If you are new to the different cuts of pork, you might be wondering what in the world Boston butt is. You might actually know it by its other name- which is “pork butt”. So what is this pork cut good for?
The most common way of preparing Boston butt is by slowly smoking it until it becomes tender and then turning it into yummy make pulled pork. This can also be done using the ‘shank’, but Boston butt is much preferred because it has less bones. But just how long to smoke a Boston butt to make it perfect?
Why is it Called Boston Butt?
Like me, you might be asking why this particular cut of pork is called Boston butt. From the fact that it is also known as pork butt you might have come to the conclusion that it comes from the butt of the pork. If so, then you are so far out the target.
The Boston butt does not come from anywhere in the vicinity of the butt of a pork. It is actually from the shoulders of the pork. The ‘butt’ part of the name was said to have come from: the fact that it comes from the butt, or lower, part of the pork’s shoulder; or because during colonial period this cut of pork was considered as a less valued cut of pork and stored in barrels called butts.
With regards to why ‘Boston’, it is simply because this was known as a specialty from New England. That is a great trivial knowledge to have, in case you like knowing things like these. But if you don’t, then at least you finally know why Boston butt is named like that.
Why Should You Choose Boston Butt for Smoking?
As I have said, Boston butt may also be known as pork butt and comes from the shoulders of a hog. This part of the pork is known for having quite a tough meat that is covered with a good layer of fat. The outer layer of fat melts slowly while you are cooking the meat. That means that while you are cooking the meat and making it tender, that layer of fat keeps it moist and juicy.
That is the main reason why Boston butt is a good choice if you want to smoke a meat low and slow. You can be sure that there’s little you can do wrong with this, making it very ideal especially if you are a beginner. But, there are still things that are good to know even if smoking a Boston butt is foolproof. How long to smoke a Boston butt is surely a good place to start!
Important Pointers in Smoking your Boston Butt and for How Long
Recipes that you might want to try
You did not actually think that you can just put the Boston butt in the smoker and wait for it to cook, right? No matter how good a meat is, there are still things that will help you elevate it. Anyways, it will not matter if your meat is juicy and tender. If it is bland then all of that will be wasted. This recipe, as any other smoked meat recipes do, needs more flavors than that!
The first thing you have to do for this recipe (though this is optional and there are debates about this) is to make a marinade. You will have to soak the Boston butt in this marinade for at least 6 hours. So if you are going to marinate your Boston butt, I suggest you do this overnight.
As you can see just in the marinating period, making smoked Boston butt requires a serious amount of patience and premeditation. But good things come to those who wait, and a meal of perfectly smoked Boston butt is a great reward after a long wait. There are tons of recipes for a marinade on the internet, just choose anything that will suit your tastes.
Some recipes will even tell you to save some marinade to make a glaze for while you are smoking your Boston butt. You can look for recipes that don’t need these if you want to skip it. Just keep in mind that in the end, it will all come down to what you want in your smoked meat.
The next part of this recipe is the rub, and you can’t skip this one! This is an integral part of any smoked meat. You can skip the marinade and the glaze, but the rub is in any recipe. The dry rub will give your smoked Boston butt a nice flavor (which, again, you can choose depending on your tastes) and create that mouth-watering crust that a lot of people crave!
Like what I have said in terms of the marinade, you can also choose among the many recipes on the internet. You can also buy premade dry rub or just concoct one using your favorite herbs and spices! How much dry rub do you need? Enough to cover the whole Boston butt generously. But be careful with it, you don’t want to over season the meat either.
Leave the Boston butt covered in dry rub overnight. Just a tip, if you want to make the dry rub stick better to the meat coat it first with regular yellow mustard or any type of oil. Don’t worry because it will not add flavor to the meat. Its sole purpose is to help the dry rub stick to the meat.
Smoking the Boston Butt
Now that you have added flavor to the Boston butt, you can start smoking it. Where should you do that? Anything you have is okay, whether it is manual or electric. What is important is the type of wood chips you are going to use. This is because the type of wood chips you will use will also add flavor to the smoked meat.
There are different wood chips available in the market and there are guides available on the web if you need help. You can even try a mix of wood chips if you are looking for a specific flavor that you cannot get by using one type.
As for the charcoal you have to use, just use something that will last long so you will not need to add charcoals a lot of times. Now that you know everything you need, we can now move on to the actual smoking! The only important question is how long to smoke a Boston butt?
The answer to that is- there’s no constant answer. Your smoking time will be 1.5 to 2 hours per pound of uncooked meat at 225 to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. The range is because there are also things that will affect your cooking time aside from the weight of the Boston butt. These are how consistent your temperature is and how much fat, bones and connective tissues your meat has.
So how will you know if your Boston butt is done? You will have to use a meat thermometer for that. For sliced Boston butt the temperature you are looking for is 170 degrees and 190 for pulled. That is internal and should be taken at the thickest part of the meat.
Let the meat rest for 30 minutes after it’s cooked. It will give the meat time to cool down for a bit which is doubly important if you are going to pull it.
Boston butt with or without bone?
If you still think that bones will give meat more flavor then let us inform you that that is not always true! That is only applicable for ribs but not for other parts. The flavor is in the fat and that’s it. So the next time you are thinking about it, just buy whatever you want. It won’t matter because the bone will not give your dish additional flavor.
Should you cover the meat with foil?
This dilemma is something we encounter in a lot of recipes. Cook with foil and ensure that the food stays moist? Or cook without foil to make the outer layer of the food crispy and delicious? So what should you do?
The answer (and you can try it with other dishes as well!) is do both! In this case smoke the meat without a foil first and then cover it with foil for the last two hours. Just be careful with the Boston butt when you are covering it, you don’t want to burn your fingers!
I don’t know about you but just the thought of moist and tender smoked Boston butt is making my mouth water. It will test your patience but if the reward is the perfect smoked meat then it will all be worth it! And now that you know how long to smoke a Boston butt, you can confidently make the next time. Just remember:
- 5 to 2 hours per pound of uncooked meat at 225 to 250 degrees Fahrenheit
- Sliced: 170 degrees internal temperature
- Pulled: 190 degrees internal temperature
Do you have comments and suggestions? Reach us through the comments section!