As we reach the wrapping stage of cooking our pork shoulder, it’s important to keep in mind that the meat won’t be absorbing any more smoke flavor at this point. The bark should also be looking nice and crispy by now. With that in mind, we might be wondering if it’s worth saving some money on charcoal and wood by finishing off the pork in the oven. Will it make a difference to the final product? That’s what I wanted to find out, so I did some research on the idea.
Smoke the pork butt for 5 to 6 hours or until the meat temperature reaches 165°F. As soon as you have wrapped the pork butt, place it in the oven with a thermometer probe and close down your smoker. Once the internal meat temperature reaches 200°F, then remove the pork from the oven. Finishing the pork in the oven will make no difference to the flavor because once the meat is foiled, it won’t take on any more smoke. You also save on charcoal and wood if you decide to bring the pork butt inside and complete in a conventional oven.
|Action||When to do it|
|Smoke pork butt||5 to 6 hours or until internal meat temperature reaches 165°F|
|Mop or spritz pork||Every 30 to 40 minutes until internal meat temperature reaches around 165°F|
|Wrap pork butt||Once internal meat temperature reaches around 165°F|
|Place pork in oven||After it has been wrapped and internal meat temperature is around 165°F|
|Insert thermometer probe||After pork is placed in the oven|
|Check internal meat temperature||Once thermometer probe alarm goes off at 190°F, then keep checking with instant-read thermometer|
|Remove pork from oven||Once internal meat temperature is as tender as butter when probe is inserted|
The Two Stages – Wrapped And Unwrapped
Cooking a pork butt involves two stages. During the first stage, the goal is to infuse the meat with smoke flavor and form a crispy outer layer, or bark. The second stage is known as the wrapping stage. This is when the meat is wrapped in foil or butcher paper to retain moisture, aid in the rendering of connective tissue, and help the pork reach the desired level of tenderness more quickly. The wrapping stage also helps the pork butt push through the “stall,” a period during the cooking process where the internal temperature plateaus. By properly executing both stages, you can achieve a succulent and flavorful pork butt that will be the star of your meal.
When To Wrap Pork Butt?
To properly smoke your pork butt, you will want to keep the lid closed for the first three hours of cooking. This will allow the meat to absorb as much smoke flavor as possible. After the initial three hours, you can begin to mop or spritz the pork butt every 30 to 40 minutes. This will help keep the meat moist and add additional flavor.
You will want to continue cooking the pork until it reaches an internal temperature of around 165°F. Once the meat has reached this temperature, it’s time to wrap it.
Wrapping the pork butt helps to retain moisture and helps the meat cook more quickly. After wrapping the pork, you can transfer it to an oven or bring it inside to finish cooking. This will allow you to close the smoker and let the pork butt cook to perfection.
When to Put The Pork In The Oven?
The best time to transfer your wrapped pork butt to the oven is when it has reached an internal temperature of around 165°F. At this point in the cooking process, the pork will no longer absorb any additional smoke flavor and the bark should be fully developed.
The goal at this stage is to ensure that the pork is cooked to perfection without drying out. By transferring the pork to the oven, you can carefully control the temperature and cooking time to achieve the desired level of tenderness and juiciness.
Insert Thermometer Probe
Once the pork is in the oven, it’s crucial to continue monitoring its internal temperature. Use a meat thermometer with an alarm set for 190°F to ensure that the pork is cooked to the proper temperature. Once the pork reaches this temperature, use an instant-read thermometer to check the temperature regularly.
Perform a tenderness test by inserting the thermometer probe. If the pork is as tender as butter when the thermometer probe is inserted, then the pork is ready.
It’s important to have a reliable meat thermometer to achieve the best results when smoking pork. Cheap, inaccurate thermometers can be frustrating and may even ruin your final product. Invest in a high-quality thermometer to ensure that your pork is cooked to perfection every time. For more information on thermometers, read my Thermometer Guide.
What Temperature To Set Your Oven?
When cooking your pork butt in the oven, it is important to maintain a consistent temperature between 220°F and 250°F. This will help the pork cook evenly and retain moisture. If you want to speed up the cooking process, you can raise the oven temperature up to 275°F or even 300°F. However, be sure to keep a close eye on the meat with a meat thermometer to ensure that it doesn’t dry out.
When Is The Pork Butt Done?
Pork butt is considered done when it reaches an internal temperature of around 200°F. To accurately monitor the temperature of the pork while it cooks, it is important to insert a meat thermometer before transferring it to the oven.
Begin checking the temperature regularly once it reaches around 190°F. Some people say to cook the pork until it reaches a higher temperature, but in my experience, the texture of the meat is a better indicator of doneness.
When the pork feels as tender as butter when poked with a thermometer probe, it is likely done. Be sure to let the pork rest for at least 15-30 minutes before slicing or pulling it to allow the juices to redistribute and enhance the flavor and tenderness.
Save On Charcoal
Finishing a pork butt in the oven has several benefits. Not only will it make the cooking process more convenient, it can also help you save on charcoal and wood. While some may argue that finishing smoked meat in the oven is cheating or not traditional, I believe it is a matter of common sense.
If the weather is bad, or you are running low on fuel, it makes sense to finish the pork in the oven rather than risk leaving a smoker unattended. Also, if you are doing an overnight cook, it is much safer to finish the pork in the oven rather than leaving a smoker unattended.
Charcoal and wood can be expensive, especially if you are smoking meat on a regular basis. By finishing the pork in the oven, you can save on fuel costs and reduce the amount of wood or charcoal you need for the cooking process. This can be especially useful if you are using an offset smoker, which requires a large amount of wood for an 8-10 hour cook. Even wood pellets for pellet smokers can are expensive. So by smoking the pork for only the first part of the cook and finishing it in the oven, you can significantly reduce the amount of wood needed.
Wrapping the pork butt during the cooking process has several benefits. It can help reduce the total cook time by a couple of hours and keep the meat moist, which is especially useful if the pork is getting stuck in the “stall.”
However, one potential downside of wrapping the pork is that it can soften the outer crust or bark that you worked to develop during the first stage of cooking. While wrapping can help keep the meat tender and juicy, it can also take away some of the crispiness of the bark.
Extra Tip – Before Wrapping
For an extra boost of flavor, consider adding a few sticks of butter and some brown sugar to the pork butt before wrapping it. This will give the meat a rich, sweet taste that pairs well with barbecue sauce or a spritzer made with apple juice. Simply spread the butter and sugar over the pork and pour in your chosen liquid before closing up the aluminum foil package. This extra step will add an extra layer of flavor to your already delicious pork butt and make it truly mouthwatering.
Step By Step – Pork Butt From Smoker To The Oven
- Bring your smoker up to 250°F in place to do three chunks of wood in your smoker.
- What’s the temperature has stabilized, place the pork butt on the grill.
- Leave the pork in the smoker for about three hours without touching the meat or opening the lid.
- After three hours, begin spritzing or mopping the pork butt every 30-40 minutes with apple cider vinegar or apple juice.
- Once the internal meat temperature reaches 165°F, remove it from the smoker.
- Pre-heat your oven to 250°F. If you want the pork but done sooner, you may increase the temperature to 275°F.
- Wrap the pork butt in two layers of aluminium foil. Before closing the wrap, spritz the pork shoulder but one more time. You could also place some sticks of butter on top of the pork.
- Insert the thermometer probe into the pork butt.
- Place the pork into a conventional oven set to 250°F.
- Once the internal meat temperature reaches 190°F, regularly check the meat with an instant- read thermometer.
- Once the meat reaches 200°F, remove the pork from the oven.
- Allow the pork butt at least one hour to rest.
- Shred and serve.
After removing the pork butt from the oven, it is essential to allow it to rest for at least one hour before slicing and serving. This resting period is crucial as it gives the meat time to reabsorb moisture and become even more tender. If you try to slice the pork too soon, much of the liquid will be lost and the meat may be dry and unappealing. To keep the pork warm while it rests, leave it in its foil wrapping and then wrap it in a towel. Place the wrapped pork in a dry cooler for up to four hours or longer. By following these steps, you can ensure that your pork butt is moist, tender, and flavorful when it’s time to enjoy it.
When preparing pulled pork, it’s important to only shred as much meat as you need at a time. If you shred the entire pork butt all at once, the exposed meat will dry out and lose flavor. To avoid this, shred the pork in small batches as needed. If you don’t have a set of bear claws, they can be a useful tool for shredding the hot pork and moving it around safely.Bear claws are especially helpful when the meat is extremely hot, as they allow you to handle it without burning yourself. If you plan on making pulled pork frequently, investing in a set of bear claws is a wise decision. If you’re interested in Bear Paws, check them out on Amazon here.
- Once the pork shoulder has reached the wrapping stage, it will not absorb any more smoke.
- The bark should have developed a nice crust by this stage.
- Finishing the pork in a conventional oven will not make any difference to the final product.
- Smoke the pork butt for 5 to 6 hours or until the meat temperature reaches 165°F.
- Once the internal meat temperature reaches 200°F, remove the pork from the oven.
- Pork butt is cooked in two stages: developing flavor from smoke absorption and forming the crusty outer layer, and the wrapped stage to keep the meat moist, help push the pork butt through the stall, help render the connective tissue, and speed up the cook.
- Smoke the pork butt for the first three hours, then mop or spritz the pork every 30 to 40 minutes until the internal meat temperature reaches around 165°F.
- At this point, it is time to wrap the pork butt.
- The best time to put the pork in the oven is after it has been wrapped and the internal meat temperature is around 165°F.
- Insert a thermometer probe into the meat and set an alarm for 190°F.
- Once the pork reaches this temperature, keep checking the temp with an instant-read thermometer.
- Once the meat is as tender as butter when you insert the probe, it is ready.
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.