Simple Smoked Pulled Pork Butt (Smoked Pork Shoulder)

September 27, 2017

My Simple Smoked Pulled Pork Butt (AKA Smoked Pork Shoulder) is a go-to any time I am looking to feed a hungry crowd and don’t want too much fuss.

Simple Smoked Pulled Pork Butt

Smoked Pork Butt vs. Smoked Pork Shoulder

Most smoked pork butt recipes call for a bone-in pork shoulder, sometimes also labeled a Boston butt roast or a pork butt. All of these labels are for the exact same cut of pork. None of them actually come from the butt end of the pig (which can definitely be confusing), but from the upper part of the shoulder. The pork butt, or pork shoulder, has many overlapping and hard working muscle groups that are bound together with tight connective tissue.

That tight tissue makes this cut particularly well suited for smoking. It would be very difficult to simply slice and serve a pork shoulder roast that wasn’t cooked low and slow to break down those tight muscles and connective fibers. You’d end up chewing for a long time and not getting anywhere. By using the low and slow process of cooking the meat over a wood fire for a long time, those tissues begins to break down, tenderize, and create amazing strands of super succulent smoked pork shoulder.

How to Smoke a Pork Butt

The reason I call this smoked pulled pork butt “simple” is because of how little effort it really takes. This recipe doesn’t require any fancy injections, tools, spritzing concoctions, or wrapping to have it come out absolutely perfect every. single. time. All you really need is a good pork shoulder, my famous homemade sweet BBQ rub, good smoke and plenty of time. Once the meat is on the smoker, all you need to do is grab a cool drink and kick your feet up.

This simple smoked pulled pork shoulder is made using old school BBQ techniques and flavors to give you super authentic and extra tasty pulled pork. After seasoning liberally with my BBQ rub, which is a brown sugar base seasoned with smoked paprika, onion, garlic, and a little cayenne, the pork shoulder is set into a smoker with an indirect heat source and plenty of thin blue wood smoke. My favorite woods for making smoked pulled pork has got to be either hickory or apple (or a combination of the two), both are mild enough to complement the pork without overwhelming you with smoke.

Smoked Pork Butt Smoked Pork Shoulder

How Long to Smoke a Pork Butt

I shoot to maintain my smoker temperature at 225 degrees F and can typically plan about 2 hours of cook time per pound of pork. For example, an 8 pound pork shoulder will take about 16 hours from start to finish. Every cut of meat is a little bit different though, so if you want real control over how your meat is cooking.  I’ve had some 8 pound smoked pork butts finish in 12 hours and some 10 pound smoked pork butts take 20 hours to finish.

I recommend a good thermometer (I love an instant read probe thermometer) to keep track of the internal temperature of the meat. You’ll notice a pattern emerge as you start to smoke pork butts more frequently. You will notice your meat rises in temperature up to about 145 degrees F pretty quickly, then the cooking process will slow dramatically and take hours to increase in temperature from 145 degrees F to 165 degrees F. This phase is called the “Stall” and is completely normal. Don’t panic, just let everything keep cooking and eventually the temperature will start to rise again.

How to Smoke a Pork Butt (Smoked Pork Shoulder)

A lot of pitmasters choose to wrap their smoked pork butt in foil or butcher paper at this point to help shorten the process and push their meat through this stall period (you can see how I utilize this technique HERE). For this simple smoked pork butt recipe, I did not wrap at all. Instead, I let the smoke continue to work on the pork shoulder and it helped to develop a really amazing exterior crust on the outside of the meat called “bark.” For those not familiar with the world of BBQ, this outer coating may appear burned, but to those in the know, that dark caramelized bark is absolutely coveted!

The tight connective tissues in your smoked pork shoulder start to break down at 195 degrees F internal temperature. If you like a little more texture to your pork, it’s time to pull it off the smoker! If you want it to be even more fall apart and melt in your mouth tender, you can wait until the internal temperature reaches 201 degrees F. Then all you need to do is let is rest for an hour or so while you prep your favorite side dishes and you’re all set! I like to let my smoked pork butts rest in a covered aluminum pan inside of an insulated cooler, covered with towels. This helps retain the heat and the moisture in the smoked pork shoulder while it rests.

Smoked Pork Shoulder Video


Smoked Pulled Pork Butt/Shoulder Recipe

smoked pulled pork butt

Simple Smoked Pulled Pork Butt/ Shoulder

This simple smoked pulled pork recipe only requires a few pantry ingredients and a smoker to achieve those melt-in-your-mouth strands of tender pulled pork.
4.91 from 62 votes
Prep Time : 15 mins
Cook Time : 18 hrs
Total Time : 18 hrs 15 mins
Servings : 16 people



  • Preheat your smoker to 225 degrees F for indirect smoking.
  • Remove your roast from the packaging and wipe it down on all sides with paper towels, cleaning off any small bone fragments or extra liquid on the exterior.
  • Slather the entire exterior of the pork shoulder with the yellow mustard.
  • Season your pork roast on all sides, top and bottom, with the Homemade BBQ Sweet Rub. Don't worry about rubbing the seasoning into the meat, just be sure it is liberally coated all over.
  • Place your seasoned roast on the smoker fat side up, preferably in the middle of the grate avoiding any direct hot spots.
  • Close the lid and smoke the pork until it reaches an internal temperature of at least 195 degrees F. You can cook to 201 degrees F if you like softer pork. This process can take anywhere between 15-20 hours, depending on the consistency of heat in your smoker and the size of your pork shoulder.
  • Remove the pork shoulder from the smoker and wrap tightly in foil. Allow the roast to rest for at least an hour before shredding.
  • Pull apart the shoulder, discarding any chunks of fat or gristle. Sprinkle the roast with an additional tablespoon or so of the Homemade Sweet BBQ Rub. Serve and enjoy!
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285 thoughts on “Simple Smoked Pulled Pork Butt (Smoked Pork Shoulder)

    1. Hey Parker- You don’t need to spritz with apple juice, but it wouldn’t hurt anything either. I kind of like the hands off approach to this pork butt, but you can definitely make it your own!

      1. Thought: for convenience can I smoke 4hrs and then move to a slow cooker on high or low. My electric. smoker is on the fritz and will use my wood smoker and I don’t have the time to nurse it past 4hrs. And smoke penetration is done anyway.

          1. I cooked mine too perfection on an Oklahoma Joe’s longhorn edition. I did have a heck of a time getting past the stall. But I ramped up my temp to about 300 and put a foil bowl on the bottom and a foil tent on top and let it stay in until it was at 195 on my thermapen mk4 edition. Then I took the tent off and finished it off to 200. It gave the bark time to regain a bit of that crunch without tasting bitter. Let her rest in the room temp oven and then muy Bueno!

    1. Love this spice rub, great instructions. I used this for my first attempt at smoking. It is so amazing I am smoking it for my 3rd time now.

  1. We’ve made this recipe many times and today I just noticed the yellow mustard ingredient…did you change the recipe recently? Is the mustard important? I’m pretty sure I’ve had success without it in the past. Please help!

  2. What’s the best way to reheat this for the next day’s dinner? I got a late start on this and had to go with plan B for dinner and want to serve this up tomorrow night.

    1. I would let the pork butt rest, then shred. Place the shredded pork into a gallon zip top freezer bag and moisten with any remaining juices. Refrigerate overnight and then reheat tomorrow in a big pot of boiling water. Takes only a few minutes to reheat and keeps it super juicy.

      1. Interested in trying this recipe, but this reheating method sounds strange to me. You dump the pork direct in the water? Won’t you lose flavor in the water, or am I missing something?

        1. You don’t dump the pork into the water. The pork stays in the sealed zip top bag and the whole bag is submerged. All the poor flavor stays in the bag, the water slowly heats the entire contents. Hope that helps clear it up!

          1. I do this a lot with pulled pork and freeze the extra. I usually vacume seal the leftovers and take them camping or on them winter fishing trips on the ice. I love your channel and the fact that you use the grill a lot. I have a Weber and am always looking for something new so thanks.

      2. This is in reply to boiling the pork butt in order to reheat. Please dont boil a perfectly tasty piece of meat. You will remove all the crusty smokey flavor. Why would you do that?

        1. Thanks for the recipe! First time smoker here. Should the pork be in a pan when smoking? Won’t you lose alot of the juices if it’s just on the rack?

    2. I like to to vacume seal in packets, I then throw the packets in the microwave on high for a minute. The fat in the pork keeps it nice and moist after reheating.

  3. Thank you so much for sharing your receipe for this, you’re a lifesaver!

    We got our 1st pellet grill and a 6.5lb pork shoulder/butt yesterday and today (Mother’s Day) I smoked for my 1st time and knocked it out of the park. Everyone loved it and even took home leftovers!

    I did add just a sprinkle of ginger and cinnamon to the rub and sprayed with fresh pressed apple juice once an hour for the 1st 5, then I let your rub and the smoke do it’s thang the rest of the time.

    I pulled it out at 202°F and I was thrilled to see the almost finished product, the bark was beautiful and the smell was amazing

    I almost got full while clawing/pulling it, haha!

  4. This is our first time smoking a pork shoulder or anything for a long period of time and was wondering how often you add wood chips to the smoker? So excited to try this out as the rub sounds like it is a delicious addition.

    1. Hey Renee, you can add wood chips throughout the entire cook to get the deepest smoke flavor. However, if you want to cut back on the amount of chips used, you can stop adding them when the shoulder gets through the stall at 165 degrees F.

      1. I have a 7.5 pork shoulder and don’t want to spend 16+ Hours smoking it. Would it be okay to cut it half to shorten the cooking time?

  5. I am using a 3 lb bonless picnic shoulder roast. Does that matter with your directions? Also how long is your recommendations? I think I read about 2 hours per pound?

    1. Picnic shoulders work fine. I would recommend trimming off any excess skin so the rub and smoke can reach the meat. 2 hours per pound is a great starting point, but sometimes even smaller roasts can take a little bit longer, so plan some extra time just to be on the safe side.

    2. Trying this today. Using a 10.5 lbs. butt. Been on 20 hours. Almost at the 201 temp. It smells and looks wonderful. Thanks for sharing

  6. I have three 7+ pound pork butts to smoke for a graduation party, would you still just smoke for approximately 14 hours?
    I will put all three on at the same time.

    1. Yep, if you are putting all of them on at the same time and they all weigh the same, you can cook them for about 14 hours. Keep your thermometer handy.

  7. What type of smoker do you use? Can it be done on a small Weber grill without a built-in thermostat? How do I know when it gets to 225 degrees?

    1. I’ve used several types of smokers, this was done on a pellet smoker. You can absolutely smoke on a Weber, but without a built in thermostat, I recommend getting a thermometer you can use to track the temperature inside the smoker.

      1. Have you tried smoking on a UDS, like the Gateway or Pit Barrel Cooker? I have a 30 gallon PBC, one of my friends has a 55 gallon Gateway, another a 55 gallon Gateway clone. All 3 smokers will cook a perfect pork butt in 5 to 6 hrs. I just don’t see any benefit in taking 16 -18 hrs to smoke a pork butt or brisket when it can be done on a UDS in 5-6 hrs. PS – I like to rub the pork butt with a mix of cumin, coriander, chili powder, and pureed chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. Makes some awesome carnitas or tacos, and if there are any leftovers they go into burritos!


  8. Hey I’m giving this a try, yes its 12:57 am here in Oklahoma, but I got a late start due to an unexpected water! It’s been in my Masterbuilt smoker for 6 hours, long ways to go..

    You were the first recipe that came up in my search and if its complicated I go to the next. You made this simple and the video made it even more simple.. I’ll let you know the outcome at a later date..

  9. Would it be the same cook time (2 hours per pound) for an electric smoker? This would be direct heat as apposed indirect heat

    1. It should be pretty close, I recommend putting it up on a higher shelf to get a little more distance from the heat. If it’s done early, you can always wrap and hold in a cooler for a couple of hours.

  10. I am doing pulled pork for a crowed do you have a formula for how many pounds of pork per person? I heard that you only get a 50% yield of cooked pork is that true?

  11. just took it put of the smoker at 200 , wrapped in foil. this is going to the the longest hour ever as some of the bark /meat stuck the the wrack and it was so delicious. thanks

  12. Thank you, this is very helpful. The first time I smoked a shoulder it was a large piece and took many more hours than I bargained for. My coals completely burned out and had to get a new pile of coals going. Any tip on doing this in order to keep the temp from dropping too much? I use the Kingsford blue bag charcoals.

  13. Hey grill hey I have a question for you I have got a 10 1/2 pound pork butt with a bone but it’s got about a quarter of an inch of fat on it would you trim the bulk of that fat off or would you leave it and it smoke it thank you for your response I figure it’s gonna take me about 20 hours to smoke this bad boy i’ll follow a lot of your recipes

    1. Hey grill, should I let the pork butt come to room temperature before I put the rub on and into the smoker or should I go from the fridge right to the smoker?

  14. We use an electric smoker any advise is welcome. Every time I smoke anything it doesn’t turn out to well. Any helpful hints?

    1. Butt turned out FANTASTIC. Simple prep and rub, yes, but the flavors were every bit as good as more complex approaches.

      Used a Weber upright water smoker. Total cook time 10.5 hours. Bone came clean out and the meat pulled nicely. Taste and texture was excellent with or without sauce.

      Will definitely use this recipe again!

      1. Family “made” me do another butt this weekend. Used same prep and cooking method as last time (forgot to mention I did not wrap), except I spritzed with apple juice after about hour 6. Turned out as good, if not better, than the first try.

  15. I am excited to see this site and the recipe for the pork butt.
    I don’t have a smoker but a heavy duty grill that I can adjust the temp, can this be cooked that way and if so, is there any difference in the allotted time to cook.

    1. Depending on what type of grill you can make a smoke box with a foil pan and place on the fire/coal but only put the heat on one side of the grill then put your meat on the other side so you will be using indirect heat.

  16. I Love You, Your cooking site has made Me the King of the neighborhood,,,Thank you.
    I don’t do the Mustard thing, even though You can’t taste it,,I use Honey, still “Sticky” and adds some sugar/sweetness to whatever,,Try it.

  17. Got a late start today on smoking a 5 Pound Pork butt, any suggestions or tricks to cook a little faster so that we can have for dinner? Rookie mistake!!!

  18. Bought a 6.5 lbs. Boston butt on Saturday and am going to smoke it on my Yoder pellet smoker this week. I like your approach to smoking and between you and Malcom Reed gathering enough recipes to last a lifetime! lol I’ll let you know how it turns out.

  19. Have you ever soaked the pork shoulder in apple cider / apple juice prior to smoking it? Does it help? I plan on using this recipe this weekend can’t wait to try it.

  20. Promised to say how the recipe turned out after I made it so here goes. I put the rub on about 12 hours priors to smoking, but I didn’t wrap it tight, just put a piece of saran wrap over it loosely. Some liquid sweat out of the meat, but not enough to cause a problem. Put it on my pellet smoker at midnight @ 225 degrees. At 7:30 am I put a probe into the center of the meat to monitor the internal temp. I also had a probe monitoring the temp inside the smoker. This is a new smoker so I’m just learning its idiosyncrasies. The air temp was always lower than 225 so I had to keep adjusting it to raise the temps. Around 6:30 pm I hit an internal temp of 195 and pulled it off the smoker, double wrapped it in aluminum foil and a towel, and put it in a cooler for about 30 minutes. We were hungry and couldn’t wait any longer! lol The bone pulled out clean and the meat was pretty moist and very tasty. I was concerned because of the long smoke which was caused by a very long stall. I’d do this all over again and tweak the temp a bit so that I’m right on 225 next time and won’t do the rub until I’m ready to smoke. We’ll see how that goes and then maybe I’ll wrap in butcher paper when I hit the stall, but I really liked the bark I got from not wrapping. Do you have any other suggestions I should try? Thanks, again for a great recipe.

    1. Wow Gerry, thanks so much for this awesome review!! It can be crazy with that stall, sometimes it can take forever!! I am glad that you are finding and making your own adjustments to make this recipe work for you.

  21. I currently have two pork butts on the smoker with your rub. I have an electric smoker that I have to keep adding wood chips to for smoking. Do you recommend that I keep adding wood chips until the meat is 195 degrees? Or do you stop smoking before this? With my smoker I have to add about 1/2 c of wood chips each time.

    1. I run smoke the whole time on this one, that being said, you can back off on the smoke once your meat reaches 170 F if you like, since it will slow down the amount of smoke the meat absorbs.

  22. Man alive this was perfect! I was a bit uncertain about the mustard but highly encourage people try it! This was by far one of our best smokes. We used a combo of pecan and apple wood (electric smoker) and just wonderful!

  23. So I will be smoking a brisket along with pork butt. Can the butt be cooked at 220 degrees instead of 225? I know I would have to increase smoke time but do you feel this would affect texture and taste?
    The Brisket is 7lbs and Pork Butt in 14lbs. Any suggestion would be greatly appreciated. Also the recipe I will be using on the Butt. Looks great! Smells great!

  24. It’s Labor Day Eve, I have my 7lb butt in the fridge with your rub. Have a Traeger grill with competition grade pellets ready for 6am! Will keep you posted on how it goes. I want to thank you so much for your support within this community!

  25. This is only my 3rd smoke ever. And this is the 2nd of your recipes/methods that I’ve followed. Total successes, both of them! My family have now awarded me to be our official SMOKE MASTER. Thank you for the thorough instructions. My confidence is growing.

  26. So I did one last weekend. Came out horrible. First one I’ve ever done. A friend said to take it out at 14something. I had it in there for about 9 hours. It looked ready and came out really dry. Where did i go wrong?

  27. I am getting ready to smoke my first pork shoulder. I am trying to figure out timing, etc. in order to have it ready when needed, and still be able to be away for short periods in the prep. What is the longest amount of time you can wrap and “rest” in an ice chest before shredding and serving?

  28. I made your rub, coated the butts and stuck em in the fridge. I was planning to let the rub sit on there for about 30 hours. Minus the mustard. I missed that part. Do you see any issue with the rub sitting on there that long?

  29. Hi, greetings from Australia. I’m planning to smoke a 1.5lb piece of pork shoulder (enough for two people). How long do you think that will take? I feel like it should take more than your 2hr/lb rule.

    1. I always stick to that 2 hour rule. Of course every cut of meat is different. I would go with the 2 hour rule and if your pork shoulder finishes early, you can hold it in a cooler until it is time to eat. Just keep it wrapped and covered with a few towels.

      1. Hi Susie, I thought you and your readers might be interested in how it turned out. After six hours it stalled at 180 degrees. I wrapped it in foil and it took another 90 minutes to climb to 201 degrees. A great result but a much longer cook than I expected. Live and learn!

  30. Thanks for awesome video and website! I have an upright circular gas smoker with 2 racks. Love smoking on it, but I usually smoke during summer months. I’m hosting son’s birthday party on Saturday. Temps here in NW Ohio are getting down to the upper 30’s at night and then only 50’s during day. Looks like there will be some rain, too. What’s your best suggestion for dealing with that, since my smoker is very basic and non insulated? I’m smoking for 20 people. Thanks so much for any advice!

    1. You can always smoke the roast until it reaches 165°F and then finish it up in the oven. It usually will reach smoke penetration at 165. It is hard to keep the temperature up when it is so cold outside.

  31. Can you tell how much pellets you used to smoke that long? Want to make sure I have enough on hand! I am planning to smoke a 10 pound pork shoulder.

  32. Hey Grill!
    First, I want to express my gratitude for giving such incredible and simple recipes. I think you’re the bee’s knees and that your style is top top notch.
    My neighbor and I both have woodwinds. We love them and are constantly exchanging different ideas on smoking. He has a turbo pork butt recipe that starts on low heat but heats up the smoker to 350* after the third hour. My question is: would you still use a sweet rub of the grill gets that hot? He says to stay away from sugar in the rub because it might sour the bark. Lemme know. Thanks!!!

  33. My son bought me an electric smoker for my 50th so decided not let it sit around for long. I typed in recipes for and yours was the first to come up. I have a 8lb butt. I followed your recipe straight up. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

    1. I let it go for about10 hours but I probably could have pulled it in 9. The internal was about 200. As I removing it from the smoker it wad retaining apart. I knew it was a winner then. I still wrapped it in foil. Fell asleep for about 2 hours then got up and pulled it. It was so awesome tender juicy, amazing bark, the bone came out so clean. I did use your rub. It was so easy. Thanks for the recipe.

  34. I am having some family over but plan to smoke a pork butt starting a day ahead of time. would you recommend getting up early and starting smoking process the same day, or could it be done the previous day? If so, what is the best way to store a smoked pork butt if eaten the next day?

  35. My wood electric smoker is on the fritz and I will go old school strictly wood. However I do not have the time to nurse the fire and temp. Since smoke fuses with meat for just 3 or 4hrs can I smoke for that time and then move to a slow cooker. I know I won’t get that wonderful bark. Thanks

  36. You’re awesome Susie !
    I miss seeing your posts on facebook, but I had to delete my account. I hate facebook, lol.
    Keep doing yer thing, you have a passion for this that most people will never have.
    I’m currently smoking 12 lbs of cushions, and an 11.5 lb bone in shoulder. The vodka cocktails might get the best of me, but I’m sure that my meat will prevail !
    Love Bill

  37. I am currently smoking one on my Weber, I’m making pulled pork quesadillas. Need flour tortillas, pico or salsa sour cream and cheese. I sauté onion, jalapeños and bell pepper. Accompany with guacamole.

  38. I made this Saturday for dinner. My husband raved about how good it turned out. I got the pork shoulder on our Louisiana Grill about 10:00 a.m. smoked it on 250 to 270 (had to adjust at 5 to accommodate freezing temperatures once the sun went away) till 7:00 p.m. when I pulled it off to let it rest.

  39. I smoke as this recipe in a propane smoke vault.
    I go 6 hours ish in it then pull the butt to my Turkey pan and cover. Place in gas oven inside for the rest of duration. I don’t get the great bark I like.
    What can I do to improve this?

  40. I got the Man a smoker for Christmas, and we are having a blast. We’ll be smoking a small pork butt (a little less than 2.5 lbs) today and have seen a lot of other recipes that indicate 1 hour per pound. Thoughts?

  41. Hey Grill,
    I just tried out this recipe for the maiden voyage of my new Camp Chef SmokePro Lux. I had read several different opinions on how long it takes to smoke a pork butt (anywhere from 1 hour to 2 hours per pound) and I will say that your estimate was much closer to accurate. I put the 9.5 lb pork butt on the smoker at 11 pm and it was ready by 3:30 the next day. Favor was excellent; deep smoke ring and fantastic bark. I’ll be trying the cider brined recipe next!

  42. Hey Grill thanks for the recipe which helped in making my first successful pulled pork. I did an overnight in my WSM. Unfortunately it was a cold night and there was a lot of bone in my 8 pound shoulder. It stalled at 179 degrees after 16 hours and the light rain started so I was forced to finish in the oven to 200 degrees. One suggestion: it is probably better to do boneless if you are smoking in cold weather because the cost of adding charcoal (had to add about three chimneys) is kind of cost prohibitive to do bone in.

  43. About to cater my first event and they want 30 pounds of pulled pork, will I use the same 2 hours per pound of each piece or is it better to just use a meat thermometer in the largest portion until it reaches the 195 internal temp?

    1. I always use both! Each cut of meat can cook differently so it is important to always check internal temperature with a thermometer. The 2 hours per pound is a good estimate, but not exact science. If you finish early, you can wrap the pork in towels and hold it in a cooler until you are ready to serve!

  44. I dont know what I did wrong. I am sure it was something in my execution; the results were mediocre at best.

    I started with a picnic roast. It was 5 lbs pre-trimmed. I took off the outer skin, and coated it in mustard, garlic and onion, pepper and the BBQ rub on the site.

    I let it sit overnight, and it went into a 225 degree smoker at 645 am. I took it out at 4 pm, and set it for about a half hour in a cooler to rest.

    When I took it out of the smoker, it was only 165. In the cooler, it dropped down to 140. It didn’t gain heat.

    After 10 hours, a less-than 5 lbs roast wasn’t done? There were no shredding, it wasn’t fall off the bone; it wasn’t fork tender or any of that. But, it was – dry? It certainly didn’t lose any juice when cutting…

    So I’m confused on what I should have done to correct the problem. I did not inject it with anything; the connective tissue didn’t seem to render… It was tough, and definitely impossible to pull or shred. It tasted good, but with the fat and connective tissue still intact, it was a let down.

    Any advice?

    1. By the way, I love the site. The meatloaf was perfect, and the pork loin was spot on. We did chicken and it was perfect. I am not at all downing the recipe
      … just trying to see what I need to do to improve.

      1. I’ll give it a try next time around. Thanks. Should the smoker temp be up higher, or just longer in the smoker? At the duration it was in, my concern is drying the meat out – but I suppose that if more connective “stuff” renders out, it would counter the extra time. Going by the 2 hr/lb, I thought 9 hr would have been enough time. I know – temperature, not time.

        Thanks again

        1. Yep, always temperature, not time. I wouldn’t turn up the temperature, follow the recipe. The key to tender pork shoulder is low and slow, it can take patience to wait for it to cook.

        2. Hey Chris. I’ve done this recipe exactly to the tee 5 times now. I use masterbuilt electric. Mine always seems to take about 24hrs to cook a 6-8lb butt to 201 degrees…
          Idk what I’m doing to make it take that long but the meat comes out very juicy every time.

  45. Hey Grill thank you so much for this simplified recipe! I usually do all the pre smoking duties, but I finally tried the smoking part, too. You made it so easy to follow. I used my Traegar and smoked my first pork butt! It took 17hrs. It was the best! The fat melted like butter! My family was impressed and my husband said I am now the official smoker! Thank you! I am now so motivated to try a brisket!

  46. I didn’t notice anything mentioned about the vent being open or closed. Ive seen arguments for both. Should i be leaving the vent open the entire time?
    Also, is ok to throw a rack of ribs in when there is 4 or 5 hours left to the pork butt? Using an electric smoker.

    1. You would need to check out your manufacturer instructions on venting, I don’t smoke on an electric smoker. You can definitely add ribs on while smoking pork if you have room!

  47. 5 stars because all of your recipes have been amazing! Question? Using this for a non traditional Easter lunch. We are busy Saturday so was planning on smoking it Fri afternoon until 165 degrees. At that point, after it cools, could I wrap and refrigerate and take it out Sat evening, let it come to room temp and throw it in a crockpot for an all night slow cook?

  48. Been running my smoker at 225 to 250 steady for 11 hours. It’s a 10 pound butt. Been stalled at 160 for 2 hour. What should I do?

    1. You can wrap it in butcher paper or foil to get through the stall or just wait it out. I did a 7 pound butt a couple weekends ago without wrapping and it took about 20 hours at 225.

  49. Hi, love this recipe and have done it a few times and love it. However I’m unsure about one thing. I normal use a pork shoulder bone in. Do I trim the fat off the shoulder or leave it on? I’ve done it before with skin on and it’s turned out great but other people have said remove the skin? Can I please get your thoughts?
    Keep up the good tasty work ????

  50. This recipe is the simplest thing on earth in a Camp Chef pellet grill. Used a 7.5# boneless butt. Coated in yellow mustard and Butt Rub overnight in plastic wrap. Then into a 225 high smoke setting for 18 hours (started at 2 PM Friday for a Saturday lunch), at 8 AM it was at 202 degrees (I wait until the morning to put in the probe so I’m not dragging any surface bugs into the meat interior). Then into a disposable pan, tight wrapped in foil and held in beer cooler until pulled at 11AM. Bark to die for, melt in the mouth tastiness. Have to chop the bark, which for me means it was at the right texture.

  51. Hi susie, I am planning on doing a pork shoulder this weekend but cannot decide whether to follow this method or your cider brined method. Can you explain the general difference in the results of each recipe?

  52. Hi Susie, I am planning on doing a pork shoulder this weekend but cannot decide whether to use this method or your cider brined method. Can you explain the general differences in the results between the two recipes?

  53. Going on my second round with a ten pound roast, bone in. This is an awesome recipe! In the meantime, I have used the same rub on baby back ribs, once with a cider vinegar/salt brine, and once without. Great both times. On the roast, I have had to do two separate smoking due to time. Bring it up to 165 before pulling it out. Refrigerate, start again the next day in smoker. I’m using a digital electric wood chip smoker.

  54. I have a 3 pound pork loin, could I still use this recipe? Would there be anything you would change?

    1. Loin doesn’t pull very well at all (it’s too lean). What I suggest is to smoke it to 160 and slice.

  55. Im trying this recipe now. I have an electric smoker that kicks a$$. Ive done a few shoulders in it whole chicken, sausages, steaks, and burgers,but haven’t tried this recipe yet. The seasoning already smells like excellent bbq.

  56. I’ve had a 7.25 lb pork shoulder on at 225+(Traeger ) for 18 hours and it’s at 185. 9 hours earlier it was at 156. I’ve used three different thermometers to test and all read the same. Have you ever seen this?

    1. Yes sir! That’s called the stall. The meat is sweating so much that it is actually cooling itself rather than cooking. You can either power through, the temp will rise eventually or wrap it to finish quicker!

      1. It took 20 hours. But turned out great. Hopefully next one will cook closer to 2 hrs per pound vs 3. Great recipe. Thank you!

  57. Used a Camp Chef SmokePro SG pellet grill and followed the directions to a T. Smoked 10lbs of meat on high smoke setting (220). The grill was jumping around from 215-235. It took 20hrs for the meat to reach 200 degrees. I expended about 20lbs of pellets (2 1/2 hoppers). After it reached 200 degrees I double wrapped it in foil and put it in a cooler with towels for 5hrs before pulling and eating. (I waited 5 hrs because it was for a potluck) The meat was extremely tender and pulled super easy. The meat was delicious and melted in the mouth, no mustard taste at all. Just dont cheap out on the buns and toast them if you can. Great recipe! Can’t go wrong choosing this one.

  58. Wow! Thanks for the recipe and video. My first time smoking a shoulder and it turned out great! Followed the rub recipe exactly and wouldn’t change a thing! We all enjoyed it. Thanks again

  59. We are going tent camping on the river and was wondering if we could season the meat before we left home?

  60. I tried the Simple recipe and have it wrapped in foil right now and waiting to try it. The pork shoulder was about 3 lbs and I took it off after 11.5 hours…it was at internal temp of 183. Is that normal to not reach 195+ after 11.5 hours when smoking it at 225?

    1. Yes that’s normal. The stall can last upwards of 8 hours! You can get through it much quicker if you wrap it in foil or butcher paper.

  61. Planning on trying this recipe this weekend. What type of wood pellets (Apple, hickory, oak, etc.) would you recommend?

  62. Oh wow. Just great recipe. Followed to a T. Saw the mustard at the end, just pulled the plastic off and rubbed it on.. Best thing I did. Did not use brown sugar.. I like the spice of the rub, not a sugar fan. No apple juice sprtizes either. Mmm… Spice. And the meat turned out to be the sweet star of this show. I wanted that.

    6.34 lb. Booty to start with. Smoked with electric, non direct heat for 12 hours. Added wood chips every 3 hours. There was a decent amount of smoke at the beginning, and then the last 3 hours as well. Perhaps because I was opening the smoker and checking the temp and more oxygen got to the chips and started burning them more. Smoker specific issues I am sure.

    Moving on.. Took off at 195 degrees, wrapped in fiol and placed in cold oven. Did not add heat, just waited for an hour.

    And a long hour that was. It was juicy, tasty, spicy a bit, and easy to pull apart. 8 and 10 year old kids loved it! I loved it. Wife will be home soon and I am confident. And that’s the whole reason for this long post. Your recipe and ease made me confident to smoke a booty for the first time and NAIL IT!


  63. (All of these labels are for the exact same cut ) you’re somewhat right. A shoulder is cut with the shank and lower part of the shoulder, while the butt is cut high with the blade bone yielding higher meat to bone ratio. in commercial cutting, the shoulder is sold fresh or cured (picnic ham) or boned out as we used to do sometimes. The butt is sold as one unit or boned rolled pork roast also cut for pork steaks. The term Boston butt is just a given name. However, The butt roast got its name from butchers, The rich only bought the back leaving the hams legs and ribs. They were salted packed in barrels called Butts

  64. WOW! So easy and nothing can beat the taste! So glad I found your site last night. Used my Treager with a mix of Hickory and Maple pellets. Boston Butt, 12 1/2 lbs, cooked for total of 17 hours at 225 degrees, rested about 2 hours until dinner. Big Hit for July 4th! Can’t wait to try more of your recipes on my new Treager.

    1. Yes! Just follow the time and temp instructions in your oven. You won’t get the smoke flavor though.

  65. Going to try this out this weekend. I have a 8.5 lb butt. Do you think I would be safe starting it around 9PM on Friday in order for it to be ready to eat by 5ish on Saturday? Timing is a concern.

    1. Should be enough time! You can always wrap it at the stall (165ish) to speed things up or wrap if you’re cutting it short on time. If it finishes early, wrap it in foil, then towels, and store in a cooler until it’s time to eat!

  66. Thanks for the recipe! I have 2 8# Boston Butts in the Pit Boss. Similar variation on mine. I’m using a Pit Boss with Hickory pellets. Put it on last night at 10:30. At 6:30 this morning it was at 185 and I wrapped it, put some apple juice over the top and back on the heat. Ran all night at 225 and now at 200. I’m holding until 200 degrees before I pull it!

  67. My husband enjoyed doing this recipe exactly as instructed, even sleeping outside as the pork shoulder smoked its 20 hours. It was amazing. We did 2 of them and served them to 2 different batches of dinner guests. Both times i had people say it was the best pulled pork they had ever eaten!! I re warmed it in a bag inside of my crockpot full of water. Was amazing! Thanks heygrillhey for making us look like pitmasters! Your site is my new go to for detailed grilling and smoking instructions. I’ve done some of your beef recipes as well! Thanks so much!!

  68. Not sure what I did wrong, but I maintained a temp anywhere in the 225 to 245, wood chips and water and I believe that 15 to 20 hours is too long! My 5lb pork butt came out dry and not good after just 14 hours. Yikes!

    1. I agree, 15-20 hours is too long for a 5lb pork, should be done in around 10 hours. as always cook to temp, not time. or are you saying that it took 15-20 hours to reach 200 degrees internal?

  69. Do I need to use a mop sauce to cook this to make it.
    Or we’ll just a mustard in the rub keep it moist I’m using a Traeger going to start it on smoke and then move up to temperature

  70. Do I need to use a mop sauce with this and if so what type. Also the mustard I need to rub on before I cook is powder correct?

  71. Hey girl. I live in Kansas City and tried this last weekend. It had a nice bark. Usually I smoke fat side down so I tried doing it fat side up like you suggested. I have a Broil King Keg with a heat deflector that I fill with apple cider and water. The bottom side came out kind of chewy jerky but the rest was very moist. I like to eat the chewy pieces plain with KC Jack Stack BBQ sauce. The rest I put on sandwiches. A couple of days later my wife made flat bread pesto pizza with pulled pork and cheese on top. It came out great. Enjoyed your recipe!

  72. Trying this for the superbowl tomorrow, planning on putting my 7.5 LB butt on the Masterbuild pellet grill/smoker at 9-10 tonight and serving it to the family tomorrow. Very excited to try this !

  73. Thank you for finally teaching me how to do pulled pork right! I’ve watched a lot of videos, read a lot of articles online, but it wasn’t until I read your recipe that I made what my wife referred to as the best pork she’s ever eaten! I think I would second her on that one. Your explanation of the whole process was so helpful especially learning about the stall. The last roast I did was undercooked and I couldn’t pull it apart. I love your dry rub recipe, but I have to confess that I used a different sauce recipe that is honey based and had espresso in it. I am so glad that I happened on your page and now I can smoke butt roasts with confidence, already planning my next one!!!

    1. Can I ask for details on your rub? I’m in the final stages of this right now, but have another one in the freezer, just messing around trying different things!

  74. I have a Smokey Joe smoker and want to know if I should put water in the pan. I never seem to get a great bark, and I’m wondering if that is why.

  75. This is the second butt I’ve cooked using this recipe. I’ve used the oven both times, low and slow at 250 degrees until just reached 201 degrees. My butt was just over 6 pounds and it spent a little over 12 hours in the oven. Just shredded it after letting it rest for 30 minutes. Followed the recipe exactly. The bone slid out clean, the meat is so tender and juicy, shredded it with two forks. It has an awesome flavor. This is my go-to recipe for pulled pork. Thank you!!

  76. I had a 10 pound roast and followed this to a tee using the homemade rub. Took 24 hours at 225 to get it to 195 degrees with a Masterbuilt electric smoker. Absolutely fantastic! Great bark to it and so juicy and tender!

  77. I followed this recipe last night and let me say oh my god this has been the best pork butt I’ve ever made myself. Thank you!!

  78. Okay, dumb question. When the recipe says to to slather in yellow mustard, I assume this is prepared mustard, not dry mustard?

  79. This is our first time trying a cut that smokes this long. Do you set the smoker and go to bed? Can it be left on its own overnight?

    1. It depends on the type of smoker you have! I trust my pellet grills all night long but still check them every few hours. If you’re smoking on something like an offset you’ll have to stay up to feed the fire and keep the temperature right!

  80. A 7.5 lb butt took me 17 hours to get to 195/196, and that was probably 15 hours at 225 and final 2 hours at 250 on my Traeger. Did I do something wrong? I thought for 225 you just multiply 7.5 x 2 = 15 hours, but took WAY longer. Who knows how long if I didn’t bump it up to 250 in the final 2 hours. Any ideas?

    1. Take an accurate external thermometer and check what the actual temperature of your grill is vs. the temperature the controller says it is.

  81. I have an electric smoker and usually put water in the water pan. Should I do that for this recipe? Making within couple of days, can’t wait!!

  82. Greetings,
    Another question regarding cook time… I see other recipes that suggest it will take 10-11 hours to smoke a 9lb butt at 225-250. In these recipes the butt is wrapped in foil after 5 hours of smoking. Does it take less cook time because the butt gets through the stall quicker when wrapped in foil? Just trying to understand why there is such a big difference in cook time. Thanks, and please advise.

  83. Morning….just shredded my 5.8 lb butt, came out great! Question, though… took 21.5 hrs to get to 197 deg! Using my new Weber Genesis LP grill with a SS smoker box. Kept temp at 240 for first 6 hrs or so. Bumped up to 275 for next 6 or so. Just took forever for only a 5+ lb butt. My first time smoking….might be my last.

  84. I’m smoking a 4 lb butt for the 1st time. I have a recipe to do it in a roasting pan that calls for bbq sauce over it. I also do ribs and brisket on the smoker and paint them with sauce about an hour or so before I take them off. If I want to sauce the butt when should I do that. My wife likes it in the oven but I want to smoke it this time.

  85. We usually just cook and smoke beef but I really wanted to conquer a quintessential smoked pork recipe. This is a solid recipe! First time smoking pork shoulder, I followed your recipe exactly, and it came out fantastic! I bought a 15lb pack at Costco, smoked both for about 15 hours. I let it rest for almost 4 hours in an insulated ice chest until dinner. Still steaming hot when it was time to eat. It had a beautiful crust and smoke ring, bone came out, meat fell apart perfectly. I sprinkled more seasoning after I pulled the pork and it really did tie everything together.
    I served it with my homemade bbq sauce and coleslaw. Big hit with the family. My husband who doesn’t usually like pulled pork really liked it! This won him over for sure. We put most in the freezer so can enjoy this a few more times.
    I will definitely do this again.

  86. I followed your recipe for the pulled pork. It turned out perfect! I like the rub and the cooler idea kept it warm till dinner. Thanks!

  87. Just used your recipe on a TRAEGER 780. 9.5lb Boston Butt took 22 hours to get to 201. I had the initial stall at 165, and a second stall at 195. After 22 hours, I took it off and wrapped it in Aluminum Foil for 1 hour. The pork was absolutely delicious. It fell off the bone as described, and the fat that was on the butt at the start had melted into the butt creating the juiciest pork my family had eaten. This recipe is the best I have come across! Thank you from my family and I!!!

  88. Ok, so I have the old style R2D2 looking smoker w/ the water pan. It is 11pm on 4th of July Eve. I am going to start the shoulder in gas oven tonite, then fire up the smoker in the morning …shooting for 4PM eat time…

  89. I love your site… it has become my smoker’s bible so to speak. Just an interesting thing I did that worked pretty well… hours 1-5 I spritzed my butt with Juicy Juice Berry juice. It left behind just the slightest hint of raspberry witch was a nice addition to the smokey/sweet whiskey bbq sauce I use.

  90. I’ve used your recipe and had great results. Does the temperature outside effect the way the smoker cooks? In other words, if it’s hot out (102 today) will the smoker light up less often and limit the amount of smoke?

  91. Hey Susie, first of all, thanks for this great blog.

    Yesterday I tried my new pit (Old Country BBQ Pecos) with a pork shoulder using this blog as a guide. Turned out AMAZINGLY, as did the ribs I threw in there as well.

    But I would’ve thought temp control would be easier in a pit than it turned out to have been. I saw a wide range of temps, from 160 when I’d allowed my fire to mostly burn out, to near 300 after adding another log through the firebox side door. I was careful not to open the smoke box lid once so I wouldn’t lose any heat. Is this typical behavior?

    1. Yes, that’s fairly typical. You’ll always need to build experience with a new pit to get the hang of maintaining the fire the perfect way.

  92. Just smoked a 10lb pork shoulder on a second hand gas vertical smoker from a neighbor. It appears to be a great smoker, Masterbuilt 44″ Elite. Tons of cooking space! I’m using a Maverick XR Pro 4 channel thermometer. This is the second time smoking with it. The first time was a brisket using your smoker recipe, and a pork sirloin roast. The brisket was excellent, the sirloin was okay, and the pork shoulder looks excellent (still resting). But, there has been one anomaly that has repeated for all 3 recipes. Although the smoker was held at 225 deg F (+/- 5 most of the time) using a dedicate channel on the Maverick the meat cooked much longer than expected. I should note here a dedicated probe was used for each meat so it could be monitored real time in the house. The brisket was 3.5 lbs and cooked for nearly 8 hours to reach 199 using foil for the stall. Completely stopped here for quite some time. Finally pulled it, rested, and devoured it. Wow! The pork sirloin was pulled at 145 deg per recipe (about 2 hrs). It was bloody. Back in until nearly 160 deg (added 1 hr). No more blood and was okay. The pork shoulder took right at 24 hours to reach 196 deg. Decided to pull instead of driving to 201 deg. All that said, I don’t know if my smoker is somehow running cooler or I’ve just had 3 out of 3 flukes of the meat just taking longer to cook. Regardless, the brisket was top shelf and the shoulder looks absolutely amazing! Thank you for sharing the recipes and open dialogue here!

    Open to feedback and suggestions for what might be going on.

  93. Oh Yeah, Oh Yeah, I want a bite right now, please! I love the recipe and the video! Thanks so much for sharing with us at Full Plate Thursday and have a great weekend!

  94. I have been smoking on my pit boss for about a year now . Have thoroughly enjoyed the wonderful world of smoking . Pork butts are the one thing I need more practice on . I love the simplicity of your recipe and will fire up the boss at 6a.m. tomorrow !! Can you tell me the difference and or advantages of fat side up or fat side down for the pork butts? I usually do my briskets fat side down and they turn out just fine . Thanks for any helpful insight .

    1. I’ve done many both ways and haven’t been able to tell any difference. Usually I just use the fat side to shield the meat from where the heat is coming from in the cooker I’m using!

      1. Followed the recipe to the letter yesterday on my 7.25 lb. pork butt . First time attempting go get a good bark by not wrapping when the stall hits . Took 13 hours to complete and all I (and my wife) can say is that it turned out absolutely fantastic !!! I couldn’t wait any longer , so I pulled it at 195 , then put it inside an insulated bag for one hour. The bark was totally delicious and the whole thing shredded beautifully , so tender !! This will definitely be my guide for doing pork butts . Thanks !!!!

  95. We smoked a 7.5 pork butt for 11.5 hours on a Traeger to reach 201. We think our smoker may run a bit hot, so will try a notch lower temp next time. Hands down the best pulled pork we’ve ever had. The bark was delicious with no taste of mustard at all. The bone came out clean. Wrapped in towels and put in an insulated cooler for 5 hours before eating since it was done so early. Can’t wait to make it again!

  96. I’m using a Pit Boss vertical smoker. I used an 8 lb butt, so I put it in last night at 11PM based on 2 lbs/hr. Checked it at 7AM, and it’s at 191°. Yikes! My water pan was dried out overnight. Cabinet was set to 225°. It’ll run a tad on the high side, maybe 235° at the most. Next time I’ll probably do 200° overnight, and turn it up in the morning. I hope I have a good heat retaining cooler! I’ll let it rest an hour or two after it hits 201°, pull it, and package it in Ziploc bags. Part of this is going across the street to a family whose mom/wife is recovering from cancer. All of the neighbors are taking turns preparing meals for them. I frequently have discussions about smoking with her husband (as recently as yesterday), so it’ll be interesting to see how he likes the pulled pork. I sure am looking forward to dinner tonight!

    Thanks for what you do. I love your enthusiasm!

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