When to Pull Pork Butt: Internal Temperature Guide

Pork butt smoked and pulled
The ideal pork butt internal temp is between 200°F - 205°F. At this temperature, the meat is tender, juicy, and will shred with ease. You may also pull pork butt off the pellet smoker once it reaches an internal temperature of 195°F since the temperature will continue to rise during resting.

Pork Butt Internal Temperature Guide

There are few meals more satisfying than a perfectly juicy and tender pork butt. Pork butt is a great choice for smoking, braising, and stewing and becomes succulent when cooked properly.

With any cut of pork, it is important to ensure it is well-cooked before shredding.

How Do You Know a Pork Butt is Done?

Make sure to check the internal temperature of your pork butt using an instant-read thermometer to determine when a pork butt is done.

Your pork butt will be done when it registers an internal temperature of about 200-205°F. A high internal temperature is necessary for the fat in pork to fully render down and make your meat tender. At this internal temperature, your pork butt should pull apart with minimal effort.

According to the USDA, pork is safe to consume at an internal temp of 145°F. So why should you cook your pork butt until it reaches a higher temperature?

The pork butt is a fatty cut of meat that has a lot of connective tissues. Although pork is safe to consume at 145° F, cooking it to 205°F will help break down the collagen, fat, and connective tissues in it.

The breaking down of collagen, fat, and connective tissues in pork butt is what makes it tender and flavorful. If you don’t wait for this to happen, your pork butt will be tough.

What is the Best Way to Measure the Internal Temperature of Pork Butt?

The best way to measure the internal temperature of pork butt is to use a digital meat thermometer and check in multiple places.

Insert the probe into the middle of the thickest portion of the meat without coming into contact with the bone.

When the internal temperature reaches 200-205°F, your pork butt is done and ready to consume.

What is the Ideal Internal Temperature for Pulled Pork?

Pork butt is properly cooked once the internal temperature of the meat reaches 200-205°F.

You may also pull pork butt off the pellet smoker once it reaches an internal temperature of 195°F since the temperature will continue to rise during resting. After 10 to 15 minutes, check the internal temperature of the pork to ensure it reaches at least 200°F.

What Temperature do you Pull a Pork Shoulder Off the Smoker?

You must pull a pork shoulder off the pellet grill once it reaches an internal temperature of 200-205° Fahrenheit so it doesn’t overcook. To be safe, you can also remove the pork shoulder from the smoker at an internal temperature of 195°F because the temperature of the meat continues to increase during rest time.

How Long Do You Need to Cook Pork Butt?

Generally, you should cook bone-in pork butt for 2 hours per pound of pork meat. For example, a 5-pound pork butt needs to cook for about 10 hours in the smoker while a 10-pound pork shoulder should cook for about 20 hours.

If you wrap your pork butt in aluminum foil, the cooking time will be reduced significantly.

Make sure to check the temperature during the cooking process to get a good idea of the expected cooking time.

What is the Best Temperature to Shred Pork Butt?

The best temperature to shred smoked pork butt is 200°F.

Do You Need to Wait for Pork Butt to Rest Before Shredding?

Yes! You need to rest your pork butt before shredding or eating. Resting allows the juices to redistribute and reabsorb into the pork protein fibers, making your pork butt more tender, succulent, and flavorful.

What is a Pork Butt?

Pork butt is a piece of pork that is taken from the shoulder part of a pig. This cut of pork includes the neck, upper arm, and shoulder blade.

Other names for pork butt include pork roast, pork butt roast, pork shoulder, Boston butt, and Boston-style shoulder.

Pork butt is great for low and slow cooking methods such as smoking, and grilling.

How to Prepare Pork Butt

Here’s a simple step-by-step guide on how to cook pork butt:

  1. Preheat the smoker and remove your pork butt from the refrigerator. Let it reach room temperature before cooking.
  2. Rinse your pork butt and pat it dry using a paper towel. Cover your pork with a dry rub.
  3. Once the pork reaches room temperature, put it on the smoker with the fat side up. Check the temperature of the smoker to ensure the cooking temperature is consistent.
  4. Keep checking the temperature of your pork and pull it from the smoker once it reaches the internal temperature of 200-205°F.
  5. Wrap your pork in heavy-duty aluminum foil or butcher paper and let it rest for around 30 minutes. Shred your pork butt and serve with your favorite BBQ sauce and side dishes.

Tips for Cooking The Most Delectable Pork Butt

  • Don’t overcook: Your pork will continue cooking even after removing it from the smoker.
  • Save the pan juice: There will be a lot of juice in the smoking pan. This juice has incredible flavor, so save it to make gravy or incorporate it into the meat once the meat is shredded.
  • Let it rest: Resting will allow pork protein fibers to reabsorb moisture. Wrap your pork butt in heavy-duty aluminum foil or butcher paper for around 30 minutes after smoking.
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Pulled pork sandwich

Smoky Pulled Pork Butt Recipe

  • Total Time: 7 hours 45 minutes
  • Yield: 10 1x


This is the simplest pulled pork recipe you can ever make. There are minimal ingredients involved and no complex measurements to deal with. The end result is the most tender and juicy pulled pork ever, with a sweet and smoky flavor!


Units Scale
  • 3.5 lbs pork butt
  • 1 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tbsp Kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup BBQ sauce


  1. Preheat to 225°F. Pat your pork butt dry with a paper towel and put the meat in the middle of the smoker with the fat side up.
  2. Mix the smoked paprika, sugar, and salt, then separate in half. Rub half of the dry mixture onto the meat, reserving the remaining mixture.
  3. Place the pork butt in the smoker. Allow to smoke for 6 to 7 hours until the internal temperature reaches at least 195 degrees F. If it begins to brown too much on the outside, you can cover the pork butt with foil. If you do cover it with foil, please note it will cook faster and you will need to keep a close eye on the temperature.
  4. Remove your pork from the smoker and set aside the juices from the smoking pan. Allow the pork butt to rest for about 30 minutes.
  5. Use two forks to shred the pork (or pull it by hand) once the meat is cool enough to handle. Remove any extra fat pieces and set them to the side. Stir in the remaining seasoning mix, meat juices, barbecue sauce, and apple cider vinegar, and mix thoroughly to combine.
  6. Eat your lovely pulled pork as is or serve it with delectable side dishes. Some recommendations are pickles, potato salad, hot sauce, coleslaw, and soft white rolls!
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 7 hours
  • Category: Main Course
  • Cuisine: American


  • Calories: 375


At heart, Patrick is a passionate cook, adventurous eater, recipe writer, and bargain hunter. He aims to provide creative ideas on how to how to cook amazing food with everyday ingredients in a hassle-free manner.When not writing or standing over a grill, Patrick enjoys traveling and exploring nature in all its beauty.

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