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SMOKED Pork Butt Recipe

Smoked pork butt (AKA smoked pork shoulder) is one of those recipes that is a masterpiece of its own. Smoked low and slow, pork shoulder is the way to go if you’re looking for something that’s easy to make and hits your tastebuds perfectly no matter how it’s served. 

cooked smoked pork butt shredded and served with hamburger buns

How to Choose The Best Pork Shoulder for Smoking

What’s the most commonly ordered meal when you hit a barbeque restaurant? You bet, the pulled pork. What makes it so good? 

 Quality Cut Matters.

Aside from a proper smoke time and temperature, it’s the fat. 

Consider purchasing your pork shoulder from your local butcher. The fresher the better. 

When purchasing your pork shoulder, look for one that is pink in color and has some marbling (that marbling is the fat that gives the pork so much flavor). Another purchasing tip: consider using a bone-in shoulder. It’ll give you the perfect “fall off the bone” roast you’re looking for.

Injecting Pork Butt

Is There a Difference Between a Pork Shoulder and a Pork Butt?

No, there isn’t, both come from the shoulder of the pig—if your cut is labeled a pork butt, it’s higher up on the foreleg.  

How to Make Smoked Pork Shoulder

The secret to making the best smoked pork shoulder is to keep it moist. Dry pork ends up being tossed in barbeque sauces and doesn’t get the attention it truly deserves. 

In order to create a moist smoked shoulder, we recommend a pork injection using a meat injector. This is done the night prior to smoking. It’s easy to do, in fact, you can pick up a cheap injector at your local grocery store. Just toss the injection ingredients together, inject it into the pork shoulder, and let it take in all the juices for the evening. 

Ingredients for injection for smoked pork butt
Ingredients for Pork Butt Injection

Pork Shoulder Temperature

After you’ve let your pork shoulder sit overnight, you’ll want to preheat your smoker. Preheat your smoker to 225°F. Smoking at the correct temperature gives the pork the best texture and the best flavor. 

A Pork Butt Recipe Secret: The Rub Down

While you wait for your smoker to preheat, rub down your pork butt with spices to really enhance the flavor. 

Spice rubs are all the rage for meats that are smoked, grilled, roasted, etc. But there’s a secret to the perfect rub: mustard. 

The acidity in the mustard will tenderize the meat. 

Pork butt covered in Mustard
Rub down your pork butt with mustard

After you’ve coated your pork shoulder in the mustard, you can add your favorite rub to all sides of the pork. My favorite ingredients to add to a pork rub include: 

Pouring some Cayenne pepper on top of smoke pork shoulder

Smoked Pork Butt: Timing is Key

Smoked pork shoulder requires patience. Not because it’s difficult to do, but because the smoking process can take anywhere between 15-20 hours.

For every pound of meat, you’ll want to leave in it the smoker for 120 minutes. The time may vary based on the consistency of your smoker and the size of the pork shoulder. 

Smoked Pork Shoulder cooking on a Weber Smoker

Once your pork shoulder has reached an internal temperature of 190-201°F, it’s ready to be taken out of the smoker. 

But don’t start shredding yet. 

To lock in all the flavors, wrap the pork butt in foil and let it rest for at least an hour. 

Pork Shoulder wrapped in aluminum foil

When should you shred your Pulled Pork?

Finally, you can begin shredding your pork butt has rested for at least 1 hour and is cool enough to handle.

I usually prefer to use my hands, but you can also use two forks to shred the meat apart.Shredding Pork Butt after it has been cooked

Make sure you remove any bones and excess fat from the pan and add juices or additional seasoning for that extra added flavor.

Adding some final seasoning to the shredded pork butt

What do you serve with Pulled Pork Sandwiches?

You can always serve a traditional coleslaw, potato salad, or french fries, but the sky is the limit when it comes to the variety of BBQ side dishes that could pair nicely with pulled pork sandwiches.

Smoked Pork Butt servedon hamburger bun with jalepenos

Interested in brining or injecting your pork shoulder? Check out my recipes: Pork Shoulder Brine and Pork Shoulder Injection.

smoked pork butt recipe graphic
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Smoked Pork Butt

Smoked Pork Butt Recipe

Smoked pork shoulder (pork butt) is one of those recipes that is a masterpiece of its own. Smoked low and slow, pork shoulder is the way to go if you’re looking for something that’s easy to make and hits your tastebuds perfectly no matter how it’s served. 
4.44 from 37 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Smoked Recipes
Cuisine: Smoked Meats
Keyword: Smoked Pork Butt
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 12 hours
Additional Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 15 hours 20 minutes
Servings: 1 person per ½ pound
Calories: 4035kcal
Author: Copyright 2020 Recipes For Dads


  • 8-10 pound bone-in pork shoulder pork butt
  • Yellow Mustard enough to coat exterior

Spice Rub

  • ¼ Cup Sweet Paprika
  • 2 Tablespoons Ground Black Pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons Dry Mustard
  • ½ Teaspoon Chili Powder
  • ½ Teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • ½ Teaspoon Cayenne Powder

Pork Injection

  • 1 cup Apple Juice
  • 2 tablespoons Kosher Salt
  • ½ cup Water
  • ½ cup Brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Cayenne pepper
  • teaspoon of paprika
  • teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons Soy sauce
  • ¼ cup Apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup Amesphos phosphates


  • Prepare and season your pork shoulder a day before you are planning to smoke your pork shoulder. 
  • Remove your roast from the packaging and wipe it down on all sides with paper towels, allow to rest for an hour.
  • Coat the entire exterior of the pork shoulder with the yellow mustard.
  • Season your pork shoulder on all sides, top, and bottom, with the spice rub. 
  • Preheat your smoker to 225 degrees F for indirect smoking.
  • Place your seasoned pork butt on the smoker fat side up.
  • 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 spice rub.



If you wish to speed the cook process up, you can pull the pork butt at 165 and wrap it in foil and put it back on the smoker in order for it to cook faster and get through the stall.


Serving: 1g | Calories: 4035kcal | Carbohydrates: 168g | Protein: 446g | Fat: 168g | Saturated Fat: 56g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 21g | Monounsaturated Fat: 75g | Cholesterol: 1483mg | Sodium: 17736mg | Potassium: 9028mg | Fiber: 16g | Sugar: 136g | Vitamin A: 14633IU | Vitamin C: 23mg | Calcium: 605mg | Iron: 38mg

All you pitmaster dads need to check out my other recipes:

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Recipe Rating


  1. If I have a 14 lb pork butt, can I cut it in half to cut down on cooking time? Wouldn’t it be a shorter cooking time to cook two 7 pound roasts v. One 14 pound roast?

    1. Hi Lori! It would cut down on the cooking time if you cut the pork butt in half, but you are still looking at approx. 1.5 hours per pound. If you want to rush it, you can double wrap it with tin foil around 165-170 to speed up the cook.

  2. 5 stars
    This is the very best smoked pork recipe my husband and I have tried. It came out perfectly!

    1. Hi Melissa! Thank you so much for leaving the comment and so glad you guys loved it! – Mark

    2. 5 stars

      This recipe is phenomenal. I followed your brine with a slight variation of partial apple juice and cider, coupled to with this recipe, slightly different exterior spice combo, and 23.5 hours on as I played with the temps a little differently, but ooh boy. Great tips and general outline to follow. I appreciate it highly!

      1. Hi Steve, thank you so much for your positive review. I am so glad you found this recipe super tasty. Glad you enjoyed it. Please share this with your friends. Cheers!

  3. It would be helpful for smoking newbies, if you would add when you inject the meat in the instruction steps. Putting my pork butt out to season now for smoking tomorrow. Looking forward to trying it!

    1. 5 stars
      Hi Jeanette, I have incuded the injection recipe into this post but also linked to it seperately as well. Thank you for providing your feedback! Hope you enjoyed.

  4. 5 stars
    Our dinner came out Super Famtastic. This recipe is a keeper. Thank you.

    1. Thank you Brenda for the kind feedback, I am so glad you enjoyed my smoked pork shoulder recipe. Take care! Mark