Have you ever found yourself responsible for feeding a bunch of hungry adults, only to realize you are totally unprepared? Fear not, we have you covered with an easy BBQ trick.
Here we will show you the best way to make a smoked pork shoulder. Word of wisdom: the secret lies in how long and at what temperature you smoke a pork butt!
But why should smoked pork shoulder be your go-to BBQ recipe? Read on to know!
Table of Contents
- A Simple and Easy Process
- Selecting the Perfect Cut
- Helpful Tips
- The Best Way to Smoke a Pork Butt
- Prepare and Preheat Your Smoker
- Slather the Meat in Mustard
- Rub the Meat!
- Now Smoke
- Wrap it up
- Continue Smoking
- Test if it’s Ready
- Let It Rest
- Shred and Serve
- How Long to Smoke Pork Shoulder
- Freezing and Reheating
- The Bottomline
A Simple and Easy Process
It is a recipe that goes easy on the ingredients but heavy on time. The key is to exhibit patience and let your meat cook for a long time at a low temperature. Just a few tips and tricks, and you would never have to worry about messing it up.
Selecting the Perfect Cut
To make the best-smoked pork butt, it is essential to find the perfect cut first. When it comes to pork, your first choice should be a bone-in shoulder cut. It is often found under the label of a Boston butt roast or a pork butt.
Beef is trickier. Finding the best cuts of beef to smoke requires practice and experience.
- The more the marbling, the better the results!
- Fat helps add moisture and flavor. Make sure to cut the fat cap down to half a centimeter for ideal results.
- Remove the glands around the edges of the cut to preserve good texture.
The Best Way to Smoke a Pork Butt
Let’s get this show on the road! Buckle up, for here we will tell you the best way to smoke a pork butt:
- A 10 pound Boston butt or beef brisket
- 3-4 tablespoons of mustard
- A hydrating spray/injection, made of equal parts apple cider vinegar and water
- A dry, savory-sweet rub
Prepare and Preheat Your Smoker
You need to preheat your smoker at a temperature of 225 degrees Fahrenheit to get the perfect smoked butt. It is a worthy and long-term investment to pick the best pellet smoker for this.
Pellet smokers are conventionally preferred. However, electric smokers are in no way any less effective. As long as you pick the best electric smoker based on your convenience and expertise, you are all set.
Pro-tip: The wood used for smoking leaves a mild undertaste. Since the subtleties make all the difference, it is important to pick the best wood pellets for your smoked shoulder. Our personal preference makes us prioritize a rich hickory flavor.
Slather the Meat in Mustard
We find mustard to complement pork and beef best, but you can use any other sticky liquid for this purpose. Extra virgin olive oil is a decent alternative used by many as well.
Rub the Meat!
The perfect rub is the holy grail of learning how to smoke pork shoulder. There are two tips to make your rub extra effective:
- Keep it dry.
- Make sure that the sweet-to-savory ratio is a perfect match for your taste buds.
Here is a list of the absolute essentials of a good rub:
- Brown Sugar
- Kosher Salt
- Smoked Paprika
- Black Pepper
- Cayenne Pepper
- Ground Mustard
- Garlic Powder
- Onion Powder
Pro-tips: Although crushed garlic and onions make the rub a little sticky, they also add originality and a more earthy flavor to the meat. However, most good recipes lean heavily on sweet flavors. If needed, you can always alter the sweet-to-savory ratio by adjusting the amounts of brown sugar, salt, and garlic powder.
Place the meat on the grate and turn up the heat. At what temp to smoke pork butt is a question asked by many. Ideally, it should be kept at 250 degrees Fahrenheit for the next 18 to 20 hours.
So how long does it take to smoke a pork butt? It is not the temperature of the smoker that matters, but rather the temperature of the pork butt itself. So it’s the internal temperature that you must frequently monitor.
Remember, learning how to smoke a pork shoulder is more about patience than skill.
Adequate moisture in the meat helps keep it soft and tender. It is now time to bring in the 1:1 apple cider vinegar and water mixture we prepared earlier.
The hydrating mixture can either be sprayed or injected. As it cooks, spray the smoked shoulder with this mixture every 30 minutes after the first 3-4 hours. Alternatively, an injector can be used for the same. The mixture is pumped into every cubic inch of the cut.
Wrap it up
Once the internal temperature of the meat is 165 degrees Fahrenheit, it is time to wrap it. Wrapping locks the moisture in and helps overcome temperature plateaus quickly.
Smoke the pork shoulder at the temperature of 250 degrees Fahrenheit until the internal temperature is 190-205 degrees Fahrenheit.
Test if it’s Ready
There are two ways to test if it’s done or still needs cooking:
- Keep cooking until the thermometer’s probe goes in smoothly – as if it’s butter kept at room temperature.
- Keep cooking until the bone slides out easily upon pulling.
Turn the heat off once it is well cooked.
Let It Rest
Once cooked, the smoked shoulder should be kept in a cooler for about an hour. This allows the flavor to settle uniformly. Make sure not to use ice, though!
Shred and Serve
Use a shredder to shred the meat before serving. Make sure to discard the excess fat.
How Long to Smoke Pork Shoulder
The actual pork butt smoke time is variable since the deciding factor is the meat’s internal temperature. So if you want to know how long to smoke a pork butt, it all depends on the quality and texture of the meat itself and external factors like wind and the fuel used.
However, make sure to use the best charcoal for smoking for ideal results.
Freezing and Reheating
You can freeze smoked pork butt overnight. To thaw, you can reheat it at 225 degrees Fahrenheit in your smoker for 45 minutes.
Learning how to smoke a pork butt is essentially a game of patience. We have addressed questions like how long to smoke pork shoulder, what the ideal pork butt smoke time should be, and at what temp to smoke pork butt, but you will only find the right balance once you try it yourself.
The little tips and tricks we’ve included here would take you a long way once you put them to the test.
Lastly, trust your gut, and you’re good to go!