How Long to Smoke Pork Shoulder at 225 Degrees?

Photo of author

By: Tom Valenti


Smoking pork shoulder is a delicious way to cook a meal that will be remembered for days. With its savory taste, succulent texture, and distinct flavor, it’s no wonder so many people are flocking to the smoker to make this tasty barbecue dish.

But while you may have heard of smoking in general or even been told the classic temperature of 225 degrees, one of the most pressing questions becomes: how long to smoke pork shoulder at 225 degrees?

In this blog post, we’ll break down all the key details about cooking time and more — so keep reading if an unforgettable smoked BBQ experience appeals!


What is Pork Shoulder?

What is Pork Shoulder

Pork shoulder is a meat cut that originates from the shoulder of a pig and is also referred to as Boston butt. Despite its name, it doesn’t come from the hindquarters but rather from the front of the pig, above the front leg. It is a reasonably priced and richly flavored cut that is frequently used to create dishes that require slow cooking, such as barbecue and pulled pork. 

Although it may be marketed under different names like “picnic shoulder,” “picnic roast,” or “picnic ham,” they all refer to the same cut of pork. Pork shoulder is perfect for smoking and other slow-cooking methods because it becomes tender and juicy when cooked slowly.

Why Is 225 The Ideal Temperature For Smoking Pork Shoulders?

Why Is 225 The Ideal Temperature For Smoking Pork Shoulders

The temperature of 225°F (107°C) is considered ideal for smoking pork shoulders for several reasons. 

First, smoking pork shoulder requires a low and slow cooking process to break down the connective tissues and collagen in the meat, resulting in a tender and juicy final product. Cooking at a low temperature, like 225°F allows the meat to cook slowly and evenly without drying out.

Secondly, smoking pork shoulder for an extended period of time at 225°F creates a flavorful bark on the outside of the meat, which is a desirable characteristic in smoked meats.

Finally, cooking at 225°F provides enough heat to fully cook the pork shoulder to a safe internal temperature while maintaining the desired texture and flavor.

How Long To Smoke Pork Shoulder At 225?

So, how long should you smoke pork shoulder at 225 Degrees (107°C)? The answer depends on the size and weight of your pork shoulder. Generally, plan on smoking the meat for 1 hour – 1,5 hours per pound (450 g) at 225°F (107°C).

For example, if you have a 3-pound pork shoulder, you should plan to smoke it for about 3 hours to 4,5 hours. If the pork shoulder is larger than 6 pounds, you may need to increase your cooking time by 15-30 minutes per pound.

It’s also important to remember that pork shoulders vary in size and shape, so there is no exact answer for how long to smoke pork shoulder at 225 Degrees.

How To Smoke Pork Shoulder At 225 Degrees? 

Smoking a pork shoulder at 225°F requires a few essential steps to ensure the best results. Here is a basic guide on how to smoke pork shoulder at 225°F:

  1. Prepare the pork shoulder: Trim any excess fat and apply a dry rub or marinade to the meat, coating it evenly.
  2. Preheat the smoker: Preheat the smoker to 225°F and add the wood chips you choose (such as hickory or applewood) to the smoker box or foil packet.
  3. Place the pork shoulder in the smoker: Place the pork shoulder on the smoker rack, fat side up. Close the smoker’s lid and let it smoke for 1 hour and 20 minutes per pound of meat.
  4. Monitor the temperature: Use a meat thermometer to monitor the internal temperature of the pork shoulder, making sure it reaches 195°F before removing it from the smoker.
  5. Let the pork shoulder rest: Once the pork shoulder has reached the desired temperature, remove it from the smoker and let it rest for at least 10-15 minutes before slicing or pulling it apart.

Tips To Smoke Pork Shoulder At 255 Degrees Perfectly

Here are some tips to help you smoke a pork shoulder at 255°F perfectly:

  • Choose the right wood: consider using fruitwood like apple or cherry for a sweeter, milder flavor.
  • Use a meat thermometer to monitor the meat’s temperature regularly.
  • Once the pork shoulder reaches the desired temperature, let it rest for at least 15 minutes before slicing or pulling it apart.
  • Be patient: To prevent a decrease in temperature and an increase in overall cook time, it is advisable to avoid frequently opening the lid while cooking.

Should You Wrap The Pork Shoulder In Foil During The Smoke?

Wrapping the pork shoulder in foil during smoking is a technique known as the “Texas Crutch.” It is a popular method to help speed up the cooking process and keep the meat moist.

When using the Texas Crutch, you wrap the pork shoulder in foil during the cooking process once it reaches an internal temperature of around 160-170°F (71-77°C). This helps the meat cook faster and prevents it from drying out.

However, the Texas Crutch can also affect the texture of the bark on the outside of the pork shoulder. Wrapping it in foil can soften the bark, so if you prefer a crispy or crunchy bark, you may want to avoid using the Texas Crutch.

Ultimately, whether or not to wrap the pork shoulder in foil during smoking is a matter of personal preference. Some people swear by it, while others prefer to let the meat cook uncovered the entire time. It’s worth experimenting with both methods to see which one produces the results you prefer.

How to Serve Smoked Pork Shoulders?

While pork shoulder is traditionally served with sides like baked beans, coleslaw, and cornbread, many other options complement this cut of meat. Some great side dishes to pair with pork shoulder include roasted vegetables, mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, and green beans. It is recommended to add some extra BBQ sauce or rub to enhance the flavor of the meat when serving pork shoulder.

Common Mistakes To Avoid When Smoke Pork Shoulder at 225 Degrees

Smoking a pork shoulder at 225°F can be a lengthy and challenging process, but avoiding these common mistakes can help you achieve the best results:

  • Failing to allow the pork shoulder to rest
  • Neglecting to preheat the smoker
  • Overlooking the importance of letting the pork shoulder rest
  • Not cutting or shredding the pork shoulder.


What Wood is Best For Smoking Pork Shoulder?

Hickory and apple woods are considered the ideal choices for smoking pork shoulder due to their mild and sweet flavor that compliments the pork’s rich taste.

How do I know when pork shoulder is done?

The most accurate way to tell if a pork shoulder is done is to use a meat thermometer to check its internal temperature. When the internal temperature reaches 195-205°F (90-96°C), the pork shoulder is fully cooked and tender enough to be pulled apart. To determine the internal temperature of the pork, place the thermometer in the thickest area of the meat.

Can You Overcook Pork at 225?

Yes, it is possible to overcook pork at 225°F (107°C) if it is left in the smoker for too long. While smoking at a low temperature for a long time can result in tender and flavorful meat, leaving the pork shoulder in the smoker for an extended period can cause it to become dry and tough.

Is Pork Shoulder Better On High or Low?

When cooking pork shoulder, it’s generally better to cook it at a low temperature for a long time rather than a high temperature for a shorter time. Cooking pork shoulder at a low temperature, around 225°F (107°C), allows the connective tissue in the meat to break down slowly, resulting in tender and juicy meat. Cooking at a high temperature, on the other hand, can cause the meat to dry out and become tough.

Does Wrapping a Pork Shoulder Make It Cook Faster?

Yes, wrapping a pork shoulder in foil, also known as the “Texas Crutch,” can help the meat cook faster by trapping heat and moisture. When the meat is wrapped, it creates a steamy environment that helps break down the connective tissue and tenderize the meat. 

Final Thought

As a whole, it is important to understand how long to smoke pork shoulder at 225 degrees to achieve the perfect level of tenderness, flavor, and color. Depending on the size and desired texture, smoking times can range from six to sixteen hours or more. Other factors such as wood used, rack placement, and temperature also play an important role in achieving great barbecue.

The final decision for how long to smoke a pork shoulder can only be made through personal experience and practice. To ensure that the most delicious results are achieved every time, keep an eye on the thermometer readings and be sure not to exceed 225 degrees Fahrenheit. With proper preparation and care, you can enjoy tasty pork shoulders that come out perfectly smoked – every time!

Reference: Boston butt – Wikipedia

Photo of author

Tom Valenti

Chef/Owner of both Ouest and ‘Cesca, and the Executive Chef of Le Cirque, Alison on Dominick, and Butterfield 81.

Leave a Comment