Perfecting Pork Butt – Smoking Time for Tender Perfection at 225°F

how long to smoke pork butt at 225


Smoking pork butt is a culinary art that requires patience and precision. Achieving that mouthwatering, tender, and flavorful result involves a careful balance of temperature and time. The magic number for many pitmasters is 225°F (107°C). In this article, we’ll explore how long to smoke a pork butt at 225°F to ensure that it emerges from the smoker as a delectable masterpiece.

The Cut – Pork Butt

Before diving into the specifics of smoking time, let’s get familiar with the star of the show: pork butt. Despite its name, a pork butt is not derived from the rear end of the pig but rather from the upper part of the shoulder. This cut is rich in marbling, which makes it ideal for slow smoking, as it can withstand long hours of cooking without drying out. The collagen and connective tissues break down over time, rendering the meat tender and succulent.

The Importance of Low and Slow

Smoking pork butt at 225°F is a classic example of the “low and slow” cooking method. Low temperatures ensure that the meat remains moist and doesn’t dry out, while the slow cooking process allows the connective tissues to break down, resulting in tender, melt-in-your-mouth pork. Maintaining a steady temperature of 225°F is crucial to achieve these desired outcomes.

Smoking Time at 225°F

The cooking time for a pork butt at 225°F depends on a few key factors

1. Size of the Pork Butt: The size of the pork butt plays a significant role in determining the cooking time. Smaller cuts will cook faster, while larger ones will take more time. On average, a 4-6 pound pork butt will require about 1.5 to 2 hours per pound when smoked at 225°F. So, for a 6-pound pork butt, you can expect a cooking time of around 9 to 12 hours.

2. Temperature Fluctuations: Maintaining a consistent temperature in your smoker is essential. Fluctuations can significantly impact the overall cooking time. Using a high-quality smoker with good temperature control can help you achieve better results.

3. Resting Period: After the pork butt reaches its target internal temperature, it’s essential to let it rest for at least 30 minutes to an hour. Resting allows the juices to redistribute within the meat, resulting in a juicier final product. Keep this resting period in mind when planning your overall cooking time.

4. The “Stall” Phase: During the smoking process, the pork butt may enter a phase called the “stall.” In this phase, the internal temperature can plateau for several hours. This can be frustrating for new pitmasters, but it’s a normal part of the cooking process. Be patient, as the temperature will eventually start to rise again, and your pork butt will continue to cook.

Using a Meat Thermometer

To accurately determine when your pork butt is ready, it’s best to use a meat thermometer. Insert it into the thickest part of the meat without touching bone. The ideal internal temperature for pulled pork is around 195°F to 205°F. When it reaches this range, you can be confident that your pork butt is ready to be removed from the smoker.

Adding Flavor with Wood

While cooking your pork butt at 225°F, the type of wood you use for smoking will also influence the flavor. Hardwoods like oak, hickory, and applewood are popular choices, each imparting its unique taste. The length of time you smoke the pork butt also contributes to the depth of smoky flavor. To avoid over-smoking, it’s recommended to use wood in moderation, especially for longer cooks.

Experimentation and Patience

While the guidelines for smoking a pork butt at 225°F are helpful, it’s crucial to remember that smoking is as much art as it is science. Factors such as the smoker, weather conditions, and the unique characteristics of the pork butt can all influence cooking time. As you gain experience, you’ll develop a better feel for these variables, and you may need to adjust your approach accordingly.


How long does it take to smoke a 4 lb pork butt?

The cook time for pork shoulder is around 90 minutes per pound in a 250° F smoker. A 4-pound pork shoulder will take approximately 6 hours.

How long does it take to smoke a 7 lb pork shoulder at 225?

At 225, figure roughly 2 hours per pound of meat, so the same piece of smoked pork shoulder takes from 12- 16 hours at 225. There are a lot of factors in how long it takes, including the humidity in the air, how consistent the grill holds temperature, the outside temperature, and more.


Smoking a pork butt at 225°F is a labor of love that yields a rewarding and delectable result. Patience and precision are the keys to success, as you aim to maintain a steady temperature, monitor the internal temperature of the meat, and navigate through the stall phase. With the right approach and experience, you’ll master the art of smoking pork butt, and your guests will savor the mouthwatering, tender, and flavorful masterpiece you create every time. So, fire up your smoker, prepare your pork butt, and enjoy the journey to smoked perfection.

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