Smoking a Boston Butt Recipe

NEW: Check out the Secrets to the Perfect Smoked Boston Butt post for a detailed look on how to smoke a Boston Butt.

When it comes to BBQ, nothing is better than a good smoked Boston Butt on the grill. It is great with sandwiches or just plain with a selection of salads, breads, grilled vegetables, and a fantastic dessert to seal the deal.

This recipe is a great recipe the results in a moist, juicy, and tender smoked Boston Butt. Try it out and let us know what you think!

Image courtesy of bbum

- Boston Butt - about 8-10lbs of pork - pick one with the bone in

Then you will need a rub for your butt made up of:
- 4 teaspoons salt
- 4 teaspoons garlic powder
- 4 teaspoons onion powder
- 4 tablespoons paprika
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 3 teaspoons black pepper
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper - a little more if you like your butt with a little kick

If you want to have more of a sweet flavor to your butt, you can add to the rub mix
- 5 tablespoons of dark brown sugar

Adding brown sugar gives the meat a sweet taste, but will also cause the meat to turn a dark color as you cook it as the sugar caramelizes. Cooking without the brown sugar results in more of a salty flavor and the meat will be a deep red color. It is just a matter of taste and what you like.

Mix all these ingredients together as the rub for your smoked Boston Butt. This will store for weeks in an airtight container in your refrigerator.

Cooking Instructions

1- Apply a thin coat of mustard to the butt. You can use the cheap stuff or if you like it a little more tangy, use dijon mustard. The mustard provides some flavor, but also provides a base for the rub to stick to.
2- Generously rub your butt with the rub recipe above. If you plan ahead, you can wrap it up and let it sit overnight in the refrigerator to allow the spices to penetrate the meat.
3- If you prefer, inject your smoked Boston Butt with apple juice to add flavor and to keep it moist as you cook
4- Heat your BBQ to 225F degrees and put your butt on the grill. Indirect heat works the best and add your favorite soaked wood chips to add the smoked flavor
5- Plan on cooking the smoked Boston Butt about 60-90 minutes for every pound in the roast.
6- Every 2 1/2 hours, open it up and turn the roast to ensure even cooking. Mop your roast with combination of apple juice and olive oil to keep it moist
7- The meat is done when the internal temperature is above 190F degrees. The lower you keep the temperature, the more moist the meat will be.
8- Don't be afraid to start early because it can take longer than expected.  If it gets done early, you can always wrap it in foil and put it in a cooler.  It will keep warm for hours after it is done.   At least let the smoked Boston Butt sit for about an hour after you take it off the grill so you don't burn your fingers as you pull the meat.
9- Serve with your favorite sides, salads, and drinks.

You may consider cooking 2-3 smoked Boston Butts as your whole neighborhood will be stopping by to check what is cooking because of smells that will have tempted them all day long.

Enjoy this recipe! Let us know what other recipes or tips you have for cooking the ultimate Smoked Boston Butt!


  1. Derek Krause says:

    I have read over all the articles, and I am by no means an expert... However, I have been bbq'ing for some time, and this is what I suggest: soak your chips, rub your butt the night before and refrigerate. Before smoking, take your butt out of the refrigerator and let it sit for about an hour so the heat from the grill doesn't "shock" the meat. I cook mine on 225 degrees about 75 mins per pound. It is important that you do not rush this process. I've ways gone by the saying, "if you're lookin', you ain't cookin'". Every few hours, you should mop the meat with apple juice/ olive oil mixture.. If/when you hit the "stall" (which, you will), be patient! Once your meat hits the 185/190 mark, pull it off. Let it set for about one hour... Don't forget, that after you pull it off, it will continue to cook internally. Once it sets, pull apart with your fingers! I recommend some cowhide leather gloves to protect against the heat of the meat! If you have any questions, let me know! I'd be happy to help!

  2. Someone gave me a 9lb. butt cut in half. How do you think that effects cooking time?

  3. Cory Mooney says:

    I am having a hard time getting my old brinkman smoker up to temp. Do you have any tips on how to do this the right way?

  4. This recipe is awesome . I tried it and the outcome was great . The butt was tender and moist inside . I will be cooking it again today for Memorial Day weekend . Thanks it was awesome

  5. Gary Heinly says:

    Absolutely great recipe and very clear directions. You were right, the neighbors di come sniffing. The meat is delicious!!!!

    Thanks, Gary

  6. Keith Evans says:

    If your smoker isn't getting hot enough, it may not be as air tight as you need it. Check the door if you have one, plus the top must be positioned as flush as possible.

  7. I use one of these to keep an eye on my temps: Master Forge Digital Remote Meat Thermometer.
    I will know exactly what the temp is at any moment and I do not have to keep going back to the grill. I totally agree with the thought of wrapping the butt in plastic overnight.
    I have also rubbed my boston butt in brown sugar first so the rub will have something to stick to with great results.

  8. This is an excellent recipe, and it's not difficult. I skipped the apple juice injection and the juice/oil mopping, and I still got a moist, tender roast.

    It took 12 hours to get a 7.5-lb boston butt up to 190 degrees, but it was worth every second. After I let it rest, the meat pulled apart with no resistance. The bone lifted straight out, completely clean.

    Definitely add sugar to the rub because it creates a crunchy, sweet-and-spicy crust that is delicious. We're looking forward to making sandwiches with our roast and some homemade barbecue sauce for the next couple of days.

  9. Tried your recipe. Everyone who sampled gave it rave
    reviews. Thanks for sharring. In the absence of garlic powder, I
    used garlic salt and cut the regular salt some. I printed the
    instruction out to use with my next cooking. Thanks

  10. by turn do you meanreposition or do you meanturnover

  11. Hal Polk says:

    I change the directionless the meat on the grill front to back and as well turn top to bottom and bottom to top.

  12. Absolutely the best bbq after doing this 3 times. I will not do it any other way. Perfect combo of seasonings and apple juice. Mmmmmmmm! Happy BBQ'ing

  13. I am kind of new to this and am looking for rough guestimate of how much charcoal it takes to keep a weber type grill at cooking/smoking temp.

  14. My grill doesn't have a temp control.
    I cooked the seasoned 10 lb butt for 15 minutes at 380+ to get the 'grill flavor' all over.
    Now into the oven at 225, in a pan, brushed with Apple/olive.
    Put a larger pan underneath the one it's in and filled it with 1C water.
    This way if my initial grilling dried anything out, it won't continue!
    Results to come!

  15. Whoa..... That joker took almost 13 hours to cook- MEANING, it took forEVER to get the inner temp up to 190F.
    Didn't help that I poured water in the outermost pan.
    Finally covered it all w foil, turned it up to 275F for 20 min. and cut it off.
    Left it all alone in the oven till morning.
    It was still hot!!!
    Pulled off the bone and was SPECTACULARLY delish!

    Found out about the 'stall' here-

  16. How long do you think my Boston Butt will take its 9.5 lbs?
    I will be using a Electruc Smoker on about 180 it will be about 45-50 degrees tomorrow.

  17. Wonderful recipe, second time using your recipe, thanks.

  18. I smoked mine! I don't think a Boston Butt should be put on a grill and cooked - it needs to be cooked slowly for optimal tenderness and flavor. I had a 6 lbs Boston Butt. I made the rub as indicated, but added more Cayenne Pepper (total about 1 TBL - don't be afraid of this spice when it's incorporated with a rub - it was not spicy at all) and I added 1 TBL of Cocoa! Yes powdered Cocoa! It adds so much to the meat. Try it - you'll like it. I did NOT inject the meat with apple juice, nor did I use apple juice for the basting. Apple juice can produce a dry piece of meat! I don't recommend it - but that's just me. I heated my smoker to 200F; put the meat on the second rack; put Apple wood chips in the smoker and replenished them every 15-30 minutes (I do NOT soak my wood chips); opened the draft on my smoker all the way (nothing better than the smell of a smoker cooking filling the air); and turned the meat a quarter turn every 2.5 hours as the recipe indicates. At every "turn" I slathered the top of the meat with EVOO. I smoked it for 6 hours; let it sit for 30-45 minutes; made red mashed potatoes; sliced the meat in 1/2" pieces and this dinner was outstanding! (I did NOT put the rub on and let it sit overnight - however, I'm sure that adds more flavor...probably will do next time). Enjoy!

  19. This recipe rocks! I will use it again!

  20. Chris M says:

    I must say there's a lot of info available out there, but this site has the absolute best.

    I've used this rub and info for 3 cooks so far and for a novice just getting into smoking, I've had great results.

    The rub is perfect with the brown sugar and I've been able to use the methods to cook pairs of 7lb butts to 193 degrees over about 12 hrs in my vertical gas smoker.

  21. Jim Bonin says:

    Jimbo: I never follow directions, we used this as somewhat of a guideline. Used apple juice in tin pan instead of water and just about every spice in the kitchen. I can honestly say I won't be going to the BBQ stand down the road in Bennetts valley, unless it's for brisket. OH MY!!!!!!

  22. I have used this recipe about 25 times! It's awesome! I used it til my smoker off'd it's self. Had to get a new one

  23. I used this recipe for my 2nd ever Boston Butt. I have my 3rd and 4th wrapped in the fridge now to cook tomorrow. It's incredible. I won't even try another recipe. This is better than any BBQ place I've been to. Even got my wife bragging! Best tasting ever! Thanks

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