How To Smoke A Pork Butt For Pulled Pork

Smoking a pork butt is a delicious and relatively easy process that requires some time, simple ingredients, and a trusty smoker. This cut of pork, also known as a pork shoulder, is perfect for smoking as it has plenty of flavorful fat and connective tissues that melt when cooked low and slow. To smoke a pork butt, you’ll need an 8-10 pound bone-in pork shoulder roast, yellow mustard, and a homemade sweet BBQ rub. Preheat your smoker to 225 degrees F and slather the pork shoulder with mustard before seasoning it with the BBQ rub. Smoke the pork butt for 15-20 hours until it reaches an internal temperature of 195-201 degrees F. Let it rest, shred it, and serve it as-is or on a bun with some homemade coleslaw for a delicious pulled pork sandwich.

Key Takeaways:

  • Smoking a pork butt involves cooking the pork shoulder low and slow until it reaches an internal temperature of 195-201 degrees F.
  • Preheat your smoker to 225 degrees F and use a bone-in pork shoulder roast for maximum flavor.
  • Slather the pork shoulder with yellow mustard and season it with a homemade sweet BBQ rub for added flavor.
  • Smoke the pork butt for 15-20 hours, letting it rest before shredding and serving as pulled pork.
  • Serve the smoked pulled pork on a bun with homemade coleslaw or enjoy it on its own.

Smoked Pork Butt vs. Smoked Pork Shoulder

When it comes to smoking cuts of pork, the terms “smoked pork butt” and “smoked pork shoulder” are often used interchangeably. However, they actually refer to the same cut of meat. Both terms correspond to the upper part of the shoulder of the pig, which is well-suited for smoking due to its tight connective tissues and marbling.

Although the name may suggest otherwise, neither the smoked pork butt nor the smoked pork shoulder comes from the actual rear end of the pig. This is a common misconception. In fact, the “pork butt” and “pork shoulder” are just different names for the same meat cut. The terms can be used interchangeably, and both are excellent choices for smoking and making succulent pulled pork.

If you’re curious about the visual differences between a smoked pork butt and a smoked pork shoulder, take a look at the table below:

Smoked Pork Butt Smoked Pork Shoulder
Comes from the upper part of the pork shoulder Comes from the upper part of the pork shoulder
Often bone-in for added flavor Often bone-in for added flavor
Rich marbling and flavorful fat Rich marbling and flavorful fat
Usually larger in size, weighing around 8-10 pounds Usually larger in size, weighing around 8-10 pounds
Perfect for making pulled pork sandwiches Perfect for making pulled pork sandwiches
Smoked Pork Butt vs. Smoked Pork Shoulder

As you can see, there is no significant difference between the two cuts when it comes to smoking. Both the smoked pork butt and the smoked pork shoulder yield tender, flavorful, and melt-in-your-mouth pulled pork. Whether you choose to call it a pork butt or a pork shoulder, you can be confident that your smoked creation will be a hit at your next barbecue gathering.

Ingredients and Seasoning for Smoked Pulled Pork

To make mouthwatering smoked pulled pork, you’ll need a few key ingredients and a flavorful seasoning. Here’s what you’ll need:

  1. An 8-10 pound bone-in pork shoulder roast (also known as pork butt)
  2. Yellow mustard
  3. A sweet BBQ rub

To get started, slather the pork shoulder with yellow mustard. This not only adds a tangy flavor but also helps the BBQ rub adhere to the meat.

The sweet BBQ rub is what gives the smoked pulled pork its delicious crust. You can make your own rub using a combination of brown sugar, smoked paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper. Alternatively, you can purchase a pre-made rub from your favorite BBQ store.

Ingredients Quantity
Bone-in pork shoulder roast 8-10 pounds
Yellow mustard As needed
Sweet BBQ rub As needed

The sweet rub, combined with the smoky flavor from the pork shoulder, creates a winning combination that will have your taste buds begging for more.

Now that you have all your ingredients prepared, it’s time to move on to the next section: Tips for Smoking a Pork Butt Successfully.

Tips for Smoking a Pork Butt Successfully

Smoking a pork butt involves a low and slow cooking technique that results in tender, flavorful meat. To ensure a successful smoking experience, follow these tips:

  1. Preheat your smoker to 225 degrees F to create the ideal smoking environment.
  2. Choose wood for smoking that complements the pork, such as hickory or apple, without overpowering it.
  3. Plan for approximately 2 hours of cook time per pound of pork. However, keep in mind that variations in cook time can occur due to different cuts of meat.
  4. Be prepared for the “stall” phase, where the temperature of the pork may hold between 150-160 degrees F for hours. This is a natural part of the cooking process.
  5. During the stall, you can wrap the pork in foil or butcher paper to help push through the temperature plateau and expedite the cooking time.
  6. Use a meat thermometer to ensure the pork reaches an internal temperature of 195-204 degrees F before removing it from the smoker. This ensures that the meat is fully cooked and tender.

By following these smoking tips and cooking the pork butt low and slow, you’ll achieve succulent and flavorful results.

Smoking Tips Benefits
Preheat the smoker to 225 degrees F Ensures a consistent and optimal cooking temperature
Choose complementary wood Enhances the flavor of the pork without overpowering it
Plan for 2 hours of cook time per pound Provides a general timeframe for smoking, allowing for adjustments as needed
Be prepared for the stall phase Understanding this phase helps prevent anxiety and ensures patience during the cooking process
Wrap the pork during the stall Speeds up the cooking time by breaking through the temperature plateau
Use a meat thermometer Guarantees that the pork is cooked to the recommended internal temperature
smoking tips

Next, we’ll explore how to freeze and reheat smoked pulled pork to enjoy it at a later time.

How to Freeze and Reheat Smoked Pulled Pork

If you have leftover smoked pulled pork, you can easily freeze it for later use. Freezing smoked pulled pork allows you to enjoy this delicious dish even when you don’t have the time to smoke a fresh batch. Here’s how you can freeze and reheat smoked pulled pork:

Freezing Smoked Pulled Pork

  1. Ensure the pulled pork has cooled down to room temperature or colder before freezing.
  2. Shred the pork into smaller portions to save space and facilitate faster freezing and reheating.
  3. Place the shredded pulled pork into airtight freezer-safe bags or containers.
  4. Remove excess air from the bags or containers to prevent freezer burn and preserve freshness.
  5. Label the bags or containers with the date of freezing for easy tracking and organization.
  6. Place the bags or containers in a freezer set to 0°F (-18°C) or below.

Frozen pulled pork can be stored in a fridge/freezer combo for up to 6 weeks, or in a deep freeze for up to 6 months.

Reheating Smoked Pulled Pork

To enjoy your frozen smoked pulled pork, follow these simple reheating methods:

  • Defrost and Simmer: Thaw the frozen pulled pork in the refrigerator overnight. Once thawed, place it in a saucepan with a little water or BBQ sauce and simmer over low heat until heated through. This method helps retain moisture and ensures even reheating.
  • Skillet Heating: Take a skillet or frying pan and heat it over medium-high heat. Add a small amount of oil or BBQ sauce to the pan, then add the frozen pulled pork. Stir occasionally until the pork is heated through. This method provides a crispy texture to the reheated pulled pork.
  • Smoking for Additional Flavor: For an extra smoky flavor, you can reheat the pulled pork on a smoker or grill. Preheat the smoker to 225°F (107°C) and place the frozen pulled pork on the grates. Smoke for approximately 30-45 minutes or until heated through, basting with BBQ sauce if desired.

Remember to ensure that the reheated smoked pulled pork reaches a safe internal temperature of at least 165°F (74°C) before consuming. Once reheated, you can serve the delicious smoked pulled pork on a bun, in tacos, or alongside your favorite side dishes for a mouthwatering meal.

Freezing and Reheating Smoked Pulled Pork
Freezing Smoked Pulled Pork Reheating Smoked Pulled Pork
Ensure pork has cooled to room temperature or colder Defrost and simmer in a saucepan
Shred pork into smaller portions Skillet heating for crispy texture
Place in airtight freezer-safe bags or containers Reheat on a smoker or grill for added smoky flavor
Remove excess air to prevent freezer burn Ensure reheated pork reaches an internal temperature of at least 165°F (74°C)
Store in a freezer at 0°F (-18°C) or below Serve and enjoy!

Serving and Pairing Ideas for Smoked Pulled Pork

Once you’ve mastered the art of smoking a pork butt and enjoyed the mouthwatering results of tender and flavorful smoked pulled pork, it’s time to explore the many delicious ways to serve and pair it with complementary flavors.

One classic option is to serve the smoked pulled pork as-is, allowing its succulent flavor to shine through. However, if you’re in the mood for a sandwich, why not create a delicious pulled pork sandwich by piling the juicy meat onto a soft bun and topping it with your favorite BBQ sauce and some crunchy slaw? The combination of savory pulled pork, tangy sauce, and refreshing slaw is simply irresistible.

Don’t limit yourself to just sandwiches. Get creative with your smoked pulled pork by using it as a filling for tacos, nachos, or even eggs benedict. The smoky flavor adds a delightful twist to these classic dishes, bringing them to a whole new level of deliciousness.

When it comes to pairing your smoked pulled pork with side dishes, think classic BBQ flavors. Serve it alongside some traditional favorites like baked beans, coleslaw, or cornbread to create a well-rounded and satisfying meal. These sides not only complement the rich flavors of the pulled pork but also add a variety of textures and tastes that will delight your taste buds.

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