Boston Butt is a popular cut of pork commonly used to make pulled pork. This cut of meat is perfect for the Traeger or any other pellet grill. There are hundreds of pulled pork recipes out there from food bloggers, but this Boston Butt recipe is from the barbecue pitmasters, so it’s guaranteed to impress your family and friends. I’ll walk you through the preparation to the cook.
To cook a Boston Butt on a Traeger, trim the fat cap, apply a binder and dry rub, set the temperature between 225°F and 250°F, and cook the pork for several hours while spritzing it occasionally. Wrap the pork in foil when the bark is hard and cracking, and cook until the meat reaches an internal temperature of around 200°F and is tender. Allow the pork to rest before slicing or shredding. The total cook time will depend on the size of the Boston Butt, however a 6 lb pork butt should take approximately 8-9 hours to cook at 225°F.
- Boston Butt is a cut of meat on the pork shoulder, also known as pork shoulder roast or shoulder blade, commonly used to make pulled pork
- Purchase a Boston Butt with the bone intact, and look for a pork shoulder or butt with a large “money muscle” for the best flavor and tenderness
- Plan on 1.5 hours per pound of cooking time at 225°F, and allow additional time for larger Boston Butts
- The cook can be divided into two stages: first, absorbing smoke and developing bark at low temperature; second, wrapping and tenderizing the meat at higher temperature
- Trim the fat from the Boston Butt, apply a binder (olive oil or mustard), and cover with dry rub
- Set the temperature of your pellet grill (such as a Traeger) between 225-250°F, and cook for several hours, spritzing once the rub has set to the meat
- Wrap the pork in foil when the bark is hard and cracking, and cook until the meat reaches an internal temperature of around 200°F
- Rest the pork for 30 minutes to 1 hour before slicing or shredding
Smoking Boston Butt: An Easy and Delicious Recipe
|1||Trim the Boston Butt, leaving 1/4 inch of fat on the fat cap|
|2||Apply a binder to the meat using olive oil or yellow mustard|
|3||Cover the pork with a dry rub (such as a barbecue rub or a 50/50 mix of salt and pepper)|
|4||Set the temperature of the Traeger between 225°F and 250°F|
|5||Cook the pork for several hours, spritzing it occasionally|
|6||Wrap the pork in foil when the bark is hard and cracking|
|7||Insert a thermometer probe into the pork and cook until the meat reaches an internal temperature of around 200°F|
|8||Test for tenderness by poking the meat with a toothpick; it should feel like poking butter when cooked to perfect tenderness|
|9||Allow the pork to rest for 30 minutes to 1 hour before slicing or shredding|
Understanding the Cut: What is a Boston Butt?
A Boston Butt is a cut of pork that comes from the shoulder area of the pig. It is often referred to by different names, including shoulder butt, pork butt, pork shoulder roast, country roast, or shoulder blade. Despite its name, a Boston Butt doesn’t come from the pig’s buttocks or hind area. It’s actually from the front shoulder of the pig, which is known for its rich flavor and marbling of fat.
Boston Butt is a popular cut of meat for low-and-slow cooking, and it’s especially well-suited for making pulled pork, as it becomes tender and easy to shred when cooked slowly over a long period of time. However, it is important to cook a Boston Butt correctly to avoid drying it out. This means using a low temperature and cooking it slowly to allow the fat and connective tissue to break down and add moisture to the meat.
Smoking a Boston Butt on a pellet grill, such as a Traeger, is a relatively easy process. It requires minimal preparation and is simple to manage during the cook. In comparison to other meats such as brisket, ribs, or turkey, a Boston Butt is relatively straightforward to smoke and does not require as much attention during the cook.
Stage 1 of Cooking Boston Butt: Absorbing Smoke and Bark Development
When smoking a Boston Butt, it is helpful to think of the cooking process in two stages. The first stage is all about absorbing smoke and developing a bark on the surface of the meat. This is the initial period of the cook, and it is important to keep the temperature low and steady during this time.
During the first stage of smoking a Boston Butt, it is also helpful to use the common barbecue technique called spritzing. Spritzing involves lightly misting the surface of the meat with a liquid, such as apple cider vinegar or water, using a spray bottle. Spritzing helps to develop the bark on the meat, attracting smoke and influencing the color of the final product. It also helps to keep the meat moist, preventing it from drying out during the cook.
Spritzing should be done towards the latter part of the first stage of cooking, after the rub has had a chance to set on the surface of the meat. It is important to not overdo it with the spritzing, as too much liquid can cause the rub to wash off and dilute the flavors of the meat. Instead, a light misting of liquid every hour or so is sufficient to keep the meat moist and help develop a delicious bark.
Stage 2 of Cooking Boston Butt: Wrapping and Tenderizing the Meat
The second stage of cooking a Boston Butt is the wrapping stage. This is the point in the cook where the meat is wrapped in foil or butcher paper and placed back onto the pellet grill. The purpose of wrapping the meat is to continue the tenderization process and allow the connective tissue to fully break down.
During the wrapping stage, the temperature of the grill can be increased slightly to help speed up the cooking process. However, it is important not to go too high, as this can cause the meat to dry out. The temperature should remain low and steady, around 225-250°F, to allow the meat to cook slowly and evenly.
Wrapping the meat in foil or butcher paper helps to trap in moisture and create a steam-like environment inside the wrap. This helps to further tenderize the meat and break down the connective tissue, resulting in a tender and juicy final product.
Once the meat has reached an internal temperature of around 200°F and is tender to the touch, it is ready to be removed from the grill and rested for a short period of time. This allows the juices to redistribute and the meat to cool slightly before slicing or shredding.
The Best Temperature for Smoking Boston Butt on a Traeger Grill
Set the temperature of your Traeger between 225° F and 250° F. You want to start low, and you may increase the temperature after the pork has been wrapped. However, you don’t want to exceed 275° F. If you cook the pork at this temperature, you will risk drying it out. You want to keep it low and slow so that the pork has time to absorb the smoke and break down all the fatty connective tissue. You also want to allow the Boston butt time to develop a nice crispy bark on the outer layer. Time at low temperature is the key to low and slow cooking and tender, juicy meat. It is full of smoke flavor.
How Long Does it Take to Smoke a Boston Butt on a Traeger Grill?
It will take about 1.5 hours per pound if you are cooking at 225° F, however, the total cook time will depend on the size of the Boston Butt. A 6 lb pork butt should take about 8 or 9 hours to cook at 225° F. A larger Boston butt will take 13 to 15 hours. If you want the meat done sooner, increase the temperature after wrapping the pork.
Choosing the Best Boston Butt: Tips and Tricks
When shopping for a Boston Butt to smoke on a pellet grill, it is important to purchase one with the bone intact. The bone helps to keep the meat from drying out and also helps to hold the Boston Butt together during the cooking process. It is also useful later on when you want to perform a tenderness test to see if the meat is fully cooked. To do a tenderness test, you can gently twist the bone and see if the meat falls off easily. If it does, the meat is likely fully cooked and tender.
It is also helpful to learn how to identify the “money muscle” on a Boston Butt. The money muscle is a small, triangular-shaped muscle located on the upper portion of the shoulder blade. It is known for its rich flavor and tenderness, making it the best part of the butt. When shopping for a Boston Butt, try to find one with a large, thick money muscle. This will ensure that you have the tastiest and most flavorful portion of the shoulder.
Boston Butt Weight: Understanding Portion Sizes
The average weight of a Boston Butt is between 6 to 10 pounds, although they can be larger or smaller. When selecting a Boston Butt, it is important to consider the size of your pellet grill and the amount of people you will be serving. A larger Boston Butt will take longer to cook, so it is important to plan accordingly.
Tips for Cooking Boston Butt Like BBQ Pitmaster Aaron Franklin
Aaron Franklin, a well-known pitmaster and owner of Franklin Barbecue in Austin, Texas, is known for his expertise in smoking meat. If you have seen him smoke meat, you may have noticed that he mostly cooks at a temperature of 275°F. This is especially true when smoking a Boston Butt, as he keeps the temperature at 275°F for the entire cook.
However, it is important to note that Aaron Franklin uses an offset smoker, which is a type of smoker that uses wood or charcoal as a heat source and smoke flavor. Offset smokers are known for producing smokier meat, as the smoke has more time to penetrate the meat due to the low cooking temperatures.
On the other hand, pellet grills like the Traeger produce less smoke than an offset stickburner. This is because pellet grills use wood pellets as a fuel source and generate smoke through an electrical heating element. While pellet grills are still excellent for smoking meat, they do not produce as much smoke as an offset smoker.
Top Wood Pellet Choices for Smoking Boston Butt
” I prefer using a blend of hickory and fruit woods for pork. Hickory has a strong, smoky flavor that pairs well with pork, and the fruit woods add a touch of sweetness.Harry Soo
When it comes to smoking meat, the type of wood you use can greatly affect the flavor of the final product. Different types of wood have different flavor profiles, ranging from strong and smoky to sweet and fruity. The best wood for smoking pork depends on individual preference and what is available or on sale.
Hickory is a common choice for smoking pork, as it has a strong, smoky flavor that pairs well with the rich, fatty nature of pork. It is especially good when blended with fruit woods like cherry or apple, which add a touch of sweetness to the meat.
“I like to use oak for pork. It’s a really versatile wood. It’s got a really nice, subtle flavor that goes well with a lot of different things, but it’s also got a good, strong enough flavor to stand up to big cuts of meat like pork shoulder and pork belly.”Aaron Franklin
Mesquite is another wood that is often used for smoking pork, but it has a very strong flavor and should be used in small amounts. Too much mesquite can overpower the flavor of the meat and make it taste overly smoky.
“For pork, my favorite wood is oak. It’s a hearty wood that can stand up to big, bold flavors and has a nice, smoky flavor that complements pork well. I also like to mix in some fruit woods like cherry or apple for a little added sweetness.”Meathead Goldwyn
For pork, many pitmasters recommend using a 50/50 blend of hickory and cherry or hickory and apple. This provides a nice balance of smoky and sweet flavors that complement the richness of the pork. It is important to ensure that the wood pellets you use are dry and of high quality, as wet or low-quality pellets can affect the flavor and performance of the grill.
“For pork, I like to use a combination of hickory and oak. Hickory has a strong, smoky flavor that works well with pork, while oak is a little more subtle and adds a nice depth of flavor. I also like to mix in some fruit woods like cherry or apple for a little added sweetness.”Malcom Reed
|Pitmaster||Recommended Wood for Pork|
|Meathead Goldwyn||Oak and fruit woods (cherry, apple)|
|Malcolm Reed||Hickory and oak, with fruit woods (cherry, apple)|
|Harry Soo||Hickory and fruit woods|
|General consensus||Hickory and fruit woods (cherry, apple), oak, mesquite (in small amounts)|
Preparing Boston Butt for Smoking on a Traeger Grill
- Trim any excess fat off the pork butt, but leave about 1/4 inch on the fat cap. This will help protect the meat and keep it moist during cooking.
- Remove the skin or rind from the pork butt. This is because the smoke will not penetrate the rind, and you want to develop a bark, or crispy outer layer, on the meat.
- Remove any large lumps of fat that will not render during cooking. A thickness of about 1/4 inch is generally considered the ideal amount of fat to protect the meat and help it render.
- Remove any sinew or non-rendering tissue from the pork butt. This will help ensure that the meat cooks evenly and is easy to eat.
Delicious Rub Recipe for Smoked Boston Butt
There are dozens of rubs recipes online, and even more products that you can buy. Check out this rub recipe from one of my other articles if you want a great rub that works for just about anything, whether pork or brisket, etc. If you’re after a great pre-made rub, check out Harry Soo’s Slap Yo Daddy, or Killer Hogs. These two rubs are made by champion BBQ Pitmasters, so you know they will be good. I prefer to make my own rub because I can control the salt content. Here is a basic rub recipe that you can try on your pork Boston butt.
- - ½ Cup Paprika
- - ½ Cup Salt
- - ½ Cup Sugar
- - ½ Cup Granulated Garlic
- - ¼ Cup Granulated Onion
- - ¼ Cup Chili
- - ¼ Cup Cumin
- - 2 Tablespoons Black Pepper
- - 2 Tablespoons Dry Mustard
- - 1 Tablespoon Cayenne Pepper
- Combine all the spices together in a large mixing bowl
- Store rub in rub shakers
How to Apply Rub and Binder for Perfect Bark on Boston Butt
Most pitmasters apply a binder or “slather” to the surface of the meat before adding a rub. Binders help the rub to stick to the meat, ensuring that it covers all areas evenly. This is important because the rub plays a key role in the development of the bark, or crispy outer layer, of the meat.
The bark is a combination of smoke, dehydrated meat, fat, and seasonings, and if the rub doesn’t cover the entire surface of the pork butt, the bark will be patchy and uneven. Using a binder helps to ensure that the rub adheres to the meat properly and creates a consistent bark.
Binders can be any number of substances, such as olive oil, yellow mustard, or even apple juice. The choice of binder is largely a matter of personal preference, but it is important to use something that will help the rub stick to the meat and create a uniform bark.
Building Flavor Layers on Boston Butt for Smoking
Building layers of flavor on a Boston Butt involves adding various elements that contribute to the overall taste of the finished product. The bark, which is the crust that forms on the outside of the meat during cooking, contributes to the overall flavor of the finished product. By carefully building layers of flavor, you can create a flavorful and delicious smoked Boston Butt.
- The smoke from the cooking process itself is one layer of flavor.
- The rub, which is a mixture of spices and seasonings that is applied to the meat before cooking, adds another layer of flavor.
- Spritzing is the act of misting the meat with a liquid, such as apple cider vinegar or a BBQ sauce, during the cooking process. This can add yet another layer of flavor to the meat.
- Achieving the Perfect Bark on Smoked Boston Butt
Preheating Your Traeger Grill for Smoked Boston Butt
To preheat your Traeger grill to 225°F, turn on the grill and set it to the desired temperature using the controls on the front panel or your mobile app. Allow the grill to preheat for at least 10-15 minutes before adding the pork butt. Keeping the grill temperature within the range of 225-275°F is important for several reasons.
First, cooking pork butt at a lower temperature allows the meat to absorb more smoke flavor, which will give it a richer, more complex taste. It also allows the meat to cook more evenly and slowly, which helps to tenderize it and make it more succulent.
Second, cooking pork butt at a higher temperature can cause the outside of the meat to dry out or burn before the inside is fully cooked. This can result in a less enjoyable eating experience, as the meat may be tough or overcooked.
Finally, cooking pork butt at a lower temperature is generally considered safer as it reduces the risk of bacterial contamination. Pork should be cooked to an internal temperature of at least 145°F to ensure that it is safe to eat. By cooking the pork butt at a lower temperature, you can be confident that it will reach this temperature without drying out or burning.
Achieving the Perfect Bark on Smoked Boston Butt
- Place pork shoulder on the grill.
- Insert thermometer probe into pork if desired.
- If pork shoulder has a fat cap or fat side, place it towards the hottest part of the grill.
- If heat source is coming from below, consider laying the fat side down to keep the meat moist.
- If the pork shoulder does not have a fat cap or fat side, consider basting the meat with oil or a marinade to help keep it moist while it cooks.
Place the pork shoulder into the Traeger on the grill. Insert a thermometer probe into the pork if you wish; that way, you can track the internal temperature of the meat. If the pork shoulder has a fat cap or a fat side, lay the fat side towards the hottest part of your grill. Most people go fat side down when the heat source is coming from below. However, this depends on how the heat circulates throughout your smoker. Not all parts of the smoker will heat evenly. Placing the meat fat side up will keep the meat moist because the fat will drip down onto the sides of the roast and keep it moist.
Should You Rotate Your Pork Butt?
It is generally recommended to rotate your pork butt throughout the cooking process, especially if you are cooking multiple pieces of meat on different levels of racks. The temperature can vary on different parts of the grill, and rotating the pork butt can help ensure that it cooks evenly.
If you have a dual probe thermometer, you can place one probe on the top rack and one on the bottom to see the temperature difference. You can then rotate the pork butt between the top and bottom racks to ensure that it is cooking evenly.
If you do not have a dual probe thermometer, you can simply rotate the pork butt every hour or so to ensure that it is cooking evenly. This is especially important if you are using a grill with multiple levels of racks, as the temperature can vary significantly from one rack to another.
During The First Four Or Five Hours
During the first phase of cooking your pork butt, it is important to let it sit undisturbed on the grill to allow it to absorb the smoke flavor and develop a bark. This typically takes around two to three hours, depending on the size of the pork butt and the temperature of the grill.
During this time, it is not a good idea to spritz the pork butt with liquid or keep checking on it. This can disturb the cooking process and prevent the pork butt from developing a good bark. Instead, you should simply let it sit on the grill and allow it to cook undisturbed.
After about three hours, you can start checking on the pork butt to see how it is progressing. However, you should still avoid spritzing it with liquid until the rub has had time to set. This typically takes around four to six hours, depending on the size of the pork butt and the temperature of the grill. Once the rub has set, you can start spritzing the pork butt with liquid to help keep it moist and flavorful.
- Spritzing is a technique used in smoking meat to keep it moist and flavorful
- Involves spraying the meat with a liquid, such as apple juice or cider vinegar
- Done once the rub has set to the meat, typically around 3-5 hours into the cook
- Helps to absorb more smoke flavor, replace lost moisture, and slow down the cook
- Spritz every 30-40 minutes until the wrapping stage
- Can use a variety of liquids, including apple juice, cider vinegar, beer, or a mixture
- Use something sweet and something acidic for optimal results
Spritzing is a technique used in smoking meat, such as pork butt, to keep it moist and flavorful. It involves spraying the meat with a liquid, such as apple juice, cider vinegar, or beer, during the cooking process.
Spritzing is usually done once the rub has set to the meat, which typically occurs around three to five hours into the cook. This is to ensure that the liquid does not wash off the rub and create a patchy bark.
There are several reasons why spritzing is important in the smoking process. First, smoke is attracted to moisture, so spritzing the pork butt with liquid will help it absorb more smoke flavor. Second, spritzing will help to replace some of the moisture that is lost during the cooking process and prevent the meat from drying out. Third, spritzing will help to slow down the cook by wetting the meat and cooling it down. This is especially important for tough cuts of meat like pork butt and brisket, which need time at low temperatures to break down the connective tissue and become tender.
Once the rub has set to the pork butt, you can begin spritzing it every 30 to 40 minutes until the wrapping stage. This will help to keep the meat moist and flavorful and slow down the cook to ensure that the meat is tender and succulent. You can use a variety of liquids for spritzing, including apple juice, cider vinegar, beer, or a mixture of the three. Just be sure to use something sweet and something acidic to help with caramelization and the browning effect.
Wrapping and Finishing the Cook on Boston Butt
Wrapping is a technique used in the smoking process to protect the meat and help it cook faster. It involves enclosing the meat in foil or butcher paper to trap the heat and moisture inside. The downside of wrapping is that it can soften the bark and make it soggy, but this can usually be resolved by placing the pork butt bark on the grill for a few minutes before slicing.
It’s best to wait until the bark has developed before wrapping the pork butt, which should be around the 5-6 hour mark. Look for signs such as a nice dark color on the meat and cracks forming on the bark, and aim for an internal temperature of 160-170°F. The pork shoulder should be cooked close to a 200°F internal temperature for the best results, as this will allow the connective tissue and gristle to break down and make the meat tender. It is important to use a quality thermometer to ensure that the meat is cooked to the correct temperature.
Why wrap? The process of wrapping pork butt involves enclosing the meat in foil or butcher paper to protect it and help it cook faster. Wrapping should be done after the bark, or outer layer of the meat, has developed, which usually occurs around 5 or 6 hours into the cooking process.
When should you wrap? It is generally recommended to wrap pork butt when the internal temperature is between 160° F and 170° F. Wrapping will soften the bark and make it soggy, but if the bark has been well-developed, it can be restored by placing the unwrapped pork butt back on the grill for a few minutes before slicing.
Why wrap? Wrapping the pork butt helps to cook it faster by trapping heat inside the package and almost braising or steaming the meat, which can save about an hour of cook time.
The Stall: How to beat it
The stall is a common phenomenon that occurs when smoking low-and-slow meats, especially large cuts like pork butt and brisket. It happens when the internal temperature of the meat stops rising and appears to plateau. This is caused by the meat sweating, which has a cooling effect on the surface and causes the internal temperature to stagnate.
The stall can add a few hours to the total cook time, depending on the size of the meat and the temperature at which it is being cooked. If you are using a high-tech thermometer with graphing capabilities, you can see exactly how long the meat stalls for and how the internal temperature fluctuates over time.
It is important to be patient during the stall and not to try to rush the cooking process. Low-and-slow cooking is all about allowing the meat to cook slowly and gradually, which helps to break down the tough connective tissue and make it tender. By being patient and letting the meat cook slowly, you can achieve the best possible results and produce a delicious, succulent pork butt.
When you wrap the pork shoulder, it will trap all the heat inside the package and help it cook faster. The meat will be almost braised or steamed, saving about 1 hour of the total cook time.
When Is Boston Butt Done?
Cook the pork shoulder close to a 200° F internal temperature to allow the connective tissue and gristle to break down and become tender. At this temperature, the fat and collagen in the pork shoulder will have melted, resulting in a tender, flavorful cut of meat.
It’s important to cook pork shoulder to at least 145° F to ensure that it is safe to eat, as this is the minimum temperature at which harmful bacteria such as salmonella and E. coli will be killed. However, cooking pork to this temperature alone will not result in tender, juicy meat.
In order to achieve tender, succulent pork shoulder, it is necessary to cook it to a higher internal temperature in the 200° F range.
How To Perform a Tenderness Test
There are a few different ways to test the tenderness of a Boston butt while it is cooking. Here are a few methods that are commonly used:
- The “poke test” – This method involves poking the pork with a skewer or toothpick and seeing how easily it goes in. If the skewer goes in easily, the pork is likely tender. This method was recommended by Meathead Goldwyn, a barbecue expert.
- The “bend test” – This method involves picking up the pork with tongs and gently trying to bend it. If it bends easily and starts to break apart, it is likely tender. This method was recommended by Malcolm Reed, a BBQ blogger.
- The “finger test” – This method involves using your fingers to test the tenderness of the pork. If the meat is tender and easily shreds with your fingers, it is likely done cooking. This method was recommended by Aaron Franklin, a BBQ pitmaster.
- The “twist test” – This method involves twisting a toothpick or skewer in the pork. If it twists easily, the pork is likely tender. This method was recommended by Harry Soo, a BBQ expert.
Use A Quality Thermometer
Using a high-quality thermometer is important in order to ensure that your pork butt is cooked to the right temperature. You should not rely on the thermometer that comes with your smoker, and it is a good idea to test the accuracy of your thermometer using an ice bath test before using it. This will ensure that you can trust the temperature readings you are getting, which is important in cooking meat to the right temperature to ensure it is tender and succulent.
Resting and Holding Boston Butt
After smoking a pork shoulder, it’s important to let it rest before slicing and serving it. This allows the meat to relax and reabsorb moisture, resulting in a juicier and more flavorful final product.
To rest the pork, remove it from the smoker once it has reached an internal temperature of 200° F. Open the foil slightly to allow steam to escape, then let the meat rest for at least 30 minutes to an hour. If you’re not ready to serve the pork immediately, you can place it in a dry cooler, wrapped in foil and a dishcloth, for up to 4 hours. This is known as “holding” the pork. When you’re ready to serve it, remove the pork from the cooler and slice or shred it as desired.
How to Shred Boston Butt for Pulled Pork
There are several methods for shredding pork for pulled pork. One method is to use a pair of forks to pull the pork apart. This can be done while the pork is still hot, or after it has been cooled. The meat should easily pull apart and shred into pieces. Another method is to use a meat shredder or claws. These tools are designed specifically for shredding meat and make the process easier and faster. They can be used on hot or cold meat.
Aaron Franklin, owner of Franklin Barbecue in Austin, Texas, recommends using a pair of tongs to shred the pork. He suggests pulling the pork apart in sections, rather than trying to shred the entire roast at once. This allows you to get the right amount of bark and fat in each piece.
Harry Soo, a barbecue competition champion, suggests using a combination of shredding tools, including a pair of forks and a meat shredder. He advises shredding the pork while it is still warm, as it will be easier to handle and will shred more easily.
Malcolm Reed, owner of HowToBBQRight.com, advises using a pair of gloves to shred the pork. This allows you to handle the hot meat more easily and prevents burns. He also suggests shredding the pork in a large mixing bowl to make it easier to mix in any additional seasonings or sauces.
Meathead Goldwyn, the founder of AmazingRibs.com, suggests using a knife to cut the pork into smaller pieces before shredding. This allows you to get a more uniform shred and ensures that the bark is evenly distributed throughout the pulled pork.
My Favorite Meat Smoking Tools
Thanks for checking out this article. I hope you learned a few things. Here are some of my favorite tools I use when smoking brisket that may be useful to you. These are affiliate links, so if you decide to purchase any of these products, I’ll earn a commission. But in all honesty, these are the tools I recommend to my family and friends who are just starting out.
Meat Thermometer: There are dozens of fancy thermometers on the market, but I still use my trusty TP20. For around $50, I have a high-quality meat thermometer with two probes, and can track the temperature of my smoker with one probe, and my meat with the other probe. The ThermoPro TP20 is an Amazon Best Seller because it’s the easiest thermometer to operate, is durable, highly accurate, and comes with pre-programmed meat settings.
Instant Read Thermometer: Arguably, the second most important tool you need is a fast and accurate instant-read thermometer. These tools play an important role in the latter stages of the cook when the meat needs regular checking in multiple areas. I use the ThermoPro TP19 because it can do everything a ThermaPen can do, but for a fraction of the cost. You can check out the TP19 on Amazon here.
Wireless Thermometer: The latest thermometers on the market have no wires and can be controlled by wi-fi via your phone. Airprobe 3 is the best of this technology.
Butcher Paper: Wrapping brisket in butcher paper has become a huge trend in barbeque thanks to Aaron Franklin. Wrapping your brisket in paper will give you a nice brisket bark. However, you can’t just use any old paper, it has to be unwaxed, food grade paper. You can find it on Amazon here.
Advanced Thermometer and Automatic Temperature Controller: Once you’re ready to take things seriously, the FireBoard 2 Drive is a six-channel Bluetooth/Wi-Fi thermometer that can monitor up to 6 pieces of meat, control and graph your cook sessions on your smartphone, and attaches to an an automatic blower that will convert your charcoal smoker to a set-and-forget. This is one of the most advanced meat thermometers on the market. You can check it out on the FireBoard website here.