Smoked Boston Butt

This week I’m firing up the Drum and smoking a Boston Butt for the Super Bowl. I’m sure Patriots fans will appreciate it since this pork roast gets its’ name from the New England region.

A “Boston Butt” is just another name for a pork butt or pork shoulder roast. A long time ago when lesser cuts of pork – shoulders & hams – were packed for storage; they were placed in large wooden barrels called butts. This is where the name “Boston Butt” comes from and it’s still used today.

For this recipe I’m starting with a 10lb bone-in, Boston Butt. You’ll want to open the package near the sink and drain any liquid. Use paper towel to pat dry the outside and place it on a large platter or sheet pan.

Smoked Boston Butt

In order to get the seasoning to stick to the butt, I’m using plain yellow mustard. Slather on a light coat on all sides. I want a spicy bark on this butt to offset the sweetness of the glaze, so I’m using my Killer Hogs Hot Rub. Apply a medium coat of the rub on the outside and let the Boston Butt hang out at room temperature while the smoker comes up to temp.

Smoked Boston Butt

As always you can use any smoker or grill for this cook. I’m using my drum and running it at a steady 275⁰ the entire cook. When the smoker settles in, add your favorite wood to the coals.

I like the flavor that hickory and cherry gives pork, so I’m using a chunk of each along with ½ a sweet onion. The onion adds a little extra flavor, and I just like the way it smells as it blends with the wood smoke.

Smoked Boston Butt

Place the Boston Butt on the center of the cooking rack and get the lid closed. To keep the bark from getting to dry during this process I spritz it with equal parts Red Wine Vinegar and Water. About every hour give it a quick spritz. Once the bark starts to develop and the outside has turned a dark shade of red, it’s time to wrap.

Smoked Boston Butt

Use 2-3 layers of aluminum foil overlapped to hold in moisture and reduce the chance of tears in the wrap. Before closing the foil hit the outside of the Boston Butt with a little extra dry rub and a spritz of the baste.

I also insert a meat probe into the thickest part of the butt. Wrap the foil completely around the butt and get it back on the smoker. At this point we’re just rendering the fat inside the butt to get it tender.

Smoked Boston Butt

I’m looking for a target internal temp of 198⁰ for easy pulling, so it’ll take another 2 hours of cook time. Keep the heat steady at 275⁰.

I’m using the Smoke by Thermoworks to eyeball the temperature; It’s handy because you can take the remote inside and kick back while the smoker does its’ thing. You can check these new Smoke thermometers out here >>

While the Boston Butt is cooking make the glaze.

Apricot BBQ Glaze:

Combine all ingredients in a small sauce pot over Medium heat until mixtures smooths about 5-10 minutes.

Once the Boston Butt reaches 198⁰ carefully take it off the pit and unwrap the foil. I wear a pair of white cotton glove liners underneath a pair of nitrile gloves when working with anything hot.

Smoked Boston Butt

Transfer the butt to a chicken rack and apply the glaze to the outside. Having it on the wire rack makes transferring back and forth easy.

Place the Boston Butt back on the pit for 15 minutes to give the glaze time to caramelize. Don’t walk to far away at this stage because it can burn on you really quick.

Now that the glaze has set, remove the butt from the smoker and let it rest on the counter for 20 minutes before pulling. When you’re ready to break it down, simply tear into the butt separating it by each muscle. It will pull apart with ease.

Smoked Boston Butt

Be sure to remove any fat or connective tissue that failed to render. A butt this size is going to yield you about 7lbs of good pulled pork. You can serve it right away or package it for later use.

I’m planning on making some Killer BBQ Nachos for the Super Bowl at our house but you can use it for sandwiches, beans, or even bbq pizza.

The great thing about pulled pork is it’s versatile, and everyone is sure to like it no matter which team you’re cheering for this weekend.

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Malcom Reed
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Smoked Boston Butt

About the Author

I am Malcom Reed and my brother, Waylon, and I are the Killer Hogs competition bbq team. Here at HowtoBBQright.com, I want to give you my secrets, methods and techniques you need to produce competition-quality BBQ. I want to give enough detail for BBQ novices, but still offer information that is useful for the professional BBQ cooks. I only focus on REAL bbq. And I take it seriously.

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