Before I even get started here, let me lay down a little disclaimer...this is how I smoke a pork shoulder or butt. Some people call it a pork shoulder and some people call it a pork butt...it's labeled a pork shoulder butt roast at the grocery. This may not be the way you or someone you know smokes their pork, but this is what works for us. Your temperatures or methods may be different, and that's great! If you smoke your pork butt differently, I'd love to hear about it in the comments section below...in a nice way :)
A few weeks ago, we purchased the most wonderful invention ever made. Not even kidding, I will never retract this statement. The Big Green Egg is a game changer. It's not cheap, but sooo worth it. If you love to grill year round like we do, it's worth saving for, and I am absolutely NOT getting paid to say this. This baby just cooks differently. I could try to explain it, but am afraid I would fail miserably, so I will just say, it's awesome, and anything you cook on it is going to be fabulous. Period. End Game.
The first week we had our Big Green Egg, we grilled chicken, ribeye steaks, shrimp and chicken wings...but, we were waiting anxiously for the weekend to come so we could smoke our first pork butt. If you don't know what a pork butt is, and you think it sounds kind of gross...you couldn't be more wrong. It's the stuff that amazing pulled pork barbecue is made from and is simply put, AMAZING! So, after waiting all through the week, we set out to smoke our first pork butt. We got some advice from our BGE loving friends, and set out to smoke one ourselves. It was crazy good!!! We took it to our friend's home for a cookout and got rave reviews, so I thought I'd share how we smoked a pork butt here on the blog in case anyone (like me) needed help that first time. I know I did, and would have been swinging or smoking blindly if our friends hadn't given us a ton of advice. So...here goes...let's learn how to smoke a pork shoulder, y'all!
Start with a pork shoulder butt. We bought ours at Costco in a double pack for around $32. It comes with two large ones, so you can smoke one now and freeze one for later. One pork butt is enough to feed an army, so this is an amazing deal, folks!
We used Dizzy Dust from The Dizzy Pig for our rub. You will want to rub your butt (hee hee) generously to get a good crust or bark in the end. Once you have rubbed it down real good all over, allow it to sit while you get your BGE ready.
Isn't she a beaut?
First...be sure that all of your vent holes are clear and remove any old lump and ashes from previous use.
Fill your BGE with lump charcoal (we used BGE's lump, but also use Royal Oak Lump Charcoal) up to the top of the charcoal bowl.
Time to light your lump! I like to sprinkle in some dry apple chips first, and some like to soak their apple chips...personal preference here. There is no right or wrong way. Next, place a fire starter under a few pieces of lump and light. If you have an electric starter, awesome...just use that instead.
Let your lump get going...this usually takes 7-10 minutes.
Now, place your plate setter in, then an aluminum drip pan and your cooking grate.
Shut your BGE and wait for the temperature to reach anywhere from 230 degrees to 275 degrees. ***a little advice...don't let your BGE get too hot, or you may have trouble bringing the temp down for smoking.
Once you reach your desired smoking temp, it's time to adjust the daisy wheel. The daisy wheel should sit on top of your BGE with the handle and BGE logo to the right...this keeps it from falling off when you lift your lid.
For a 10-12 hour smoke, we open our daisy wheel just a little. Our friend Jason says it's open about 20%. I took a photo to show exactly what that looks like since I am not much of a numbers kind of girl.
Next, time to adjust the vent at the bottom. We leave ours open about ½ - ¾ of an inch.
Now, add your pork butt to the grill and shut the lid!
We usually hang around and make sure the temp is staying steady for about 20-30 minutes, head to bed, then wake up 10 hours later to this beauty! The internal temp should read between 160 and 170 degrees for slicing or 190 and 200 degrees for pulling. I'm not going to lie, the first time we smoked a pork butt, I got up every 2 hours to make sure the BGE was keeping the right temp. It was until about 6 am, so I opened the bottom vent a little more. The second time we smoked one, it did just fine all night long. Our friend, Orr, has a thermometer system that alerts him if the temp goes down, and I think that may be our next investment. Our other friend, Wright, has a fancier thermometer system that can be controlled from anywhere, but it's a tad bit pricey.
At this point, I usually take ours inside to keep it warm. I place it in a casserole dish or aluminum pan, pour a beer over it, cover it with foil and leave it in our oven at 200 degrees until we are ready to eat it. (This tip was shared with us by our friend, Meyers)
If you wonder why I have referred to all of our advice giving friends by their last names, it's because they are all Jasons, and that can get a bit confusing!
Once it's time to eat, I shred it using a couple of forks...it should just fall apart...doesn't the bark look amazing? It's my favorite part!
Now it's ready to eat! With the rub, there really is no need for BBQ sauce...the pork has tons of flavor. But...to each their own. My kids love to add honey barbecue sauce, and Matt loves hot barbecue sauce. Serve it as is or on buns with a little slaw and bakes beans.
So...that's how we smoke our pork butt here in the Kielman house! If you use another method, I'd love to hear in the comment section below!
Here are a few more grilling tips for you...
Love ribs? They are so easy to smoke whether you have a Big Green Egg or a standard grill. Check out my super easy method for How to Smoke Ribs using the 2-2-1 Method HERE!
We also love brats, but not the precooked brats that you can buy at the store. It's so easy and sooo worth it to give your brats a little extra attention...we love to cook ours in beer with peppers and onions, then brown them after. The result is a juicy brat with tons of flavor...you'll never make them any other way after trying them! Check out How to Make the Perfect Beer Brats HERE!
If you grill often like we do, you will need to clean your grill grates often. There are many different methods that you can use, so I thought I would give a few different grill cleaning methods a try and share them with you so you can decide which would work best for you! I even included a quick video below showing how they work! Find my Grill Cleaning Tips HERE!
Like this tip? Feel free to share it on Facebook or Pin to your Pinterest Boards for future reference using the sharing buttons at the bottom or top of this post!
Looking for more Tips and Tricks, like How to Clean In Between the Glass on Your Oven Door? Click HERE or the photo below for tons of cleaning tips and tricks!
Have a tip or trick you would like to share? Email me at [email protected] !
Bob R says
Wow! Nice job. With your help, I plan on cooking one this weekend (Super Bowl).
Tim Murray says
This is a great article. But 190-200 degrees? Everything I have found shows 160 for pork roast.
Hi, Tim! You are correct for slicing, but it is much easier to pull if it is a little more done. You definitely don't lose any of the flavor, and it pulls so nicely. Hope this clears that up! Have a great weekend!
Jim Hert says
Tim, this is not a pork "roast" as you are thinking, like a pork tenderloin or other choice pork roast cuts. This from the shoulder and has a lot of sinew, fat, and tough membranes. Also Jessica I have done a dozen or more of these and I don't you want to only cook to 160 for slicing, you are going to have some very tough chewy bites! A pork shoulder should always be cooked to 200 to 210 and all of that tough stuff will melt and dissolve leaving you with some really awesome pulled pork. Not sure I would ever want slices of shoulder, I would cook a pork tenderloin for that. Also a couple more tips, but apple juice and onion rings in your drip pan, that will steam moisture through out the smoking process! If you cook to 160 and then double wrap with foil "Texas Cheat" till it is 200 you will make it even more juicy and tender. I always pull at 200 and let it rest for an hour wrapped, that will bring it up to the 210 desired temp. Don't get me wrong, the way you do it would be awesome, but try these tips and see what you think!
Jim, Hale MI
Tom osborn says
Never tried the onion ring in the drip pan... sounds cool.. I always quarter a few apples in the water pan... all Good ????????
Aaron Carson says
At least 195 to 205 for pulling or shredding . You won't go wrong with that.
A pork roast is much different than a pork butt. If you want to slice it, you can remove the meat around 165/170. If you're trying to shred it, definitely go for that 190ish temp. It will shred and NOT be over cooked at all.
WOW! This was my first pulled pork on my new komado grill and this recipe worked great. Thanks for posting.
Tony and Jenny says
Just got a BGE for Father's Day. We've smoked chicken, pizza, ribs and meatballs. Tomorrow I am trying the Boston butt. 5.5lbs, 10 or 11 hours so I hear. Thanks for your tips and advice. I'll say a prayer and wish me luck!
Your chips are the smallish kind, you'd get more flavor from the bigger wood chunks
Hi Jessica. First of all, kudos to an amazing step-by-step tour on how to fix a pork butt roast. I have only used the plate setter once, and set it top side up for pre-prepared pizza. I appreciate all of your amazing photos as I see the correct position of the plate is upside down, then the grill grate. Also, the vent at the bottom and the daisy wheel photos help a lot as I am a visual learner!
I have your size of the BGE and I am trying new items one by one. Two nights ago, I tried a beer can chicken which was a bit intimidating, but except for a lame digital thermometer that didn't work, it turned out scrumptious!
Aldi's has a sale on fresh boneless pork butt roast starting today for $1.49/pound. So, I thought this was a sign to try it maybe for "Sharknado 4" when I have my friend over for dinner and a show! !
Chuck Phillips says
Excellent article; I am always looking for some different opinions on how to smoke a pork butt. I picked up a couple of tips (beer at the end), thanks.
One tip to share-you can spin the temperature wheel. So just set the wheel so the temp you want is at the top (in this case 250 degrees) and you will be able to see if you need to adjust from a long way off.
Masterbilt electric smoker, whatever rub, doesn't really matter. Set temp at 225 and an hour and a half smoking time per pound of meat. Cover in foil halfway through the timeframe. Boom. Done. Simple and easy and delicious
I have a quick question about smoking the pork shoulder. Why do you pour a beer over it?
J. P. says
Thanks for the great instructions! Also happy to see someone else go "junior high school"
talking about "rubbing your butt".. never gets old, even for an older Jessica! (66)
Mark Ketterer says
I do things a little differently with my pork shoulder. I put the butt rub on the night before wrap it in cellophane and put it in the refrigerator. Then the next day I pull it out of the refrigerator two hours before and let it come to room temperature then take a French‘s mustard yellow mustard and slather it on heavily and add some more butt Rub. Then I put it on the grill just like you did. I take it off when the temperature reaches about 190 wrap it in aluminum foil and wrap in towel and put in cooler. I let it rest in a close cooler for about an hour and a half it stays very warm allows the juices the pole back towards the center very moist and very tender. It’s just my two cents worth
Just the best simple instructions to make perfect pulled pork.
Joseph Kaley says
I have the large BGE & as you said even the worst disaster on a BGE turns out wonderful. I have done 3 butts, about 30 lbs at one time without any problem. I do pretty much the same thing you do, take it up to 195-200 degrees, pull them off, wrap in heavy duty foil, & put in an insulated cooler until ready to pull. the meat freezes well so you can have it whenever you want without the hassle of cooking some.
Michael Witt says
Hi! This is pretty much how I do it. I use the drip pan also, but I like to add water to it. I find this helps in keeping the meat from drying out. I also like to pull the butts off after 8 hours, wrap tightly in foil, and put back on. Otherwise, informative article!