Smoked Boston Butt RecipeThis 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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:
- 12oz Killer Hogs The BBQ Sauce
- 4oz Apricot Preserves
- 4oz Honey
- 4oz Apple Cider Vinegar
Smoked Boston Butt Recipe
- 8–10lb Boston Butt Pork Roast
- 2oz Yellow Mustard
- 4oz Killer Hogs The Hot Rub
- 8oz Red Wine Vinegar
- 8oz Water
- Remove Boston Butt from Packaging and pat dry with paper towel to remove moisture.
- Apply mustard to the outside of Boston Butt and coat all sides with Hot BBQ Rub.
- Prepare Drum smoker or other bbq grill for indirect smoking at 275⁰.
- Place 1 chunk of Hickory wood, 1 chunk of Cherry wood, and 2 Sweet Onion quarters directly on coals.
- Center Boston Butt on cooking rack and smoke for 3 hours or until desired color is reached. Combine Red Wine Vinegar and Water in a spray bottle and spritz butt every hour during smoking process.
- Wrap Boston Butt in 2-3 layers of aluminum foil. Apply a light coat of rub and baste before closing foil.
- Continue to cook Boston Butt until internal temperature of 198⁰ is reached.
- Unwrap Boston Butt and transfer to wire rack. Glaze* outside of butt and return to smoker for 15 minutes.
- Rest Boston Butt for 20 minutes before pulling. Use hands and shred Boston Butt into bite size strands, remove any fat, and serve immediately or store in zip lock bag for 3-4 days in refrigerator.
Apricot BBQ Glaze
- 12oz Killer Hogs The BBQ Sauce
- 4oz Apricot Preserves
- 4oz Honey
- 4oz Apple Cider Vinegar
- Combine all ingredients in a small sauce pot over Medium heat until mixtures smooths about 5-10 minutes.
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Malcom, awesome job as always. Gonna try this one on Saturday. Thanks for the guidance!
Malcom. I don’t have a grill or a smoker. Is there a way to do the cooking in my oven?
I don’t know – never cooked a butt in the oven. You could try
Thank you for your videos they are very helpful. What kind of meat probe do you recommend?
I love Thermoworks products – https://www.thermoworks.com/?tw=KILLERHOGS
How long would it take to smoke a 8 lb Boston Butt
Hello of course you can. I use Pork rub from grocery store rub you Boston butt down stick it in a baking bag. 350 for about 4 hours . The size 5-10lbs. bone will stick out when done, enjoy.
Buy a damned smoker. They’re cheap.
You can use a slow cooker or instant Pot. They both will do the job very well. This is what I use during the colder months.
Smoking outside in 30 degree or colder weather and drinking beer is about the best smoking you can do. Put your man pants on and put away the sissy insta pot or slow cooker
You should be able to do it in the oven just follow the same temperature guidelines. Only thing is you won’t have the smoke flavor. But you could always use liquid smoke. I would also use a roasting pan that has a raised grate in it for the fat to drip off.
Love your site and instructions. You have turned me into a pitmaster (in training). I have done this recipe twice and surely will again. Thanks!
I’ve developed this hobby a few months back and now I’ve been smoking every weekend 5 mths straight now. I’m constantly trying out your new recipes and making my own as well. My stop is to compete. Any advice will be greatly appreciated.
Yeah – I have some info on competition BBQ here: https://howtobbqright.com/competitionbbq/
But you might want to check out the SCA Steak Cookoff events. They are very affordable, one-day events and easy to do. Great way to get your feet wet and meet some local competition guys in your area.https://www.steakcookoffs.com/
But there are a ton of different BBQ events and sanctioning bodies: https://www.nbbqa.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=3298
I have an XL Green Egg, if I do two 10lbs butts, how will that affect the timing?
Won’t change the time much at all. As long as you have plenty of airflow the time will be about the same. But as always, go by internal temps instead of time.
Thank-you Malcom for a great video. I have smoked Boston Butts for years and have been doing it basically the same way you do it. Its all about the internal temperature. Every site I look at they say 10+ hours at 225-250 deg F. My 8 lb Butts take about 5-6 hours at 275 deg F. to get to 200 deg F. I cook starting out with the charcoal base and then start adding Peach or Apple or Red Oak. They always come out great. I liked this video because it wasn’t to fancy and is easy to follow. So dads get out their and smoke a Butt and crack a cold one. Go PATS!
oh yeah – sounds like you are making some good BBQ!
This recipe sounds awesome. I got a Kamado Joe cooker and want to know when doing this butt should I not use the ceramic deflector that sits between the coals and the meat?
Yeah, for low and slow cooks I always use my ceramic deflector
Any special comments on using electric smoker?
No, just keep the temps steady and you can cook any recipe on any cooker.
Is it necessary to marinade for 12+hrs?
I don’t marinade my pork butts
As you said just keep temp right and should be ok on electric smoker. What about if you are not using a glaze ? Just get to correct temp then take off grill and let meat rest before pulling the meat?thanks
Yeah – just hold the temps steady. Might take longer on an electric smoker. If you don’t want to glaze, just take it to 198-200 internal, let it rest and then pull it and enjoy!
Love your content man! What would you do if you had to freeze this to reheat later?
For pulled pork, it is pretty easy to reheat. We cook it as normal, then we will rest it, pull it – and at this point is where you can add anymore rub or sauce to the meat.
Then we place it in a vacuum-sealed bag and will either store it in the fridge or the freezer. If you froze it, let it thaw in the fridge for 1-2 days. Then you can take it out and place the unopened bag in a foodservice pan or casserole dish and place it in the oven (or the smoker) at 250 for 1-1.5 hours. Let it heat all the way in the bag.
Then you can throw the bag in a dry cooler and take it with you. Or just serve it right then. We just cut the bag open and pour the pulled meat out. It stays hot and juicy. Best way we’ve found to reheat it.
I have a charbroil kettlman. Any advise smoking with that type they say do a C with charcoal. What’s your opinion?
I like to keep my coals on one side -and a heat sink with water or liquid on the other side. https://howtobbqright.com/blog/?p=2244
I cooked a 9 pound butt and I followed this recipe pretty much straight up except I didn’t have the KH rub or BBQ sauce so I substituted. I also used pecan wood.
I’ve always been a rib guy but this was the best butt I’ve ever done. It might be my new favorite. Typically I will have extra to freeze but the family wiped this one out. Drizzled with the leftover glaze and KH vinegar sauce it’s just phenomenal. Thanks, Malcolm.
Hi Malcom. Once again great video. Question for ya. I followed ur directions, at least I thought I did 😀 , long story short, my pork butt didn’t come apart like yours did. Mine was very tough and needed a knife to cut it. Any ideas on what I did wrong. Thank Malcom!!
Marty From Valley Forge PA
What temp did you pull it off? Sounds like it just didn’t get done. You want to make sure you take it to 198-200 internal before taking it off to pull
First time BBQing ever, and used a Green Mountain Grill Davy Crocket, smoked a 8.5lb Boston Butt following your recipe to a T, came out fantastic! Thank you Malcolm, your site and youtube channel are a great resource. Your rubs are delicious too!
This is my first time smoking a butt so help me.ionly have coals , I rubbed it down with garlic, salt, and red pepper powder,wraped up with foil paper. help me please.
Just follow the steps and let it cook.
Hell yea, this is the bomb. Took me longer to reach my temps, but once they got to 199……BUTTER PORK!!!!!
Thank you for your videos they are very helpful. What kind of meat probe do you recommend?
I like Thermoworks products – https://www.thermoworks.com/?tw=KILLERHOGS
how many people will a 10 lb butt feed?
I would estimate 15 people – that will yield about 5-6lbs of cooked, pulled pork.
Followed your instructions to the letter on the 4th and finished to rave reviews. I am naming you the Guru of Q.
Doug in Orlando
Malcom, I learned a lot from your videos. You mentioned in this recipe (Smoked Boston Butt)you chose not to inject it. If you would have what is the best injection for this particular way to smoke this Boston Butt?
Really, it comes down to personal preference. You can use any you like or buy a commercial injection for pork.
My grill reads 400+ degrees, so I put a probe in the smoker and the internal heat reads much different around 200
Do I go by the probe tempature or the one that comes with the grill
Thanks, great BBQ tips
You will go by grate temp. A lot of grill thermometers don’t read correctly – especially old ones.
By “internal”, Malcolm means inside the pork butt… Not inside the grill……..
Will be trying this tomorrow. Looking forward to it. At the moment im smoking a meatloaf. Lol. Be back tomorrow to let yall know how it goes. Sounds really good.
Trim off the thick fat layer or leave it on?
You can do either – leave on the fat and it will add little more flavor and be a shield for the meat while cooking. Trim it off and you can build some great bark there.
After the inital smoke for 4-5 hours and you wrap it in foil to finish cooking, couldn’t I put it in the oven instead? It’s already gotten all the smoke it is going to get, and those pellets arn’t cheap. Seems like all it needs once wrapped is plain, ole heat.
you can – but if you do make sure your oven is up to temp. You don’t want a lot of heat fluctuations or it can make it tough.
This has been my go to pulled pork plan for probably 10 or so butts. Thanks!! My question is that if I cook them Saturday night then wanted to serve on Sunday afternoon,what would be the best method? Thanks for all ur help King of the Q
Tried your method and recipe and had the juiciest, smoked Boston Butt we have ever had. The smoky taste was not overpowering and the glaze was incredible and the pork was delicious. Kudos to an incredible chef.
We noticed that you had a question from Josh on April 4, 2018 at 12:39 am about freezing and reheating pulled pork. You state that you can place the vacuum-sealed bag in a “foodservice pan or casserole dish and place it in the oven (or the smoker) at 250 for 1-1.5 hours. Let it heat all the way in the bag.”
Question – Do you place water in the pan with the bag or not?
no- you don’t need any water in the pan to reheat. Just let it reheat in the bag and it will stay juicer that way.
Should I remove the fat from the Boston Butt before seasoning? Will it make a difference when I do it?
Don’t remove the fat – let it render and add flavor and moisture to the butt. You can remove the fat when you pull the meat at the end.
I followed this for our Christmas Eve meal and it came out amazing. Thanks for posting this, I will be making this again after many requests from my guests.
Maybe I missed it, but fat side up or down for the boston butts?
I like to use the fat as protection from the heat – if the heat is coming from top I go fat side up
I watch your videos all the time. You always seem to pop up when I’m looking for them and I must say that they are very helpful.
I look for your videos to give me guidance. Fat down, fat up, temperature maintenance, rubs, wood, etc.. thank you for the videos.
I smoke at least once a week or more foor the last 3 years now.
I wouldn’t mind seeing you smoke seafood though. Crablegs, etc… i have ventured into you can smoke anything you can cook in the oven. Lol.
I have a few fish recipes https://howtobbqright.com/category/bbq-recipes/fish-recipes/
and I’ve smoked crab legs – they are awesome! https://howtobbqright.com/2017/03/02/smoked-crab-legs/
Malcolm, do I need to cure the meat first? I butchered my own hogs for the first time this year so none of my cuts are cured, thanks!
I don’t cure the meats before I smoke them, no… I have bought a cured ham from the store and “double-smoked” it.
How many pounds of pulled pork would it take to feed 70 people?
If the pulled pork is your only protein, I would estimate 1/3lb per person
Thanks so much for all the videos and instructions. I’ve finally jumped into bbq’ing, smoking, grilling. Absolutely love your rubs and sauces. I’m about to load up some butts on the smoker,. Would you suggest injection and overnight brine or is injection all you really need.
You could do both if you have the time… it will take at least 24-48 hours to brine a butt. That’s why I usually just inject
Hey Malcom, great recipe. Have you ever used this apricot glaze on ribs or park tenderloin? I’m thinking about doing a bacon wrapped pork tenderloin and adding the apricot glaze… Any thoughts or tips? Thanks!
that sounds awesome!
Love your videos and recipes cant get enough of them. I am planning on doing a boston butt this weekend. I was wondering if you ever added the butter, honey, and brown sugar to it when you wrapped. Like you do on the ribs, if not how do you think it would turn out. Also going to be smoking on a pellet smoker for the first time.
I don’t usually add that to my pork butt, but you can for sure. It will make it a little sweeter…
Can you use butcher paper instead of foil or does one have a different effect than the other when wrapping?
butcher paper doesn’t hold in the heat as well – so it’s better for brisket and creating a bark.
Been smoking for 2 years on a bullet smoker. My first attempt at a Boston butt was a success by injecting fresh apple cider and a pinch of brown sugar. Since I live in apple and cherry country there is no shortage of wood, I am going to try your recipe and spray the pork instead of injecting. Do you have any pork sausage bacon weave recipes?
I did a Bacon Explosion Recipe – https://howtobbqright.com/2016/09/15/football-explosion/
Do you ever brine your butt beforehand? Seems like it would be another way to impart some juiciness…?
You can brine a butt, it just takes at least 48 hours to get any flavor in….
Can I do this exact recipe and use an onion with my coals on the Big Green Egg? Or would you advise against it? Love your channel btw!
I throw quartered onions on my fire all the time – we do it in competition a lot. I don’t know how much it flavors the meat, but it makes that fire smell awesome!
Hey Malcom, I’ve watched your recipes and used them for years. I also buy your products! I have a 12.8 pound Berkshire pork shoulder injected and in the refrigerator for overnight. Going to put on the pit in the AM. What do you think about 225, 250, or 275 degrees? Your videos are sometimes 225 and this one is 275. Other pit masters do it anything 225-275. I don’t think it matters and will taste great either way, but do you think there is a better temp to make a better tasting pulled pork?
You can get a great product on any temp 225 – 275. Just hold it steady at the temp you choose. If I want it to go low and slow – I set it at 225. If I want it to get done I might bump it up to 275. Just know your times will change based on your temp.
Do you use a water pan for the pork butt, or do you just get the moisture on it from spritzing? I have been running them in an electric smoker with a water pan every time, but was wondering if I would get some different results without a water pan. Maybe a better/thicker bark on it or something. They don’t turn out bad, but I think there is room to improve. Just didn’t want to waste a butt on a trial and fail.
I’m not a fan of water pans. It doesn’t add moisture – just prevents the bark from forming. It will act as a heat sink and keep the temps regulated though
Great recipe Malcom – thank you for sharing! And I’m glad I read these replies. My bark had no bark – it tasted good but was mushy – and I’m wondering if this has to do with me using a water pan. Besides the water pan, I followed your recipe above exactly. Next time I’ll ditch the water pan and see what happens. Cheers!
Nice. Love the apricot.
I made this last weekend and it was delicious. Going to do 2 more butts tomorrow. Thanks for posting videos and keep up the great work!
I made this but not the glaze. The pork was one of the most magnificent things I have ever made. I will definitely make it again.
Should i put the fat side up or down
Just got my first grill a few weeks ago and this is the first thing I really tried. It came out perfect. pulled apart with no effort. Thank you!
Do you inject your butts with any sort on concoction? If so, what do you use?
I typically on inject for competition bbq. And then I use a store-bought mixture like Butcher’s BBQ https://h2qshop.com/collections/injections-marinades
Happy Labor Day, Malcom!
I have been using your pork smoking recipes for several years.
Smoking a Boston Butt today and you are my go to site for all smoking recipes. I have selected certain aspects of your smoking techniques from a few of your pork recipes. Yellow mustard add McCormick brown sugar bourbon seasoning, refrigerate for 24 hours, spritz with 50/50 apple/apple cider vinegar, once bark is formed or internal temp of 165 I wrap in butcher paper and place in aluminum pan and cover.
I have to tell you that you should really think about bottling your Apricot BBQ recipe! It is such a unique flavor that all my guest comment how good it is and how it enhances the pork flavor. They always ask me to give them the recipe once they try it .
I make this sauce for all my BBQ pork cookouts.
Thank you ,
My husband made this recipe tonight in our old charcoal grill and it was fantastic. Will definitely make again and experiment with rubs.
This recipe is awesome. Have used it half dozen times and it always comes out mouth watering delicious.
Thanks for these amazing secrets and recipe, Leigh ???? They are really helpful.
I keep getting mushy bark when I wrap. I feel like it’s as tight as I can get it. Is there anything you recommend I pay extra attention to in order to avoid this problem?
everyone keeps saying use temp-probe to get accurate readings, but what about when you get crazy different readings throughout ? The other day I smoked a butt and when I started taking temps I was getting (195) on one reading and (180) on another part of the butt (only a few inches away) ? finally pulled it and wrapped and let it sit for close to an hour and when I started to shred it was easy in some areas and NOT easy in others .. It had that look of not being done in some areas .. Not sure what to do differently ..
Followed this recipe today. Have to say that it is probably the best tasting pulled pork I’ve cooked to date!