How to Smoke a Boston Butt in an Electric Smoker (In 4 Easy Steps)

What better way to kick off BBQ season with a crowd favorite – the Boston Butt?

It is juicy, succulent, and first to run out at our cookouts!


Its pork butt is easier to master than smoked brisket, but you still need to watch out for the stall!

So follow our super-simple step and you’ll be smoking like a true pitmaster!

What Is a Boston Butt?

Now, first-timers in the house, hold on! “Butt” doesn’t mean a pig’s bottom.

This cut of meat is actually from the shoulder of pork. Pork can be divided into four primal cuts, and the pork shoulder is one of them. It’s further broken into the picnic roast (lower shoulder) and the Butt (upper shoulder).

Butts got their name from the Revolutionary War when they were considered an inferior cut and subsequently bulk stored or transported in wooden barrels known as “Butts”. They’re also often called Boston Butt because they were a specialty of Boston a while back.

These days, this cut is used to make pulled pork, a multi-purpose dish that goes with almost anything!

Here, I’ll be holding your hand and teaching you how to cook the perfect Boston Butt in an electric smoker. This recipe will have guests begging for more! Now, shall we?

At What Temperature Do You Smoke Boston Butt?

It’s cooked at low temperatures of around 225°F to 250°F. Some pitmasters go up to 275°F.

I wouldn’t advise going any higher than these temperatures to prevent any cases of dried-out or, worse, burnt Boston pork. Patience is always crucial.

How Long Does It Take to Smoke a Pork Shoulder?

The total smoking time depends on its weight. Usually, you’re looking at 1.5 to 2 hours per pound of meat.

For example, 6 lbs. of raw meat would take 9 to 12 hours to cook. Note that cook time increases if you’re injecting marinade into your pork because of the extra fluid.

What Wood Chips Pair Well?

I have a whole in-depth article of my favorite type of wood to use for pork. Don’t have time? My go-to is applewood and cherrywood for pork. Both are mild flavors and they complement each other nicely.

How Do I Know the Boston Butt Is Ready?

It’s ready to get off the heat when you check with your thermometer, and it reads an internal temperature of between 195°F and 205°F. If you meat stall around 150°F you make need to wrap your pork,

The Things You’ll Need

You don’t need much to make pork taste delicious just – raw pork shoulder (obviously), dry rub, and BBQ sauce.

You may also include a marinade to inject, but this will make your whole smoking process take longer because of the extra fluid.

Typically, your Boston butt will cook for 1.5 to 2 hours per pound of meat. Ask for smaller-sized cuts no more than 12lbs because they’re easier to handle in the smoker. This recipe yields 10 to 14 servings, so it’s great for game nights, picnics, or family dinners.

 Tools

  • An smoker
  • Digital meat thermometer
  • Paper towels
  • Aluminum foil 
  • Spray bottle
  • Forks or bear claws
  • Cherrywood or applewood chips

Ingredients

  • 8 lb Boston Butt
  • 4½ tablespoons yellow mustard
  • BBQ sauce of your choice

Dry Spice Rub

  • 6 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 ½ tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons ground fennel
  • 2 ½ tablespoons coriander
  • 2 ½ tablespoons cayenne pepper

Spritz

  • 2-parts apple juice
  • 1-part ACV

Smoking Your Pork Butt

Follow my 4 simple steps below. If you do find your meat stall, see how to wrap your pork.

Step 1: Prepping Your Meat

You could also ask the butcher to trim off any excess fat but leave just enough, about 1/4 an inch, to aid with rendering, moisture retention, and flavor.

Drain off any excess liquid and pat dry. Next, score your meat making shallow perpendicular cuts to help with tenderizing the pork butt as well as flavor absorption.

Coat meat with yellow mustard; this ensures the spicy rub sticks on the pork
. Then combine all the ingredients for your dry spice rub and apply generously on the pork meat; cover and keep in the refrigerator overnight or for a few hours before smoking.

Step 2: Getting the Smoker Ready

Your smoker should be clean before use. Ensure you don’t have grease or fat stains from your last cook-out to avoid fires.

Preheat your smoker at 225°F. You could go up to between 250°F to 275°F to cut down on some time. Next, add your pre-soaked wood chips to the compartment provided for them. Remember, we aren’t using them for fuel but a smoky aroma and taste.

Also, note that if your smoker has a water tray, you may not need to spritz your meat. Instead, regularly top up water in the tray to keep your meat from drying out.

Step 3: Smoking the Meat

Place the meat in your smoker and allow it to smoke for 8 to 10 hours at 225°F.

Spritz your meat every 60 to 90 minutes to keep the meat moist.

Most times, your meat will stop rising in temperature at about 150°F to 165°F. This is known as a stall, and you don’t want this.

To remedy a stall, take your pork out of the heat and wrap in two or three layers of Aluminum foil. Then pop it back into the smoker to continue cooking.

The pork is done cooking when your meat thermometer reads an internal temperature of around 195°F to 205°F.

Step 4: Resting and Serving

Rest your cooked Boston pork for 45 minutes to 90 minutes. This allows for carryover cooking, further rendering fat and breaking down connective tissue.

Now it’s time to make your pulled pork. Get your forks or bear claws to pull apart your meat, giving you a nicely shredded Boston butt.

Drizzle some of your favorite hot sauce or BBQ sauce, and you’re good to go. My other favorite ways to eat the Boston butt are as a pork sandwich with coleslaw or potatoes, baked beans or rice; with omelets, tacos, and wraps. Serve up and enjoy!

Smoked Pork Butt Recipe

How to Smoke a Boston Butt in an Electric Smoker

Always wanted to learn how to smoke a pork butt in your electric smoker? This super simple recipe will help you master it!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time9 hrs
Total Time9 hrs 10 mins
Course: Appetizer, main, Main Course
Cuisine: American, bbq, dinner, grill, lunch
Servings: 10 servings
Calories: 443kcal
Author: Charlie
Cost: 12

Ingredients

  • 8 lb Boston Butt
  • tablespoons yellow mustard
  • BBQ sauce of your choice

Dry Spice Rub

  • 6 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 ½ tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons ground fennel
  • 2 ½ tablespoons coriander
  • 2 ½ tablespoons cayenne pepper

Spritz

  • 2- parts apple juice
  • 1- part ACV

Instructions

  • You could also ask the butcher to trim off any excess fat but leave just enough, about 1/4 an inch, to aid with rendering, moisture retention, and flavor.
  • Drain off any excess liquid and pat dry. Next, score your meat making shallow perpendicular cuts to help with flavor absorption.
  • Coat meat with yellow mustard; this ensures the spicy rub sticks on the pork. Then combine all the ingredients for your dry spice rub and apply generously on the pork meat; cover and keep in the refrigerator overnight or for a few hours before smoking.
  • Your smoker should be clean before use. Ensure you don’t have grease or fat stains from your last cook-out to avoid fires.
  • Preheat your smoker at 225°F. You could go up to between 250°F to 275°F to cut down on some time. Next, add your pre-soaked wood chips to the compartment provided for them. Remember, we aren’t using them for fuel but a smoky aroma and taste.
  • Also, note that if your smoker has a water tray, you may not need to spritz your meat. Instead, regularly top up water in the tray to keep your meat from drying out.
  • Place the meat in your smoker and allow it to smoke for 8 to 10 hours at 225°F.
  • Spritz your meat every 60 to 90 minutes to keep the meat moist.
  • Most times, your meat will stop rising in temperature at about 150°F to 165°F. This is known as a stall, and you don’t want this.
  • To remedy a stall, take your pork out of the heat and wrap in two or three layers of Aluminum foil. Then pop it back into the smoker to continue cooking.
  • The pork is done cooking when your meat thermometer reads an internal temperature of around 195°F to 205°F.
  • Rest your cooked Boston pork for 45 minutes to 90 minutes. This allows for carryover cooking, further rendering fat and breaking down connective tissue.
  • Now it’s time to make your pulled pork. Get your forks or bear claws to pull apart your meat, giving you a nicely shredded Boston butt.
  • Drizzle some of your favorite hot sauce or BBQ sauce, and you’re good to go. My other favorite ways to eat the Boston butt are as a pork sandwich with coleslaw or potatoes, baked beans or rice; with omelets, tacos, and wraps. Serve up and enjoy!

There you have it! In only four steps, you’ve got yourself a perfect Boston Butt with a deliciousness to savor for days to come.

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.

Hungry For More?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe Rating