When to Wrap your Pork Butt (Too Avoid The Stall!)

If there’s one cut of meat that’s ideal for long smoking sessions, it’s a pork butt.

This cut is also known as the Boston butt. When cooked slow and slow the butt turns into a juicy and succulent piece of meat, that will fall apart if a fork just looks at it.

When it comes to smoking pork butt, there is one mistake that a lot of outdoor cooks make! It’s a critical one!

Knowing when to wrap their pork butt to avoid the stall!

Also known as the Texas crutch. This technique comes from the competition circuit. So below you find out exactly why you need to wrap it and when!

boston butt wrapped with probe in on smoker with texas crutch

So Why Do you Wrap Your Pork Butt?

Wrapping your pork butt can help you avoid the stall!

You’ll see that internal temperature gets up to 145 degrees F in a few hours. However then the cooking process can begin to “stall”

It can takes hours for the temp to rise from 145°F to 165°F. What happening is your meat is sweating. The muscles are contracting in the meat pushing out all the moister. That moisture has made its way to the surface of the meat. As the moister evaporates, it cools the surface temperature of the meat. Which in turn slows down the cooking process.

To stop this from, happening you have two options

  1. Wrapping your pork
    Wrapping your pork can lead to better results. Cranking up the temperature doesn’t give the connective tissue to fully break down into juicy gelatin. This practice is common with pitmasters and is also known as the Texas crutch.
  2. Cranking up the temperature of the smoker
    You can counterbalance the evaporating and cooling of water on the meat, by cranking up the temperature up to 310°. Once your meat hits 170° bring the temperature back down.
wrapping up my pork butt

What is Pork Butt? (Does it Come from the Butt)

No. While its name is misleading, it does not come from the butt of the pig.

The pork butt is a cut of meat from the pig’s upper back and it’s located just above the shoulder.

However, many still consider the pork butt to be a part of the pig’s shoulder meat. This cut of pork is closer to the back or spine of the pig.

The pork butt or Boston butt has a lot of intramuscular fat and connective tissue running through it. What also separates it from other cuts of meat is that it contains a lot of marbling.

pork butt back in smoker after wrapping

Getting Your Pork Butt Ready to Smoke

Right below are my 6 steps to beating the stall and turning out a perfect pork butt!

1. Make to Give it a Good Rub!

The overnight marinating technique is the way to go when it comes to smoking a pork butt. You want to give the pork as much time as possible to soak up the flavor.

We would recommend marinating the meat for a minimum of 12 hours before you place it in the smoker. But if your schedule allows it, twice that amount of time is even more perfect.

As with any dry rub, you should always pat down your pork butt first before applying anything on it. We’d also like to recommend spreading on a thin layer of mustard on top first. This is to ensure that all seasoning sticks to the surface of the meat, If you don’t have mustard, or simply don’t like it. You can also substitute it for your favorite BBQ sauce, or even apple juice.

This thin layer is just a binder, and you can barely taste it once the meat’s done cooking. Your choice of binder really won’t affect the taste of your original pork seasoning.

Also, if you’d like to add even more flavor and keep your BBQ pork meat moist, then you might want to try incorporating a pork injection marinade too.

2. Put it in the Smoker & Cook

Preheat your smoker and make sure that the temperature sits around 180-225°F.

Allocate around an hour and a half of cooking time per pound of meat. This means that if you’re dealing with a boneless cut that weighs 8 pounds, your total cooking time should add up to 12 hours.

And if you’re working with a pork butt that has a bone, then allocate 2 hours per pound. Therefore, an 8-pound cut would then require 16 hours in the smoker.

3. Should You Wrap it Now?

If you notice the pork begins to stall at 145°F, take it out and wrap it.

Once the pork is past 180°F you can unwrap it and allow the bark to form for the last part of the cook.

wrapping up my pork butt

4. How to Wrap Your Pork Butt

Measure the length of the pork butt. Multiply the amount by four and then tear out 2 sheets of butcher paper to that match that amount. 

Lay the first layer straight in from of you. And then overlap it with the second layer. The first sheet should be vertical, while the second sits horizontally on top of it.

Place the pork butt onto the paper. It’s important to ensure that the fat portion of the meat is not the side that’s in contact with the papaer. You want the fats and other juices to drip down, not pool at the bottom while the meat is exposed and left to dry out.

Next, spray some apple cider vinegar on the meat as well as all over the papaer. 

You want to follow that up by folding the paper over the meat when you wrap it up. Keep folding both layers of the paper over the meat and with the final fold, flip the meat paper package over and tuck the end of the paper to seal the whole thing. 

You should also make sure that you’ve wrapped everything very tightly. There shouldn’t be any noticeable air trapped inside. 

Also, if you don’t have butcher paper, then you could also use aluminum foil It’s not ideal because it won’t prevent the heat from escaping the meat. But it will still lock in the moisture.

finishing the texas crutch on my pork for pulled pork

5. When Do You Know If Your Pork Is Ready?

You’ll know when the pork is done when the meat thermometer registers 195℉. The internal temperature of the meat will continue to rise by a little bit even after you take it off the heat. So, you might want to anticipate this and not wait until the very last second to remove it from the smoker.

wrapping up my pork butt

6. Make Sure You Rest Your Pork Butt!

As always, resting the meat is very important. Leave the pork butt in the paper and just let it sit for around half an hour in a cooler. This is important because it allows the meat to redistribute the juice. If you want meat that’s juicy and soft, then you don’t want to skip this step.

pork butt resting in cooler with the wrap

if you think you might have some leftovers its is worth keeping the cooking juices. I like to store the leftovers with the juices, or beer or apply juice. It makes reheating the pulled pork much easier, you don’t end up with dry meat.

And on a final note: keep an eye on the meat temperature at all times, and always give it some time to rest at the end of a cook.

Good luck with your BBQ-ing adventures!

Smoke On!

Charlie

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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