If you’re in the mood for gourmet food, try my Low & Slow Pork Butt Recipe. True to its name, this hunk of meat takes a while to reach perfection. Good things take time, including pork! I pulled out all the stops for this cook; injecting the meat, seasoning it, and wrapping it in a decadent butter bath.
By the end of this recipe, you’ll be a pro at smoking meat. I recommend starting this cook in the morning or the night before so it can be ready for dinner. Serve it as is, or shred it for your favorite sandwiches. The possibilities are endless!
Americans are no strangers to slow cooking. The Instant Pot is proof of that! However, slow cooking on the pit is entirely different than using your crock pot. Your meat ends up with the same tenderness an Instant Pot gives but with a BBQ-style crust that you can’t replicate.
My Low & Slow Pork Butt Recipe is an entire experience. The smell of pork wafting through the windows and the hands-on work of wrapping the meat makes dinner taste so much better.
This recipe has a few steps but comes together with just five elements. A few carefully chosen ingredients allow you to create any recipe your heart desires. If you purchase some of my rubs, you’ll have multitasking ingredients. Here’s what you need to add to your shopping cart.
- Boston Butt. Despite what its name suggests, this meat cut comes from a pig's shoulder. It’s hearty and holds up well under heat, releasing more moisture the longer you cook it. Depending on where you live, this pork style is called “Boston Butt” or “Pork Shoulder.”
- Heath Riles BBQ Honey Chipotle Rub. This rub is one fantastic blend of savory, sweet, and spicy. The combination of chipotle peppers and honey notes makes this an award-winning ingredient. Professionals and home chefs alike love this product! I’m confident it will make you feel like the king of your kitchen.
- Heath Riles BBQ Pork Injection. You can use this ingredient as an injection or brine; it tastes fabulous either way. It keeps your meat juicy without altering its natural flavors. This injection contains a mix of brown sugar, garlic, salt, and pepper, among other things. I created this brine when competing in the MBN BBQ circuit, and it’s helped me bring home countless trophies since then. It’ll make you the neighborhood champ, too! One of the best things about my pork injection is that it doesn’t leave streaks in your meat. Your pork will look just as good as it tastes.
- Apple juice. Mixing my butter bath and injection with a little apple juice gives the pork a fruity note. Nothing is better than pork and apples! Adding apple juice is a great way to flavor your pork butt without oversweetening it. The natural sugars in the juice help caramelize the seasonings, creating a fabulous crust.
- Heath Riles BBQ Butter Bath. This butter bath is specially formulated for ribs and other cuts of pork. I used this ingredient in the 2022 Memphis in May Rib Championship. It was a key part of that win! There’s nothing like this product on the market. Once you try it, you’ll never be without it again.
The Smoker Setup
- Pellet grill/smoker. I used a Traeger Timberline 1300 for this recipe. Pellet grills are wonderful because you can also use them to smoke meat. This setup is roomy, but I usually take the top rack out to ensure the heat flows evenly. The Traeger is full of awesome features like an app, a pellet sensor, grease management, grill hooks, and more.
- Pellets. I stoked the Traeger with Royal Oak Charcoal Pellets. This charcoal is my favorite because it’s high-quality and doesn’t contain gross fillers. It gives your meat an authentic flavor that tastes great. I highly recommend it.
The Process for Making Low & Slow Pork Butt
You can find a detailed demonstration for this cook in the recipe video and card at the bottom of this post. In the meantime, here’s a brief overview of how I pulled this pork butt together.
- Fire up the Traeger. I stoked my Traeger with Royal Oak Charcoal Pellets and fired it up to 225℉.
- Inject the pork butt. I removed my pork butt from its packaging and mixed 12 ounces of apple juice with ¼ cup of pork injection until smooth. I injected the pork butt in a grid pattern until it was nice and plump.
- Trim the meat. I felt for any stray bone fragments and removed them if necessary. Then, I scored the fat on the butt, which will create beautiful cubes when I smoke it fat side up.
- Season. I sprinkled the pork shoulder with a good layer of my Honey Chipotle Rub, starting with the bottom. I took a little more care with the fat side, ensuring each cube of meat was seasoned.
- The top of the meat is considered the “presentation” side, so it needs to put its best foot forward. I let the meat sweat in for 15-20 minutes.
- Cook low and slow. I laid the pork butt on the Traeger, fat side up, and let it cook low and slow for 8 hours.
- Wrap with Butter Bath. I increased the grill’s temperature to 275℉ and prepped my butter bath. I mixed 8 ounces of apple juice with ¼ cup butter bath until homogenous. Then, I lined a baking tray with a double layer of heavy-duty aluminum foil and placed the pork butt on top. I poured the butter bath over the top and wrapped the pork tightly.
- Finish and rest. I placed the wrapped pork butt on the grill and let it go for another 2 hours until it reached an internal temperature of 200℉. I let the pork butt rest for about 2 hours before shredding it. The pork butt had a total cooking time of about 10 hours.
This pork butt was juicy with just the right ratio of meat and fat. It fell apart in my hands and melted in my mouth. Every bite was filled with flavor and infused with pure smoke. I guarantee this will be one of your go-to recipes!
Serving Suggestions for Low & Slow Pork Butt
This delicious pork shoulder is tasty on its own, but sometimes you want a creative way to use leftovers. Try one of these ideas!
- Make pork sandwiches. Top with a Tangy Vinegar BBQ sauce drizzle, and serve on your favorite bun. Dinner has never been easier.
- Make quesadillas. This delicious quesadilla recipe is a fun way to reuse leftovers. When you don’t know what’s for dinner, Tex-Mex is always a good choice.
- Jazz up mac and cheese. Add a little leftover pork to your Smoked Macaroni and Cheese. This simple addition takes a simple side dish to a whole new level.
- Use as a salad topper. Top your favorite salad with this well-seasoned pork. You can also use it to fill your favorite healthy wrap!
- Add it to a burger. Create a meal fit for a king when you top your burger with a dollop of coleslaw and a scoop of pork. Warning: You’ll need a napkin for this one.
Storing Low & Slow Pulled Pork
If you have leftovers, keep them in the fridge for up to 3 days, or vacuum seal the pork and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 months. You can also freeze your leftover pork for up to 3 months.
Equipment and Tools
Royal Oak Charcoal Pellets, Traeger Timberline 1300 , paper towels, cutting board, heavy-duty aluminum foil, baking trays, ThermoWorks Thermapen ONE, YETI Tundra 65 Hard Cooler, meat claws, and insulated gloves for handling meat.
Low & Slow Pork Butt Recipe on the Traeger Grill
Mix 1/4 cup of pork injection with 12 oz of apple juice to get ready to inject. You can use any liquid of your choice, we just prefer apple juice.
Use a grid-like pattern to inject butt.
Score fat on butt, we are cooking fat side up.
Season butt with Heath Riles BBQ Honey Chipotle Rub on all sides. Allow rub to sweat in for 15-20 minutes.
Put on Traeger Grill (or smoker / grill of your choice) fat side up at 225º. We used Royal Oak Pellets for this cook.
Cook butt for approximately 8 hours at 225º. Our butt was approximately 160º at this point.
Remove butt to wrap with Butter Bath (1/4 cup) and Apple Juice (8 oz.). Wrap foil tightly.
Return to grill, we set our probe to 200º.
We turned our temperature up to 275º and cooked for another 2 hours.
We had a total cook time of 10 hours, our butt had an internal temperature of 200º when we took it off of the grill.
Allow butt to rest for 1-2 hours.