Slow-Smoked Pulled Pork (Boston Butt)


This simple yet effective Boston butt recipe gives the pulled pork a mildly spicy and tangy flavor. The combination of smoke and moisture from the drip pan works very well for cooking the meat evenly and leaves plenty of juices within the meat itself. I've tried several different methods with Boston butt and this one is my favorite, as well as a favorite among my friends. Give it a try and see if you like it, and please don't be shy and leave some feedback! I usually serve with barbeque sauce and baked beans (throwing the fat chunks from the pulled pork into the beans to add a little extra flavor). Check out my Sweet and Spicy Cornbread Muffins recipe for a great side. Enjoy!

Prep Time:
30 mins
Cook Time:
4 hrs 5 mins
Additional Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
5 hrs 5 mins
6 servings


Dry Rub:

  • 5 tablespoons dark brown sugar

  • 4 ½ teaspoons garlic powder

  • 4 ½ teaspoons onion powder

  • 4 teaspoons paprika

  • 4 teaspoons seasoned salt (such as LAWRY'S®)

  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper

  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin

  • 1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

  • 3 ½ pounds bone-in Boston butt roast

  • ½ cup spicy brown mustard

  • 1 cup pickle juice

  • ¾ cup olive oil

  • charcoal

  • 8 pounds fruit wood chunks for smoking

  • 2 cups pilsner-style beer (such as Budweiser®)

  • 4 ¼ cups water, or as needed


  1. Mix brown sugar, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, seasoned salt, black pepper, cumin, and cayenne pepper together in a small bowl to make dry rub.

  2. Coat roast with spicy brown mustard. Sprinkle dry rub all over roast and work it into all the folds and creases.

  3. Combine pickle juice and olive oil in a small bowl.

  4. Preheat 5 pounds charcoal in a smoker according to manufacturer's instructions until white and flaming. Distribute 7 to 8 large wood chunks over the coals. Place a drip pan on top; pour in beer and enough water to fill the pan most of the way. Close smoker; bring liquid in the drip pan to a boil. Place roast on top and close smoker.

  5. Smoke roast, turning every hour, until browned, about 2 hours. Baste roast with pickle juice and olive mixture. Continue smoking, turning and basting every hour, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center reads 175 degrees F (80 degrees C), 2 to 3 hours more.

  6. Remove roast from smoker and wrap with aluminum foil. Let rest, about 30 minutes.

  7. Uncover roast and cut into chunks. Shred chunks into small strands; transfer to a large bowl. Squeeze strands with both hands repeatedly, mixing after each squeeze.

Cook's Notes:

Keep in mind cook time and yield varies depending on the amount of pork. Cook time is usually 1 1/2 hour per pound of pork. For 6 to 8 people, I use 3 1/2 to 4 pounds.

Substitute vegetable oil for the olive oil if preferred.

I use cherry, peach, or apple wood. Mesquite and hickory can also be used, depending on what's available and what you prefer. Add wood chunks as needed in step 5 to maintain the temperature at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

700 Calories
54g Fat
21g Carbs
30g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 6
Calories 700
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 54g 69%
Saturated Fat 13g 66%
Cholesterol 104mg 35%
Sodium 965mg 42%
Total Carbohydrate 21g 7%
Dietary Fiber 1g 5%
Total Sugars 12g
Protein 30g
Vitamin C 3mg 15%
Calcium 105mg 8%
Iron 4mg 19%
Potassium 565mg 12%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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