When to Wrap Pork Butt: The Best Time and Methods

when to wrap pork butt

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Pork butt is a delicious cut of meat that can be cooked in various ways. In this article, we discuss when to wrap pork butt and the best method for doing so. Wrapping the pork butt at the right time will help ensure that it is cooked evenly and comes out moist and juicy.

This popular technique, dubbed the Texas Crutch, is another way to improve your smoked pork game.

Let’s get started!

When to Wrap Pork Butts?

When should you wrap a pork shoulder? As a general rule, you should wrap your pork butt when it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature is usually reached after about a few hours of cooking at low smoking temperatures ( 225 to 250 degrees ).

However, how long it will take for the meat to reach “wrapping” temperatures depends on the pork cut and its size. There are other factors that can affect the cooking time, such as the size of the pork butt, fat content, and the type of smoker you are using.

Nevertheless, once the pork butt reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit, it is time to wrap it, and one method is to use foil. Wrap the pork butt tightly in the foil, making sure that there are no gaps or holes. Then, place the wrapped pork butt back in the smoker and continue cooking until it reaches an internal temperature of 190 degrees Fahrenheit. This usually takes another few hours.

Once the pork butt has reached 190 degrees Fahrenheit, it is done! Take it out from the smoker or grill and allow it to rest for at least 30 minutes before unwrapping and slicing.

Pork Butt-Is Not What You Think, Is a Pork Shoulder

roasted pork shoulder

Although the name sounds like it, pork butt is not from the rear end of the pig. It is actually a cut of meat that comes from the shoulder area. Pork butt is a tough cut of meat with a lot of connective tissue and fat. However, when cooked slowly and properly, this tough cut of meat can be transformed into something tender and delicious.

This cut of meat is also often called a Boston butt. No matter what you call it, when it is cooked properly, it makes for some delicious BBQ dishes, including pulled pork!

Pork shoulder ( pork butt ) is a popular cut of meat for smoking because it is relatively inexpensive and easy to find. It is also a large cut of meat, which makes it perfect for feeding a crowd.

So now you know that when we say “pork butt or Boston butt,” you know we are talking about a cut from the pig’s shoulder.

Why wrap pork butt?

Wrapping the pork butt helps to speed up the cooking process and prevents the outside of the meat from drying out. When smoking large cuts of meat, low and slow, it is common for the meat to “stall,” which means the temperature has stopped climbing and it has stopped cooking.

This is when the internal temperature of the meat stops climbing for a period of time, usually around the 160 degree Fahrenheit mark. Wrapping the pork butt helps to insulate it and keep the heat and juices in, which will help to prevent the meat from drying out while you push it through the stall and cook evenly throughout.

When you wrap pork shoulder correctly, it will braise and cook in the meat’s natural juices. The internal meat temperature will rise without burning or drying the meat. Heat will be trapped, and therefore it will cook faster. Because it is wrapped, all those helpful and tasteful juice will not run off and get lost at the bottom of your grill or smoker.

How to Wrap Pork Butt?

There are a few methods you can use to wrap your pork butt. One common method is to use aluminum foil, but you can also use butcher paper.

If you are using aluminum foil, be sure to tighten those ends very well so that the juices don’t leak through and pool of juices from at the bottom of your smoker. Get help from a friend to assist you with the wrapping process, and start by putting a sheet of foil on a cutting board, disposable roasting pan, or baking sheet.

Use Heavy Duty Foil

Buy a high-quality aluminum foil, cheap aluminum foil will break, and bones will go right through it. Only use cheap foil to create an extra wrapping layer, or if you need to add a thin layer of foil to tighten the ends or cover hole.

To create and nice wrap, place the pork butt in the center of a long sheet of foil and then bring up the long sides, folding them over the meat. Next, take the shorter sides and do the same thing. You should now have a nicely wrapped package with no open seams.

Using Butcher Paper

If you are using butcher paper, it is important to note that you should not use the same type of paper that you would use for smoking ribs. The butcher paper used for wrapping pork butt should be a bit thicker so that it doesn’t tear as easily.

Start by placing the pork butt in the center of the sheet and then folding up the long sides, making sure to crease well so that the juices don’t leak out. Next, take the shorter sides and do the same thing. Once it is fully wrapped, you can tape the butcher paper closed if you’d like.

Again, if you are using butcher paper, you will want to use a heavy-duty variety so that it doesn’t tear when you are wrapping the pork butt. Butcher paper also has the added benefit of being breathable, which helps some steam escape but keeps all the juices in so the meat will be moist but less soggy.

TIPS: The key to success, Preparing the pork for the cooking process smoker

For the best results when smoking a pork butt, it’s important to start with a good quality piece of meat. Look for a cut with marbling throughout and a nice deep pink color. Avoid any cuts that have excessive fat, although you can always trim the fat cap if you need to.

Once you’ve selected your cut of pork, the next step is to trim it and prep it. You’ll want to remove any large pieces of fat and the tough skin that covers the outside of the butt.

The objective of smoking meat and cooking it at a low temperature is to expose the meat to more smoke, heat, and, depending on the type of smoker utilized, moisture. Removing extra fat from the meat’s surface will help it cook faster and absorb more smoke flavor.

While you don’t need to go crazy with the trimming, removing any large chunks of fat will help to prevent the finished product from being too greasy. Once the pork butt is trimmed and prepped, it’s time to season it.

Tips for Seasoning a Pork Butt

How you go about seasoning the pork butt is entirely up to you, but there are a few things to consider.

First, because smoked pork butt will be cooked for a long time, you’ll want to use a robust amount of seasoning that can stand up to the long cooking process.

Second, because the fat will render out off the meat as it cooks, you’ll want to be generous with your seasoning so that the flavor isn’t lost. As the excess fat “melts” and runs off the meat, it will take some of the seasonings with it.

Third, when smoking a pork butt, you’ll want to use a dry rub rather than a wet marinade, as this will help create a nice crust on the outside of the meat.

To season the pork butt, start by rubbing it down with a small amount of vegetable oil. This will help the dry rub stick to the meat’s surface. Next, generously apply your dry rub all over the pork butt, making sure to get into all of the nooks and crannies.

Once the pork butt is evenly coated, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator for at least an hour, up to overnight. This will give the seasoning time to penetrate the meat and add flavor.

When ready to cook the pork butt, remove it from the fridge and let it come to room temperature. This will aid in the even cooking/smoking of the meat.

Tips on How to Smoke Pork Butt

Now that the pork butt is prepped and seasoned, it’s time to smoke it. Smoking pork butt is a relatively simple process, but there are a few things that you’ll want to keep in mind to ensure success.

First, when smoking a pork butt, it’s important to use a good quality smoker. There are a lot of great smokers on the market; explore the different types of BBQ smokers and see which will work well for you.

Second, when smoking Boston butts, you’ll want to cook them at low temperatures. A great rule of thumb is to smoke pork meat at about 225 degrees Fahrenheit.

smart thermometer showing the  monitoring process

Third, when smoking a pork butt, you’ll want to cook it until the internal temperature of the meat registers 190 degrees Fahrenheit. You’ll want to use a good meat thermometer to monitor the cooking progress and eliminate guesswork.

Don’t guess the internal temp of food! Nowadays, good smart thermometers can even tell you the “projected cooking time.” That’s how smart they are.

An instant-read meat thermometer can be useful, but it requires to you be constantly walking up to the smoker to check the internal meat temperature, which can let heat out of the smoker, and well, if you are having too much ( beer ), you can forget to check the meat and miss the stall and when to wrap the pork butt.

meatstick alert settings

Fourth, when smoking Boston butt, be patient! This cut of meat should be cooked slowly in order to break down the connective tissues and fat, making the meat tender. The low and slow cooking process will take a few hours but will result in tender, juicy, and flavorful smoked meat that is sure to be a hit with your family and friends.

Lastly, use good smoking wood to infuse good flavor. You’ll want to use hickory, oak, and even a hint of applewood for a sweeter smoke flavor.

You can also spritz the meat with apple juice or apple cider vinegar to make it extra juicy and prevent serving dry meat. Apple juice is a great way to add a sweet flavor to the meat, especially when making pulled pork, and end up with delicious juicy meat.

If you are smoking a boneless pork butt, the same rules and tips apply. If this is your first pork butt, be sure to start with a smaller one, somewhere in the size range of three to four pounds.

This will give you a chance to get used to the process and ensure that you don’t overcook or undercook the meat.

Let it Rest

Any experienced BBQ chef will tell you that one of the most important steps in smoking pork is to let the meat rest after it has been cooked. This may seem like a counterintuitive step, especially if you’re eager to get the pork on the table so your guests can dig in.

However, there are good reasons for letting smoked rest, and doing so will result in a more flavorful and juicy meat.

When meat is cooked, the muscle fibers contract and squeeze out some of the juices. If you slice into the meat immediately after cooking, all of those juices will run out, leaving the meat dry and tough.

By letting the meat rest, you give the juices a chance to redistribute throughout the meat, resulting in a juicier tender meat, this is important if you are making, for example, pulled pork.

Other Free BBQ Tips

  1. Use good lump charcoal that is natural and has no chemicals.
  2. If you are using a gas or propane grill, use a smoke box with wood chips for flavor.
  3. Start with clean grill grates; you do not want flare-ups or dirty smoke.
  4. Be patient when cooking, don’t keep opening the lid to check on your food. Use a smart meat thermometer to keep tabs on the meat.
  5. Onion powder, garlic powder, brown sugar, and cayenne pepper are great condiments for seasoning pork butts. Give it a try!
  6. Use olive oil on the meat to help the rub stick and create a nice bark.
  7. For extra flavor, inject the pork with your favorite marinade before cooking.
  8. Try different dry rubs and BBQ sauces to find your perfect combination.
  9. When smoking a pork butt, cook it low and slow for best results.
  10. Use a good quality smoker for good results. I like to use a charcoal smoker, but you can use just about anything to cook the best pulled pork of your life. The key is temperature management and smoke.
  11. Patience is key when smoking a pork butt.
  12. Let the meat rest after cooking to absorb its juices.

How To Get A Nice Bark?

The first key to getting a nice bark on pulled pork is using a dry rub. This will help to create a nice, even crust on the outside of the meat. Be sure to massage the rub into the pork so that it has a chance to really penetrate the meat.

One Last Word

If weren’t sure or were wanting to learn when to wrap pork butt we hope you found this guide useful and learned everything there is to know on how and when to wrap a pork butt, the right way!

Enjoy and Happy Grillin’

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