Smoked Boston Butt Recipe

If you enjoy smoked pork, a smoked Boston butt is something you ought to try. This cut of pork is taken from the top end of the pork shoulder. It's usually fatty, but that means when it's done, it's juicy and full of great flavor!

Whether bone-in or boneless, a Boston butt cooks up nice and tender. And if you don't see any Boston butts in the meat cooler, look for a pork picnic roast, or a shoulder blade roast, or a pork shoulder roast... all names for the same cut. It's a regional thing.

Smoked Boston Butt Recipe

Before smoking the Boston butt, trim off some of the excess fat. Now it's easy to get carried away when trimming, so don't trim ALL the fat off, or you'll end up with a lot of odd size hunks of pork.

To shorten the smoking time, the roast can be cut into two or three sections. By doing this, the pork will have more overall flavor from the seasonings and the smoke.


  • One 3 to 5 pound Boston Butt Roast
  • 1/4 cup mustard, yellow, brown, or spicy
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper

Trim the pork roast, then coat the surface evenly with the mustard. The mustard doesn't add much, if any flavor, but acts like a glue, holding the dry rub in place as the Boston butt smokes.

Combine the salt, sugar, onion powder, garlic powder and peppers, and sprinkle a generous amount on all sides of the pork. Let it rest at room temperature while you fire up the smoker.

Hickory is one of my favorite smoker woods to use when smoking pork, but I also enjoy the flavor of oak or apple, too. Preheat the smoker up to the 225-250 degree range and add the smoker wood.

Pop the pork onto the grate, close up the smoker, then sit a spell and enjoy life for a while. The amount of time needed to finish smoking the pork is variable, depending on the size of the roast and the smoker temperature. Plan on 4 to 8 hours of smoking time.

Since a Boston butt doesn't have a whole lot of connective tissue, it can be served when the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees. At that stage the roast can be sliced and served, and will be knife-tender.

But for pulled pork, done to the falling-apart stage, the internal temperature needs to reach 190-200 degrees. At that point, more of the fat will have melted, and the meat can be easily shredded for your pulled pork sandwiches.

Use a good remote thermometer to monitor the temperature of the smoked Boston butt. That way you won't have to open up the smoker to check the temp, which causes heat loss and extends smoking time.