How to Smoke a Pork Butt in an Electric Smoker

smoked pork butt on butcher paper
If you’re making pork butt in an electric smoker for the first time, you will want to set the temperature of your smoker to 225°F. Add your desired wood chips, and allow the smoker to preheat for 15 minutes. Place your pork butt inside, close the lid, and allow it to smoke for several hours until it reaches an internal temperature of 200°F to 205°F.

How to Make Smoked Pork Butt Using an Electric Smoker

Here is a step-by-step guide for making the perfect smoked pork shoulder:

Tools Needed to Smoke Pork Butt on an Electric Smoker

  • Aluminum foil or butcher paper
  • Electric smoker
  • Meat thermometer
  • Water pan or spray bottle to spritz the meat
  • Wood chips for smoke flavor

How to Prep the Pork Butt for Smoking

If you’re planning on smoking a pork butt, there are a few things you’ll want to do to prepare the meat to ensure that it turns out juicy and flavorful.

Trim off the excess fat.

First, you’ll want to trim off any excess fat from the Boston butt. Excess fat is anything that is over 1/4” thick. This will help the meat cook evenly.

Brine the pork butt.

Next, you should brine the pork butt to add moisture and flavor to the meat. To do this, combine water, salt, sugar, and any seasonings you like in a large container or bag.

Place the pork butt in the brine, ensure it’s fully submerged, and let it sit in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight.

Apply a dry rub.

After brining, remove the pork butt from the brine and pat it dry with paper towels. This will help the dry rub or seasonings you use to stick to the meat.

Let it come to room temperature before smoking.

Once the pork butt is seasoned, it’s a good idea to let it come to room temperature before smoking. This will help smoke penetrate the meat and will allow faster cooking.

Prepare the Electric Smoker

It is crucial to prepare your electric smoker properly:

Preheat the smoker.

Preheat your Masterbuilt (or any other brand) electric smoker to a temperature range between 225°F and 250°F. This is the best temperature range for smoking meat slowly.

Fill the water pan.

Ensure you fill the water pan with water or a mix of water and another liquid of your choice. You can use beer, rootbeer, or apple cider vinegar to add a layer of flavor.

Add wood chips.

You can add wood chips to an electric smoker to provide a smoky flavor to the food. Both hickory and apple wood are ideal choices. However, not all electric smokers can use wood chips, so be sure to check the manual for your specific model. Most modern electric smokers do take wood chips.

Smoke the Pork Butt

An ideal temperature range for smoking pork butt is between 225°F and 250°F. It typically takes about 1 1/2 to 2 hours to smoke one pound of pork, so a 6-8 pound pork butt will take between 9-16 hours to smoke.

Saucing, spritzing, or basting the pork butt is unnecessary, but it can add additional flavor if desired.

You must place it in the smoker with the fat side close to the flame (as many pitmasters will confirm) and allow it to smoke until it reaches the desired internal temperature.

It is recommended that you wrap your pork butt in aluminum foil (using the Texas crutch method, similar to brisket), but only do this once it reaches a safe temperature of 145°F. It will continue to smoke in the wrapping until it reaches the final ideal internal temperature between 195°F and 205°F.

Rest the Pork Butt

Once the pork butt reaches the desired internal temperature, it should be wrapped in butcher’s paper and allowed to rest for at least 30 minutes to 1 hour. This allows the juices to redistribute and makes the pork easier to shred or slice. The pork butt can be covered or uncovered during this time, depending on personal preference and your pork recipe, but covering it will help the juices penetrate better. 

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Shredded pork butt

Electric Smoker Pork Butt Recipe

  • Author: Alexandra
  • Total Time: 8 hours, 20 minutes


A smoked pork butt is divine when it’s been made in an electric smoker. You’ll have a tender, juicy slab of meat that will melt in your mouth like butter on a hot biscuit—and leave you with some leftovers for pulled-pork sandwiches or tacos!


Units Scale
  • 8 lb pork butt or pork shoulder
  • yellow mustard
  • 2 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp dried onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar or apple juice for spritzing
  • 1 cup water


  1. Preheat the electric smoker to 225°F and 250°F and add hickory and applewood to the smoker’s tray.
  2. Start by prepping your cut of meat by removing the fat cap, and patting it dry with paper towels.
  3. Next, mix all the dry seasonings in a large container.
  4. Rub the pork butt with mustard and cover with the dry rub, ensuring an even coating.
  5. Place the pork butt in the smoker and let it smoke for three hours until a bark forms.
  6. Make the spritz mix by combining water with apple cider vinegar or apple juice, and put it in the spray bottle. Spray the pork butt throughout the remaining smoking process, every 30 minutes.
  7. Check the internal temperature of the pork butt periodically with a meat thermometer to ensure it reaches an internal temp of at least 165°F.
  8. After this point, wrap the pork butt in aluminum foil and continue to smoke for another 2-3 hours or until the internal temperature reaches 195°F. Add more seasoning and spritzing liquid as desired.
  9. Once the pork butt has reached the desired internal temperature, remove it from the smoker and rest for 10 to 30 minutes. It should continue to cook a little bit more during this time.
  10. Shred your roast for smoked pulled pork if desired, or slice and serve with your favorite BBQ sauce and side dishes!
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Rest Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 8 hours


  • Serving Size: 4 ounces
  • Calories: 305
  • Sodium: 76mg
  • Fat: 21.3g
  • Saturated Fat: 7.9g
  • Protein: 26.7g
  • Cholesterol: 97.3mg

Best Temperature to Smoke Pork Butt

The best temperature range for smoking pork butt is between 225°F and 250°F. This low and slow cooking method allows the meat to slowly break down and become tender while also allowing the smoke flavor to penetrate the meat. It also helps to prevent the meat from drying out.

How Long Does It Take to Smoke Pork Butt on an Electric Smoker?

How long it takes to smoke pork butt depends on many factors like your smoker, how thick your piece of meat is, and the temperature.

If you set your smoker temperature to 225°F, here are the smoking times you’ll be getting according to weight.

Weight of Pork ButtAverage Smoking Time
4 pounds 6 to 8 hours
5 pounds7 to 10 hours
6 pounds 9 to 12 hours
7 pounds 11 to 14 hours
8 pounds 12 to 16 hours
9 pounds 14 to 18 hours
10 pounds 15 to 20 hours

If you opt to smoke your pork butt at a higher temperature of 250°F, you may be able to shorten the time by up to 30 minutes per pound. However, the best way to know when it is done is to measure the internal temperature of the meat.

How Do You Know Pork Butt is Done Smoking?

It is recommended to cook pork butt to an internal temperature of 200°F – 205°F for optimal tenderness and flavor. To be able to do that, you should take it off the grill when it reaches 195°F because the temperature will continue to rise while resting. It’s just part of the cooking process!

To ensure that a pork butt is done and the connective tissues break down, check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat. The USDA recommends that pork be cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 145°F to be safe to eat.

Best Side Dish Ideas for Smoked Pork Butt

Here are some delicious side ideas to serve with your smoked pork:

Grilled Corn on the Cob with Garlic Herb Butter

The sweet and savory flavor of the corn complements the meat’s smokiness – it’s like summer in a dish!

Honey Chipotle Roasted Sweet Potatoes

This side dish is sweet and spicy, making it perfect for any barbecue (or Tuesday night dinner).

Southern Fried Okra

When fried in hot oil, okra becomes crispy on the outside and tender on the inside—perfectly complementing your smoked pork butt!

Dill Pickle Potato Salad

Another great side dish for smoked pork that’s easy to make at home. It’s got a tangy kick from the dill pickles, which brings out all the umami flavors in this traditional comfort food favorite.

Tips for Shredding Pork Butt for Pulled Pork

To shred the pork butt, use two forks or meat claws to pull the meat apart. Alternatively, you can use your hands to shred the meat, but wear gloves to protect them from the heat.

Once the pork butt is shredded, add some of the cooking liquid or broth to keep the meat moist and flavorful. You can also add barbecue sauce to add more flavor to the pulled pork.

The most important thing is to cook the pork butt for enough time so that it ends up being shreddable. Ensure it reaches an internal temperature of 195°F before taking it out of the smoker.

Let it rest and sit at room temperature until you can safely shred it.

Best Way to Store and Reheat Smoked Pork Butt

The best way to store pork butt is the Wozniak Method. After the cooking is done, you should wrap it up as tight as you can and pinch off the ends of the meat. Then you should put the pork butt in a watertight plastic bag and place it in an ice-filled cooler.

Check the internal temperature regularly until it reaches 40°F – now you can move it to the fridge. Pork butt will usually last about four days in the refrigerator and up to 3 months in the freezer.

When reheating your pork butt, put it in a baking dish inside a smoker or oven set to 250°F. It will need to have some additional liquid or sauce mixed with it, so it remains moist. Cook it until it reaches a safe 165°F internal temperature.


Alexandra is a passionate writer who loves everything related to food: from buying local produce and sourcing the best ingredients to finding the perfect spice mix and sauce to complement each dish. She loves getting together with friends near a campfire and grilling up some barbecue goodness while having quality conversations - no screens allowed.

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