Pork butt, also known as Boston butt, is a shoulder cut that contains more fat than standard pork shoulder, also sold as picnic shoulder. Regardless, the “butt” cut is perfect for smoking thanks to its fat content keeping the meat juicy. In addition, the connective tissue responds well to smoke, breaking it down to produce tender meat. But how long should pork butt smoke at 225⁰F?
It takes 75 minutes to 2 hours per pound to smoke pork butt at 225⁰F. The discrepancy in timing depends on the cut’s thickness and the smoker’s ability to retain heat. Therefore, a meat thermometer is essential to ensure the internal temp of 195-204⁰F has been reached, indicating it is done.
The origins of the pork or Boston butt are disputed, some claiming it comes from how it was stored and shipped in barrels, known as butts. Others claim the term “butt” was used for the thicker part of the shoulder, as in “the butt of a gun.” Regardless, the cut has nothing to do with a pig’s rear end. But the high connective tissue content does influence the cooking time.
How Long Does Smoke Pork Butt Take At 225?
A smoked pork butt, a la Boston butt, takes 75 minutes to 2 hours at 225⁰F to reach an internal temperature of 195-204⁰F. Thus, a 7 lb. Boston butt at 225⁰F would take 8.75-14 hours.
The internal temperature recommendation of 195-204⁰F is substantially higher than the FDA’s minimum pork requirement of 145F. However, the cooking times for smoked pork butt are recommended for flavor, tenderness, and juiciness rather than safety concerns.
The extra fat and collagen in pork butt will be chewy at lower internal temperatures, and the chef will have robbed the meat of extra juiciness. The connective tissue needs time and higher internal heat to break down into a liquified gelatin that adds taste and moisture. It not only gives the meat a silky texture full of succulent flavor that’s a pleasure to eat.
How Long Does Smoke Pork Butt Take At 250?
It takes 75-90 minutes per pound to smoke pork butt at 250⁰F. Thus, an 8 lb. pork butt would take 10-12 hours on the smoker.
The higher temp will achieve a crispier bark and shave a few hours off the cooking time. However, the meat still needs to reach an internal temperature of 195-204⁰F. But the faster cooking time will mean the tougher protein fibers may not have fully “melted” into the meat, making it slightly chewier.
How Long Does Smoke Pork Butt Take At 275?
It takes 60-80 minutes per pound to smoke pork butt at 275⁰F. This means that a 10 lb. pork butt would take 10-15 hours on the smoker whereas a 5 lb. pork butt would only take 5-6.7 hours.
The meat will still taste good at this temperature and have an excellent bark. However, it will not make the best-pulled pork. Instead, it often works best cut like brisket. That said, some people prefer pulled pork at this temp, as they love the extra bark flavor that isn’t as strong at the lower temps.
Brining makes a big difference when cooking pork butt at higher temperatures for shorter lengths. It will help prevent the meat from drying out and help give a balance between quality bark and moist meat.
How Long To Smoke Pork Butt Guide
Not big on doing pork butt math? Don’t worry; we’ve got you covered.
|Pork Butt Weight||Smoked 225⁰F||Smoked 250⁰F||Smoked 275⁰F|
|5 lbs.||6.25-10 hours||6.25-7.5 hours||5-6.6 hours|
|6 lbs.||7.50-12 hours||7.50-9 hours||6-8 hours|
|7 lbs.||8.75-14 hours||8.75-10.5 hours||7-9.3 hours|
|8 lbs.||10-16 hours||10-12 hours||8-10.6 hours|
|9 lbs.||11.25-18 hours||11.25-13.5 hours||9-12 hours|
|10 lbs.||12.5 – 20 hours||12.5-15 hours||10-13.3 hours|
What Temperature Is Best To Smoke Pork Butt?
Smoking pork butt at 225⁰F will produce the best meat for pulled pork. While pork butt can be smoked as high as 275⁰F, the “melt off the bone” tenderness that soaks up the delicious pulled pork sauce is harder to achieve at higher temperatures.
Pork butt comes from a hardworking, weight baring part of the pig. The upper shoulder comprises tough protein fibers that are held together with a substantial amount of connective tissue. Despite the high-fat content and marbling, it is not a prime cut of meat.
To transform it into a succulent meal, the fibers and connective tissue must be broken down, and the meat bathed in plenty of fat to obtain juiciness. The process takes time and heat. Too fast, and the fibers and tissue haven’t broken down. Too cool, fat doesn’t melt and won’t add flavor and essential moisture. The balance of the two needs is typically found at 225-250⁰F, depending on your smoker.
Read also: How Long to Smoke Ribs
Pork Butt Smoking Tips
Does Boston Butt Need To Need Injection Marinade When Smoked?
Boston butt, or pork butt, doesn’t need injection marinade when smoked at lower temperatures, although many enjoy the practice. However, when smoking at 275⁰F, injection marinade is a faster alternative to brining. But it is essential to spread the entry points evenly when using the syringe.
Injecting at lower temperatures, such as 225⁰F, can produce a mushier and stringier pulled pork with a thicker crisp (bark). Some people love this. Others feel like there is nothing to chew, liking it to the equivalent of pork oatmeal. If you prefer firmness to your succulent pulled pork, reserve the syringe for when you’re in a hurry and using the higher temps.
You can watch a demonstration of the two methods at 250F.
Does Pork Butt Fat Need To Face Up Or Down In The Smoker?
There are two arguments for positioning the pork butt in the smoker. One is that the meat is placed in the smoker with the fat up, so as the fat melts, it bastes the butt. However, some chefs don’t like this as it could “wash” the rub off.
The other argument is that the fat side should be faced toward the heat source of the smoker. If the smoker’s heat comes from the bottom, the fat should be down, and when the heat is at the top, the fat should be face up. The idea is the fat cap protects the meat from being dried out by the heat source.
In the end, the best method depends on the quality of your smoker and the cooking temp. A high-end model that evenly distributes heat will not require as much protection. Nor is it crucial to have the fat cap facing the primary heat source at lower temperatures. Instead, the best results will come from having the fat drip downward.
However, smokers with a distinct “hotter” side will do better with the fat cap acting as a buffer, especially when cooking at the higher temperature range of 275⁰F.
Does Pork Butt Need To Be Flipped When Smoking?
A pork butt doesn’t need to be flipped in a quality smoker. Although due to the fat cap debate, some people will start the meat off with the fat cap at the bottom while flipping it up partway through for basting.
Many folks avoid flipping pork butt because it causes fat to splash and a flair might lick their arm hairs. Instead, they turn it, which is less likely to cause a fat slosh. But if your smoker cooks evenly, even turning it shouldn’t be necessary.
Should Pork Butt Be Wrapped When Smoking?
Wrapping the pork butt is controversial since it can ruin the bark, which is some people’s favorite bit. However, the pros of wrapping are that it reduces the cooking time by as much as two hours and helps keep the meat juicy. Consequently, most smokers use the “Texas crutch,” waiting to wrap their pork butt two-thirds into the smoking process when the meat has reached an internal temp of 140-170⁰F.
The idea behind the Texas crutch is that when the meat has an internal temperature of FDA safe zone, it will have achieved a fairly respectable bark. But it is the final hours when the cut is most likely to dry out. Thus, the wrapping will seal in the juice and that smokey flavor while giving the meat extra time to break down the remaining protein fibers and connective tissue.
How To Test If Pork Butt Is Done Smoking?
A pork butt is done smoking when its internal temperature has reached 195-204⁰F. The reading should be confirmed with a quality meat thermometer, taking the reading from the thickest section. While many smokers come with probes, these are often less accurate than a high-end kitchen gauge. During the smoking process, the smoker’s probes are guides, not definitive readings.
However, taking the smoked pork butt out of the cooker doesn’t mean the meat is ready to eat. To achieve an excellent BBQ, the cut must be allowed to rest.
How Long To Rest Smoked Pork Butt?
A smoked pork butt must rest for at least 30 minutes. Ideally, the meat should rest for at least 1-2 hours for optimal results.
Some folks like to rest their pork butt for up to five. However, this means the meat has cooled, and any additional juiciness obtained from the extra time is often lost during reheating. Cooled meat is also attractive to microorganisms. If those little critters get in there, they’ll wreck your meat and your gut.
Resting meat should be monitored with a temperature gauge. The internal temperature should not drop below 140⁰F (back to those microorganisms).
Many people use a cooler or special “steam box” to rest their smoked pork butt. The meat is wrapped, and if using a cooler, the box is lined with towels. Because it retains the heat while preventing drying, the meat can be resented for longer than 1-2 hours. However, going beyond the 2-hour mark risks overcooking the meat and ending up with the dreaded “oatmeal mush” texture.
Skipping the resting period is a hard no. It ruins hours of work, as the juice and flavor run out of the meat. It would have been easier to have smoked it at 325⁰F or made pulled pork from jerky.
What Is The Best Way To Store Smoke Pork Butt?
Smoked pork butt can last up to four days in the fridge. It should be wrapped in foil or butcher paper and then placed in an airtight container. If you’ve turned your meat into saucy pulled pork, the outer wrapper is not required; just ensure it is sealed. A freezer bag, where excess air can be compressed, is preferred over a container.
Storing your pulled pork in portions will reduce spoilage. That way, you are not introducing outside air or contaminating it with a spoon whenever you want to serve more.
Frozen smoked pork butt will last for three months in the freezer without reducing flavor or becoming burned. It is still best to wrap it in foil before placing it in a freezer or vacuum-sealed bag. However, skip the foil step if it has been mixed with sauce. Again, it is better to store it in portions to ensure freshness and reduce contamination.
Smoked pork butt, also called Boston butt, is a delicious cut of meat when smoked long and low at 225⁰F. Increasing the heat will reduce cooking times and can produce a better bark, but you’ll have to watch out for drying the meat out. Cooking times vary depending on thickness, size, and smoker. But don’t skimp on the resting stage, or you’ll sabotage your hard work. Happy smoking.
Pork shoulder, also sold as picnic shoulder, is a leaner cut than pork butt, preferred for those that enjoy a crispier crack to their meat. It is less forgiving on the smoker than the fattier cut. However, brining pork shoulder before smoking will help avoid it becoming dry.
Below are your most smoking pork shoulder questions with the answers you need.
How long does it take to smoke an eight pounds pork shoulder at 225?
An 8 lb. pork shoulder smoked at 225⁰F will take 12-16 hours. Depending on the thickness, the smoker pork shoulder takes 1.5-2 hours per pound to reach an internal temp of 195-203⁰F.
How long does it take to smoke a seven pounds pork shoulder at 225?
It takes 10.5-14 hours to smoke a 7 lb. pork shoulder at 225⁰F.
How long does it take to smoke ten pounds of pork shoulder at 225?
It takes 15.75-20 hours to smoke a 10 lb. pork shoulder at 225⁰F.
Should I smoke a pork shoulder at 225 or 250?
Smoking pork shoulder at 225⁰F will produce juicer and more tender results whereas smoking at 250⁰F will give the meat a more substantial crust. Pork shoulder often does better if cooked with less time, hence the tendency to go higher.
Some folks cut the meat in half and smoke it at 225⁰F, trying to obtain plenty of crust while reducing the time. However, it still should be brined to prevent dryness.