Want the top tips to smoking pork like a true pit boss? Anyone can learn how to smoke it and end up with a juicy, delicious piece of meat!
However many people mess up the cooking process. This is because they fall into the trap of cooking it at high temperatures to speed up the cooking process.
If you’ve never tried smoking an entire pork shoulder before, or if you’re having trouble achieving great results, then we can help you!
We’ve compiled our best tips and tricks, so you can master smoking pork butt like a pro outdoor chef!
What is the Most Optimal Temperature to Smoking Pork Butt?
We recommend smoking your pork at 225°F. This lower temperature allows the connective tissue to break down slowly.
This process will still happen at 275°F however you need to be more alert in case the meat starts to dry out. If you don’t have much time, smoking at 275°F is a good option
How Long Should You Smoke Pork Butt at 275 °F
If you do decide to cook it at 275 degrees Fahrenheit, then you’ll want to allocate around 80 to 90 minutes per pound of pork.
That means that you can expect the cooking time to last for around 12 hours if you’re smoking an 8-pound pork butt.
No cut is exactly the same size or weight. Even if the weight of the cut is clearly stated on the packaging when you first bought it.
it’s a good idea to weigh your meat once more before you season it. This is because once you’ve removed the bone, as well as the extra skin and pork fat, the final product will be slightly lighter in weight.
Hence, even if you’ve bought a 10-pound pork butt, it might end up weighing 8 or 9 pounds after all the prep work.
Now, before you begin with the smoke, you don’t have to smoke your Boston butt at 275 degrees Fahrenheit. You can smoke the meat at 250 or 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Everything’s all good as long as the heat of your smoker or grill doesn’t go over 275 degrees Fahrenheit.
What Do You Know About Pork?
The pork shoulder is a primal cut and can be broken down into two subprimal cuts, Boston butt, and picnic shoulder.
It is also almost always sold with the skin still attached. And you’ll often find that there’s a relatively thick layer of fat on top of the meat.
The shoulder meat is also actually quite muscular. This is because this area of the pig is frequently engaged whenever the animal performs any sort of physical activity.
As a result, there isn’t much marbling in this cut of meat. Instead, it is comprised of a lot of connective tissue.
Buying a Good Cut of Pork Shoulder
Now, when it comes to shopping and selecting the best pork butt for smoking, you’ll want to look for a piece of meat that’s quite pink and red.
You do not want to go for those that look a little paler in color.
You also want to ensure the cut has a bit of marbling. This is because the fats are what keep the meat moist during the smoking process.
The Boston butt does have a higher fat content than the picnic shoulder. So it can make it a good choice for smoking.
How Should You Prepare the Pork Butt?
See our 4 steps below to getting your pork ready for the main event!!
The very first step to producing the perfect smoked pork butt is to cut and trim the fat.
You’ll want to start by removing that layer of fat on the meat’s surface. Next, you’ll need to deal with the bone; unless you’ve bought a boneless pork at the supermarket.
While bone-in pork butt or bone-in pork shoulder is perfectly fine for braising or stewing, it’s not so great for smoking.
That’s not to say that there’s anything wrong with smoking the bone, we merely recommend that you cut the bone out first and smoke it separately.
This is mainly because the bone will greatly increase the time you need to smoke the shoulder meat. And nobody wants to stand around their backyard barbecue pit, grill, or smoker longer than necessary.
The last thing you’ll need to do before transferring the piece of meat to your smoker is to season and tenderize it.
But to save some extra time, we’d highly recommend that you preheat your smoker or grill before. You should do this before getting started on the seasoning process.
Seasoning the pork butt is incredibly simple. You just have to select your favorite smoked pork butt rub and make sure that the entire surface of the meat is coated nicely.
It also doesn’t matter whether or not the dry rub is store-bought or homemade. And if you are stuck on what rub you should go with, don’t worry. We’ll be introducing some of our favorite rubs to you towards the end of this article.
Keeping An Eye on Internal Temperature
You must keep an eye on the internal temperature of the pork at all times. If you might notice that the pork stalls at around 165°F. You might have to wrap your pork butt to combat this. The best time to remove it off of the heat is when you see the digital thermometer read 203°F, which is the best internal temperature for pork.
However, you can take it off as sooner if you’d like. Just make sure that you wait for the internal meat temperatures to reach a minimum of 160 degrees Fahrenheit first — for health and safety reasons.
Just remember that the process of smoking meat is a long one, but it’s well worth it! So be patient! And make sure that you make use of a meat thermometer throughout your cook.
Our Fav Dry Rub and Marinades for Smoked Pork
The best thing about smoking your meat is that you’re able to completely customize its flavor! You don’t have to stick with what’s on the menu.
For example, if you’d like a slightly sweeter marinade, you can just add more brown sugar into your dry rub concoction. Like it more savory? Add in more salt!
And if kosher salt’s a little too boring for you, then you can always experiment with different types of salt. For example, have you ever tried putting in garlic or vampire salt?
Of course, keeping it simple is always still the best way to go, so we’d like to share one of our favorite smoked pork butt rub recipes with you. To start, you will need:
- Brown sugar
- Kosher salt
- Smoked paprika
- Coarse black pepper
- Onion powder
- Garlic powder
- Cayenne pepper
The great thing about this rub is that it’s not just great for pork! You can even use this mixture for your chicken dishes! We highly recommend that you try it out.
Don’t Forget About the Wood!
As you all know, the type of wood you use in your smoke can add a lot of depth and flavor to your food.
Of course, different types are better suited for some things than most. So, what type of wood works best for pork? We find that mild wood like applewood or cherrywood would work well with pork
Author: Charlie Reeves
Hi, I’m Charlie, I am head taste tester at Simply Meat Smoking! I love it grilling, smoking, and getting out in the yard with the kids! The family also love to test all my recipes (especially my EXTRA CRISPY pulled pork, smoky pork loin, and ANY SEAFOOD I grill)
You will usually find me playing with the kids, perfecting my brisket bark, or sipping beers with boys around the fire. Can’t wait to share all my delicious smoking and grilling adventures with you!
You can read more on our About Us page.
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