How to Smoke a Pork Butt for Pulled Pork?

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By: Tom Valenti


If you’re looking to create an irresistible meal with pulled pork, smoking a pork butt is one of the easiest and most flavorful means of preparation for it. Smoking allows for moist, tender meat that has a unique flavor only achievable with low-and-slow cooking methods. Not to mention, it requires minimal effort as all you have to do is set up your smoker and let the heat and smoke work their magic!

So if you’d like to learn perfectly how to smoke a pork butt for pulled pork that will leave your favorite taste testers licking their plates clean, keep reading – we’ll walk you through every step!


What is Pork Butt?

What is Pork Butt

It is amazing that pork butt does not come from the butt of a pig! Pork butt, is actually taken from the upper part of the shoulder in a pig. It is a cut that contains a lot of fat and connective tissue, making it an especially tough cut of meat which is perfect for slow-cooking methods like smoking to have tender and succulent results. 

When choosing pork butt for pulled pork, the ideal pork butt for smoking for pulled pork is a bone pork butt with weighs about 1/2 pound for each person.

How Long to Smoke Pork Butt for Pulled Pork?

How Long to Smoke Pork Butt for Pulled Pork

You have known that pork butt is a tough cut of meat, so it requires smoking for a long time to break down the connective tissues to turn it into tender and delicious pulled pork. So, do you know how long to smoke a pork butt for pulled pork?

To achieve the best result, you should bake your pork butt for about 75 – 90 minutes per pound at 225 – 250 degrees F or until its internal temperature reaches 195 – 205 degrees Fahrenheit. 

How to Smoke a Pork Butt for Pulled Pork?

Now, you have all information about the ideal time and temperature to smoke a pork butt for pulled pork, let’s figure out how to smoke a pork butt for pulled pork.


  • Charcoal/wood smoker
  • Aluminum foil/foil pan (optional)
  • Thermometer
  • Shape knife


• Bone-in Pork Butt 

• Sea Salt

• Ground Black Pepper

• Your favorite BBQ rub

• Wood Chips: Mesquite, hickory and applewood are great choices


Step 1: Trim the pork butt

Using a sharp knife, trim the fat cap on top of the pork butt until about ¼ inch and any excess fat or membrane from the edges. This helps to have an evenly cooked pork butt.

Step 2: Season pork butt

Generously rub sea salt, ground black pepper and your favorite BBQ rub all over the pork butt including both sides and edges. Let it rest at room temperature for at least  30 minutes so that the rub can penetrate into the meat.

Step 3:  Prepare the smoker

Preheat the smoker to 225-250 degrees F. It is recommended to use apple and hickory wood chips to have the perfect flavor.

Step 4: Place pork butt in the smoker

Place your seasoned pork butt in the smoker, fat side up. Insert the thermometer into center of the meat and cover it with a lid if you like.

Step 5: Smoke pork butt for pulled pork

Now, smoke your pork butt for about 75 – 90 minutes per pound at 225-250 degrees F or until its internal temperature reaches 195 – 205 degrees Fahrenheit.  

Once the pork butt’s internal temperature reached around 165, you can wrap it loosely with aluminum foil or place it in a foil pan and return to the smoker. This helps to lock in the moisture of the meat which makes it more tender. (Optional)

Step 6: Resting the pork butt

When your pork butt has been cooked, take it out from the smoker and wrap it with aluminum foil or place it in a foil pan to rest for at least 30 minutes. This helps redistribute moisture throughout the meat.

Step 7: Pull the pork butt

Finally, it’s time to pull the pork! Remove any bones from your pork butt and shred it. Then you can serve it with your favorite BBQ sauce or any other sides for a perfect meal.

If you have too much pork butt, you can use a pork puller instead to save time. A pork puller is a great tool for quickly and easily pulling pork butt into perfect shreds. 

Tips for Perfect Smoking Pork Butt for Pulled Pork

Combine the detailed guide about how to smoke a pork butt for pulled pork with these below tips, you can achieve perfectly smoked pork butt for pulled pork:

  • Monitor your pork butt’s internal temperature regularly to ensure it is cooked properly.
  • Keep the smoker lid closed when smoking to prevent heat from escaping and maintain a consistent temperature.
  • Soak wood chips in water for about ½ hour before adding them to your smoker. This helps create more smoke and moisture which adds great flavor to your meat.
  • Try not to open the smoker lid too often as this can affect the cooking process. 
  • Smoke pork butt slowly at a low temperature for a longer period of time to get the most tender, juicy and flavorful pulled pork.

How to Bake a Pork Butt for Pulled Pork in the Oven?

If don’t have a smoker, how can you still make pulled pork? Well, you can bake a pork butt for pulled pork in the oven.

However, you will not have that unique smoky flavor like smoke. With the same seasoned pork butt, it takes about 3/4 hours to cook 1-pound pork butt for pulled pork in the oven at 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

What to Serve with Pulled Pork?

Now, you have delicious pulled pork ready. What should you serve with it? You can enjoy your pulled pork in tacos, sandwiches, salads and more. Here are some of our favorite ideas:

• BBQ Pulled Pork Sliders

• Pulled Pork Nachos 

• Southern Fried Pulled Pork

• Pulled Pork Tacos 

• Pulled Pork Mac and Cheese  

• Carolina-style BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich

• Cuban Pulled Pork Sandwiches

In addition, you can also serve your pulled pork with some sides like coleslaw, baked beans or mashed potatoes.

How to Freeze Smoked Pulled Pork?

If you have leftover smoked pulled pork or just want to save pulled pork for later, it’s a great idea to freeze it. You can freeze it for up to 3 months.

First, let your pulled pork cool completely before you put in a freezer-safe container, or a plastic bag or wrap it in aluminum foil. Remove as much air as possible and seal the container tightly. Then label it with the date and content before you place it in the freezer. 

When you want to use it,  let it thaw in the refrigerator overnight and reheat it in a covered skillet or oven until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit.


How Long to Smoke 8 lb Pork Butt?

It takes around 10 – 12 hours to smoke 8 lb pork butt at  225 degrees Fahrenheit.

How Long Does Pulled Pork Last in the Fridge?

Pulled pork can last up to 3-4 days in the refrigerator when stored properly in an airtight container.

How Long Does Pulled Pork Last in the Freezer?

Pulled pork can last up to 3 months in the freezer when stored properly in an airtight container or plastic bag. 

Can You Overcook Pulled Pork?

Yes, you can overcook pulled pork if it is cooked for too long or at a temperature that’s too high. An overcooked pork butt will be dry and tough.

Should You Wrap a Pork Butt?

Yes, it’s recommended to wrap a pork butt once the internal temperature reaches around 165 degrees Fahrenheit to lock in moisture and make the meat more tender.

What is The Secret to Pulled Pork?

The secret to perfect pulled pork is to cook it at a low temperature (225 degrees Fahrenheit) and cook it slowly. This helps tenderize the pork butt and develops a deep smoky flavor.

Final Thought

Making pulled pork with a smoker might seem intimidating, but it’s actually easier than you think. With the right techniques and ingredients, you can create flavorful and juicy smoked pulled pork that will make your mouth water!

Whether you choose to smoke or bake a pork butt in the oven for pulled pork, don’t forget to serve it with some tasty sides for a complete meal. And if you have extra, ensure to store it properly so you can enjoy it later!

With these tips and tricks about how to smoke a pork butt for pulled pork, you will be making delicious pulled pork in no time. So fire up those pits and get to work!

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Tom Valenti

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

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