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Smoking a pork butt, also known as Boston butt or picnic shoulder, requires low and slow cooking to achieve tender, flavorful pulled pork. The exact cooking time depends on several factors:


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Smoking a pork butt, also known as Boston butt or picnic shoulder, requires low and slow cooking to achieve tender, flavorful pulled pork. The exact cooking time depends on several factors:

1. Size of the pork butt: Larger butts naturally take longer to smoke. 2. Smoking temperature: Lower temperatures generally require longer smoking times, but higher temperatures can result in faster cooking with a potential trade-off in texture and flavor. 3. Desired level of doneness: For a more fall-apart texture suitable for pulled pork, a longer smoking time is recommended.

Here's a general guideline for smoking pork butt:

Smoking Time:

  • 3-4 pound pork butt: 7-10 hours at 225°F (107°C)
  • 5-6 pound pork butt: 10-12 hours at 225°F (107°C)
  • 7-8 pound pork butt: 12-14 hours at 225°F (107°C)

Important Points:

  • Internal temperature: Regardless of the smoking time, the most reliable way to determine doneness is by checking the internal temperature of the thickest part of the pork butt. It should reach 195°F (90°C) for pulling or 205°F (96°C) for slicing. Use a food thermometer to monitor the temperature throughout the smoking process.
  • Resting: After smoking, let the pork butt rest for 1-2 hours in a cooler or tightly wrapped in aluminum foil. This allows the juices to redistribute, resulting in a more tender and flavorful meat.
  • Wrapping (optional): Some recipes recommend wrapping the pork butt in foil or butcher paper halfway through smoking. This can help retain moisture and shorten cooking time slightly.

Here's a general process for smoking a pork butt:

  1. Prepare the smoker: Preheat your smoker to the desired temperature (typically 225°F).
  2. Season the pork butt: Season the pork butt with your preferred spices and rubs.
  3. Place the pork butt on the smoker: Position the fat side up.
  4. Smoke the pork butt for the estimated time based on size and temperature. Monitor the internal temperature and adjust the cooking time as needed.
  5. Check for doneness: Once the internal temperature in the thickest part reaches the desired level (195°F or 205°F), remove the pork butt from the smoker.
  6. Let the pork butt rest for 1-2 hours before pulling or slicing and enjoying.
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