Learn how to smoke a pork butt/pork shoulder to create yummy pulled pork. If you are just starting out smoking meat, pulled pork is a great way to begin. In this case, we are using the term pork butt and pork shoulder interchangeably.
Both cuts come from the same area on the hog and are very similar. The pork shoulder is typically cut into two parts, the Boston Butt, and the Picnic Ham. Boston Butt is a nickname given during the Colonial days by New Englanders to this cut even though it is taken from the shoulder of the hog.
A wonderful thing about smoking a pork butt to create yummy pulled pork is the versatility of the pulled pork itself. Pulled pork sandwiches of course but it goes far beyond sandwiches. Consider some of these ideas while you are waiting for that succulent pork shoulder to finish smoking. Nachos with pulled pork. Pulled pork and beans. Pulled pork in soup. Tacos with pulled pork!
Here are a couple of quick things to explore when learning how to create yummy pulled pork. Dry brining your meat before smoking it will give you a better chance at a tasty and tender result. Learn more about dry brining (salting the meat). Smoking a pork butt for 10 hours will render quite a bit of fat. Consider using a smoking pan and rack to catch the fat before it makes a huge mess in your smoker. It makes clean up much easier. Choosing the right rub for your pork shoulder is a personal choice. If you need somewhere to start, consider the Flying Swine all-purpose rub. It will add a very tasty sweet and savory combination to your cook. One other popular choice is Pig Powder.
And finally, this might be your first encounter with the dreaded stall. No worries – check out the stall details here. Check out the details below and learn how to smoke a pork butt/pork shoulder to create yummy pulled pork.
Create Yummy Pulled PorkCourse: MainCuisine: ComfortDifficulty: Easy
All cooking times are approximate. Please use your instant-read thermometer and the internal temperature target as your guide.
Ingredients and supplies
7 – 10 pound pork butt or pork shoulder
Pork Rub (Flying Swine All Purpose Rub)
Vegetable oil or cooking spray
Smoking pan and rack
Oak / Pecan wood pellet blend
- Prepare and season.
Prepare the pork butt by covering the meat with a light coating of vegetable oil. You can also spray with Pam or similar food spray. This will help the salt and seasonings adhere to the meat. Today we are using Flying Swine All-Purpose seasoning which I like because of its sweet-savory combination and the color it adds during smoking. Dry brine the pork butt overnight uncovered in your refrigerator.
Set your smoker temperature to 250 F | 121 C. This is definitely low and slow. Strongly recommend cooking it on a rack in a sheet pan to catch the drippings and save yourself some smoker clean up after a full day of smoking.
- Progress Report.
This is a long cook and we are about 5 hours into it now. The pork butt is showing good color, but we have a ways to go yet. Resist the temptation to speed up the cook at a higher temperature. Low and slow is the way – watch out for the stall and stay the course!
- Target temperature reached.
The internal temperature has finally reached 202 F | 95 C. This piece of meat has been transformed into amazing and succulent smoked pork. Remove from the smoker being careful not to spill the fat from the sheet pan. Let it cool before breaking it down into pulled pork.
While it is warm, break the meat up with your fingers. Remove any unwanted connective tissue or fat. Separate the gorgeous tender strands of pork. The pulled pork is delicious but not as amazing as this meat tastes straight from the smoker! While the meat chunks are still warm, pull the strands of pork apart and break them into bite-sized pieces. Make sure to include plenty of the bark from the outside of the roast to add color and awesome smokey taste.
Add your favorite sauce to taste and voila – amazing pulled pork!
- One additional suggestion. After the pork is pulled and ready for service mix in a healthy drizzle of apple cider vinegar to bring out the flavor!