Cook the Perfect Pork Butt Every Time

Preparing a pork butt may seem daunting for some, but it can be a delicious and affordable option for feeding a crowd or meal prepping for the week. Whether you prefer smoked, grilled, or oven-baked, nailing the perfect pork butt is all about patience and technique. In this guide, we’ll walk you through step-by-step on how to cook the perfect pork butt every time, so get your apron and seasoning ready!

Cook the Perfect Pork Butt Every Time | Eat Urban Garden
Cook the Perfect Pork Butt Every Time

The Different Types of Pork Butt Cuts

As the name suggests, pork butt comes from the upper part of a pig’s shoulder, and it’s a relatively inexpensive cut of meat that is perfect for low and slow cooking methods such as smoking and braising. However, there are different types of pork butt cuts available, and each one has its unique flavors and textures.

Blade Shoulder

The blade shoulder is a bone-in cut that comes from the upper shoulder of the pig. It’s a cheaper cut that requires long cooking times to break down its connective tissue. It’s perfect for pulled pork recipes and yields tender, juicy meat that shreds easily. The shoulder blade has a lot of marbling and may contain a shoulder blade bone that you can use to add richness to your stock or sauce.

Boneless Shoulder

The boneless shoulder, also known as the Boston butt, is the most commonly used cut for pulled pork. It’s a fatty, boneless cut that has a good amount of marbling, making it flavorful and juicy. The Boston butt comes from the thicker part of the shoulder, so it can withstand high cooking temperatures and still remain moist and tender. It’s perfect for smoking or roasting.

Picnic Shoulder

The picnic shoulder, also known as the picnic ham, is a cheaper cut that comes from the lower part of the shoulder. It’s a bone-in cut that has a lot of connective tissue and requires slow cooking methods such as braising or smoking. The picnic shoulder has a slightly sweeter taste than other pork butt cuts due to its proximity to the pig’s front legs, which are more developed muscles and need more oxygen. The picnic shoulder also contains the shank bone, which is perfect for making flavorful stock or broth.

Preparing Your Pork Butt

Cooking pork butt can seem intimidating, but with the right preparation, you can cook the perfect pork every time. Preparing your pork butt properly is the key to a tender and delicious end result. Read on to discover our tips for preparing your pork butt for the best results.

Trimming Your Pork Butt

When preparing your pork butt, it’s important to trim off any excess fat. While some fat is needed for flavor and juiciness, too much can result in an overly greasy end result. Use a sharp knife to trim the fat, taking care to leave a thin layer to protect the meat while it cooks.

  • Start by trimming the fat cap on the top of the pork butt. Leave a thin layer of fat, about 1/4 inch, to protect the meat while it cooks.
  • Next, trim any large pockets of fat from the sides and bottom of the meat. This will help the pork cook evenly and prevent tough or chewy parts.
  • Lastly, trim any silverskin or connective tissue. These tough parts can make the meat difficult to chew and should be removed before cooking.

Seasoning Your Pork Butt

Seasoning is an essential step in preparing your pork butt for cooking. A well-seasoned pork butt will be flavorful and juicy, even without additional sauces or marinades. Here are our tips for seasoning your pork butt:

  1. Start by creating a dry rub. A simple rub can be made with a mixture of salt, pepper, brown sugar, and garlic powder. Rub the mixture all over the pork butt, taking care to get into any crevices or gaps.
  2. For even more flavor, add additional spices or herbs. Paprika, cumin, and thyme are all great additions that can complement the pork’s natural flavors.
  3. Let the pork butt sit in the refrigerator for at least an hour, or up to overnight, to allow the flavors to meld together.

With these tips, you’ll be able to prepare your pork butt perfectly every time. Trimming and seasoning are just the first steps to a tender and flavorful dish. Stay tuned for our next article, where we’ll cover the best cooking methods for pork butt.

The Best Ways to Cook Pork Butt

When it comes to cooking pork butt, there are several methods to choose from. Each technique yields different results, so it’s important to know which one is right for your taste preferences.


Smoking is a popular method for cooking pork butt, especially in the southern United States. This technique involves cooking the meat over low heat for several hours. The goal is to infuse the pork with a smoky flavor and to achieve a tender, juicy texture.

Before smoking the pork butt, it’s important to prepare it properly. This involves trimming excess fat and applying a dry rub or marinade. Some popular seasonings for pork butt include salt, pepper, garlic powder, and paprika.

When it comes to choosing a type of wood for smoking, there are several options available. Hickory, mesquite, and oak are popular choices, but applewood or cherrywood can also be used for a more subtle flavor.

Once the pork butt is properly seasoned and the smoker is heated to the right temperature, it’s time to start cooking. Depending on the size of the pork butt, smoking can take anywhere from 6 to 12 hours. It’s important to monitor the temperature of the meat and to maintain a consistent temperature in the smoker.


Grilling is another great option for cooking pork butt. This technique involves cooking the meat over high heat for a shorter period of time. Grilling is a great way to achieve a crispy, caramelized exterior while still maintaining a tender interior.

Prior to grilling the pork butt, it should be seasoned with a dry rub or marinade. The grill should be preheated to a high temperature, and the meat should be placed on the grill with the fat side facing up.

It’s important to flip the pork butt regularly to ensure it cooks evenly on all sides. Depending on the thickness of the meat, grilling should take around 20 to 30 minutes. Once the pork butt has reached an internal temperature of 145°F, it’s safe to eat.

Oven Roasting

Oven roasting is a classic cooking technique that can also be used for pork butt. This method involves cooking the meat in a preheated oven at a temperature of 350°F.

Prior to oven roasting, the pork butt should be seasoned with a dry rub or marinade. It should then be placed in a roasting pan, fat side up, and covered with aluminum foil.

Cooking time for oven roasting will vary depending on the size of the pork butt, but it generally takes around 1 to 2 hours. It’s important to periodically check the internal temperature of the meat to ensure it has reached 145°F.

Monitoring the Internal Temperature

Cooking the perfect pork butt requires a little bit of time, patience, and the right techniques. One of those techniques is monitoring the internal temperature of the meat. If you’re wondering why this step is so important, here’s what you need to know.

The Importance of Monitoring the Internal Temperature

When cooking a pork butt, the internal temperature is a key indicator of doneness. If the meat is undercooked, it can be tough and chewy. If it’s overcooked, it can be dry and stringy. The internal temperature also helps ensure food safety, as pork needs to be cooked to a minimum temperature of 145°F (63°C) to be safe to eat.

It’s essential to use a meat thermometer to get an accurate reading of the internal temperature. Here’s how to do it:

  • Insert the thermometer probe into the thickest part of the pork butt, making sure not to touch any bones as this can give an inaccurate reading.
  • Wait for a few seconds until the thermometer gives you a reading. If the temperature is not high enough, you’ll need to continue cooking the meat until it reaches the appropriate temperature.

Resting and Slicing Your Pork Butt

When it comes to cooking a pork butt, most people pay attention to the cooking itself and neglect the importance of resting and slicing the meat. However, resting and slicing are crucial steps that can make or break your pork butt dish. Here are some reasons why:


Resting your pork butt after cooking allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, resulting in a more flavorful and moist dish. If you slice the meat immediately after cooking, the juices will escape, leaving you with dry and tasteless meat.

To properly rest your pork butt, remove it from the heat source and let it sit for at least 30 minutes. Cover it with aluminum foil to keep it warm. This allows the juices to settle and redistribute, resulting in a more tender pork butt.


Slicing your pork butt properly can also affect the taste and texture of the dish. Here are some tips on how to slice your pork butt:

  • Use a sharp knife to prevent shredding or tearing the meat.
  • Slice the meat against the grain, which shortens the muscle fibers and makes it more tender.
  • Start by cutting the meat in half, then slice each half across the grain.
  • Remove any excess fat or connective tissue before slicing.

By following these tips, you’ll be able to achieve the perfect pork butt every time. Remember to give your meat time to rest and slice it properly to enhance the flavor and texture of your dish.

Serving Suggestions and Leftover Ideas

After baking or smoking your pork butt to perfection, it’s time to get creative with how you serve it at the table. Here are some ideas to inspire you:

Sweet and Savory Sandwiches

Shred the pork and pile it high on soft, freshly baked buns. Add a dollop of coleslaw, dill pickles, and your favorite barbecue sauce for a classic pulled pork sandwich. For a twist, try adding sliced jalapeños or pepper jack cheese.

Flavorful Tacos

Transform your pork butt into mouthwatering tacos. Fill soft or crispy tortillas with the pork and add your favorite toppings like cilantro, diced onion, fresh lime juice, and crumbled cotija cheese. For an extra kick, add some hot sauce or sliced jalapeños.

Crispy Carnitas

Turn your pork butt into crispy carnitas for a delicious topping on salads, nachos, or quesadillas. Shred the pork and pan-fry until crispy. Add some diced tomatoes, avocado, and cilantro to enhance the flavor.

Pork Fried Rice

Fry up some veggies and rice with diced pork for a savory and filling dinner. Add scrambled eggs, sesame oil, and soy sauce to enhance the flavor. This dish is perfect for using up any leftover pork.

Pork and Bean Soup

Make a hearty and healthy soup with the leftover pork. Add some broth, canned beans, diced tomatoes, and vegetables like carrots or kale. Simmer until all the flavors meld together in a delicious and satisfying way.

Pork Breakfast Hash

Create a delicious breakfast hash with pork and your favorite veggies like potatoes, bell peppers, and onions. Fry it up in a skillet with some butter or oil until crispy and golden. Serve with fried eggs and toast for a satisfying start to your day.

Thanks for Reading!

Now that you’re an expert in cooking the perfect pork butt every time, get ready to impress your family and friends with your culinary skills. With these tips and tricks, you’ll be able to achieve tender and juicy pork butt that melts in your mouth. Don’t forget to try out different rubs and marinades to add your own unique flavor to the dish. Thank you for reading and we hope to see you again soon for more cooking tips!

Cook the Perfect Pork Butt Every Time

Learn how to cook the perfect pork butt every time with these easy-to-follow tips and tricks. Achieve a tender and juicy pork butt that melts in your mouth every time.

  • 1 8lb pork butt
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup black pepper
  • 1/4 cup paprika
  • 1/4 cup garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup onion powder
  • 2 tbsp cumin
  1. Preheat your grill or smoker to 225°F.
  2. Rub the pork butt with the salt, black pepper, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and cumin. Be sure to coat the entire surface of the pork butt.
  3. Place the pork butt on the grill or smoker and let it cook for 4-5 hours, or until it reaches an internal temperature of 195°F.
  4. Wrap the pork butt in foil and let it rest for 30 minutes before slicing and serving.
  5. Serve the pork butt with your favorite barbecue sauce and enjoy!
pork butt, cooking, food, bbq, grilling

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