Boneless Pork Butt (I know Ive read alot of articles here) but have question

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Original poster
Nov 6, 2016
I purchased 2 boneless pork butts, all I can find here for sale. I am wanting to smoke 2, 9# butts and I have a 30 mes smoker. I am using a basic rub that I am applying tomorrow and planning on smoking the butts Saturday. Here are my questions: 1. Do I foil since there is no bone? 2. Wife likes light smoke flavor and everything I do comes out very strong flavored (even for me who likes the smoke flavor). I am also taking one butt to a party so looking for a crowd pleasing taste. I have the following woods; pecan, hickory, apple, alder. What is the best wood or combinations for pork butt? Can I be over using the wood chips? Approximate amount of wood chips to use?

Any help would be apperciated

thank you
Are you keeping the top vent fully open? If not, then open it up. Pecan or apple is milder than hickory. To foil or not is personal preference. When I foil it's usually once the butt's IT reaches 155-160° somewhere around the 5-6 hour mark when smoking at 225°. Note: I use different equipment.  Here is a recipe originally from Alton Brown that I've modified a bit.  It has never failed to delight who ever we served it to. It uses the foil method which is helpful when planning a party for a specific time.

Pork Butt Smoked - pulled pork

Recipe By: Alton Brown w/modifications


9 pounds Boston butt pork butt, bone in, prefer not moisture enhanced. If boneless tie it up.
Canola spray
apple juice, in spray bottle
- - -
8 ounces molasses grandma's
12 ounces pickling salt , 1 1/3 cups -use only 1 cup if meat is "moisture enhanced"
2 quarts bottled water
- - -
Alton's Rub:  this makes more than what a usual butt requires
2 tsp whole cumin seed
2 tsp whole fennel seed
2 tsp whole coriander
2 tablespoon chili powder
2 tablespoon onion powder
2 tablespoon paprika, not smoked


1. Brine the Butt for 15 hours Combine molasses, pickling salt, and water in a 2-1/2 gallon zip-lok bag, dissolve completely.  Completely submerge the Boston butt in brine by squeezing out the air and sliding the zip-lok.  Place the bag with meat into a very large mixing bowl and weigh the top down with 2 cans of beans from the pantry to keep everything submerged for marinating. Let sit in refrigerator for a minimum of 12 hours. 15 hours is ideal.

2. Prepare the RUB Place cumin seed, fennel seed, and coriander in food grinder and grind fine. Transfer to a small mixing bowl and stir in chili powder, onion powder, and paprika.

3. Wearing latex gloves Remove Boston butt from brine and pat dry. Lightly spay the butt with canola oil. 

4. Sift the rub evenly over the meat and then lightly pat down to make help the rub adhere. I use a small 2” dia mesh strainer for this, tapping it on the side to sift the rub onto the meat.  It gives a very even coating this way. More rub will adhere to the meat if you are wearing gloves during the application. Cover every inch of the meat.

5. Alton suggests preheat to 210 ºF then smoke the butt for 4 hours.  I use the smoke setting 185º for 1-2 hr, then @225 (grate temp = 250º) until IT reaches 160º (155-165º is fine).  This usually takes 5-6 hours. We prefer the stronger flavor of Hickory but for a bit less strength try Pecan, Cherry or Apple.  Keep smoking until it reaches a minimum IT of 155º…  SPRAY w/APPLE JUICE every 45 min starting after hour 2.

6. @ IT 160º’ish: Remove, insert an electronic meat thermometer making sure it’s not touching the bone, double wrap in alum foil.

Note: after 4-6 hours of smoke, the meat won't absorb much more, so you are essentially cooking it until done at this point.

7. Put wrapped butt into a large tin foil container (11.5 x 9.25 internal), and place in oven at 300 ºF.  Continue the cook until  200-205 ºF.  Meat is unpredictable, make sure to set thermometer alarm to go off when it hits 203 º.  Can be anywhere from 2 to 5 hours in the oven but usually closer to 2. 
- - OR - -
Instead of the oven, continue using the smoker.  The total smoker time usually takes 10 to12 hours, maintaining smoker temp. Begin checking meat for doneness after 10 hours.

8. Remove from oven/smoker, keep the butt in the pan. When done (IT 205º), the meat still needs to rest for at least 2 hours (3hrs even better). Place panned butt in a large sealed cooler surrounded with a couple of bath towels it to help maintain warmth. REMEMBER: to be safe, meat must be kept above 150º, so I leave the thermo probe in the meat and monitor it while it sits.

9. Pull meat apart with forks. It should be so done that if you grab the bone you can pull it out without loosing any meat. Can be served plain, or in sandwiches with maybe a side of coleslaw. I suggest a good barbecue dipping sauce like BBQ Sauce #2-Rum Sweet Heat. 
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