So you’ve decided you want to try your hand at some deliciously smoked pulled pork. The good news, is that this is one of the more forgiving cuts to smoke, and even if you do not smoke it perfectly, it can still turn out delicious. Before we get to the smoking process and meat prep, we must get the right cut for smoking.
In order to ensure you get a nice even smoke, and that nice smoke ring, try and buy a cut of pork butt that is uniform throughout. Go for something that’s a nice even cube.
Once you have your cut of pork butt, while you wait for the smoker to heat up, it is time to apply your dry rub. While you can use almost any kind of rub you like, I am a huge fan of Code 3 Spices 5-0 rub, or their backdraft rub. These are two of my go-to’s when making pulled pork. I like the 5-0 rub, which is a little sweet and zesty, which adds a nice sweetness to the pulled pork. Be very generous when applying the dry rub, as this is what forms the bark. If you are unsure, it is always better to overdo it.
Now that we’ve handled the rub, and while we let it marinate with the pork, we can build our baste. By the time this is over, the smoker should be heated, and ready to have the pork tossed on. My go-to recipe for pork butt baste is simple: 2 cups apple cider vinegar, 2 cups lager, 5 dashes Worcestershire, pepper.
Basting should be done every hour. I use a spray bottle, but you can use a regular baster, or a brush to apply the baste to the pork. With each baste, the pork should have a nice glisten to it, which helps keep the pork from drying out during the smoking process while also helping to thicken the bark that will start to form shortly.
Knowing exactly how long to smoke something for, and knowing when to pull it off to rest can be tricky. The only real way to learn how to make good bbq is by making bad bbq. I find keeping the temperature around 250 works best. At this temperature, pork butt will take about 2 hours per pound. Once temperature on the smoker gets up to 250, I like to turn on the smoke setting, and then put the pork butt on the smoker. This gives an initial burst of smoke to start off the smoking process. Once putting the pork butt on the smoker, smoke until it hits an internal temperature of 145 degrees. At this point the meat hits a stall, you should pull it off the smoker and wrap in tin foil to help keep the cook on track, making sure to wrap thoroughly. You do not want any of the steam to leak through, as this is what keeps the pork juicy and builds that nice thick bark. At this point, smoke until you reach an internal temperature of 200 degrees. Once it hits this point, take it off the smoker and let sit about 30 minutes before pulling. Once the pork hits 200 degrees, the fibres in the meat start to break down, which is what makes the pork so easy to pull apart.
The good news about pork butt is that you will know how good of a job you did the second you start breaking it up. The bone should easily slide out when you go to pull it out, and you should easily be able to pull apart the pork with two forks. If the bone doesn’t easily slide out, don’t panic, you can still be ok. If you are unable to pull apart the pork, you may have kept it on the smoker a little too long or had the temperature a little too high. This is an easy thing to save, however. If you are making pulled pork for sandwiches, then lucky you, you can just toss on some bbq sauce to subtly mask the fact that the pork was left on a little too long.
We hope this article helped you achieve that perfect smoke for your Pork Butt. Check back soon for more!
*The photos featured are from the beginning of the smoking process, and after a couple hours on the smoker. This post will be updated with more photos the next time I decide to do pulled pork*