Traeger Smoked Pork Butts {Two Tips for Better for Pulled Pork}

Pulled pork with Traeger Que Sauce

Traeger Smoked Pork Butts {Two Tips for Better for Pulled Pork}

If you want to make some smoked pork butts on your Traeger for pulled pork then this recipe has two tips that will really help you out.  This technique is applicable to all pellet grills and are pretty flexible and you can utilize the two tips as much or as little as you like.

The tips are about:

  • How to Trim the Butt
  • How to Smoke the Butt

Let’s get started!

Pork Butt Smoked on a Traeger for 9 hours

Butterfly the Pork Butt for More Surface Area

The first tip on smoking the pork butt is to be highly aggressive in how you trim.  My trim is so aggressive that I actually butterfly the butt by using a boning knife to separate the different muscles along the fat seems.

As I butterfly the butt I remove fat pockets, silverskin, lymph nodes and interconnective “slime”.

The benefits of opening up the butt like this are many.

  • You have more surface area to apply your dry rub.
  • More of the meat is exposed to smoke.
  • You will get more surface bark.
  • The butt becomes flatter and will cook faster.

Butterfly the Pork Butt

It is hard to describe exactly how to open up the butt with words but the video below does an excellent job of showing you the process.

They are trimming a butt for a competition so they are more aggressive and waste more meat than someone needs to be with a standard backyard cook.

This is a great way to get more smoke flavor from your Traeger.

Season the Pork Butt with a Dry Rub

I seasoned the butterflied butt liberally with Traeger’s Pork and Poultry Apple Honey Rub. If you don’t have this rub on hand then here is the ingredient list so you can whip up a batch of something similar:

Traeger Pork and Poultry Rub Ingredients

  • Cane sugar
  • Salt
  • Paprika
  • Dehydrated apple
  • Onion
  • “Spices”
  • Maltodextrin
  • Corn starch
  • Chili pepper
  • Honey

This rub has a sweet and savory flavor profile without much heat.  This is the same rub that I used for Traeger Smoked Pork Chops and Trager Grilled Cornish Hens.

Pork Butt Seasoned with Traeger Pork and Poultry Rub

Let the rub sit on the meat for at least 30 minutes before it hots the smoker to give it time to dissolve and work its way into the pork.

Smoke the Pork Butt on Your Traeger

Using a two step smoking process is the second tip for taking your pulled pork to the next level.

I set my grill to 180F (you can use SuperSmoke Mode if your grill has it) and let the butt cook at low temp for four hours.  Don’t worry if your grill doesn’t hold at exactly 180F for the full four hours as all we are doing is giving the butt plenty of time in the smoke.

After four hours adjust the temperature of the grill to 250F to set the bark and finish the cook.  This is the second smoking step and will take about five hours.

Seasoned Pork Butt on the Traeger

I do not wrap the butt in foil at any time while it is cooking.

About every 30 minutes I do spritz the butt with water to keep the surface moist and prevent it from drying out.

I was using Traeger’s Signature Blend wood pellets for this cook but the Hickory or Pecan would work great as well.

How to Know When the Butt is Finished

After about five hours after raising the temperature to 250F start checking the butt for doneness.

The internal temperature should be in the 200-205F range.  More importantly, when you insert the thermometer into the meat it should slide through with very little resistance.

Once the butt is done I remove it from the grill, wrap it tightly in a double layer of aluminum foil and let it rest in a cooler for about two hours.

Beautiful Bark and Smoke Ring

Shred the Smoked Butt for Pulled Pork

Carefully remove the butt from the foil and use forks, or your hands, to shred the meat for pulled pork.

There are several different muscles in the butt and they all pull differently. Some sections easily shred while others want to fall apart into chunks.  I do this with the butt in a foil pan and discard any large pieces of fat that are left.

Once the meat has been shredded add your sauce of choice and thoroughly mix.  You want to evenly coat the meat with the sauce and distribute that amazing bark throughout the pan.

I use Traeger ‘Que BBQ sauce but you could go with a traditional Carolina vinegar sauce as well.  Go light with whatever sauce you use as you really want the pork to be the star of the show.

Pulled pork with Traeger Que Sauce

Pulled pork with Traeger Que Sauce

Traeger Smoked Pork Butt {Pulled Pork}

A pork butt is aggressively trimmed, seasoned and smoked in a two stage process before being shredded and mixed with sauce for an amazing pulled pork.
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 9 hours
Total Time 10 hours
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Calories 475 kcal


  • 8 lbs Boston Butt
  • 5 tbsp Traeger Pork and Poultry BBQ Rub
  • 4 tbsp Traeger 'Que BBQ Sauce


  • Trim the pork butt into a butterfly to expose as much meat as possible to the rub and smoke.
  • Apply the dry rub and let it work into the meat for at least 30 minutes.
  • Smoke the butt at 180F or in SuperSmoke Mode for four hours.
  • Raise the temperature of the grill to 250F.
  • Smoke the butt for another five hours while spritzing with water every 20-30 minutes.
  • The butt is done at an internal temperature of 200-205F or when a probe slides through the meat with little resistance.
  • Rest the pork for an hour or two.
  • Shred the meat and toss with the Traeger Que sauce. Mix well to distribute both the sauce and bark throughout the rest of the meat.
Keyword Traeger Smoked Pork Butt


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