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