Smoked Pulled Pork

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This tender and juicy smoked pulled pork is slow-smoked on a Kamado Joe Grill, and the result is fall-off-the-bone pulled pork — perfect for summer grilling and pulled pork sandwiches.

This smoked pork butt is flavorful and juicy. You’ll get all of my expert tips so you can be the hero at your next backyard bbq. Perfect Every Time!

pulled pork sandwich with bbq sauce and southern coleslaw

This recipe for pulled pork starts with a tasty BBQ rub. I recommend serving these babies’ with a crunchy southern slaw and extra barbecue sauce.

People have strong opinions about what makes the BEST Smoke Pork Butt recipe. However, a few things are agreed upon. First, you need an excellent bbq rub. Secondly, you need nice bark only achieved with slow cool smoke.

This smoked pork butt recipe checks all the boxes. So now all you need to decide is whether you are going to make pulled pork sandwiches and what sides you are going to serve with them.

What You’ll Need To Make A Smoked Pork Butt Recipe

  • A smoker. I smoke on a Kamado grill. This recipe works with an offset smoker or even an electric pellet smoker. Use the method that you feel most comfortable with.
  • Natural hardwood lump charcoal. No Coleman briquettes here. Charcoal briquettes are manufactured with chemicals you don’t want in your smoker. Opt for real wood lump charcoal.
  • Fruitwood. I usually use a combination of applewood and oak when I’m smoking pork.
  • A BBQ Rub. I make a homemade dry rub. It’s easy to make but feel free to use your favorite brand.
  • A probe thermometer. I use Thermoworks Signals BBQ alarm. This thermometer allows you to monitor the ambient temperature of your grill and the internal temperature of your meat all from your phone. It’s divine.

Let’s Talk About Pork Butt

Pork butt is the cut of meat used to make pulled pork. You can find one that is bone-in or boneless. Either cut of meat is fine.

The size of your pork butt will determine how long the pork will need to smoke. I usually buy a 4 to 6-pound pork butt when making this recipe.

Leftover pulled pork freezes well, so don’t be afraid to make too much.

The BBQ Rub

This is my recipe for bbq rub. You can mix up a batch of it for this smoked pork butt or use your favorite brand. I have this homemade rub on hand at all times.

ingredients for a bbq rub
  • BBQ Rub adds an extra layer of flavor to the meat.
  • A dry rub is made with salt, sugar, and spices. I recommend rubbing the pork butt with spices the night before you plan to do your smoke.
  • I usually apply a thick layer of rub to the pork and let the pork butt “dry brine” in the fridge overnight. I set it on a wire rack over a baking sheet. I put it in the fridge uncovered and let the rub brine the pork.

How To Smoke a Pork Butt

how to smoke pork butt. Step by step images.

Smoking meat isn’t hard at all, but it does require patience and a watchful eye. Pellet smokers can essentially be left to do their own thing, but if you’re smoking with real fire, you need to learn how to control the heat.

Cooking times to smoke a pork butt can vary vastly. On average, plan on smoking the pork butt for about 2 hours per pound of meat at 225℉.

Keep in mind that the grill temperature can fluctuate, so monitor it closely. I like to keep my smoker nice and cool with a rolling smoke at 225-250℉. Then continue cooking until the meat has an internal temperature of 195-205℉.

digital thermometer with 2 probes attached to monitor the grill temp and meat temp

At this temperature, you will ensure that the connective tissue is broken down enough to give you a fall-apart tender pulled pork.

  1. Prepare your smoker and bring the temperature to about 225℉. I use my digital thermometer to monitor the temperature of the grill. Once you have a fire, you have to use airflow to regulate the heat. (More air = a hotter fire.)
  2. Add the fruitwood.
  3. Add the pork butt and place a probe thermometer into the thickest part of the meat.
  4. Now grab a nice whiskey cocktail and just let the smoke roll.
a whiskey cocktail by the fire pit while I'm smoking a pork butt

Kamado Joe vs. The Green Egg

This post would be remiss if I didn’t address the big question of which is better? The Kamado Joe Grill OR the Big Green Egg.

Honestly, in my opinion, you can’t go wrong with either one of these ceramic grills. They are both excellent and are essentially giant ceramic cooking vessels that hold temperature exceptionally well.

I grew up with a Big Green Egg, which is what I had my heart set on when I was shopping for a Kamado Grill. But then I started shopping.

I ended up going with a Kamado Joe Grill because it was a little easier on the pocketbook, and everything came with it. It was packaged in an almost fully assembled state, so it was super easy to put together.

BBQ Guys is an excellent resource for buying grills at competitive prices. Check them out if you are thinking of buying a grill. (not an affiliate, but I should be)

With the Green Egg, almost every accouterment is sold separately, including the stand.

I would love to do a side-by-side comparison of actual smoke, but I’ve been happy with my Kamado Joe so far until then.

How to Control the Temperature of a Ceramic Grill

After you have a fire going, the only way to control the temperature inside of your ceramic cooker is by controlling the airflow.

The more air you let in, the hotter your fire will burn.

When you’re smoking meat, you want cool smoke. Keep the temperature of the smoker between 225 and 250℉.

Notice how little air I’m letting into the smoker. I will adjust these as the smoke progresses to regulate my temperature.

When the fire gets too hot, I close them down a little. If the fire gets too cool I open the airflow up a little.

Keep in mind that you should check the temperature of you fire often. This is why I love the Thermoworks signals digital thermometer.

I can set up minimum and maximum temperatures for my grill and meat and get an alert on my phone if temperatures start to fall outside of the range I want them.

How To Shred Pulled Pork

pulled pork ready to make pulled pork sandwiches

Once the smoked pork butt comes out of the smoker, you want it to rest for some time. I usually let a smoked pork butt rest for twenty minutes up to an hour before shredding it.

I pull it apart with my hands and then use forks to shred up the smaller pieces.

pulled pork on a toasted bun

FAQs and Expert Tips

What cut of pork is used for pulled pork?

Pulled pork is made with a pork butt or pork shoulder. Both of these cuts come from the shoulder and front limb of the pig.

The pork butt is more heavily marbled, which gives you that fall-apart tenderness you are looking for in pulled pork.

How long to smoke a pork butt.

On average, plan to smoke a pork butt for 2 hours per pound. However, keep in mind that time will vary based on the grill’s temperature and the overall size of your pork butt.

What is the internal temperature of pork butt?

For the perfect pulled pork, you want an internal temperature of 195-205℉.

What To Serve With Pulled Pork

pulled pork and all the sides

Barbecue sides are often the best part of a cookout. This pulled pork recipe is so perfect. Be sure you serve it with the perfect sides.

When I’m making pulled pork sandwiches, I make a batch of my dinner rolls (just larger) and use these as my buns. Of course, you could also make them smaller if you make sliders instead.

I like to top off my pork with a dollop of barbecue sauce and a heap of crunchy coleslaw.

Baked beans made in a cast-iron skillet are always a crowd-pleasing side dish when grilling is involved. And for dessert, don’t forget the banana cream pie. I think that needs a heck yeah!!!

More Grilling Recipes That You’ll Love

If you love cooking on the grill, here are some more grilling recipes for you to try!

pulled pork sandwich with bbq sauce and coleslaw

Smoked Pulled Pork

This smoked pork butt is just one of the recipes that I've painstakingly perfected over the years. This pork butt slow-smoked on a Kamado Joe Grill and the result is a fall-apart tender pulled pork. Perfect for summer grilling and the best pulled pork sandwiches.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 12 hours
Resting Time 1 hour
Total Time 13 hours 20 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 12 4 ounce servings
Calories 209 kcal

Ingredients
 

  • 4 to 6 pounds pork butt

BBQ Rub (you may have leftover)

Instructions
 

Preparing the Pork Butt for Smoking

  • Set Up: Set up a baking sheet with a wire rack laid over top.
  • Dry Rub: Mix up the dry rub, or use your favorite brand. You may not use all of this rub. (Safety Tip: Just keep in mind you don't want extra rub if you've touched it with raw meat hands.)
  • Prep the Pork Butt: Dry off the pork butt and apply a thick coat of the dry rub.
  • Dry Brine: Let the pork butt sit uncovered in the fridge for about 24 hours. This step acts as a short dry brine or dry aging. Lettinf the meat sit over night allows the flavors of the rub to get deeper into the meat.

Setting Up The Kamado Grill

  • I highly recommend using a digital thermometer to monitor the inside temperature of your smoker as well as the internal temperature of the meat. I use the Thermoworks Signals thermometer for this. If you're going to get serious about smoking meat, an excellent thermometer is essential.
  • Add in Hardwood lump charcoal. No briquettes here! You want a lot of wood, this is a long cool smoke.
  • Light the lump charcoal and get the fire started. Let the fire get a little start, and then close the lid to slow down the airflow to the fire. You want to let a little bit of airflow in, so open the top chimney and the bottom damper about 1/8th of the way open. Bring the grill to about 120℉.
  • When the grill reaches about 120°F, add the fruitwood. I used a mixture of apple and pecan wood for this smoke.
  • Let the temperature of the grill come up to 225°F. Then add the pork but to the grill and insert a probe thermometer into the thickest part of the meat.
  • Smoke the pork butt until the internal temperature of the meat reaches 200-205°F.
  • You'll want to monitor the temperature of the smoker closely. Keep the grill between 225°F and 250°F.
    If you're using a ceramic grill such as a Green Egg or a Kamado Joe, they can be a little finicky. Airflow is the only one to control the temperature. You don't want to let the temperature get away from you. I've found that in the beginining you want to keep airflow to a minimum. About 2 hours in the temperature will start to drop. Let in a little more airflow but take it back down if the temperature starts to climb to quickly.
  • Remove the pork butt from the smoker and let it rest for at least 20 minutes.
  • Shred the pork and serve with your favorite bbq sides and bbq sauce.

Video

Laura’s Tips + Notes

How To Smoke a Pork Butt
Cooking times to smoke a pork butt can vary vastly. On average plan on smoking the pork butt for about 2 hours per pound of meat at 225℉.
Keep in mind that the grill temperature can fluctuate so monitor it closely. I like to keep my smoker nice and cool with a rolling smoke at 225-250℉. Continue cooking until the meat has an internal temperature of 195-205℉.
Cooking your pork butt to 195-205℉, you will ensure that the connective tissue is broken down enough to give you a fall-apart tender pulled pork.
  1. Prepare your smoker and bring the temperature to about 225℉. I use my digital thermometer to monitor the temperature of the grill. 
  2. Add the fruitwood.
  3. Add the pork butt and place a probe thermometer into the thickest part of the meat.
  4. Now grab a nice whiskey cocktail and just let the smoke roll.
  5. Once you have fire, you have to use airflow to regulate the heat. More air = a hotter fire. Adjust your dampers as needed. 
One note about ceramic grills
Smoking on a ceramic grill can take a little bit of practice. However, with that in mind when I was first learning my grill often got too hot too fast and I had to learn how to slow the fire down. But, I never actually cooked anything that was inedible. 
Even if your first few smokes don’t come out exactly perfect, you are still going to end up with something delicious. Because in the works of Emeril “pork fat rules”

YOUR OWN NOTES

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Nutrition

Serving: 4ouncesCalories: 209kcalCarbohydrates: 2gProtein: 29gFat: 9gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 91mgSodium: 495mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gCalcium: 32mgIron: 2mg
Keyword barbecue, kamado grill, pork butt, pulled pork, smoked pork butt
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3 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Love this recipe for Smoked Pork Butt! Your detailed instructions really make it easy! So delish!

  2. 5 stars
    Wow…does this look delicious! I have a smoker and want to try this recipe so much. That digital thermometer is the ticket I am seriously thinking about ordering that for the summer.

5 from 4 votes (1 rating without comment)

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