Smoking a pork butt, also known as a pork shoulder, can be a delicious way to infuse flavour into this great cut of meat. That’s why so many people are keen to know how long to smoke a pork butt in the smoker.
However, it is important to realise that it does take quite a while to smoke a pork butt, as it requires a low and slow cooking process to ensure the meat is tender and moist, and the fat has sufficiently rendered down.
How Long to Smoke a Pork Butt?
So, how long does it actually take to smoke a pork butt (aka pork shoulder)? The answer really depends on the size of the pork butt and the temperature at which it is cooked. The best approach is to smoke the pork butt at a temperature of 225°F (107°C) for about 1 hour per pound of meat.
For example, if you have a 6-pound pork butt, it will take about 6 hours to smoke it at 225°F. If you are cooking the pork butt at a slightly higher temperature, such as 250°F, it will take a little less time again.
It’s important to use a meat thermometer to ensure that the pork butt has reached an internal temperature of at least 195°F (91°C). This indicates that the meat is fully cooked and will be tender and juicy, as well as fork tender.
To get the best results, it’s always best to smoke the pork butt on a wood pellet grill e.g. Traeger, Pit Boss, Camp Chef, Masterbuilt etc because these grills are digital and allow you to control the heat inside the smoker really well. Otherwise you would be refuelling all the time and finding it hard to keep a steady low and slow temperature of 225F.
When smoking a large cut of meat for long periods it’s really crucial to be able to keep the heat inside your smoker consistent to cook your meat evenly.
You can set the wood pellet grill to the exact temperature that you want digitally, and the auger will control the speed and ignition of the wood pellets.
There are even a number of wood pellet grills with wifi so you can control the temperature in your smoker through an app on your phone! Talk about set it and forget it!
Which Wood is Best for Smoking Pork Butt?
In terms of the best wood pellets to use for pork butt, you have a few options. Hickory has a reasonably robust smoke profile, but milder fruit woods such as apple or cherry are great too. It’s worth experimenting with different wood flavours such as the mild, nutty flavours of maple and pecan as well.
You can also create great flavours through a mix of wood pellets too – e.g. 1/2 hickory 1/2 apple.
Once the pork butt is fully cooked, it’s important to let it rest for around 15-20 minutes before pulling it. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, making it even more tender and flavoursome.
Overall, smoking a pork butt takes time and patience, but the end result is well worth it. We have found that pulled pork is probably the most popular meat at any barbecue!
It’s addictively crispy, moist and tender in ways that many other cuts of meat just can’t replicate.
In fact it may well be the centrepiece that your friends and family rave about!
If you enjoyed this article you might also enjoy our article on ‘Pulled pork in the Smoker Recipe.’