Pork Butt Internal Temperature: When To Pull the Pork

The prospect of preparing any type of BBQ meal for friends and family might be a little overwhelming.

Pork Butt Internal Temperature: When To Pull the Pork

Knowing what has to be done and how long the meats need to be cooked may become challenging when there is so much going on.

Pork removed from the bone is one of the most popular barbecue dishes available. While it is a popular meal among many, mastering the art of cooking it well may be a difficult task.

Many of us find ourselves unsure how to do this, and no matter how hard we search, we just can’t find the answers that we need.

The fear hits us, and we worry that our BBQ will be the joke of the summer, with everyone hating our pork. 

Well, no more! Today we have a complete guide about when you should pull the pork. Just keep reading to find out what you should consider when deciding when you should pull pork.

The Internal Temperature 

When the internal temperature of the pig butt hits 200 degrees Fahrenheit, the cooking time for the pork is complete.

Some pitmasters recommend ending cooking when the temperature reaches 195 degrees. Others believe it is best to wait for the internal temperature to reach 203 degrees.

Either way, you should always try to aim for 200 degrees. 

Pork Butt – The Facts

You would guess from the name of this meat that it originates from the buttocks of the pig. However, this is not the case.

Despite the fact that it appears to make logic, this cut really originates from the opposite extreme of the spectrum.

Cooking pork butt over open flame results in a fatty chunk of flesh that is taken off the pig’s shoulder and roasted until it is tender.

This cut is often wrongly identified as the shoulder cut. This cut is taken a little bit below the foreleg and has a completely different flavor profile, which is sometimes mistaken with the pig shoulder cut.

The term “Boston Butt” refers to a kind of pork butt. It is unclear how this cut of beef came to be known as “barrel beef,”

But the official story is that it was frequently packed and transported in barrels of varied sizes during the colonial era. 

When they were first introduced, they were referred to as butts. It was so popular around New England that this cut was called “Boston butt” after the place where it originated because it was so commonly used in the region.

This narrative, according to some historians, is not factually correct since it occurred so long ago that no one can remember the entire event.

There is no difference between pieces of meat labeled as either pork butt or Boston butt, so if you want to make this dish either will be fine to use.

Preparing Pork Butt

The butt cut of a pig is often particularly fatty and rich in flavor. It also has a lot more connective tissue compared to other cuts, which is another plus for this type of meat.

Because of this, it is an ideal choice for recipes that call for slow-cooking. The gristle and fat will not decompose if the meat is cooked for an excessive amount of time, resulting in stringy and tough flesh.

The cooking method for this meat is time-consuming, with cooking times ranging from 8 to 24 hours. This is dependent on the depth of the meat.

Because of this, it is vital to plan out your whole cooking schedule ahead of time.  

Prepare the pulled pork by preheating the grill or smoker to 200-225 degrees Fahrenheit before cooking it. While the grill or BBQ is preheating, take the pork butt out of the freezer and set it on a baking sheet.

Make sure that the meat has reached room temperature before adding it to the grill. 

A cold piece of meat placed on the grill will take much longer to cook than one that is not cold.

Now is a good time to begin seasoning the pig butt with some sort of BBQ rub, if this hasn’t been done yet. It is best to do this step a day before to allow the spices to infiltrate the flesh more thoroughly.

For the best results, cook the pork butt in a way that ensures that the fat side is always facing up.

Instead of dripping into the coals or oil pan during the cooking process, the fat should be used to season the pig while it is being cooked.

There are additional ways that may be used to expedite the procedure, which we will discuss in greater detail later.

While you might be able to half the total cooking time, being able to cut the entire process will take the better part of a day to complete.

Furthermore, avoid over-fattening the pig buttocks wherever possible. Pulled pork has a luscious texture and flavor because of the high meat-to-fat ratio used in its preparation.

The Right Temperature 

Pork Butt Internal Temperature: When To Pull the Pork

Pork butt must be cooked until it reaches an internal temperature of at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit before it is safe to consume.

This holds true for a variety of different BBQ meats and dishes, including steaks, roasts, and pork chops, among others.

The temperature of ham should be permitted to reach 145 degrees before consumption, even when it has been smoked and cured before eating it.

Cooking pork to an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit was formerly advised by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to eliminate potentially harmful food-borne microbes.

Even though they have considerably lowered the temperature requirement for entire cuts, they continue to recommend that chefs cook the ground pig and organ meats to 160 degrees.

While the beef is technically acceptable to eat once it reaches a temperature of 145 degrees, you’ll want to cook it for much longer to ensure it’s tender.

You should not remove the meat from the fire too soon, because it will lose its appropriate consistency.

The Thermometer Temperature

Until the inside side of the pulled pork achieves a temperature of at least 195 degrees Fahrenheit, it is not considered to be fully cooked.

At this stage, the connective tissues will have degenerated to the point that they will fall apart when the least pressure is applied.

You may take the meat from the fire as soon as the temperature hits 195 degrees since it continues to cook for just a brief length of time after being removed from the heat.

For even softer meat, cook it on the grill until the internal temperature reaches 201-203 degrees, depending on how soft you prefer your meat.

You should not allow it to cook much longer than this point, or the meat will begin to dry out.

Allow for at least an hour of resting time after the pig butt has been removed from the smoker, if possible. It is during this waiting period that the liquids can redistribute, resulting in delectable and tender pulled pork.

Additionally, the flesh will be cooler to the touch, which will make your task simpler.

The Stall In Cooking 

The pig butt stalls after several hours of cooking, and frequently after the flesh has reached an internal temperature of around 160 degrees Fahrenheit.

A stall is defined as the period of time during which the meat appears to cease cooking completely—and the temperature may not increase again for several hours after that.

You might wonder how this is feasible. This process occurs as a result of the inherent moisture in the meat beginning to evaporate while cooking.

In the same way that perspiration cools ourselves down, this has the same impact on meat.

However, while the science behind the stand is intriguing, it provides little consolation as one waits for the pig to be roasted. Our biggest advice is to plan ahead of time and devise a strategy.

Please keep in mind that the total cooking time per pound will be around two hours. This indicates that it will take around twenty hours to smoke a ten-pound pork buttock.

Instead, you may use a tool known as the “Texas crutch” to enhance the temperature of the pig butt.

This technique entirely encloses the meat in a sheet of aluminum foil, preventing moisture from escaping throughout the cooking process.

If you use the Texas crutch, the pig will cook more rapidly, but it will lack the crispy outside peel that is characteristic of this method.

However, butcher paper can be substituted for butcher paper when it comes to wrapping the meat.

While this method will not be as effective as wrapping the pork in aluminum foil, it will be more expedient than not wrapping it at all in the first place.

Taking The Temperature Correctly

Pork Butt Internal Temperature: When To Pull the Pork

A reliable instant-read thermometer is one of the most critical tools a pitmaster may possess. Contrary to popular belief, you should not rely on an old-fashioned dial thermometer.

While people may think that the old ways are the best, a digital display provides a more precise reading.

When shopping for a pellet smoker, look for one that includes dual meat probes. This feature enables you to monitor both the smoker’s ambient temperature and the interior temperature of the meat.

Wi-Fi connectivity is another feature to look for in a pellet grill. You may use your smartphone or tablet to check the grill’s temperature using this gadget.

As previously stated, allow approximately two hours per pound of pig butt to cook. To be safe, we recommend that you begin temperature testing around two hours before your planned end time.

Bear in mind that covering the pig butt with foil or butcher paper will expedite the process by several hours. In this case, after approximately an hour of smoking the wrapped pork, check the temperature.

Safety First

When working with meat products, it is critical to follow proper food safety procedures. Apart from cooking the pork to the right temperature, a few further steps must be taken.

Pork, whether raw or cooked, can be kept for up to four days in the refrigerator. In any case, maintain a refrigerator temperature of fewer than 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

If the leftovers are not thoroughly cooled before consumption, they are unsuitable for eating later.

Before cooking, chill the pork butt. Otherwise, raw pig fluids may escape onto the surfaces below, contaminating other items and ruining the other foods.

Additionally, before preserving any meat, it should be securely wrapped and kept in the refrigerator. This prevents the meat from drying out when exposed to air.

Use clean utensils and keep the raw flesh apart from the other components while preparing the pig butt. Additionally, glass cutting boards are preferred for this task.

Even after cleaning, hardwood and silicone cutting boards might harbor bacteria. Hands should be washed before and after handling all raw meat items.

Any remaining ingredients should be refrigerated in an airtight container. Refrigerate cooked pork within two hours to avoid the growth of dangerous microorganisms.


No matter how big or little your piece of pig butt may be, the internal temperature of your pork butt must reach 195 degrees Fahrenheit before it can be served.

Reaching 200 is an easier and more reachable objective that is also simpler to remember than reaching 300 or 400. As long as you keep this in mind, you should be able to avoid any problems in the future.

John Rinder
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