The Boston Butt is an ideal cut to smoke low and slow for delicious pulled pork! Cooking bone-in will produce more even results; just use caution when wiggling the bones to check doneness.
Pork butt is one of the easiest meats to prepare on any smoker, requiring few ingredients and minimal steps for prep and assembly. Cooked low and slow, its tender meat melts away into your mouth. Plus, this recipe doesn’t involve complicated injections or brines; all it needs are some basic staples and your pellet smoker to create a delectable pork butt meal!
Start off by applying Jeff’s Original Rub or any other favorite pork rub and massaging it over both the top and sides of the meat, massaging in Jeff’s Original Rub or your own favorite rub before placing into your smoker with fat cap down; some prefer keeping their fat cap up, as this allows it to baste more evenly while creating that signature bark texture; but I found that placing mine down allowed for even heat distribution throughout.
After about three hours, open the smoker and spritz your pork butt with a light mist of spray from a spray bottle – make sure not to soak the meat – using your spray bottle every hour until its internal temperature reaches 165deg F in its thickest part – this process is known as “stalling”, and takes several hours allowing collagen to break down and make tenderized meat.
As soon as your pork has reached 165deg, take immediate steps to protect it from overcooking and drying out. Remove it from the smoker, tightly wrap in foil or food grade butcher paper, and serve. This will prevent overcooking and the eventual dryness that ensues.
As soon as the pork has cooled, carefully remove its skin and membrane before shredding the meat with your fingers, forks or tongs into thin strands using your fingertips, forks, or tongs. Combine any reserved jus into the shredded meat before mixing in any additional flavors such as creamed corn, baked beans or jalapeno popper fries as sides. Serve today or freeze some to enjoy later – start today and have some today!
As soon as a pork butt has been smoking for an extended period, it is time to remove and rest it. This step is vital in order to create tender and juicy meat by allowing muscle fibers to relax after cooking and absorb internal juices back into their bodies, decreasing the likelihood of dry meat and helping develop its delectable bark layer that makes smoked meat so tasty.
Before removing from the smoker, pork butt must be brought down to room temperature so it can be handled safely. This can be accomplished either by leaving it on the counter for at least an hour, or placing it in a cooler with butcher paper or foil over it to protect it while resting. Purists claim that wrapping may destroy its bark but in my experience the foil or paper protects from burning while it cools to an appropriate handling temperature.
Once the pork butt has rested, it’s time to shred it. To achieve tender and flavorful pulled pork, avoid cutting directly with a knife; rather, pull apart using forks, meat claws, or your hands for maximum texture and tenderness. This approach yields larger chunks with greater texture.
For easier pork shoulder shredding, using a meat grinder or stand mixer is highly recommended. Some chefs also add small amounts of barbecue sauce to help improve the results, though this step isn’t always necessary. When shredding the pork be sure to save any flavorful cooking liquid and pour it over top as extra moisture and taste enhancement – or shred using fork or fingers once the meat has cooled!
Pull pork is the name given to meat that shreds easily when smoked pork shoulders are cut open, giving rise to its popular use for sandwiches with coleslaw or pickles as sides, or used in various recipes such as nachos, pizza, taco night or homemade fried rice dishes.
Pull pork requires long and slow cooking at a temperature between 300 degF (149 degC) and 390 degF, placing your pork butt on a cooking grate with its fat side facing down for optimal moisture retention during the smoking process.
If your smoker features a water pan, it is wise to fill this up with just enough liquid to cover its bottom surface and maintain an optimal smoking temperature – this ensures your pork will be cooked through without becoming overdone or dry.
Use a meat thermometer to accurately identify when your pork is fully cooked – when its internal temperature reaches 195 degrees F it should be removed from the smoker and covered for at least an hour to allow it to relax before refrigerating it for later.
As your meat rests, prepare your shredding equipment. A pair of forks with tines facing back-to-back are suitable for this task and sturdy enough to support large pieces of meat. An alternative may include using something similar to a meat claw; although they may require more manueuvring.
Once the meat has rested and been allowed to cool sufficiently, don a pair of nitrate cooking gloves and transfer it onto an appropriate cutting board. Begin separating muscle fiber bundles using your fingertips or forks until it pulls apart on its own – though this process may take time! It is easier when the pork is warm with its juices intact.
Pork Butts are tough cuts of meat ideal for low temperature smoking as their connective tissue begins to break down, tenderizing it while adding delicious flavour. Bone-in versions (commonly known as Boston Butts) provide even more juicy goodness due to additional marbling.
Once your pork butt has reached an internal temperature of 203degF, remove from your smoker and allow it to rest for one hour (still wrapped) before shredding it. A sure sign that it’s extra tender is when the shoulder blade bone pushes itself out through the meat!
While the pork butt rests, create the sauce. Combine vinegar, mustard, ketchup, brown sugar, garlic cloves, cayenne pepper, salt and black pepper in a medium-heat saucepan; whisk continuously until all brown sugar has dissolved before adding root beer and simmering gently for 10 minutes.
If you’re low on root beer or seeking non-alcoholic alternatives, apple cider vinegar or apple juice might make an interesting alternative beverage option. Dark beer such as stout, Guinness or Dr Pepper might also work as well. For an even lower carb option try switching brown sugar for Swerve or skip altogether!
Now transfer the pork butt to a large plate or bowl and pour on your sauce – feel free to season with ground black pepper for additional taste if desired!
Note: If using a smoker, now is the time to begin basting the pork with barbecue sauce. Use either a pastry brush or clean spoon to cover as much surface area of pork with sauce as possible – keeping in mind that more sauce will absorb into it when shredding takes place later.
Once the pork butt has cooled sufficiently, use either my Hey Grill Hey meat claws or a fork to shred it into thick, juicy strips – being sure to keep any juices that dribble from it for added flavour. Serve directly or stuff Homemade Coleslaw Buns to create delicious pulled pork sandwiches!