Hubby really enjoys outdoor cooking. He takes his grilling, BBQ, and smoking very seriously. This works for me because he happens to be good at it. Yesterday (Sunday) he decided he was going to spend the day using his smoker to smoke a pork butt roast. It takes several hours to do this so it is an investment of his time. One of the guys he works with actually paid him to get a pork butt and smoke it for him also – yes that is how good it is.

A bit of information about the pork butt roast. This cut from the pig is actually from the upper part of the pork shoulder. The pork butt it also known as the Boston blade roast or the Boston style butt. I have no idea how the butt name came in for the shoulder area. Crazy if you ask me. The pork butt roast can be bone-in or boneless. Hubby prefers bone-in pork butt because he likes bones in all the cuts of meat usually as they have more flavor he feels. The pork butt is an inexpensive cut of meat which is why it is great for smoking and pulled pork for crowds and events. If you do not see pork butt roast or pork shoulder in your meat department just ask your butcher for it.

We use this propane powered smoker to smoke pork butt roast at home



  • Pork Butt Roast (we use about a 4lb roast most of the time)
  • Yellow mustard
  • McCormick Grill Mates Pork Rub (or your favorite rub mix)
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Hickory chips (find by charcoal at the store)
  • BBQ sauce – whatever your favorite store bought or homemade
  • Sandwich buns


Coat roast evenly with yellow mustard. It does not have to be thick, but enough that the spice rub will stick. Do not worry if you are not a fan of mustard, you do not taste mustard at all once this is done. Trust me, I do not like mustard myself.

Now apply a liberal coating of the dry rub mixture to the roast. Cover and place in fridge overnight or about 12 hours. If you do not have the time to let it sit it will be okay, it is just better if it has time.

Heat your smoker to 225 F and put water in the smokers water pan. My husband likes to add a couple of good tablespoons of the rub mix into the water also for extra flavor. Overall you are going to cook the roast about 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours per pound of meat. Place your roast on the smoker rack and let it go for about 2 hours to start.

Pork butt roast in smoker after about 30 minutes

Pork butt roast in smoker after about 4 hours

     The first picture shows the pork butts towards the beginning. The second is much later in the cooking process. Do not worry that they are that dark – they are not burnt. That is actually what they call “bark” and it is where a lot of the flavor is. I questioned Hubby about this a lot the first time he did it – but he is correct – there is no burnt taste at all.

Now you are going to add the hickory chips to your smokers chip pan and place in the smoker per directions. Make sure that you have soaked the wood chips in water (beer, wine, apple cider vinegar, etc.) for about an hour before using. Hubby starts with a good handful of the wood chips into the pan to start and then add more as you need. You want thin blue smoke coming out of the smoker, not a giant inferno. Hubby refilled the wood chips about 3 times during this cooking process. You can adjust how much you use to adjust the smokiness you get.

At this time put your apple cider vinegar in a spray bottle and give your pork butt 2-3 good sprays with the vinegar. Not so much that the rub runs off, but you want to make it moist for sure. You are going to continue to mist the pork butt every hour or so until done now with the apple cider vinegar. This part may seem small, but the apple cider vinegar really makes a big impact on the final pulled pork. The apple cider vinegar will help tenderize the meat as it cooks. If you wanted to do a wet marinade overnight instead of the dry rub I would also suggest adding apple cider vinegar into that to help with marinating. Something that I recently learned about apple cider vinegar was that it also is a good salt substitute – add a little of that and leave out the salt for a healthier option!

Use a meat thermometer to check the temperature of the pork butt toward the end. You want it to be about 190 F. This higher temperature will cook the pork so it is easier to pull. Once the pork butt has reached temperature you are going to remove it from the smoker. Wrap the pork butt in foil, then wrap an old towel around it and place in a small cooler (no ice) and put the lid on. Hubby says this is to allow the pork butt to cool down slower and it redistributes the juices throughout the roast. Let the pork butt sit for about an hour.

After the pork butt is smoked and cooled, then use 2 forks to make the pulled pork


Then unwrap the pork butt and place on a large cutting board and use two forks to pull the pork butt into shredded pieces.

Serve on sandwich buns with BBQ sauce on the side to add as you like. That is Hubby’s preferred method. My preferred method is to add the pulled pork to a big container of BBQ sauce and keep it on low for at least 30 minutes to let the meat absorb some of the sauce. Then serve on a bun. Whatever works for your family is fine, the BBQ police will not hunt you down – Hubby said he might though!

Place the pulled pork on sandwich bun on your choice

Serve the pulled pork sandwich topped with your favorite BBQ Sauce

 If you are not a big fan of the hickory smoke flavor you can also use different woods. Hubby and son prefer hickory, but I actually prefer milder fruit woods for the meat to be smoked with. Again, use what suits your family.

Well, Hubby wants to know what you think. Will you try making this yourself? Or at least eat it if someone made it for you?

P.S. – For my vegetarian readers I promise a no meat recipe tomorrow for you! Super Easy Veggie Slaw – it is one of the side items we served with these pulled pork sandwiches.

Disclosure: None, this is just how we do it at our house and we are sharing.

how to smoke a pork butt roast for bbq pulled pork