Smoked Boston Butt (on a Gas Grill)

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Meet Bacon's cousin, the nearly as infamous (and rightfully so) Boston Butt, or just "Butt" as we like to call it 'round here. 

Delicious, smoked, fall-off-the-bone-tender, butt (the 12 year old in me wants to laugh every time I say that).  It's hard to believe one of the cheapest cuts of meat can be transformed into one of the most prized and polarizing southern dishes ever dreamed up.  Yes, polarizing.  Everyone and their momma has a secret recipe for THE best pulled pork to ever grace this earth.

Regardless of your chosen method or special sauce, all Boston butt recipes have one thing in common - the ticket is "low and slow."  Smoking the butt over a low steady heat all day produces pounds upon pounds of juicy, succulent pork, while simultaneously creating a crunchy, perfectly seasoned crust on the outside commonly referred to as the bark (my favorite part). 

As for the recipe, of course I didn't just wake up one day with an epiphany as to how to properly smoke a Boston butt on a gas grill.  That being said, I also can't credit any one source for the process.  My method is an amalgamation (now that's an SAT word if there ever was one) of the hundreds of recipes I found during hours Googling "how to smoke a Boston butt on a gas grill".   Genius, I know.

Which reminds me, I'm so dang jealous of kids these days.  I mean, Come. On.  They have Google.  Do they even realize how huge that is??  

I cannot even fathom the countless hours I would have saved in the boring old library trying to dig up the ever elusive relevant information for book reports and projects; time that would have much better spent terrorizing the neighborhood on roller blades, gathering up emeralds and gold and annihilating trolls on Digger, or gushing about my crush of the week in an artfully penned note to my BFF.  

So from me and the kids of the internet generation, thank you Google; you're pretty awesome. 

Smoked Boston Butt (on a Gas Grill)
Serves:  8-10
Prep Time:  30 minutes
Cook Time:  8-10 hours 
Total Time:  All damn day 

1 five pound Boston Butt (pork shoulder)
Kitchen Twine 
3 cups of Hickory Chips for smoking 
Smoker Box or Foil
1 drip pan 

For the Rub:
2 tablespoons of paprika
2 tablespoons of cumin  
2 tablespoons of brown sugar 
1 tablespoon of oregano
3 teaspoons of garlic powder
1 teaspoon of onion powder
1 teaspoon of cinnamon 
1 teaspoon of chili powder
1 teaspoon of ancho chili powder
1 teaspoon of Kosher salt 

For rub, mix all ingredients together. 

Rinse Boston butt and pat dry.  Tie the butt with kitchen twine to hold it together during the smoking process and coat with the rub.  Allow the Boston butt to absorb the rub for at least three hours (in the fridge for the most part, but pull butt out and allow it to sit at room temperature about an hour before cooking).  At the same time, soak 3 cups of hickory chips in water.  To prepare grill, remove the grate from one side of the grill and ignite one burner on that side of the grill to low heat, leaving grate off.   Lift the grate on the opposite side of the grill from the lit burner and place the drip pan on top of the burner shields/flavor bars and replace grate (so that the drip pan is under it).   Close the lid and allow the temperature of the grill to reach a steady 225 F degrees (use an oven thermometer if you do not have a thermometer on your grill). You want to maintain a 225 F degree temperature for the entire smoke time, so make sure you have enough gas on hand.    While grill is heating, add 1/3 of the soaked chips to a smoke box.   If you do not have a smoke box, make one out of foil (instructions here)*.  If you use the foil pack method, go ahead and make three packets so that you can easily throw them on periodically throughout the smoking process.  Once the grill has reached a steady temperature of 225 F degrees, quickly place smoke box or foil wood packet directly on the burner shield of the lit burner (leaving grate off), and position pork over the drip pan on the unlit side of the grill.  Close lid and don't touch.  You only want to open the grill during the smoking process to quickly exchange smoke packets or refill smoke box.  I swapped out my wood packets at 2 hours in, 4 hours in and 6 hours in.  The Boston butt should take approximately 8-10 hours to cook (about 1.5 hours per pound).  After 8 hours have passed, quickly insert a (good) digital thermometer into the meat to check the temp.  The Boston butt will be fork tender when it reaches an internal temperature of 200 F degrees.  If the internal temperature has not reached 200 F degrees, allow the butt to cook for at least another hour with the grill lid closed before checking the temperature again. 

When pork is done, admire your "bark", shred the pork, and serve plain or with your favorite sauce. 

*Truth be told, the foil packet method worked better for me than the smoke box.  The chips in the smoke box never really burned.


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. make it sound easy...I might actually have to try this soon!

    1. Kay - it is so easy!! I put it on and dedicated the rest of my day to catching up on The Good Wife.

  3. Thanks for the mention. You clearly did a FINE job.

    1. Thank you John, and thanks for your excellent tips!

  4. Thanks for commenting ! Gas Grillers Gas Grillers .

  5. What a GREAT idea!! But it seems to take a long time.

  6. Do you mean the side with the pan the burner is to be off

  7. Great recipe and ideas. Thanks for sharing

  8. Thanks a lot for sharing such a delicious recipe.

  9. wow..really this is amazing and very and my family like this very much.many many thanks for sharing your ideas and making recipes. but i want to know about perfect temperature cooking this that's why we need a grill thermometer which is helpful for checking this.


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