I used used my easy no-binder no-trimming method to prepare a Prairie Fresh pork shoulder butt on the Traeger Timberline 1300 pellet grill. The pork butt is wiped dry, then sprinkled with two of my sensational BBQ rubs. After smoking for a few hours, the meat is coated in my Tangy Vinegar BBQ Sauce, then wrapped in foil. The wrapped pork butt is put back on the Traeger and smoked to perfection. Once rested, the result is juicy, tender pulled pork that’s perfect for the hungry crowd at your next backyard party or gameday tailgate.
This is one of the easiest pork butts I've ever done. We’ve all heard the term, “simpler is better.” This is amazingly simple BBQ that is low on prep time and high on great taste and succulent texture. This pork butt is prepared without a binder and does not require trimming or injection. You will not need a knife for this recipe, unless you count the one needed to free the pork butt from its packaging.
If you are looking to smoke a pork butt with only four ingredients, then this is the recipe for you!
- Pork butt. Pork butt is a cut of meat from the hog’s shoulder. This cut includes the shoulder blade or “blade bone” and can go by a few names, including pork shoulder, pork shoulder butt, and Boston butt. For this recipe, I used a 10 lb pork shoulder butt from Prairie Fresh because I know I’ll get a quality product that won’t need trimming. The smoked 10 lb butt yields about 16 servings of approximately 5 ounces and is a great choice when feeding a crowd.
- Heath Riles BBQ Garlic Jalapeño Rub. This is my spicy all-purpose rub and it’s perfect for building up the first layer of savory, garlicky, peppery flavor on the pork butt. This rub has a kick, but it isn’t so spicy as to turn off those who don’t eat spicy foods. After seasoning the pork butt, you’ll have additional seasoning to use as a popcorn sprinkle or for seasoning chicken, poultry, or beef.
- Heath Riles BBQ Sweet BBQ Rub. This is contest-winning spice blend and it’s my go-to for anything and everything. It provides the perfect top layer of flavoring on our pulled pork. As with the Garlic Jalapeño Rub, you’ll have some of this spice blend remaining and I’d highly recommend using it in your next Bloody Mary.
- Heath Riles BBQ Tangy Vinegar BBQ Sauce. My Tangy Vinegar BBQ Sauce provides the perfect balance of tang and spice. It’s the last layer of flavor we apply to the pork butt before wrapping and resting.
The Smoker Setup
Here’s the main equipment I used and how I set it up. See the equipment and tools section for everything I used to make this easy pulled pork.
Pellet grill/smoker. I used a Traeger Timberline 1300 for this recipe. Pellet grills can sometimes be confusing as they can be used for grilling or smoking. Grilling involves cooking at a high temperature for a relatively short period of time. In this recipe, we smoke our pulled pork low (at 275º) and slow (approximately 7.5 hours).
I removed the top rack from the Traeger, keeping only the middle and bottom racks. Removing the top rack ensures there is enough room for the pork butt. On the bottom rack, I placed a half-size, deep aluminum pan on the bottom rack to catch drippings while the pork butt is smoking. You don’t have to use this setup, but it will keep your pellet grill clean and provides you with some delicious drippings (aka “liquid gold”).
The Process for Making Easy Pulled Pork
The detailed procedure for this pulled pork on the Traeger Timberline 1300 pellet grill is covered in my video and the recipe card at the bottom of this post. Here’s what the process looks like in general.
- Prep the grill. Prepare the grill with a combination of charcoal pellets and wood pellets. Get it heating to 275º while you prep the pork butt. For this cook, I used a Traeger Timberline 1300 with a combination of Royal Oak 100% charcoal pellets.
- Dry and season. I started with a 10 lb pork butt (also known as Boston butt or pork shoulder butt) from the fine folks at Prairie Fresh. After removing the pork from its packaging, I wiped it completely dry and sprinkled it with two of my favorite rubs: Garlic Jalapeño and Sweet BBQ.
- Smoke and spritz. The pork butt goes on the grill until it hits an internal temperature of 155-160º. I spritz the pork butt with water once every hour after the first hour.
- Sauce and wrap. After 4.5 hours on the grill, I pour on my special, Tangy Vinegar BBQ Sauce and wrap the butt well in aluminum foil.
- Smoke, then rest. The pork butt goes back on the grill until it hits an internal temperature of 203-204º. For me, that took another 3 hours. Once the meat hit 203-204º, I moved the wrapped pork butt into my YETI cooler for a 2-hour rest period.
- Pull and eat! When time was up, I unwrapped the pork butt, removed the bone, and shredded the meat.
This pork butt was juicy and tender. This is an easy recipe to feed a large crowd or to use in meal prepping. I urge you to try it. I’ll bet it becomes your go-to pulled pork recipe!
Serving Suggestions for Pulled Pork
Serve this pulled pork with more Tangy Vinegar BBQ Sauce, potato salad, and slaw. Some other ideas for serving pulled pork:
- Make pulled pork sandwiches. Toss the pulled pork with Tangy Vinegar BBQ Sauce, top with slaw and serve on a bun.
- Make pulled pork nachos. Rethink an old favorite for an appetizer or meal. Heap pulled pork over a bed of tortilla chips, top with Tangy Vinegar BBQ Sauce, shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, jalapeños, and green onions. Make a large batch on a couple of sheet pans for your next tailgate.
- Make pulled pork breakfast burritos. Swap out the bacon or sausage in your usual breakfast burrito recipe for a delicious new way to start the day.
Storing Pulled Pork
I doubt you’ll have many leftovers. If so, you can store leftover pulled pork in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or vacuum-seal it and store it in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.
Equipment and Tools
Traeger Timberline 1300, Royal Oak 100% charcoal pellets, paper towels, cutting board, spray bottle, heavy duty aluminum foil, 1 or 2 half size deep aluminum pans, instant-read meat thermometer, YETI Cooler, insulated gloves for handling meat, ChefAlarm