Smoked Pork Shoulder (Pork Butt) Recipe

Last Updated on August 29, 2022


Annabelle Watson

Annabelle is an experienced food writer and editor. She focuses on common sense, easy to replicate recipes formulated to help keep things fresh and exciting while fitting into her day to day life as a wife and mother.

Smoked Pork Shoulder (Pork Butt) Recipe

Photo Credit: Christopher Aloi

For pork lovers, there is no better cut than the pork shoulder or pork butt. When we talk about smoked pork butt, we are referring to a bone-in pork shoulder. Some people simply refer to this cut as a Boston butt roast or simply pork butt. 

In essence, this cut does not come from the butt part of the pork. It is obtained from the upper part of the pork, hence the name pork shoulder cut. 

What Goes Into The Recipe?

The smoked pork butt doesn’t require any complex injections as it is the case with other cuts. Moreover, you will not require any wrappings, concoctions or spices to get it done.  

The only important ingredient you will need is a good cut of pork shoulder. You may also need the sweet BBQ rub and enough smoke. 

From the look of things, you don’t have to be an expert in smoking to prepare this mouth-watering dish! 

Preparation Style

For the smoked pork shoulder,  I prefer using traditional BBQ techniques and flavors. Smoking the traditional way means that the pork is exposed to direct smoke and is flavored along the way. This will give you purely authentic pork that is extra pulled than using modern BBQ techniques.  

The first step in the preparation is seasoning. Since the Pork Butt is a relatively simple cut and has tender bones, you can easily season it with the sweet BBQ rub (mentioned above). You may prepare your own seasoning using brown sugar, smoked paprika, garlic, onion, and cayenne.  

After seasoning, the pork is set onto the fire indirectly. You can place it on to a smoker with an indirect source of heat and plenty of thin blue wood smoke. To achieve a unique taste, I recommend using hickory or apple wood chips or combining both. 

Combining the two types of wood will provide just the right amount of smoke to heat your pork shoulders, but not too much smoke to overwhelm your eyes.

Smoked Pork Shoulder

Preparing Time: 15 minutes

Cooking Time: 18 hrs
Total Time: 18 hrs 15 minutes

Serving: 16 people


  • 8 – 10-pound bone pork butt(1 package)
  • 2 tablespoons of yellow mustard
  • 1/4 cup of BBQ Sweet Rub – you can make your own
  • 1 tablespoon of BBQ Sweet Rub for later use


Step 1: Prepare your smoker 

Start by preheating your smoker to about 225 degrees F. This temperature should work best for indirect heating. 

Step 2: Prepare the Pork butt for roasting

Now, remove the roast from its packing and wipe on either side to remove any small bones or liquid. You may use a clean paper towel to ensure that it is perfectly clean.

Slather the entire pork with the yellow mustard. This should only be done on the exteriors, although, it’s important to ensure that the entire surface is covered.

Thereafter, season your pork shoulders on all sides with the sweet BBQ rub. You may even rub the sweet BBQ rub into the meat as long as it is covered on all sides.

Step 3: Smoke the seasoned pork butt 

The next step is to place your seasoned pork on the smoker, with the fatty side facing up. You should ensure that the meat is placed at the center of the grates to avoid direct heat spots on the pork butt.

Close the lid on the smoker and smoke your pork butt until it attains an internal temperature of 195 degrees F. You can use a smoker thermometer to monitor the temperature. If you like your pork mouth-melting soft, cook further to about 201 degrees F.

NB: I should mention that the process of smoke roasting is not easy. You should have plenty of time in your hands before you begin. Smoking here should take between 15 and 20 hours. This depends on the consistency of your heating and the size of your pork shoulder.  

Step 4: Remove from heat and serve

Once the pork butt is ready, remove it from the heat and wrap it in an aluminum foil to allow your roast to rest for about an hour.

The best way to serve pork butt is by shredding. Now, pull apart the shoulder and discard and chunks of gristle and fat. Sprinkle the remaining tablespoon of Sweet BBQ rub over the shredded pork and serve.

With that, you have your shredded smoked pork shoulder ready for serving. This dish can be served for dinner alongside salads or bread.


When it comes to preparing the pork butt, the most important aspect is getting the time and temperature right. I will recommend that you get an instant-read thermometer to help you along the way. As soon as you start heating, you will notice a pattern start to emerge when you measure the internal temperature. Notably, the temperature should drastically rise to about 145 degrees before it starts to slow down. Do not be alarmed by such observations, since this “stall” state helps with the internal cooking of the pork.  Moreover, it will take hours before you notice any significant change ( rise or fall) in temperature.

Quick Tip

The soft and tasty smoked pork butt is very easy to prepare. However, you should not start this journey unless you have enough time and ingredients. 

To make a delicious pork butt, you only need to prepare your Sweet BBQ Rub and have the right wood. Thereafter, you will be ready to smoke your cut! 

Take your time to smoke the pork and monitor the temperature to ensure it cooks evenly. Basically, anybody with basic smoking skills can undertake the process and achieve the right results. Once ready, serve to your guests alongside your favorite salad while warm.

Eating delicious smoked meat will definitely complete your day. Some ask, is smoked food bad for you? The answer to this is moderation, so enjoy your smoked pork shoulder.