Pulled Pork – Smoked Pork Butt

by Kevin H. on June 4, 2012 · 141 comments

Pulled Pork Sandwich - Pork Shoulder Recipe

One of the big four competition categories.  Pork Butt/Boston Butt/Pork Shoulder.  They’re all interchangeable terms with the same delicious result:  Pulled Pork.  This has become a staple for nearly every event and party that I do.  It seems everyone loves it, and I can’t blame them for constantly requesting it – it’s a delicously smokey, juicy, tasty treat.

The process is remarkably easy, actually.  But to do it right, it’s extremely time-consuming.  And if you don’t have a smoker, it makes it more difficult, as you’ll need to rotate the meat regularly so all sides spend equal time facing the heat.

Trim excess fat from the top of the butt to maximize your surface area for bark

Pulled Pork Shoulder Recipe

and score the fat cap on the bottom.  This allows the fat to easily seep into the meat…and who doesn’t want more fat in their meat?

Pulled Pork Shoulder Recipe

For this recipe you can use my All Purpose Rub, and cover every inch of the pork butt.  That’s it.  That’s your prep work.

Pulled Pork Shoulder Recipe

Get your smoker going at a cool 225-250, or set your grill up for indirect cooking, and throw on your meat.  Make sure you have tons of wood ready to put on.  You’ll want the smoke to billow non-stop for about 5 hours.  I use a mix of hickory and fruit.

If you’re using your grill with indirect cooking, you’ll need to rotate the pork butt every hour to ensure all sides cook evenly.  Use this as an opportunity to spray the pork butt with some apple juice and sprinkle more rub.  Couldn’t hurt.

Pulled Pork Shoulder Recipe

The goal is to get the internal temperature up to 200.  That’s the magic number.  When you hit 200, the bone will pull clean every time, guaranteed.  And I’m not gonna lie – that’s just cool.

Pulled Pork Shoulder Recipe

I choose to wrap my pork butts.  Some disagree.  Some say it’s a bbq sin.  I’m not going to get into a long discussion on this, I’m just going to make one comment:  World Champions wrap.

I wrap for 2 reasons:  1.  It speeds up the cooking process to more thoroughly cook your pork butts all the way through;  2. It creates massive amounts of natural juices that you cannot get otherwise.  Look at these pictures – the first was taken after smoking for 5 hours and placing in the aluminum pan, the second was taken after being wrapped for about 6 hours.

I added nothing to this pan.  Nothing.  That’s all natural.  And THAT is the reason that I constantly get the feedback from everyone that eats it that my pulled pork is the best they’ve ever had.

Make sure you let it rest for about an hour before pulling.  This allows some of the juices to be absorbed back into the meat, and for it to cool enough for you to pull it.

Pulled Pork Shoulder Recipe

So, about 12 minutes of prep time, 12 hours of cooking time, and you’ll have the absolute juiciest pulled pork you’ve ever had.  Make some award winning bbq sauce, grab a bun and enjoy the heck out of it.

Smoked Pork Butt

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 12 hours

Total Time: 12 hours, 15 minutes

Smoked Pork Butt


  • 1 Boston Butt
  • 1 cup All Purpose Rub
  • Spray Bottle of Apple Juice (optional)


  1. Trim excess fat from top of butt and score fat cap on bottom of butt.
  2. Rub the butt liberally on all sides for maximum bark.
  3. Smoke at 225-250 with a mix of hickory and fruit wood for at least 5 hours.
  4. If using a grill with indirect heating, rotate the butt every hour so each side cooks evenly.
  5. Spray every hour for first 3 hours with apple juice and sprinkle more rub.
  6. Place pork butt in aluminum pan and wrap tightly with foil. Place back in smoker (or oven) until internal temperature hits 200. For a 10lb butt this usually takes me 10 - 12 hours.
  7. Let rest for an hour before pulling.
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