Cooking a pork butt is an impressive way to prepare a meal for friends and family. The result of smoking it at 250 degrees can be flavorful, juicy perfection if done correctly. The amount of time the pork needs to be smoked will depend on the size and weight of the meat, making it tricky to determine just how long you need to smoke your pork butt for maximum flavor. In this blog post, we’ll explain exactly how long to smoke a pork butt at 250 degrees so that you get perfect results every time.
What Is Pork Butt?
Pork butt, also known as Boston butt, is a cut originating from the upper portion of the pig’s shoulder. This tougher cut contains ample connective tissue, making it an ideal choice for slow and low smoking. It is particularly suitable for beginners looking to develop their smoking skills.
Difference Between A Pork Butt And A Pork Shoulder
The main difference between a pork butt and a pork shoulder lies in their location on the pig. While both cuts are derived from the shoulder, the pork butt is situated higher up on the foreleg, whereas the pork shoulder is located further down. Even though these cuts are considered tough and fatty, they can be transformed into delectable dishes through long, slow cooking techniques like roasting, stewing, or braising. However, based on our preference, we typically lean towards the pork butt.
How Do I Smoke A Pork Butt?
To smoke a pork butt, follow these steps:
Keep it simple
Skip marinades, injections, or brines as slow-cooked pork shoulder is already tender enough. A good rub and some smoky flavor will make it taste wonderful.
Trim the fat
Remove most of the fat from the meat’s exterior while leaving some for flavor and to create a crispy bark.
Season it right
Apply your favorite seasoning thoroughly. Let the seasoned meat sit for at least 30 minutes, or for deeper flavor, season it a day ahead and refrigerate.
Enhance flavor with wood pellets
Choose your preferred wood pellets for smoking. A Signature Blend and Hickory combination works great with pork.
Use a meat thermometer
A leave-in thermometer, like a MEATER, helps monitor the meat’s temperature in real-time. It’s especially useful for long cooks.
Keep it low and slow
If you have time, cook at 225 degrees Fahrenheit for tender and smoky pork butt. Consider using Super Smoke for more flavor.
Plan for the stall
After reaching 150°F, the temperature may stall for hours. You can wrap the pork in butcher paper or foil to speed up the cooking process. If wrapped, you can also raise the grill’s temperature since the meat will no longer absorb smoke.
Test for doneness
For bone-in pork butt, use a glove or paper towel to protect your fingers and wiggle the bone. If the meat easily turns and comes off the bone, it’s done. For boneless pork butt, insert a fork into the meat and try to rotate it. If it turns with minimal resistance, it’s done. Check the color of the exterior, which should appear dark brown. If needed, continue cooking for an additional 30 minutes before rechecking the tenderness.
Let it rest
Allow the smoked pork butt to rest at room temperature for at least 45 minutes or up to a couple of hours before shredding. If you need to hold the meat for an extended period, you can keep it in a tightly wrapped foil in an indoor oven set to around 170°F. Alternatively, create a faux Cambro by tightly wrapping the meat in foil and placing it in a plastic beer cooler lined with towels or blankets to insulate it.
Always pull, never chop
Avoid cutting the pork into chunks. Instead, hand-pull the pork to maintain maximum moisture. You can also use a stand mixer to assist in the process. Distribute the flavorful crusty bits evenly throughout the pork heap. Remember to save any flavorful drippings and pour them over the meat.
Apply sauce, but don’t over sauce
While our delicious barbecue sauces are tempting, be mindful not to add too much that it overpowers the meat’s flavor. The goal is to taste the meat.
How Long To Smoke A Pork Butt At 250?
When smoking a pork butt at a temperature of 250 degrees, you can estimate a cooking time of 90 minutes per pound. For example, an 8-pound pork shoulder will require around 12 hours to smoke until it reaches an internal temperature of approximately 200 degrees, resulting in a tender and juicy texture.
How Do I Know When Smoked Pork Butt Is Done?
To determine the doneness of smoked pork butt, there are a few indications you can look for. First, the meat should be so tender that it falls apart easily and the bone should pull out with minimal resistance. Additionally, you can check the internal temperature with a thermometer. For slicing, the meat should reach 185°F (85°C), while for pulling (pulled pork), it should reach about 207°F (97°C). If you prefer a quicker cooking time, you can wrap the pork butt once it reaches around 160°F (71°C). Lastly, the desired mahogany brown color is typically achieved after approximately 6 hours of cooking.
Should I Wrap My Pork Butt In Foil While Smoking?
Wrapping the pork butt in foil while smoking is recommended. At around the 5-hour mark, when the internal temperature reaches about 160 degrees, wrap it tightly in aluminum foil. This will prevent the meat from absorbing excessive smoke and help trap the moisture released during the cooking process.
How Do I Store Leftover Pork Butt?
To store leftover pork butt, it is recommended to wrap the cooked pork butt tightly in foil and refrigerate. When reheating, you can heat it in the oven or smoker at 300°F until warmed to your liking. If you prefer to freeze the leftover pork butt, wrap it tightly in foil and place it in a 2-gallon Ziploc bag. Before reheating, make sure to defrost the pork butt in the refrigerator.
How Do I Reheat Leftover Smoked Pork Butt?
To reheat leftover smoked pork butt, follow these steps:
- Preheat your oven to 225°F.
- Place the whole butt or shredded pork in an ovenproof dish.
- Add a little liquid, such as apple juice, cider vinegar, broth, or thick BBQ sauce, to replace some of the lost moisture.
- Cover the dish with a double layer of foil, ensuring to lock in the moisture.
- Set the dish on a baking tray in the middle of your oven.
- Cook until the meat thermometer shows an internal temperature of 165°F.
- Once the meat reaches 165°F, crack open the foil and let the meat broil for a few minutes to add a little crunch back to the bark.
- After removing it from the oven, shred the pork butt using a good pair of heat-proof gloves if it was stored whole.
Make sure to follow proper safety precautions while handling and reheating the pork butt.
Ideas For Leftover Smoked Pork Butt
After knowing how long to smoke a pork butt at 250 degrees and how to reheat it, you may still wonder what to do with the leftovers. Here are some ideas for using leftover smoked pork butt:
- Pulled pork sandwiches: Add your favorite condiments, such as BBQ sauce or coleslaw, and enjoy a delicious pulled pork sandwich.
- Tacos: Shred the pork butt and use it as a filling for tacos. Top with salsa, guacamole, and other desired toppings.
- Nachos: Use the shredded pork to top off some chips along with cheese, beans, and jalapeños. Broil in the oven until the cheese is melted and enjoy!
- BBQ pizza: Shred the pork butt and use it as a topping for homemade or store-bought pizza. Add some BBQ sauce, cheese, and your favorite toppings for a delicious BBQ pizza.
- Pork fried rice: Use diced smoked pork butt to add flavor to fried rice. Simply cook the rice, add in some vegetables and diced pork, and enjoy a tasty meal.
- Loaded baked potato: Top a baked potato with shredded pork, cheese, sour cream, and other desired toppings for a simple yet satisfying dinner.
Ronald B Gamrot is the owner of Silverking Brewery, one of the most successful craft breweries in North America. He started the business from scratch in his garage, and it has since grown into a multimillion-dollar operation. Ronald is passionate about brewing delicious beer and providing top-notch customer service. He is a respected member of the brewing community and often speaks at industry events.