How to Smoke Pork Butt: A Comprehensive Guide

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Pork butt, also known as Boston Butt, is a flavorful and versatile cut of meat that is perfect for smoking. Smoking pork butt low and slow makes for a tender and juicy finished product that is sure to impress guests at your next BBQ or family dinner. In this guide, we will cover everything you need to know about how to smoke pork butt like a pro.

Preparing the Pork Butt

Before you start smoking your pork butt, there are a few things you need to do to prepare it:

  • Remove the pork butt from its packaging and rinse it thoroughly under cold water.
  • Pat the pork butt dry with paper towels.
  • Trim any excess fat from the pork butt, leaving about 1/4 inch of fat on the surface.
  • Apply a dry rub all over the surface of the pork butt. You can use a store-bought rub or make your own using a combination of salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, and any other seasonings you like.
  • Cover the pork butt with plastic wrap and let it sit in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours, or overnight.

Choosing the Right Wood and Setting up the Smoker

Choosing the right wood is crucial to the taste of the finished product. Some good options for smoking pork butt include hickory, apple, and cherry wood. Avoid using softwoods like pine or cedar, as they can give the meat a bitter, resinous flavor.

When setting up your smoker, make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and fill the water pan with hot water. This will help regulate the temperature and keep the pork butt moist. Preheat the smoker to a temperature of 225-250°F.

Smoking the Pork Butt

Place the pork butt on the smoker grates with the fat side up. Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the pork butt, being careful not to touch bone. Close the lid and let the meat cook for several hours.

The general rule of thumb for smoking pork butt is to cook it for 1-1.5 hours per pound. However, the exact time will depend on the temperature of the smoker and the size of the pork butt. The internal temperature of the pork butt should reach 195-205°F before it is ready to be removed from the smoker.

You may want to wrap the pork butt in foil or butcher paper during the last few hours of smoking to help it retain moisture. This is known as the Texas Crutch method.

Resting and Serving the Pork Butt

Once the pork butt has reached the desired temperature, remove it from the smoker and wrap it in foil. Let it rest for at least 30 minutes before slicing or pulling it apart with two forks.

Serve the smoked pork butt with your favorite BBQ sauce and sides like coleslaw, baked beans, or cornbread.

FAQs about How to Smoke Pork Butt

What is the difference between pork butt and pork shoulder?

Pork butt and pork shoulder are often used interchangeably, but they are actually two different cuts of meat. Pork butt comes from the upper part of the shoulder, while pork shoulder comes from the lower part. Pork butt tends to have more fat and marbling than pork shoulder, which makes it a better choice for smoking.

How long can smoked pork butt be stored?

Smoked pork butt can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Make sure to store it in an airtight container or wrap it tightly in foil or plastic wrap.

Do I need to baste the pork butt while it is smoking?

While basting can add flavor and moisture to the pork butt, it is not necessary. The dry rub and the fat on the surface of the pork butt should provide enough flavor and moisture during the smoking process.


Smoking pork butt may seem intimidating at first, but it is actually a simple process that yields delicious results. By following these tips and techniques, you can create a mouth-watering smoked pork butt that will impress your family and friends. So fire up your smoker and get ready to enjoy some flavorful, juicy pork butt.


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