Smoking pork butts can be a delicious and relatively easy process, especially when using a pellet grill. In this guide, we will cover some expert tips and tricks for smoking pork butts, also known as Boston butts, to ensure that you get the best results. So let’s get started and learn how to smoke the perfect pork butt on your PitBoss grill!
The cook time for smoking a pork butt on a PitBoss pellet grill varies based on the size of the pork butt, the temperature of the grill, and other factors such as weather and the use of spritzing or wrapping. Generally, pork butts, also known as Boston butts, take around 1.5 hours per pound to cook at 225°F. A 6 pound pork butt will take approximately 8 to 9 hours to cook at this temperature, while a 10 pound pork butt will take around 13 to 15 hours. If you want to cook the pork faster or if the pork butt is larger, you can increase the temperature to 250°F to 275°F. Wrapping the pork in foil can speed up the cook time, while spritzing or mopping it will add moisture and slow the cook time. Cold or humid weather can also impact the cook time. It’s important to use a thermometer to ensure that the pork has reached the recommended internal temperature before serving.
- The total cook time for smoking a pork butt on a PitBoss pellet grill depends on the size of the pork butt, the temperature of the grill, and other variables such as weather and the use of spritzing or wrapping.
- Pork butts, also known as Boston butts, are generally between 6 and 10 pounds and will take around 1.5 hours per pound to cook at 225°F.
- The cook time for a 6 pound pork butt at 225°F is approximately 8 to 9 hours, and for a 10 pound pork butt it is approximately 13 to 15 hours. If the pork butt is larger or if you want to cook it faster, you can increase the temperature to 250°F to 275°F.
- Wrapping the pork in foil will speed up the cook time and may shave 1-2 hours off the total cook time. Spritzing or mopping the pork will add moisture and slow the cook time.
- Weather can also affect the cook time, with cold or humid conditions potentially slowing the process.
|Pork Butt Weight (lbs)||Cook Time at 225°F (hrs)||Cook Time at 250°F-275°F (hrs)|
Keep in mind that these are rough estimates and that other factors such as wrapping, spritzing, and weather conditions can affect the total cook time. It is also important to regularly check the internal temperature of the meat and ensure it has reached a safe level before serving.
- Pork butt (Shoulder)
- Barbecue rub
- Apple cider vinegar or apple juice (spritz)
- Olive oil or yellow mustard (binder)
- Set your PitBoss to 225°F to 250°F (or start low for 4-5 hours, then increase no higher than 275°F).
- Prepare the meat with rub and seasonings
- Place the pork fat side down (on the middle rack of a vertical PitBoss)
- Insert a thermometer probe into the meat
- Let the meat cook for 2-3 hours. Rotate the meat if there are hot spots on your PitBoss (vertical PitBoss grills are hotter towards the back).
- At the 3 to 4 hour mark, begin checking the bark on the pork with your finger. (Don’t spritz until rub has fused to the meat).
- Begin spritzing every 30 to 40 minutes once the bark has set. Use apple cider vinegar, apple juice, or plain water.
- Wrap the pork in foil once the crust has formed and internal meat temperature has reached between 160°F and 170°F.
- Continue cooking the pork butt, increasing the temperature of your PitBoss no higher than 275°F. Alternatively, turn off your PitBoss and finish in the oven.
- Once the internal meat temperature reaches 195°F, begin checking the temperature and tenderness regularly.
- Once the meat reaches 200°F to 205°F and is soft like butter, remove from the heat.
- Allow the pork to rest 30 minutes to 1 hour or place the meat into holding.
Serving Size:100 grams
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 168
How Long To Smoke a Pork Butt In A Pit Boss?
The total cook time will depend on the size of the pork butt, the temperature of your Pit Boss, and a few other variables. Pork butts, also known as Boston butts, are generally between 6 and 10 pounds and will take around 1.5 hours per pound at 225°F. So a pork butt weighing 6 pounds should take about 8 to 9 hours to cook at 225°F, providing the butt is foil wrapped and not overly spritzed. At the other end of the scale, a 10 pound pork butt would likely take close to 13 to 15 hours if you were to keep the temperature low. However, if you were smoking a larger butt, I would recommend cooking in the 250°F to 275°F range, otherwise you will be there all day.
Other factors can influence the total cook time and should be worked into your calculations. Wrapping will speed up the cook a little, and may shave 1 -2 hours off the total cook time. Spritzing or mopping will slow the cook because adding moisture will cool the meat. Weather also can play a part, especially wintry conditions or humidity. Wind, rain and the cold can cool the metal on your smoker, and when cold air is drawn into your smoker, it slows everything down. Humidity will increase the moisture inside your smoker and therefore slow the cook. For more information about times and temperatures for smoking pork butt, check out this article: How Long Does It Take To Smoke Pork Butt – We Break It Down.
About The Pork Butt
Pork butt is part of the pork shoulder and is sometimes referred to as Boston butt. The pork shoulder contains several muscles, lots of connective tissue and intramuscular fat. We all know fat adds flavor to our cooking, which is why pork butt is so delicious when cooked correctly. The pork butt is easier to manage than the leaner pork leg, which dries out easier. Since the pork butt is fatty, it’s able to keep moist for longer whereas lean meat dries out easily. The shoulder muscles contain a lot of connective tissue, which can make the meat tough and chewy. Therefore, pork butts are best cooked at low temperatures for several hours, so the connective tissue has time to melt into a tasty gelatinous texture.
How To Select A Good Pork Butts
When shopping, buy a pork butt with the bone intact because it will help prevent the meat from drying out and will hold the butt together. The bone also works as a handy tool for testing for tenderness, because if you have cooked the pork butt to perfection, the bone should just pull out and all the meat will fall off the bone. Also, when selecting a pork butt, look for a piece of meat with a large money muscle, the most delicious part of the pork shoulder. Learn how to identify a good money muscle or ask your butcher to help you.
Rub and Seasoning
There are dozens of ways to season your pork butt, but the most simple method is salt and pepper. Make sure you use a nice coarse black pepper like a cafe grind, and use kosher salt if possible. If you want to add a little color to the pork, sprinkle a little paprika over the meat. For more of a savory taste, mix in some onion powder and garlic powder.
If you’re after a ready-made rub, I recommend Killer Hogs products or Slap Yo Daddy. The reason I like these particular rubs is they are produced by world renowned barbeque pitmasters who have decided to share their secrets. Be careful when buying rubs because many rubs on the market contain a lot of salt. This is especially a problem if you pre brine your pork butt, because you will give your pork double the salt.
Homemade Rub Recipe
- - 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 To A Pork Butt
When applying the rub, make sure you cover every part of the meat with an even layer. Press the rub into the meat to make sure it is stuck. If you want the rub to stick, use a binder such as olive oil or yellow mustard. A binder won’t add any flavor to the meat, however a yellow mustard will give the meat a nice color. The rub is an essential ingredient to the smoked pork butt because it helps form the outer crust, or the bark. The bark is a combination of rub, seasonings, smoke and dehydrated meat. So, if there are gaps in the rub, you will get a patchy bark. Be careful not to spritz or mop your pork butt until the rub has set. If you mop or spritz too early, the rub will run off the meat and you will have a patchy bark.
Set Up Your Pit Boss Pellet Smoker
It doesn’t matter what model Pit Boss you are using to smoke pork butt. All you need to remember is to fill the hopper with wood pellets and set the temperature between 225°F and 275°F. Give the pellet grill a good clean prior to cooking and use your own thermometer. I wouldn’t trust the Pit Boss thermometer, they can be wildly inaccurate. If you don’t believe me, do a calibration check. If a thermometer is inaccurate, then what’s the point? I use a $50 Amazon best seller that is highly accurate and durable. Check out the TP20 here.
Spritzing Your Pork
Spritzing the pork butt is an essential step in the smoking process and will benefit the pork in several ways. First, the spritz will prevent the pork from drying out by replacing lost moisture. Second, wetting the meat will slow down the cook by cooling the meat. The slowing of the cook will buy time so that the meat has enough time at the low temperature to break down all the connective tissue and render the fat. The third benefit of spritzing is moisture attracts smoke. A smokier pork butt means more flavor.
The Best Spritz For Pork?
The most common spritz is apple juice or apple cider vinegar. However, you can use broth, beer, wine or even plain water. The spritz won’t flavor the meat, so don’t overthink this step. Use a decent spray bottle and avoid putting course spices in the liquid because it will block the nozzle on the spray bottle.
When To Spritz The Butt?
When smoking pork butt, it’s best to leave the meat untouched for the first 3 hours. Only begin spritzing or mopping once the bark is firm and the rub has stuck to the meat. If you spritz too soon, the liquid will wash the rub off the pork butt. Once you’re ready for the spritzing to begin, spray the pork butt every 30 to 40 minutes. In order to preserve the bark, some people avoid spraying the top of the pork butt and only wet the sides.
Continue spritzing until the meat is ready for wrapping, which is usually once the pork reaches an internal temperature of 165°F. When wrapping the meat, give the meat one last spritz before sealing the foil because this will increase the steam in the package. If you’re interested in learning more, check out this article: The Complete Guide To Spritzing Pork.
Wrapping is an essential step when cooking a pork butt low and slow in your smoker. Foiling the meat will have several benefits: the overall taste of the pork and the cooking time. Wrapping protects the pork from getting too much smoke. We all want lots of smoke on our pork, but too much smoke isn’t good. After about 5 or 6 hours in the smoker, the pork won’t take on any more smoke because a firm bark should have developed on the outer layer of the meat. Any more smoke will make the pork butt look more like a meteorite rather than a roast.
Foiling your pork butt will also help the pork push through the stall and finish quicker. The foil traps heat inside the package and steams the meat. A wrapped pork butt could save you an hour or two in total cook time, so it’s worth the effort. There’s nothing worse than dry smoked pork, and wrapping will help keep the meat nice and moist. As the meat cooks, the moisture will continue to seep from the meat and pool at the bottom of the pork butt and then steam and almost braise the meat.
When To Wrap
The way to tell when the pork is ready for wrapping is to touch the rub with your finger. If rub or seasoning sticks to your finger, then it’s too soon to wrap. Only wrap when the rub doesn’t stick to your finger. If you want to know the difference between foil and paper, check out this article: Foil vs Butcher Paper – What’s Better?
The downside of wrapping is the bark can be damaged significantly. The increased moisture will soften the bark and will make the bottom on the pork butt soggy. You can briefly return the pork to the grill just before slicing, to harden the bark. However, be careful not to dry out the meat and only leave the meat on the grill for 5 or 10 minutes. To dry all the bark, rotate the pork with tongs.
How To Get A Crusty Bark
A crispy bark is one of the best features of the smoked pork butt. However, there’s a few tips and tricks you should master if you want a nice crust. First, you need to understand bark and how it’s developed. Bark is a combination of smoke, dehydrated meat, rubs and seasoning. The bark is developed during the first phase of the cook, before the spritzing phase and long before the wrapping phase.
It’s important to develop a good bark before you wrap the pork butt because foiling meat will soften the bark. If you have a nice crust before the meat is wrapped, then the bark should survive the wrapping stage. As mentioned before, don’t spritz the pork butt too early in the cook, otherwise all the rub will wash off. You might also be interested in this article: 9 Ways To A Crispy Bark.
How To Avoid Dry Pork
Pork butt is hard to mess up, but if you do, then it’s probably because you didn’t let it rest long enough, or you chose not to wrap the meat, or most likely, you cooked at a high temperature. If you want tender, juicy pork, maintain a low and slow temperature between 220°F and 250°F. You can smoke at 275°F, but once you go beyond 300°F, then you are putting your butt at risk of drying out. Resting is a critical step, and if you want juicy pork, allow the meat to rest for about 30 minutes to 1 hour at least. Resting will give the meat a chance to reabsorb moisture, and if you were to slice or shred the pork too soon, much of the moisture would be lost. If you want some more tips, check out this article: Why Is My Smoked Pork Dry? 8 Reasons.
Resting and Holding
Allow your pork butt at least 30 minutes to rest before slicing because this will give the meat time to redistribute the moisture. As meat cooks, it pushes the moisture out. There will be some carryover cooking afterwards, so allow for this to occur as well. Holding will give you some flexibility when you want to slice and serve the meat. Holding the pork butt is relatively simple and can keep the meat hot for 4 hours, even longer. To hold the pork butt after cooking, place the meat in a dry cooler. Keep the meat in the foil, then wrap again in a towel. For more on this, check out this post: Why Rest Meat In A Cooler?
This brisket injection marinade is the secret used in competitions and made by a World Barbecue champion.
Slicing and Pulling Pork
Only slice or shred the pork after the meat has had adequate resting time. Also, only slice or shred what you will need. It’s better to keep leftover pork in chunks because larger pieces will hold in the moisture. If you’re shredding the meat for pulled pork, wait for it to cool down, otherwise it will be too hot to shred unless you use something similar to Bear Claws to pull pork.
If you don’t have a good thermometer, then smoking the perfect meat is going to be difficult. You don’t need to spend a tonne of money, you can get a great meat thermometer for around $50 and it will work just fine. There are a lot of cheap, inaccurate thermometers that aren’t worth the trouble. Check out an article I wrote a while back: Best Thermometers Under $50. If you like mixing technology with barbeque and want to keep track of your pork butt on your mobile phone from anywhere in the world, then check out my other article: Best Wi-Fi Thermometers.
How Does Pitmaster Aaron Franklin Smoke Pork Butt?
If you want to learn from the master, check out this video by Aaron Franklin. You can apply many of these techniques to your Pit Boss.
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.