Smoked Pork Butt

There isn’t much to say about this topic that hasn’t been said thousands of times by amateur and professional smokers across the country. But that never stopped me; I am nothing if not a pontificator.

This batch sat overnight in a simple dry rub (some people brine the butts) and then was smoked for 10 hours, and finished in the oven for an additional 4 hours. The final internal temperature was a balmy 205°F. At that temperature the pork just falls apart, but is still incredibly moist. I cross hatched the fat cap because I wanted as much of the rub as possible to come in contact with the meat, and it looks cool — almost as if I know what I am doing.

17 Replies to “Smoked Pork Butt”

  1. It floated around 235-240 for most of the first 8 hours, and then dipped to about 215-225 for the next 2 hours. I took them out of the smoker, covered them in aluminum foil, and put them in a 300 degree oven for another 4 hours.

    Yes, I have a dedicated smoker with a 3 gallon pan that I filled to the brim.

  2. nice looking work, too bad i have no idea what it tastes like!
    have you tried smoking /cooking at 165-175? there is no reason to bring the internal temp. beyond 165 really, less if tricona doesn’t scare you. (last reported infection was when?). the only down side might be a slightly less crusty exterior, but at that length of time probably not. i think the protein denatures around 150. since you don’t brine, you are obviously not going for a “cured” hammy type result. therefore the lower temp would keep that thing even juicier. do you have room for a whole/long shoulder? better meat out along the flank and rib section.

  3. sorry, it’s trichina, and for the record the average number of cases reported from the ’70’s through 2001 was about 12 per year in the US.
    and that long shoulder also includes the hock, which when smoked is a great resource for all kinds of cookin’

  4. I have tried it at 170, and it is much more difficult to pull; the meat just isn’t falling apart, which is what I want. And at 205 it was extremely tender and juicy.

    I would love to try the whole cut, although I find the butt to be a tastier piece than the upper leg. I have the room in the smoker, but I might have to cut the thing in half if it is what I am guessing. And no, I am not worried about trichinosis; commercial pork just doesn’t have it. The recent cases are mostly from home-grown pigs that have been fed table scraps, and wild pigs that are carnivorous.

  5. the butt *is* the upper part of the leg, IINM.

    a pork butt cooked to 165-175 wouldn’t pull. it would have to be sliced, and much of the collagen would not have broken down.

  6. collagen will start breaking down at 140. if left for a long period of time at 140-175 it will melt, 12 total hours qualifies as a long period of time; it just happens faster at 200+.
    we used to cold smoke pork shoulders for 8 hours and then cook them in bbq sauce at 170 for 8 hours. everything was melted. when cooled, the meat, connective tissue, fat and skin would all strip off the bone. best pulled pork ever. very savory and so full of fat and moisture. what is IINM?
    the butt is the upper leg/shoulder. hogs have short legs. long shoulder includes the hock and “picnic”

  7. you probably won’t be able to curve it unless you break through the bone/joint.

    take a butt, take a picnic, and put them together for the full picture.

    no point in arguing cooking temps. i’m sure everyone has what they consider a success at various temps.

  8. IANAC, you might be right about what the butt is. while i consider it the upper part of the leg, it seems to extent to the top of the animal.

  9. I am basing my comment on the shape of the bone in the butt. It looks a bit like a scapula, which would put the cut solidly in the shoulder of the hog. But I don’t care if it is actually harvested from the tips of butterfly wings; it tastes really, really good after a day in my smoker!

  10. with the size of your smoker, if you can get a butt/picnic together in one piece, you could stand it upright.

    i’m not a fan of the picnic, though. i’m more for 2 butts.

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