What Temp To Wrap Pork Butt? | Time And Temp Perfect

What Temp To Wrap Pork Butt

As the proud owner of a new smoker, you know how important learning the basics are to successful smoking. You’ve been researching all sorts of techniques and recipes that will bring out the smoky flavors you crave so much in your favorite BBQ joint. One area that can be tricky is wrapping up pork butt. Finding the right What Temp To Wrap Pork Butt, juicy results every time. So let’s dive into what temp to wrap pork butt for best results without fail.

Understanding Pork Butt

Understanding Pork Butt

What is Pork Butt?

Despite its name, pork butt actually comes from the upper shoulder of the pig. It’s an inexpensive, well-marbled cut that contains several muscles bound together by fat and connective tissue. When smoked low and slow, this tough cut transforms into succulent, pull-apart tender meat.

Pork butt is also sometimes referred to as Boston butt or Boston-style butt. This name dates back to colonial New England when pork shoulder cuts were packed into barrels called “butts” for storage and shipping. The term stuck, even after the pork was no longer stored in barrels.

Key Characteristics

An ideal pork butt for smoking should have the following attributes:

  • Generous marbling – This intramuscular fat ensures moisture and flavor when rendered slowly over low heat.
  • Good distribution of fat cap – A cap of fat on one side adds flavorful drippings.
  • Bone-in or boneless – Bone-in adds extra flavor, boneless more convenient.
  • Weight – Typical range is 6-10 lbs, ideal for long smoking times.
  • Shape – Compact, uniform shape allows even cooking.

The Importance of Wrapping Pork Butt

One of the keys to smoking pork butt is understanding the stall and how wrapping can help mitigate its effects. Here’s what you need to know:

The Dreaded Stall

When smoking pork unattended for hours, pitmasters inevitably hit a point called “the stall” where the internal meat temperature stops rising for several hours. This happens when the collagen in the meat begins to break down, releasing moisture. Wrapping the pork butt helps push through this plateau.

Wrapped vs. Unwrapped

Wrapping pork butt:

  • Shortens cooking time by powering through the stall faster
  • Prevents drying out by trapping moisture
  • Produces very tender, pull-apart meat

Unwrapped pork butt:

  • Longer cooking time
  • Drier exterior with a crisper bark
  • Slightly firmer texture

Wrapping is usually recommended to get the best end results.

Preparing Pork Butt for Smoking

Before smoking, pork butt requires some prep work to enhance flavor and texture:

Brines, Rubs and Marinades

  • Brines – Soak meat in a saltwater solution to boost moisture and season throughout. Brown sugar, aromatics, and spices like garlic can also be added.
  • Rubs – A dry seasoning blend rubbed directly onto meat. Common ingredients include salt, pepper, sugar, and chili powder.
  • Marinades – Used to impart flavor and tenderize meat. Can be oil and vinegar based or a wet rub containing oregano, cumin, citrus, etc.

Essential Tools

  • Smoker
  • Digital instant-read thermometer
  • Disposable foil pan for drip tray
  • Spray bottle for spritzing
  • Insulated gloves, tongs, carving forks

Prepping the Meat

  • Pat pork butt dry
  • Trim off excess fat
  • Apply rub generously over all sides
  • Allow meat to come to room temp before smoking

How to Wrap Pork Butt?

Wrapping pork butt mid-smoke locks in moisture and powers through the stall. Here are step-by-step instructions:

Wrapping Materials

  • Aluminum foil – Most common. Use heavy duty for durability. Can reuse foil.
  • Butcher paper – Breathable. Produces better bark. Use unwaxed paper rated for food contact.

Step-by-Step Method

  1. Prepare smoker and smoke pork for 4-6 hours until bark sets.
  2. Check internal temp when it stalls around 160°F.
  3. Remove pork butt, wrap tightly in 2-3 layers of foil or paper.
  4. Return to smoker, fat-side up if possible.
  5. Cook until 205°F internal temp.
  6. Remove wrap and cook unwrapped if desired to crisp bark.

Make sure wrap seals meat tightly. Use more layers if needed to prevent leaks.

Timing and Temps

Knowing when to wrap the pork butt and tracking temperatures is vital. Follow these guidelines:

When to Wrap?

  • Wrap around between 150 and 170°F (65 to 76°C).
  • Or wrap based on bark formation – when bark sets but before it dries out

Target Temperatures

  • 225-250°F – Smoker temp for low and slow cooking
  • 160°F – Wrap when stall hits here
  • 203°F – Collagen fully broken down, meat very tender
  • 205°F – Ideal final internal temp for pulling pork

Adjusting for Size

  • Smaller pork butts may stall sooner. Monitor closely.
  • Larger cuts over 10 lbs may take longer to stall.

Plan your cooking timeline accordingly.

After Wrapping

Once the pork butt is wrapped, monitor it closely through the final phase of cooking.

Checking Temps

  • Use an instant read thermometer through foil or paper to check temp.
  • Check temp every 45-60 minutes until reaching 205°F.

Unwrap Timing

  • Unwrap 30-60 minutes before serving to crisp bark back up.
  • If time is short, can skip unwrapping and pull meat immediately.

Post-Cooking Tips

You’ve smoked the perfect pork butt, now finish strong with proper serving:

Serving Smoked Pork Butt

  • Let rest wrapped for 30-60 minutes before pulling.
  • Use bear claws or forks to shred and pull meat apart.
  • Mix in reserved juices and any finishing sauces.
  • Serve on buns or over rice, baked beans, coleslaw, etc.

Safe Handling

  • Pull all meat within 2 hours of cooking completion.
  • Discard any unpulled pork after 2 hours.
  • Refrigerate pulled pork in shallow pans, then reheat gently to serve later.

Troubleshooting and Common Mistakes

Troubleshooting and Common Mistakes
Issue Cause Solution
Not tender enough Pulled too early before 205°F Cook longer until 205°F internal temp
Bland flavor Inadequate seasoning/rub Use more seasoning or finish with sauce
Bark is soft or mushy Foil leaked moisture Use more foil layers to seal tightly
Bark dried out Unwrapped too long Wrap earlier or re-crisp bark briefly
Hitting temperature plateau Collagen breakdown during stall Wrap in foil at 160°F to push through
Cooking too fast Smoker temp too high Maintain 225-250°F smoker temp
Dried out meat Cooked unwrapped entire time Wrap next time to retain moisture
Greasy meat Excess fat drippings Trim fat cap and remove drippings

Other Common Mistakes

  • Not cooking to proper internal temp of 205°F
  • Letting pork butt rest too long before pulling
  • Using low-quality meat with little marbling
  • Failing to wrap to get through the stall
  • Cooking at high temp the entire time

Learning from your mistakes will help refine your technique.


Wrapping a pork butt when smoking low and slow delivers tender, mouthwatering pulled pork that falls off the bone. The key is knowing when to wrap during the cook to retain moisture and power through the stall. Master these wrapping techniques, adjust for size and temp variability, and avoid common pitfalls for incredible pork butt every time. With the right preparation, tools, and smoking procedure, you’ll gain pork butt mastery in no time. So channel your inner pitmaster, fire up your smoker, and enjoy phenomenally juicy and flavorful pulled pork worthy of any BBQ joint. Delight your family or guests with your fork-tender smoked pork shoulder. The hours of slow smoking are well worth the insanely delicious end results.

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