How Long to Smoke a 10 Pound Pork Butt and When to Wrap


Pulled Pork Sandwich - Pork Shoulder Recipe

You are going to need between 10-12 hours to smoke a 10 pound pork butt at 225F.  You will want to cook the butt in the smoke for about 5 hours, wrap it in foil and then cook for another 6 hours.

Set aside the time, follow this technique and you will have some Extraordinary pulled pork!

One of the big four competition categories.  Pork Butt/Boston Butt/Pork Shoulder.  They’re all interchangeable terms with the same delicious result:  Pulled Pork.  This has become a staple for nearly every event and party that I do.  It seems everyone loves it, and I can’t blame them for constantly requesting it – it’s a deliciously smoky, juicy, tasty treat.

The process is remarkably easy, actually.  But to do it right, it’s extremely time-consuming.  And if you don’t have a smoker, it makes it more difficult, as you’ll need to rotate the meat regularly so all sides spend equal time facing the heat.

Trim excess fat from the top of the butt to maximize your surface area for bark

Trim the excess fat.

and score the fat cap on the bottom.  This allows the fat to easily seep into the meat…and who doesn’t want more fat in their meat?

Score the fat cap

For this recipe you can use my All Purpose Rub, and cover every inch of the pork butt.  That’s it.  That’s your prep work.

Season the butt with All Purpose Rub

Get your smoker going at a cool 225-250, or set your grill up for indirect cooking, and throw on your meat.  Make sure you have tons of wood ready to put on.  You’ll want the smoke to billow non-stop for about 5 hours.  I use a mix of hickory and fruit.

If you’re using your grill with indirect cooking, you’ll need to rotate the pork butt every hour to ensure all sides cook evenly.  Use this as an opportunity to spray the pork butt with some apple juice and sprinkle more rub.  Couldn’t hurt.

Smoke at 225F

The goal is to get the internal temperature up to 200.  That’s the magic number.  When you hit 200, the bone will pull clean every time, guaranteed.  And I’m not gonna lie – that’s just cool.

Pull the bone out

Make sure you let it rest for about an hour before pulling.  This allows some of the juices to be absorbed back into the meat, and for it to cool enough for you to pull it.

Finished Pulled Pork

So, about 12 minutes of prep time, 12 hours of cooking time, and you’ll have the absolute juiciest pulled pork you’ve ever had.  Make some award winning bbq sauce, grab a bun and enjoy the heck out of it.

When to Wrap the Pork Butt

I choose to wrap my pork butts.  Some disagree and say it’s a bbq sin.  I’m not going to get into a long discussion on this, I’m just going to make one comment:  World Champions wrap.

Let’s look at the reasons why it makes sense to wrap so you can have a better understanding of exactly when you should wrap.

For the TL;DR crowd the answer is you should wrap the pork butt after 5 hours.

Pork Butts Before Wrapping

Pork Butts after wrapping

The two main reasons I wrap are:

1.  It speeds up the cooking process to more thoroughly cook your pork butts all the way through

2. It saves massive amounts of natural juices that you would lose otherwise.  Look at these pictures – the first was taken after smoking for 5 hours and placing in the aluminum pan, the second was taken after being wrapped for about 6 hours.

I added nothing to this pan.  Nothing.  That’s all natural.  And THAT is the reason that I constantly get the feedback from everyone that eats it that my pulled pork is the best they’ve ever had.

The two other reasons people wrap the butts are that it protects the color of the crust and prevents the butt from taking on too much smoke flavor.

After 5 hours in the smoked the bark has usually set and the smoke has penetrated as deeply into the meat as it is going to go.  At this point, any more smoke is just going to get layered on top of the bark and will eventually create a bitter taste.

My advice is to check the bark and color of the butt at the five hour mark and if you think it looks pretty then go ahead in wrap it in foil to speed up the rest of the cook and to collect those amazing juices!

 

Smoked Pork Butt

A 10 pound pork butt is trimmed, seasoned and slow smoked over hickory for 10-12 hours. This is some easy but incredible barbecue!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 12 hours
Total Time 12 hours 15 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Calories 550 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 Boston Butt (8-10 pounds0
  • 1 cup All Purpose Rub
  • Spray Bottle of Apple Juice optional

Instructions
 

  • Trim excess fat from top of butt and score fat cap on bottom of butt.
  • Rub the butt liberally on all sides for maximum bark.
  • Smoke at 225-250 with a mix of hickory and fruit wood for at least 5 hours.
  • If using a grill with indirect heating, rotate the butt every hour so each side cooks evenly.
  • Spray every hour for first 3 hours with apple juice and sprinkle more rub.
  • Place pork butt in aluminum pan and wrap tightly with foil. Place back in smoker (or oven) until internal temperature hits 200. For a 10lb butt this usually takes me 10 - 12 hours.
  • Let rest for an hour before pulling.

Notes

When to wrap the butt is more of a personal choice than an exact science. I like to wrap after the butt has smoked for about 5 hours.
Wrapping the butt protects the color of the butt, prevents it from taking on too much smoke flavor, saves juices and speeds up the cooking process.
Keyword Smoked Pork Butt

238 thoughts on “How Long to Smoke a 10 Pound Pork Butt and When to Wrap

  1. 5 stars
    Kevin,
    Smoked two 10 lb boneless pork butts today following your recipe to the letter……….ABSOLUTELY OUTSTANDING!!!!!!! The best, BY FAR, pulled pork I have ever cooked. I smoked them to 160 degrees then transferred to an aluminum pan, covered and sealed it with aluminum foil, placed in oven till 200+ degrees. MELT IN YOUR MOUTH tender with flavor galore. Totally convinced the spraying with apple juice, wrapping (or in my case placing in covered pan) is the key. Just as you said the pan had juice in the bottom which I used to baste the meat as soon as I took it out of the oven. Now my only problem is not if but when my large extended family gets to sample of the pork, the requests will start flooding in! May have to purchase a larger smoker. LOL
    Thank you so much for sharing this gem of a recipe.

  2. Do you place your meat fat cap up or down? I feel like placing the fat cap up is going to allow the juices to drain down into the meat during the smoking stage but I’ve never smoked a pork butt before.

  3. Can’t wait to try this recipe on Father’s Day aint used my smoker in long time will let you know how my butt turns out thank you for the recipe

    1. use off set smoker . Jim Lang style. Heat grill to 300 spray with garden hose to clean it, ( create steam), smoke butts till internal temp is 140 -150, double wrap or put in heavy pans wrapped with heavy duty foil, cook until 205 minimum internal temp, meat will be moist and fall apart tender , bone slides out clean. I cut butts laterally as they lay in the store package , cooks in 7 hours. minimal dry rub , use Florida Cherry , mild smoked flavor. Won local cook off with this method.

      1. My suggestion to John and others is to follow the recipe precisely, then honestly and respectfully review it, as opposed to posting you own. Your method doesn’t really jive with traditional methods, so it seems apparent you did not do this. Maybe I’m wrong. I’m not saying you don’t produce tasty BBQ, but comment sections seem always full well intentioned folks who comment on a recipe by immediately stating how they altered it, or like you, put in their own method altogether. If I am the author, I would like to know what “you” thought of it. then, suggestions to improve based on that experience. Keep on Q-ing. No offense intended BTW.

  4. Hi Kevin – thanks for all the recipes and tips. Question – I have a 7lb butt that i was gonna smoke this weekend but plans changed. If I freeze the butt for future use, any concerns or issues i should know about? A lot of times when I’m using previously frozen meat i brine to keep it moist. Thoughts/ Suggestions?

    1. I freeze all the time. No issues at all, other than it takes a few days to thaw. I have never brined before freezing, so I’m not sure about that one. And probably can’t freeze it too much longer if it was previously frozen.

  5. Kevin, I am about to cook my first pork butt and am trying half (7lbs) in the smoker and the other half on the bbq. My questions are 1) it is boneless so will it cook faster? And 2) do I cook them both the same amount of time and same way?

    1. Ken –
      1. I’m not sure but I would guess yes, it will cook a bit faster.
      2. I would cook them as close to the same as possible. It will be interesting to compare!

  6. Kevin, I am about to cook my second butt in a Masterbuilt electric smoker….the first did not turn out as moist with the initial recipe I found from another site.
    I have a 9.5 pound butt. My question is after the 5 hour period, you mention a 10-12 hour period next. Is this on top of the initial 5 hours or total?
    Thank you for your help!
    V/R
    Brian

    1. Brian – all times are estimates based on cook temp. I highly suggest following internal temp of your pork butt vs strictly time. My smoke phase usually lasts about 5 hours (internal temp of 160). Then my wrap phase usually lasts between 5-8 more hours – though you could speed this up with higher cook temps (until internal temp hits about 200). Again, higher cook temp = less cook time.
      Enjoy!

    2. Brian, your pork butt should take 10-12 hrs total, but most important to cook to 190-200° internal temp. After that, be sure to let rest 40-60 minutes.
      Good luck

  7. First time checking out your site and it seems great. I got my dad a smoker for father’s day and as a first attempt we kind of want to do a smorgasbord of smoked foods (chicken, pork belly, pork butt, and ribs). I have few questions. 1) do you think its a good or bad idea to smoke all of that together?(I know all of it has to be done with different timing). 2) For the butt we were thinking to stick with a smaller butt as its only a few of us trying it for the first time and we have a lot of other stuff. 2A)Is there a good adjustment on timing for, lets say a 4 lbs butt? 2B)Should we just go for a bigger product? 3) any suggestions for a first time smoker?

    Thanks in advance and sorry for the essay.

    1. David –
      1. Doesn’t hurt to smoke a bunch together. Be careful about drippings (Chicken should be on bottom, then pork, then beef) and be careful about which wood you use – I’d suggest with a mix of meats to stick with fruit wood like apple/cherry.
      2. Agree, start small – and pay attention to internal temp.
      It doesn’t matter the size of the pork butt – I’d still say smoke it until the internal temp hits around 160, then wrap until it hits 200. (You don’t have to wrap, but it’s my preference).
      3. Yes – have fun!

  8. Hi Kevin, just wanted to say thanks for sharing your recipes and methods, I’ve been using your pulled pork and rib methods for a few years, your rub with a few personal changes, and though I have tried other methods just to try them, yours is still the tops! Only difference in method I do is use a basic Brinkman electric smoker and use a bowl under the rack filled with a couple beers, apple juice and cider vinegar, comes out soooo juicy and tasty!

  9. The only shoulder cut my local market had was the picnic roast. It doesn’t appear to have as much of a fat cap as the Boston butts. I’m assuming it will take around the same amount of time but is there something I should add in the wrap stage besides the juice for more flavor or juiciness? Thanks in advance

    1. Jeff – I like that idea. Add some apple juice, soda, beer…whatever flavors you prefer. Mix that in when you pull the meat = delicious!

  10. How would you suggest reheating the pulled pork and still keep it moist if I smoke it the day before a party?Bad idea?

    1. I almost always cook mine the day before. I pull it, put it in pans with some of the juices, cover it, put in fridge, then reheat in oven covered at 250 for an hour or two — or the crockpot on low. Works awesome.

  11. Kevin,
    I just made up a batch of your rub, and I used ground oregano instead of flakes. I used the quantity the recipe called for, and then wondered if it should have been the oregano flakes. Do you think the rub will still be ok with the ground oregano?

    Rhett

    1. Toby – I do not. But here it goes:
      The most important part of pork injection is the salt. You want to get salt to that white meat. Nothing else is as important.
      I use a mix of apple juice, coke, sprite, Worcester, hot sauce, syrup, honey – whatever combination of those I have around my house – and a lot of salt. About a cup of salt per gallon of injection. Boil ingredients together, then cool before injecting.

  12. I had a buddy give me some of his cut-up orange tree. what are your thoughts of using that wood with hickory for smoking? I’m doing my first pork butt this weekend!

    1. I have to say I’ve never tried Orange, nor have I heard of using it…but I can’t imagine it would be bad! If you try it, let me know how it goes!

  13. I got an electric smoker for Christmas and planning on using it soon just got done seasoning it. So do you let it sit in the fridge before smoking? I’ve seen other recipes that say rub mustard all over before run is applied. What are your thoughts?

    1. I think rubbing mustard is a great idea. I’ve done that at competitions and it tastes great. And yes, I always keep it in the fridge until it’s ready to go on the smoker.

    1. Jeff – either/or. I usually wrap right around 5 hours, and it’s USUALLY around 160 degrees internal temp – which is where you want it when you wrap.

  14. Do you reintroduce the juices into the pork?It looks like it in that picture. I am doing some for church picnic and I have but it looked like a lot, I did remove the fat from the juices? HELP!!

    1. I keep the juices and pour them over the pulled pork to keep them moist. It’s a delicious flavor you can’t replicate without collecting during the wrap phase. And yes, I like separating the fat too, so you’re left with just juice.

  15. So you let it smoke unwrappped straight on the grill for 5 hours and then put it in a pan and wrap it. When you wrap it do you wrap the entire butt or foil over the top and seal it tight around the edge of the pan

    1. I usually put the butt in a pan and cover tightly with foil. It’s just easier and less messy than wrapping the butt itself.

  16. Hi Kevin, we are planning to smoke 3, 13 pound pork butts using your recipe! any thoughts as to how long you think it will take over all? Also would we want to smoke longer than the 5 hours since they are much bigger and we are smoking more than one at a time?

      1. I don’t change my process for multiple butts. However, you might have to, depending on your smoker and where the heat comes in and if they’re cooking at the same temp with the same smoke. You may need to rotate every couple of hours to ensure they cook evenly. Otherwise, you’re safe to use the same process with 2 or 3 butts that you do with one!

  17. Hi Kevin! I have a question…. we LOVE our smoker!! We do everything that you do for that great taste. Now, we have been to a place in Missouri called Strawberries… it is AWESOME. They have a pork steak that is sliced about 1 1/2 in thick. They steam it first… then rub, then smoke…. we are going to attempt this tomorrow. I got the pork cut… im going to put it in a big roaster on a rack with water (or juice) and cover tightly . Any guesses as to what temp and how long in the oven? I’m telling you this pork is to die for! Any idea will be a help! Thanks Cindy Uffelman, texas

    1. Cindy – so sorry for my delayed response. I’m not sure how long to tell you as I’ve never steamed pork. I would suggest you try rubbing and smoking FIRST, then steaming. I would argue the flavor will be significantly better doing this way. If you try, let me know what you think!

  18. Why do you smoke the butts in a pan? Isn’t that less surface area for the smoke/ bark? Thank you for sharing this I have been following this for years. Have yet to have better pulled.

    1. Actually, I don’t smoke them in a pan. I smoke them directly on the racks because you’re right, it gets more and better bark. I put them in a pan when I wrap them to capture the juices and get them up to temp quicker.
      Wrapping does soften the bark, but I’m willing to accept that loss for the juicy meat.

  19. So i have a ton of juices in my pans when I pull them out of smoker. After the rest for an hour what do I do with the juice in pan? Is it mostly grease?

    1. Well, this may sound a bit gross, but I keep them. If the pork is dry, you can dump some back in. The other thing I do is pour the juices into a big container and put in the fridge. The juices will separate from the fat, then you can scoop out the fat and you are left with the delicious juices (in jelly form). You can then add this to the pork if it needs it or keep it for next time and use in your injection.

  20. Hi Kevin, love your site, thank you for all your help to such a novice person on the grill. I do have a question, no rub overnight for the pork butt, just morning of right before going on the grill?

    1. Great question, Joe, and my answer is Yes! Either/or. I’ve done it both ways and you’ll have success and deliciousness either way you do it. If you rub night before, I always wrap tightly in ceran wrap before putting in the fridge.

  21. You know what I just want to say thanks today I’m smoking my first a– and hopefully it ends up good, I’m the type of person that combines ideas from here and there and this one really helped me out for my base.

  22. Ok, so I bought a Masterbuilt electric smoker this year and have been experimenting.
    First I did a pork loin, which ending up being very tasty, but not pull-able. Then I did ribs. Same thing, tasty but not “falling off the bone” tender.

    Yesterday I did a pork butt. Found recipe on Webber website. Said nothing about wrapping the meat. My roast was about 3.5 lbs. Webber said rub it, cook at 225 for 10-12 hrs for a 4-8 lb roast. Since mine was smaller, I checked it after 8 hrs. Nicely browed, about 165 internally. I thought, Ok, a couple of more hours. Checked it again, still about like 168 internally! This is when I found your website, and wrapped it in foil, adding a little juice. Kicked the temp up to 250, and timer for 2 hrs. We left for a small outdoor concert. When we got back, it had cooled a bit and was PERFECTLY TENDER. I think for me the key is going to be cooking at 250. Maybe the thermometer on the smoker is a bit off? Has anyone had this issue before????

    1. Your meat just ” hit the stall” is all. That’s why many, not all, wrap in foil to help it through the stall. It’s not needed as eventually it will get through without wrapping, just takes longer. It’s just the cooler moisture coming to the surface and keeps the temp from rising. This is the time to get a drink, read a book, etc

  23. Kevin I just cooked my first pork butt and I had to use my oven because
    I just had knee replacement surgery at 78 years of age and couldn’t be
    going inside and outside to use the BBQ. I had the tin foil in the pan
    but I lost a lot of juice. My brother always wraps his in tin foil after
    it haas reached its temperature and then wraps it in a towel and his is
    to die for but because of the juice in the pan can’t do that. What did I
    do wrong? Thanks for your help.

    1. Karlyn – I’m not sure. In my process, I always smoke it for around 5 hours, then put it in a pan and cover it with foil for 5+ more hours until the internal temp hits around 200. I’ve never had issues with lack of juice doing it this way. Does that help?

      1. Just did a 9 pound butt and it came out great. What I had found out though, is the foil needs to be tight around the pan. Otherwise you will lose some juice.

  24. Sorry….love the site and pics but I’m confused…..when do you wrapp…? Do you smoke for 5 hrs then wrap and leave on the smoker? If so for how long
    Or do you smoke 5 hours and wrap and remove it
    The pics look awesome and I’m dying to try
    Thanks for a great recipe
    J

    1. Hey Joey – if you read the details of the recipe, hopefully it isn’t too confusing – I apologize if it is! Smoke is always the first stage prior to wrapping. Smoke first, wrap second. Wrap stage can be on smoker or in oven. As far as how long – it’s all about internal temp. You want the pork butt to reach around 200 degrees internal temp.

  25. I most defiantly plan to inject and rub my roast at least 3 days prior to smoking.
    Does anyone have a a legit reason this would not be a good idea?

    1. I am no expert by any means. However if you inject with a vinegar based marinade , I believe it will actually start to cook the meat after 24 hours.

      1. You’re correct, Andy. I’m always careful with vinegar. If using vinegar to inject, either use a very small amount or only use right before cooking.

        1. Thanks for the confirmation Kevin. If they are looking for added flavor by injecting , maybe using a finishing sauce would be better. I personally do not use one. I don’t think it needs anything if you follow your directions!

        2. Hey Kevin, I just followed the cooking directions posted and injected with a corona/horseradish mustard/apple cider vinegar mix, I coated the outside with horseradish mustard and pit boss butt rub. This is the best butt I’ve ever done juiciness wise. I am so glad for your tip on what temp to wrap the pork. I think it made all the difference.

  26. My husband has used a traditional tower charcoal smoker and a different electric smoker in the past. They got the job done, but they had their flaws. This smoker is fantastic!

    With just a little handful of wood chips and water, my husband was able to perfectly smoke six Cornish hens in about two hours and forty minutes. The built in thermometer didn’t give us any trouble. The meat was done and extremely juicy. The only down side is that it takes about 40 minutes to preheat. If you think about your prep time with charcoal, it probably evens out. The glass front is great. I loved seeing the progress. Overall, this smoker is easy to use and produces the most moist meat I have eaten. I can’t wait to try smoking other things.

  27. Hi Kevin,
    I have been cooking whole hog for our family party for 15 years. Always do a 100 pound pig on Friday and another 100 pound one on Saturday, pulling it off at 4 p.m. and straight to the table. This year I am taking out my rotisserie and going with two stacked flat grills 28″ by 28″. I will use indirect heat on both sides and I can keep 250 degrees with no problem. I think I can fit about 20 6 pound butts on at one time. About how long do you think it will take to cook and can I keep them in the pan the whole time and just cover them when they reach 160 degrees? Grill is a 265 gallon oil drum.