Smoked Pulled Pork on A Traeger Pellet Grill

Follow my simple instructions and recipe below to learn how to smoke pulled pork on a Traeger pellet grill.

Pulled pork is the perfect dish when you want a delicious but simple dish. It’s perfect to feed a crowd or cook up on the weekend and enjoy the leftovers all week.

I like to use pork should or pork butt for pulled pork. These cuts are best when cooked low and slow. This makes sure the meat is tender and just falls apart when you go to pull it.

What You Need for Traeger Pulled Pork

Before starting your smoked pork butt, you have to have some tools and ingredients.

  1. Smoker: I am using my Traeger but this recipe but it can also easily be adapted for any pellet grill.
  2. Wood chips:
    Please pick up your favorite woodchips for pork, we like using applewood, cherrywood or pecan.
  3. The pork butt:
    We will show you how to select the best pork later on.
  4. Digital thermometer:
    Many factors affect how meat cooks, so it’s easier to know if it’s done by checking the internal temperature with a thermometer.
  5. Tin foil or butcher’s paper.
    If you experience the stall, you might need to wrap your Boston butt.
  6. Olive oil or mustard:
    To ensure the rub binds to the meat.
  7. Sea salt, black pepper, brown sugar, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika and chili powder;
    To make your dry rub. Or purchase a pre-made dry rub.
  8. Apple Juice
    To spritz the meat while it cooks.
  9. Meat claws or forks
    This is for pulling the meat, you can also use your hand but ensure the meat has totally cooled by then.

Should You Use Pork Shoulder, Boston Butt for Pulled Pork?

The pork butt (otherwise known as Boston butt or pork shoulder) is one of the four primal cuts, but it comes from the pig’s shoulder instead of the, well, butt.

This cut of pork has a lot of marbling and connective tissue. When smoked low and slow, the connective tissue breakdown turns into juicy gelatine, which is why pork ends up so juicy and delicious.

Not only is this cut tasty but its often cheap. As it takes more work to get it tender the prices for pork butt arent as high as pork tenderloin.

How To Smoke A Pork Butt on a Traeger Pellet Grill

Smoking a pork butt for pulled pork is a two-step process.

  1. First, you prep and smoke the meat in your Traeger pellet grill.
  2. The second part is resting and pulling the meat when it’s done resting.

Step 1: Prepare The Pork Butt

Trim any excess and thick fat on the outside and look for any surface silver skin. Leave at least 1/4 of an inch of fat. This will protect the meat from drying out while cooking. 

After trimming, we will score through the fat cap in a diamond pattern, this will to help the fat underneath render out during the cooking and allow some more of the rub to penetrate the meat.

Before applying a dry rub to the pork, you need a binder. This will ensure the rub sticks to the meat. You can use olive oil, honey mustard, and even apple juice.

For smoking a pork butt, I recommend a hearty spice rub with a little bit of sugar so we can get a nice caramelization. You can buy packaged rubs, which are easy, but go the extra mile to take full control. Combine the below ingredients and cover the pork. 

Cover and rest the pork butt for 2 hours in the fridge.

  • 3 tbsp Brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp Sea salt
  • 2 tbsp Black pepper
  • 1 tbsp Onion powder
  • 1 tbsp Garlic powder
  • 3 tbsp Paprika
  • 1 tsp Chili powder

Step 2: Smoking

Add your pellets to the hopper, start the Traeger pellet grill, set it on the “Smoke” setting, and leave the lid open.

When you see the Pit boss producing thick white smoke, let it run for about 5 minutes until the smoke turns more clearish blue.

Set the temperature to 225°F. To add more moisture, fill an aluminum pan with water and place it on the far left side of the grill.

Once the smoker has reached temperature, place the pork butt fatty side down. Place the internal thermometer probes in the pork, and make sure you don’t touch any bones.

Set a time for 2.5 hours and close the lid. Every 30 minutes, open and spritz the pork with apple cider vinegar or apple juice.

Step 3: The Stall and Wrapping The Pork

When the internal temperature of the pork butt hits about 145-155°F, remove it from the Traeger and wrap it in aluminum foil as per the instructions below.

You’ll see that the internal temperature rises to 145°F in a few hours, but then the cooking process may slow down, this is the stall is the meat “sweating”. As the muscles contract in the meat, they push out moisture.

That moisture makes its way to the surface of the meat, evaporates, and cools the meat’s and the smoker’s surface temperature.

1. Lay out two layers of aluminum foil or butcher paper.
2. Using protective gloves to avoid burns, take the pork out of the smoker and place it on top of the paper.
3. Wrap it tightly with the temperature probe in, and set it back on the smoker.

Step 4: Optimal Internal Temperature For Pork Butt and Resting

When you reach a temperature of 195°‒203°, take the pork out of the smoker. Let the meat rest in an aluminum pan; you can unwrap it or leave it wrapped.

You need to let it rest for at least half an hour to get a juicy pork butt. One way to test if the butt is perfectly cooked is; by pulling out the shoulder bone and seeing if it’s clean. Or try twisting a fork through the meat; if it twists easily, the meat is perfect.

Ensure you run the shutdown cycle on your Traeger

Step 5: Shred the Pork

Shred the pork shoulder using meat claws or pull it apart with your hands. If you use your hands, you should wear nitrile kitchen gloves.

Once you have pulled the meat, taste it and see what seasoning you want to add.

Our favorite BBQ sauce for pulled pork Lillies Q Carolina Sauce. It has a nice balance of acidity from the vinegar, spice, and sweetness.

How Long to Cook Our Pork Butt

You need to smoke a pork butt for around 8-10 hours or until it reaches 203°

When to Pull The Pork From The Smoker

The ideal internal temperature for a pork butt that will be shredded is 203°F. The easiest and safest way to track the temperature is with a meat probe.

Put the meat probe in the center of the cut, which will be the thickest part. This ensures an accurate and even temperature!

Not Sure What To Serve With Your Pulled Pork?

Looking for some pulled pork sides? Below are some of my favorite recipes!

Sour Cream Corn Bread

Smoked Mac and Cheese

Smoked Beans

Want More Recipes For Your Traeger?

There are so many delicious recipes for the Traeger!

Here are some of our favorites

Traeger Smoked Chicken Wings

Smoked Brisket on a Traeger

Smoked and Grilled Brussels Sprouts

Traeger Smoked Pulled Pork Recipe

Want to make pulled pork on yrou Traeger? This recipe gurantees you end up with super juicy and fall apart pork. It is simple and perfect for a cookout, family dinner and to feed a large crowd.
Prep Time 2 hours
Cook Time 8 hours
Total Time 10 hours
Course Appetizer, Dinner, lunch, main, Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine American, Barbecue, bbq, dinner, grill, lunch
Servings 10 servings
Calories 421 kcal

Equipment

  • Traeger Smoker with hardwood pellets
  • Meat claw
  • Sharp knife
  • Aluminum foil
  • spray bottle
  • Container Pestle & Moter or food processer
  • paper towels
  • Heatproof dish

Ingredients
  

  • 5-8 lbs Pork butt 5 – 8 pounds
  • 2 tbsp Mustard to coat the pork butt
  • BBQ Sauce I reccomend Lilli Q
  • Apple Juice to sprtiz the pork with this is optional
  • 1 cup BBQ Rub or use my recipe below to make your own rub

Homemade Pulled Pork Rub

  • 3 tbsp Brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp Sea salt
  • 2 tbsp Black pepper
  • 1 tbsp Onion powder
  • 1 tbsp Garlic powder
  • 3 tbsp Paprika
  • 1 tsp Chili powder

Instructions
 

  • First trim the pork butt. leave at least 1/4 of an inch of fat. This will protect the meat from drying out while cooking. After trimming, we will score through the fat cap in a diamond pattern
  • In a bowl, mix all the rub ingredients. You can always buy your own dry rub or use your own recipe. It’s up to you.
  • Coat your pork butt with your choice of oil, or mustard, Once well coated, generoualy apply the rub
  • Add your pellets to the hopper, start the Traeger pellet grill and put it on the "Smoke" setting and leave the lid open.
  • When you see the Traeger producing thick white smoke, let it run for about 5 minutes until the smoke turns more of a clearish blue color.
  • Next, set the temperature to 225°F. Fill an aluminum pan with water pan if you want to add extra moisture, and place it on the far left side of the Traeger pellet grill.
  • Once the smoker has reached temperature place the pork butt fatty side down in and smoke for 1.5 hours per pound.
  • Place the internal theromemters probes in the pork, make sure you dont touch any bones
  • Set a time for 2.5 hours and close the lid. Every 30 minutes sprtiz exterior of the meat with apple juice
  • You’ll see that the internal temperature rises to 145°F in a few hours, but then the cooking process may slow down. When the internal temperature of the pork butt hits about 145-155°F, remove it from the Traeger and wrap it in aluminum foil. Replace the thermometer and place back in the pellet grill.
  • When you reach a temperature of 195°‒203°, take the pork out of the smoker. Let the meat rest in a aluminum pan for 30 minutes, you can unwrap it or leave it wrapped.
  • Shred your pork using bear claws or a pair or forks. If you find any large pieces of fat or bone throw them out.
  • Taste the pulled pork and season it your liking. You add salt to taste ,vinegar to add some acidity and BBQ sauce
Keyword grilled pork, pulled pork

Smoke On!

Charlie

Hi, I’m Charlie, I have been meat-smoking and grilling for the past 15 years. I have an array of different smokers, thermometers, and have a love for finding the right wood and charcoal combo My favourite recipes are my EXTRA CRISPY smoked pork belly, juicy pulled pork, smoked brisket, duck poppers, and ANY SEAFOOD I grill).

I loves sharing his tips with beginners, helping them navigate the world of smoking. I find it’s not just about cooking; it’s a quest for that perfect smoky flavor.

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 recipes with you!

You can read more about me on our About Us page.

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