One of my favorite ways of making pulled pork is to smoke a pork butt on a Weber kettle. Pulled pork is easy to make, inexpensive and delicious. If you need to feed a crowd then pulled pork should be on the menu.
The pork butt, also called a Boston Butt, is taken from the shoulder of a hog. There are quite a few ways of making pulled pork from the butt but I will walk you through my basic techniques.
Prepare the Pork Butt for Your Weber Kettle
A typical pork butt will weigh between 5-10 pounds and has a fat cap on one side. There is a shoulder bone in the middle of the butt and sometime the butcher takes it out. If you have a choice buy a bone-in butt.
This butt weighed in at a little over eight pounds and still had the bone.
There is a ton of marbling and connective tissue in this cut that will slowly break down during the smoking process.
The fat cap on the butt can be treated several different ways. Some folks cut it off completely, some folks will score a diamond pattern into the fat and some folks just leave it alone.
- You might want to cut the fat cap off because it prevents the dry rub and the smoke and from reaching the underlying meat.
- You might want to leave the fat cap on because it will help keep the meat moist and juicy.
I have tried both approaches and honestly can’t tell that much of a difference. For this cook I left the fat cap on the butt.
If you want to try an aggressive trim then check out this article on How to Make Pulled Pork on a Traeger.
Season the butt aggressively on all sides with a dry rub an hour before it goes on the kettle.
Smoked Pork Butt Dry Rub
- 1 cup turbinado sugar
- 1/4 cup kosher salt
- 1 Tablespoon black pepper
- 1 Tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon granulated onion
- 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
- 1 teaspoon celery salt
Prepare Your Weber Charcoal Grill For Smoking
You are going to need to set up your kettle for low, indirect heat.
If you are using a charcoal basket then fill it with about 30 Kingsford briquettes and light it with a paraffin cube in one corner. Set the bottom air vent to 20% open and keep the top air vent 100% open.
After the charcoal has lit, place 2-3 chunks of hickory on top of the briquettes.
This configuration will keep your kettle in a nice low temperature zone for about two hours. After every two hours you will need to add fresh charcoal to the basket.
If you don’t want to deal with refilling the charcoal basket every two hours then you can invest in the Slow N Sear accessory that will give you about 10 hours on a single load of charcoal.
I used a Slow n Sear for this cook.
Use a thermometer to monitor the temperature of the grill at the grate level. You want the cool side of the grate, where the pork butt is going to be, to be running at around 250F.
Do not pay any attention to the built in thermometer in the lid of the grill. The lid thermometer is going to read at least 50-75 degrees hotter than the grate temperature.
Smoke the Pork Butt on Your Kettle
Place the butt on the cool side of the grill away from the fire.
Close the lid and let the butt smoke.
Every two hours I rotated the butt so a different side was facing the charcoal. I probably didn’t need to do this but it gave me an excuse to open up the kettle and see how things were going.
If you are using a charcoal basket then you will need to open the grill every two hours to add more charcoal.
How Long Does it Take to Smoke a Pork Butt?
As a general rule it will take 1.25 hours per pound to smoke a butt. That means this 8 pounder should take about 10 hours to cook.
Ideally you want the butt to completely fall apart then take it off the smoker. The meat will usually have an internal temperature of at least 205F and your thermometer should easily slide through the meat.
If you aren’t using a thermometer to monitor the cook, then you can always rely upon the shoulder bone. As soon as this bone sticks out and freely twists around the butt is ready.
If you are short on time then you can take the butt off at 180-190F. At these temperatures the outer portion of the butt will easily shred and the inner portions can be chopped.
I often take the butt off at 190F because after 8-9 hours of smelling the pork cook I am ready to eat! Taking the butt to 205F can take 11-12 hours and sometimes that just doesn’t fit my schedule.
After 9 hours on the smoker (190F internal) this guy got wrapped in foil and rested for an hour before we tore into it.
Wrapping and resting isn’t mandatory but I think it helps make a slightly better product.
Serving the Pulled Pork
When it is time to pull the pork apart I always use my hands and burn the crap out of my fingers. There are a couple of different tools out there that make pulling the pork easier but I don’t use them.
About a quarter of the butt will be dog scraps as there are lots of fat pockets that don’t render out. I find these with my hands and pitch them out. If you use tools for shredding it is easy to get lazy and leave the “trash” material in.
It’s a small thing that makes a difference.
You are going to get about a 50% yield in the finished product which means this 8 pound butt produced about 4 pounds of pulled pork.
A classic way to serve pulled pork is as a sandwich with a North Carolina vinegar sauce.
North Carolina Vinegar Sauce for Pulled Pork
- 1 cup cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon molasses
- 1 tablespoon Texas Pete hot sauce
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
Liberally apply the vinegar sauce to your pulled pork. The pork really soaks up the sauce so you end up using a lot more than you think you will need.
I am trying to watch my weight so I went with some smaller buns to make pulled pork sliders.
After I ate four of these I wished I had just used a larger bun.
Another option for you folks looking to get creative is to make some pulled pork lettuce wraps.
I took some of the pork that had not been bathed in the vinegar sauce and tossed it with some off the shelf teriyaki sauce.
Throw the pork onto an iceberg lettuce leaf along with some carrot sheds, chopped peanuts and sriracha sauce.
These are REALLY good!
The options for eating pulled pork are just about endless. The succulent smoked meat is great for tacos, chili, nachos, pizza, quesadillas and about two or three hundred other things.
Smoked Pork Butt on a Weber Kettle
- Dry Rub Ingredients
- 1 cup turbinado sugar 1 Tablespoon black pepper1 Tablespoon chili powder1 teaspoon granulated onion1 teaspoon granulated garlic1 teaspoon celery salt
- 1/4 cup kosher salt
- 1 tbsp black pepper
- 1 tbsp chili powder
- 1 tsp granulated garlic
- 1 tsp granulated onion
- 1 tsp celery salt
- Carolina Vinegar Sauce Ingredients
- 1 cup cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tbsp molasses
- 1 tbsp hot sauce
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 Bone in Pork Butt about 8 pounds
- Season the butt liberally with the dry rub. Let the rub soak into the meat for at least an hour before smoking.
- Set up the grill for indirect low heat. The temperature on the cool side of the grate should be about 250F.
- Smoke the butt, using hickory for smoke, until an internal temperature of 190-205F is reached.
- Remove the butt from the smoker, rest for one hour and then shred.
- Combine the ingredients for the Carolina vinegar sauce and heat to a simmer for 10 minutes.
- Serve the pulled pork on a bun with the Carolina vinegar sauce.