Smoked pulled pork made from pork butt is a lot easier than most folks realize and although it does take 12 to 14 hours to produce at normal smoking temperatures, it can be done in almost any smoker and made to taste amazing regardless of your skill level.

Helpful Information
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 12-14 hours
  • Smoker Temp: 240°F
  • Meat Finish Temp: 205°F
  • Recommended Wood: Apple
What You'll Need
IMG 0244Please note that my rubs and barbecue sauce are now available in 2 formats– you can purchase the formulas and make them yourself OR you can buy them already made, in a bottle, ready to use.

Step 1: Unwrap and Rinse

Remove the pork butt from the packaging and rinse it under cold water.

Pat dry with a paper towel.

I recommend placing it in a pan during the seasoning process to make cleanup really easy.

2015-IMG_7415

Step 2: Brush Dressing onto Meat

Normally I use yellow mustard to help the rub to stick since it works so well however, you can use almost anything and to prove that, I am using zesty Italian dressing on this pork butt and it works like a charm and adds a ton of great zesty flavor to the meat as well.

Pour the dressing over the top of the meat.

2015-IMG_7418

Use a basting brush to make sure the meat is coated well with the dressing.

2015-IMG_7419

Step 3: Apply Rub

Sprinkle my Jeff's original rub (Purchase formula here | Purchase bottled rub) onto all sides of the meat making sure you have good coverage.

Be generous to create a nice crispy bark on the outside during the cooking process.

2015-IMG_7420

It is now ready for the smoker.

Step 4: Smoke

Set up your smoker for indirect heat maintaining about 225-240°F for about 12-14 hours.

When you are ready, place the pork butt directly on the grate.

I like to insert a digital probe meat thermometer such as the “Smoke” by Thermoworks to monitor the temperature while it cooks.

The “Smoke” has dual probes, is wireless between the unit at the smoker and the monitor you carry with you up to about 300 feet,  has a backlight and is super easy to setup and use (no pairing involved, it just links up automatically).

I like to place a pan on a lower rack if I can to catch the juices that drip down. If your smoker is configured to allow for this, it's a great idea.

I used apple wood to impart a really wonderful flavor into the pork but you can use almost any smoking wood that you have available.

I recommend keeping the smoke flowing for at least 6 to 8 hours if you are using charcoal, electric or gas smokers.

If your smoker has a water pan, use it.

Let the pork butt smoke out in the open grate for the entire time or you can place it in a pan once it reaches about 160°F covered with foil to help it get done a little faster.

I opted to not cover this one but left it directly on the grate with a pan under it for the entire time.

Here is the pork butt at 160°F:

2015-IMG_7426

When it reaches 205°F, it should be fall apart tender and can be removed from the smoker.

Those not familiar with pork butts always wonder why it's so dark. The rub gets darker and darker as it cooks and this is what you usually want when you are making pulled pork.

If you wrap the meat at 160°F it will not end up quite as dark however it can also end up soft on the outside rather than crispy.

2015-IMG_7429

Let it sit with foil tented over it for about an hour to cool before attempting to pull/shred the meat.

Step 5: Pull and Remove Fat

When you are ready, slide the bone out of the meat.

Separate the meat into pieces removing any pieces of fat as you go.

I generally use my hands only but some folks like to use large forks or special tools for this process such as bear paws.

2015-IMG_7437

If you happened to catch some of the juices from the pork butt while it cooked in the smoker, you can remove the fat then pour some of that tasty au jus over the meat and stir it in.

Here's what I do as well to really amp up the flavor of that meat without making it salty:

Add about ½ cup of Jeff's original rub (Purchase formula here | Purchase bottled rub) to the pulled pork and mix that in real good with your hands. Taste it then add more if you want to.

Admire your mad smoking skills for a moment and then call in the troops for dinner!

Step 6: Serve

Serve the pulled pork piled high on a bun as a traditional pulled pork sandwich or use your imagination and let it run wild. Be sure to have some of my warmed barbecue sauce (Purchase formula here | Purchase bottled rub) on the side for your guests to enjoy!

Enjoy!

Notes:
  • The pork butt in the pictures above weighed in at 8 lbs and was bone-in.
  • There is no shame in finishing a long cook such as this in the home oven. If you are having trouble maintaining the temperature of your smoker, let it stay in the smoker for at least 6 hours if possible then move it to a pan and place it in the oven at 240°F for the remainder of the time. It will still turn out very tender and tasty and you'll be a lot less frustrated 😉
  • I get a lot of questions about why you need to cook pork butts to such a high temperature.. lean pork is done and ready to eat at 145°F however, the pork butt as well as the rest of the pork shoulder is a tough hunk of meat that is not very lean and it takes lots of time to make it tender. Tender pulled pork is achieved by allowing it to cook to a very high internal temperature. Because of all the fat embedded in the meat, it handles it very well and will end up tender and juicy.
  • To reheat pulled pork, place the meat into a large pot over medium low heat. Add a half stick of butter on the top of the meat and cover. Once the butter melts, stir it in to juice up the meat. If you want to stir in a little more of Jeff's original rub (Purchase formula here | Purchase bottled rub), that is always a great idea.
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You can also order the formulas for my rubs and sauce and make these yourself at home. Grab those HERE and download immediately.

Jeff’s Smoking Meat Books

smoking-meat-book-coverSmoking Meat: The Essential Guide to Real Barbecue – The book is full of recipes and contains tons of helpful information as well. Some have even said that “no smoker should be without this book”!

With more than 1000 reviews on Amazon.com and a rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars, it comes highly recommended and is a Bestseller in Barbecuing & Grilling books on Amazon.

AmazonBarnes & Noble | German Edition

smoke-wood-fire-book-coverSmoke, Wood, Fire: The Advanced Guide to Smoking Meat – Unlike the first book, this book does not focus on recipes but rather uses every square inch of every page teaching you how to smoke meat. What my first book touched on, this second book takes it into much greater detail with lots of pictures.

It also includes a complete, step-by-step tutorial for making your own smoked “streaky” bacon using a 100 year old brine recipe.

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tasty tender smoked pulled pork 575x384 1
Print Recipe
4.43 from 7 votes

Tasty and Tender Smoked Pulled Pork

Smoked pulled pork made from pork butt is a lot easier than most folks realize and although it does take more than 14 hours to produce at normal smoking temperatures, it can be done in almost any smoker and made to taste great regardless of skill level.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time14 hrs
Servings: 10 -12

Ingredients

  • Pork butt (((also called Boston butt)))
  • Italian dressing ((, zesty))
  • Jeff’s original rub recipe
  • Jeff’s barbecue sauce

Instructions

Step 1: Unwrap and Rinse

  • Remove the pork butt from the packaging and rinse it under cold water.
  • Pat dry with a paper towel.
  • I recommend placing it in a pan during the seasoning process to make cleanup really easy.

Step 2: Brush Dressing onto Meat

  • Normally I use yellow mustard to help the rub to stick since it works so well however, you can use almost anything and to prove that, I am using zesty Italian dressing on this pork butt and it works like a charm.
  • Pour the dressing over the top of the meat.
  • Use a basting brush to make sure the meat is coated well with the dressing.

Step 3: Apply Rub

  • Sprinkle my Jeff’s naked rib rub onto all sides of the meat making sure you have good coverage.
  • Be generous to create a nice crispy bark on the outside during the cooking process.
  • It is now ready for the smoker.

Step 4: Smoke

  • Set up your smoker for indirect heat maintaining about 225-240°F for about 14-16 hours.
  • When you are ready, place the pork butt directly on the grate.
  • I like to place a pan on a lower rack if I can to catch the juices that drip down. If your smoker is configured to allow for this, it’s a great idea.
  • I used apple wood to impart a really wonderful flavor into the pork but you can use almost any smoking wood that you have available.
  • I recommend keeping the smoke flowing for at least 6 to 8 hours if you are using charcoal, electric or gas smokers.
  • If your smoker has a water pan, use it.
  • Let the pork butt smoke out in the open grate for the entire time or you can place it in a pan once it reaches about 160°F covered with foil to help it get done a little faster.
  • I opted to not cover this one but left it directly on the grate with a pan under it for the entire time.
  • When it reaches 205°F, it should be fall apart tender and can be removed from the smoker.
  • Those not familiar with pork butts always wonder why it’s so dark. The rub gets darker and darker as it cooks and this is what you usually want when you are making pulled pork.
  • If you wrap the meat at 160°F it will not end up quite as dark however it will also be soft on the outside rather than crispy.
  • Let it sit with foil tented over it for about an hour to cool before attempting to pull/shred the meat.

Step 5: Pull and Remove Fat

  • When you are ready, slide the bone out of the meat.
  • Separate the meat into pieces removing any pieces of fat as you go.
  • I generally use my hands only but some folks like to use large forks or special tools for this process such as bear paws.

Step 6: Serve

  • You can serve the pulled pork piled high on a bun as a traditional pulled pork sandwich or use your imagination and let it run wild.