Are you a barbecue aficionado? If so, you already know that your ability to accurately gauge the doneness of meats is the key to success in the backyard smoker. And when it comes to true low and slow BBQ-ing, there’s one cut of pork that reigns supreme: pork butt (also known as pork shoulder). Pork butt boasts both tenderness and flavor – but only if cooked correctly. The temperature at which this carnivorous delight reaches perfection isn’t always obvious on first glance. You’ll want to make sure it reaches just the right pork butt internal temperature before declaring it ready for munching or serving.
What Is A Pork Shoulder?
Pork shoulder is a cut of meat from the pig that is popular in many countries around the world. It comes from the front leg of the animal and includes both a muscle and fat tissue. The primary benefit of cooking pork shoulder is its low cost, however it also has great flavor due to its high marbling. Pork shoulder can tolerate long cooking times, making it an excellent option for recipes such as pulled pork tacos, slow-cooked barbeque, or braised ribs.
Why Is It Called A Pork Butt?
The phrase ‘pork butt’ is a common way to refer to a certain cut of pork, but ever wonder where the name came from? Despite the fact that it’s cut from the shoulder of the pig, it actually has nothing to do with pigs’ backsides! Pork butt actually comes from an 18th-century marketing and shipping term “Boston butt,” which was named for two wooden barrels or “butts” that were commonly used to package and ship pork from Boston in the 1700s. Though cuts of pork were all referred to generically by merchants, including “shoulder butt,” through time the name “Boston butt” became more popular until it was eventually shortened simply to “pork butt.”
Cook To Time Or Cook To Temp?
Cooking pork to the right temperature can be difficult without the use of a Polder. Rather than trying to guess when it is done based on time or color, instead opt for an internal temperature read by the thermometer. The recommended internal temperature range from 180°F to 205°F, offering some wiggle room in terms of your desired result. Some swear by the higher end of that range, while others are happy with a lower result. In either case, rather than relying solely on the readings from the thermometer, you should also go with your instincts for a perfectly cooked pork dish.
It is recommended to plan for 1 1/4 hours per pound, however periodically checking the internal temperature is advised. It is normal for the temperature to stall at 180°F as the connective tissues and fats break down. This process can take anywhere from 45 minutes to 2 hours. If the temperature stalls for an extended period of time don’t be afraid to bump up the heat to 250°F.
To Foil Or Not To Foil
Ah, the age old debate of foil vs. no foil for your pork butt. The answer: it’s up to you! Foil can help retain moisture, so wrapping your pork in either a plain aluminum wrap or an aluminum and brown sugar mixture is definitely something to consider before cooking. If you do choose to wrap, make sure to take the pork out of the foil at least an hour before you plan to serve it in order to let it get nice and crispy on the outside.
Pork Butt Internal Temp: 195–205°F
Now that you know the basics about pork butt, let’s get to the heart of the matter – what is the optimum temperature for a perfect pork butt? The answer: 195–205°F. This is generally accepted as the ideal range for a well-cooked, yet tender and juicy piece of meat. Anything lower than this may result in a dry and tough pork product. Anything higher and you risk burning the outside before the internal temperature has a chance to reach its optimal point.
To ensure accuracy, an instant-read thermometer should be used every 30 minutes or so to check the temperature of the pork butt as it cooks. Once it reaches 195–205°F, the pork butt should be removed from the oven, covered with foil and allowed to rest for about 10 minutes.
The resting period allows the juices to evenly distribute throughout the meat, making it juicy and flavorful. It also gives you time to prepare any additional ingredients needed for your recipe. So now that you know all about cooking pork butt, it’s time to get cooking! Whether you’re making pulled pork tacos, slow-cooked barbeque, or braised ribs, you can rest assured that your pork butt will come out perfectly cooked with the help of a Polder thermometer.
Why Low And Slow?
Cooking pork butt low and slow helps to ensure that the connective tissues break down, resulting in a juicy and tender piece of meat. A combination of low heat (around 225-250 degrees Fahrenheit) and long cooking times (usually 1- 2 hours per pound) will help to guarantee the desired outcome.
Watch Video On Temp Pork Butt Topic
The Kitchen Project:
The Kitchen Project is a great way to learn more about cooking pork butt. By following the simple step-by-step instructions, you can achieve mouthwatering results. Start by selecting a cut of meat and then truss it with string for even cooking. Next, season your pork butt generously and place in a roasting pan on a bed of vegetables. Add liquid to the bottom of the pan for extra moisture and cover with foil or a lid. Finally, cook your pork butt low and slow in the oven at 225 – 250 degrees Fahrenheit for 1-2 hours per pound, or until it reaches an internal temperature of 195 – 205 degrees Fahrenheit. Be sure to monitor the temperature throughout cooking and adjust the heat if necessary. When ready, let the pork rest for 10-15 minutes before serving and enjoy!
Tips For Smoked Pork Shoulder:
If you’re looking for a smoky flavor, then smoking your pork shoulder is the way to go.
- Meat Prep: Before smoking your pork shoulder, it’s important to prepare the meat correctly. Start by trimming away any excess fat and patting the meat dry with a paper towel. Rub the meat with a layer of olive oil and season generously with salt, pepper and your favorite spices.
- Probe Placement: Place the temperature probe in the thickest part of the butt, making sure it’s not touching fat or bone.
- The Cook: Cook the pork butt until it reaches an internal temperature of 195-205°F (91-96°C). The time to reach this temperature will depend on a few factors, including the size and shape of your butt as well as the ambient temperature.
- Monitoring The Smokers: Check each smoker every hour or so to make sure the temperature is staying steady and adjust accordingly.
- The Stall: At some point during the cook, your pork butt will likely hit what’s known as “the stall.” This means the internal temperature of your meat stops increasing
- Verifying The Temperature: After about 15 hours, our pork butts reached 180°F (82°C). We then verified the internal temperature with a Polder thermometer to make sure it was done. The final internal temperature of both butts came out to be around 203-205°F (95-96°C).
- Resting: Remove the pork butts from the smoker and let them rest for at least an hour before you begin to handle or shred them.
- Shredding: Use two forks to shred the pork butt, discarding any fat or gristle as you go.
- Taste Test: Give your pulled pork a taste test and adjust with more seasoning or sauce if desired.
Recommended Temperature Tools:
When it comes to cooking pork butt correctly, having the right tools is essential. Invest in a digital thermometer that can accurately measure the internal temperature of your pork butt or use a modern cooking thermometer with a probe. You’ll also need a roasting pan with a lid and aluminum foil for wrapping your meat. Finally, don’t forget an oven mitt and a pair of kitchen tongs for safe handling.
Keys To Success:
When it comes to cooking pork butt, patience is key. Invest in the right temperature tools and use the low-and-slow method for best results.
- Choose the right cut of pork.
- Understand the different cooking methods.
- Invest in good temperature tools.
- Cook low and slow.
- Let your pork butt rest before shredding.
- Adjust with seasoning or sauce as needed.
Make sure to let the pork rest after it’s finished cooking. This is especially important if you’ve chosen to wrap your butt in foil, as the juices can settle during this time and provide added flavor when you serve the pork. When it’s time to pull, try using two forks for an easier shredding process. Finally, don’t forget the finishing touches – whether you like your pulled pork served with a sweet and spicy BBQ sauce, creamy coleslaw, or other condiments, the sky’s the limit!
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Pork butt is often cooked low and slow, which can result in a tough piece of meat. To ensure your pork is cooked through and juicy, cook it until it reaches an internal temperature of 195-205 degrees Fahrenheit. Use a reliable meat thermometer to get an accurate reading, and check the temperature in multiple spots to be sure. Once your pork butt has reached the correct temperature, remove it from the heat and let it rest for at least 3 minutes before slicing into it. By following Sweet Basil’s Cafe simple tips, you’ll be able to enjoy perfectly cooked porkbutt every time!