The Pork Butt is Ready for Shredding

How to Prep and Smoke a Pork Butt – The Ultimate Guide!

Pork Butt is hugely popular at the moment and its gain in popularity is no surprise. With its incredible flavor and a great look, it is a real show stopper. Today we’ll learn how to prep and smoke and cook a pork butt.

The Dry Rub

We’re going to start off with a dry rub. The first thing you will need is black pepper. We are going to go pretty heavy on the black pepper. Since it’s a big piece of meat so it can take a lot of salt unlike ribs or maybe chicken. The salt pepper ratio is about half and half. For pork, we’re going to want a little bit of color so I’m going to add a little bit of paprika. It’s not so much for flavor more just to kind of make it look neat.

We want to get some savory action but not a whole lot so we will add some onion powder. You want to be careful that your onion powder isn’t too powdered and it’s more granulated. If it is a powder it’ll kinda tend to clump up and it won’t really get in there quite as well as you want it. The same thing with the garlic powder.

When applying the rub I tend to use a shaker for it much like when I do ribs. I want the rub to really get on there. You don’t want it to be clumpy and you don’t want it to be haphazardly thrown on there. Brisket cooks for a really long time so you can do that because the smoke and the colors going to cover it up. This is not necessarily the case for pork because it’s not going to cook quite as long.

This Image Shows Where the Pork Butt Is. It's labeled on Here as Boston Butt
This Image Shows Where the Pork Butt Is. It’s labeled on Here as Boston Butt

What is a Pork Butt?

A lot of people think, oh it’s a pork butt it’s coming from the rear end. Alas, my good friends, this is not so. Pork butt is the top part of the shoulder. You have the shank down the bottom where the joints are. right above that, you’ve got the pork but. Its also called a shoulder butt or a Boston butt.

The pork butt has got fat on one side. For pork butts, I don’t really trim very much. Its got a lot of fat but it’s pretty bland meat so you really want that fat to cook down. A lot of people put different slathers and different things on this. All I do is put a little bit of olive oil on it, just to make the rub stick.

Like I said before it’s a huge piece of meat and it can handle a lot of rub so you want to make as much stick on there as possible. This will help it get a little bit of color on there too. As a side note if you are not in Texas then you might want to cut the amount of black pepper as Texans love it more than most other people. All this rub is going to make a really nice brisket like bark.

If you want you can let it rest for a little bit and let the moisture kinda help soak in the rub. You can also put it on right away.

The Pork Butt is Often Known as Boston Butt
The Pork Butt is Often Known as Boston Butt

Cooking the Pork Butt

First, you should aim to get the cooker up to 275 degrees, that’s always my kind of go-to temperature. The butt is pretty much square-ish so you should put it on fat side up. If it looks in a few hours that it’s not getting enough color on one side you can flip it over. If maybe the fat’s not rendering as much as you want you can also flip it appropriately.

After about four hours it is a good idea to wrap it in foil. You should wrap it real tight in foil and fill up the water pan. The water pan helps a lot with bark butt. Keep spritzing it with apple cider vinegar or you could do apple juice with hot water. The most important thing is that you keep it moist. Once wrapped you should always look to maintain an internal temp of 275. The butt is done when you can easily penetrate with a fork and it falls apart. Another way to check is when you can pull the bone cleanly out.

Smoked pork butt with dry rub and perfectly cooked center - Credit Flickr
Smoked pork butt with dry rub and perfectly cooked center – Credit Flickr

It’s Time to Shred and Eat!

Let it rest for about thirty of forty minutes somewhere around there and shred it to bits. Unfortunately one of the things about using foil is that you actually have to physically unwrap it to check out the meat. If you’re not using foil to wrap or anything you can just look at it and it’s ready to go. The important thing about resting meat is you want it to reabsorb the moisture because if you just pull it off and it’s still raging hot it’s still cooking and the muscles are still tightening up. They’re also still pushing up moisture so you really have to let it rest. If you don’t it’ll look great when you shred it but it’s going to be dry within just a few just mere seconds.

You know it’s ready to pull when you can hold it with your bare hands. Ideally, you should shred it in a foil pan to keep all the juices in there. You can put a vinegar sauce on there if you want or you can put a sweet sauce on there. The world is yours. Its pork you can do anything you want we really don’t have any rules for pulled pork other than it’s smokey and it’s good.

The Pork Butt is Ready for Shredding
The Pork Butt is Ready for Shredding

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