Pork butt can be dressed and rubbed in different seasonings. This is done before placing it on the smoker’s grate.
Buying quality pork is the first step to achieving a mouthwatering delicacy. Other factors such as heat configuration should be considered during this process.
Smoking pork butt is a simple process when all the correct instructions in the recipe are followed.
In this article, we have compiled a list of the required ingredients for a successful pork-butt smoking experience. We also have numerous tips on how to prepare the meat before smoking it.
Basic tips on pork-butt smoking
You should set up your smoker before you start seasoning the pork. This gives it time to preheat. The correct temperature configuration for pork smoking should not exceed 250° F.
Putting a water bowl under the grate ensures constant moisture during smoking. This prevents the meat from getting too dry.
Rubbing the pork
Olive oil, pepper, and apple cider vinegar are among the best seasonings to rub on the pork butt. Other suitable seasoning ingredients will be discussed in detail later in this context.
You can buy this or make it as a DIY project while the pork is marinating. Mix cider vinegar with apple juice in a 1 is to 1 ratio. Put them in a spray bottle and spritz over the pork within 4 hours of smoking it.
Place the meat on the grate and set the temperature at 200 to 205° F. Close the smoker top and wait for 4 hours before spritzing.
If you smoke your pork unwrapped from the beginning, you can wrap it after the first 4 hours of smoking and spritzing. Use peach or foil paper.
After wrapping, put it back into the smoker and continue smoking for 4 to 5 hours. The recommended temperature at this point is 225° F.
You can tell whether the pork is perfectly smoked by inserting the sharp edge of a digital thermometer in it. The internal temperature should be about 195 to 205°F.
Resting the pork
Remove it from the smoker and keep it wrapped for about 120 more minutes before serving. This helps it absorb all the flavors at a point of rest.
Required equipment for smoking a pork butt
- A thermometer – This is used for checking both the smoker’s and the pork butt’s internal temperature. A ThermoPro is a perfect choice as it will inform you when the meat has reached the temperature you set.
- Peach paper – This can be used in the place of aluminum foil. It wraps up the pork perfectly.
- Wood pellets/chips – For smoke production, pellets or chips made from different wood types are a great choice. Oak, apple, and hickory are among the best choices.
- A good smoker – For smoking, you will require a good quality smoker such as Traeger Pro Series 34. It gets the work done well and produces quality heat and smoke for your pork butt smoking.
- Tongs – The amount of heat inside the smoker will require you to use tongs for turning the meat for even cooking.
Pork butt recipe
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 4lb pork butt (with bone)
- Cayenne pepper- ½ tablespoon
- Minced onions (dried)- ½ tablespoon
- Paprika- ½ tablespoon
- Coarsely ground black pepper- 1 tablespoon
- Brown sugar (light)- ⅛ cup
- Garlic powder -½ tablespoon
- Kosher salt- 1 tablespoon
- Apple cider vinegar- ⅛ cup
- Apple juice- ⅛ cup
How to set up the smoker for pork-butt smoking
- Fill the smoker box with wood chips. If you don’t have one, place the wood chips on an aluminum pouch. Wrap it up and poke holes on it.
- Put the pouch on the burner under the grate, if you are using a gas grill. For a charcoal smoker, place the smoker box or holed pouch directly onto the lit coal or briquettes.
- Set the smoker’s temperature at 250° F.
- Let it preheat as you prepare your pork by rubbing and seasoning it.
- Place the pork butt on the side with no lit burners. Smoke till ready.
How to prepare the pork butt before smoking
- Measure all your seasoning ingredients as instructed. Mix the black pepper, garlic powder, paprika, cayenne pepper, brown sugar, kosher salt, and minced onions in a large bowl.
- Spread the pork butt on a baking pan or sheet. Wear disposable gloves and use your hands to rub in the olive oil on the meat.
- After that, rub in the mixed seasonings to every side. Spread them evenly.
- Check the temperature of your preheated smoker. It should range between 250 to 275° F.
- Place a bowl with cold water on one side of the grate. When the temperatures get too high, the water will boil and turn to steam. This helps retain moisture in the smoked pork. It also adds a steamy flavor to the meat.
- Place the seasoned pork inside an aluminum pan or a baking tray. The tray absorbs the braising and oils as the pork smokes.
- Close the lid of the smoker and leave it at a steady temperature of 250°F, for up to 4 hours.
- After the first four hours of smoking are over, open the smoker’s top and spray some spritz on the meat. Use tongs to turn it over and spray on all sides.
- Put the pork butt back and leave it to continue smoking for at least four more hours. At this point, you may decide to wrap it using peach or aluminum papers. Wrapping it up allows the flavor to be confined into the meat without escaping.
- After the second smoking round, place the thermometer in the meat. For a well-cooked pork butt, the internal temperature should read between 195° to 200° F.
- Take the meat out of the smoker and leave it for 30 to 120 minutes to rest.
This dish serves about 6 people. If you plan to prepare pork butt for more people, increase the proportion of the ingredients and the time required.
The leftovers should be put in airtight bags or containers and stored in the refrigerator or freezer for less than 4 days. Once you decide to eat them again, prepare a new rub mixture and rub it first. This prevents it from being too dry for reheating.
You can reheat in an oven, microwave, Sous Vide method among others.
Additional tips for pork butt smoking
During smoking, the cooking temperature is more important than the time spent cooking. The meat is considered well smoked if the correct internal temperature is reached. It might cook for a longer or shorter period than the one set on the timer.
Time spent to completely smoke pork butt depends on the quality of meat, temperature variations in different smokers, the weather among other factors.
Patience is required while smoking slowly under low temperatures. Invest in a quality thermometer so that you’ll know when the meat is ready.
If you notice a stall in temperature readings, don’t worry. This happens when the meat reaches a stage where its collagen is getting broken down by the heat. It is a common occurrence in pork and brisket. The temperature will start rising again after this, until the meat reaches its well-cooked temperatures.
Many people are caught in a dilemma during the second 4-hour phase of smoking. It is hard to decide whether or not to wrap the pork butt in foil.
There’s no problem in leaving it unwrapped. The advantage of wrapping, however, is that the meat cooks faster because the heat is locked in. Aluminum foil is also a good conductor of heat, therefore boosting the heat circulation around the wrapped meat.
Recommended side dishes for a smoked pork butt
Once it’s well smoked and ready, you can serve your pork butt alongside the following dishes:
- Broccoli salad
- Baked beans
Many other dishes blend well with smoked pork butt. Sample as many as you’d like.
What to consider when buying pork butt for smoking
For positive results, the meat you use plays a major role. Here’s what to consider before ordering pork butt you intend to smoke:
How fatty is it?
A fatty pork butt maintains the meat’s moisture during smoking. Don’t choose meat that is too fatty as it may take too long before the fat is properly drained by the heat. The best-smoked pork butt should be crispy at the end of the process and not too fatty or soggy.
How soft is the outer layer?
Some meat develops a hard membrane around it due to storage mode or other factors. If the pork you purchase has this membrane, it’ll be hard for heat and smoke to penetrate through it. You should trim it out thinly before you start seasoning.
Be aware of the quality of the pork butt you choose. Some are cut and packaged poorly. Poor quality meat gives you bad results after smoking.
Good quality meat makes savory delicacies.
You can follow a different recipe every time you prepare your smoked pork butt. This exposes your taste buds to different flavors.
Remember to always buy good quality pork for the best results.