per pound at a temperature of 225-250°F (107-121°C). So, for a 8-pound pork butt, it could take approximately 12 to 16 hours. By using the foil wrapping method in this recipe you'll shorten the total cook time by a few hours.
Should I wrap my pork butt in foil while smoking?
Wrapping the pork butt in foil, also known as the "Texas crutch," is a technique used to speed up the cooking process and retain moisture. After a few hours of smoking, you can wrap the pork butt tightly in foil, or place it in an aluminum pan and cover it with foil. This helps to tenderize the meat and reduce the cooking time.
How do I know when smoked pork butt is done?
The best way to determine if the smoked pork butt is done is by measuring its internal temperature using a meat thermometer. The ideal temperature range for pulled pork is 195-205°F (90-96°C). Insert the thermometer probe into the thickest part of the meat without touching the bone. When the meat reaches the desired temperature and is tender enough to be easily shredded, it is ready to be removed from the smoker. You can also test for tenderness by inserting a probe or toothpick into the meat. If it goes in and comes out easily, the pork butt is done.
- 8 pounds Bone-In Pork Butt (also called Pork Shoulder)
- 1 tablespoon Yellow mustard
- 1/4 cup Rump Shaker All-Purpose BBQ Rub, optional recipe in notes above
- 3/4 cups Apple juice
- 1/4 cup Apple cider vinegar
Prep the smoker
Preheat smoker to 250°F. Most pellet grills don’t need it, but you can add a pan of water in the corner of the smoker to keep moisture inside.
Trim the pork butt
Trim any excess fat or loose ends of pork. You can remove the fat cap completely or trim it down to a thin 1/4” layer.
Slather with mustard
Rub a thin, even coating of yellow mustard on all sides of the pork.
Rub your butt
Combine dry rub ingredients and sprinkle a thick, even coating on pork butt on all sides. This can be done the night before by wrapping in plastic wrap and storing in the fridge until ready to smoke.
Let rub adhere to pork butt
Let the pork shoulder sit out on the counter for 1 hour to let the meat come to room temperature and the rub to adhere well. This will ensure a more even cook.
Let's get smoking
Add pork butt to smoker grate and smoke at 250°F until it hits an internal temperature of 165°F in the thickest part of the shoulder, approximately 4-6 hours.
Spritz the pork butt
Each hour after the first 3 hours, open up the smoker and spritz pork butt. Make sure your spray bottle is set to spray in a light, even mist and not a direct blast of the liquid. You just want to moisten the pork, not soak it.
Wrap the pork butt
When the pork reaches 165°F degrees in the thickest part, remove it from the smoker, lay it in the center of 2 pieces of heavy duty aluminum foil, spritz heavily one more time with the spray bottle, and then wrap the foil tightly around the pork. You could also put the pork butt in an aluminum pan and cover with aluminum foil.
Return the pork butt to the smoker
Return the wrapped pork butt to the smoker and smoke at 250°F for approximately 4 more hours. The smoked pork butt is done when the internal temperature is between 200°F-205°F and the meat thermometer slides in & out like a knife slicing through room temperature butter - barely any resistance. I find that this usually occurs around 203°F, but all meat is different.
Remove pork butt and rest
Remove pork from smoker and keep pork wrapped while it rests for a minimum of 30 minutes and up to 2 hours. You can keep in warmer long bu placing it in an insulated cooler.
Separate the juices
Unwrap the foil and pour the juices into a gravy separator or bowl until you can see the fat separated from the jus. If you're not using a fat separator, carefully spoon off the fat from the top of the jus.
Pull the pork butt
Place the pork butt into a pan and shred into thin strands with your fingers, a pair of forks, tongs, or any other shredding utensil you prefer.
Pour the juices over the pulled pork butt
Pork the reserved jus into the pan and toss with the shredded pork.