When to Wrap Pork Butt

by | Dec 9, 2022 | Barbecue, Smoker | 0 comments

Pork butt remains a popular smoking meat, especially for barbecue fans. The fatty portion of meat, also known as Boston butt, cooks gradually, and the outcome is luscious and tender. But when smoking a pork butt, wrapping is a precious step, but some chefs still underrate it by skimping.

A point to note is that pork butt is perfect for longer smoking sessions, and if you’re craving that delicious BBQ meat, you need to know when to wrap pork butt and at what temperature and time. So read on and find out more about wrapping the pork butt process.

About Pork Butt

The name makes most people think the cut of pork is from the pork’s posterior. But it’s a cut from the animal’s upper shoulder that contains connective tissue and fat from the arm, neck, and shoulder blade. Some folks call the cut ‘pork shoulder’ as it’s closer to the shoulder, which you find far beneath the foreleg.

The connective tissues make the meat tough, and slow cooking at low temperatures is the only remedy for moist and tender meat. This way, the fat melts into the surrounding meat, and connective tissues break down. To create that delicious dish, most veteran chefs sautee the cut and wrap the pork butt in foil.

Why Do You Need to Wrap the Pork Butt?

Wrapped pork butt tastes different; if you like BBQ, you’ll understand. And the easiest way of achieving that juicy meat with minimal smoke is through meat smoking. Here are more reasons why you should consider wrapping your pork butt.

  • Retains the delicious juice: Using aluminum foil or butcher paper when wrapping the meat retains the moisture, by creating a humid cooking atmosphere. The foil prevents moisture from evaporating, keeps the rendered fat intact, and also prevents the meat from drying out. Unwrapped meat easily spills out over the grill and quickly dries out.
  • Speed up the cooking: Pork butt wrapping shortens the cooking time, so meat smokers highly recommend it. Wrapped-up pork butt cooks quickly and evenly as the butcher paper retains all the heat. Another cool thing that the foil does to your Boston butt is preventing burning, which is worrying, mainly from increased smokers’ temperature. The foil acts as a shield at a higher temperature.
  • Keeps smoke and heat at bay: Excessive smoke and heat produce an excessive smoke flavor that most people find unpleasant. And too much heat is not the best for cooking a pork butt. Wrapping the meat with Butcher paper shields excessive smoke and heat as the internal meat temperature rises evenly without burning the pork butt.

Preparing the Pork Butt for the Smoker

You don’t want to have a dried and tasteless pork butt due to failing to prepare it. To succeed, you must prepare your pork shoulder for the smoker properly. Below is how to do it like a pro.

The Rub

Season your pork for at least 12 hours or a day before, then allow it to sit in the fridge overnight. This way, you achieve the maximum and most satisfying results rather than being in a rush. But if you forget to season and are still in a hurry, you can let the meat rest for an hour as you wait for the grill to heat up. Ensure you generously coat the pork and avoid sand-like thickness. Apply a final coat of your favorite prepared mustard to prevent the rub from sticking to the surface.

The Cook

Preheat your smoker to 180 – 225 degrees, add your pork butt and close the Lid. Using a boneless pork butt will take at least 90 minutes for each pound to cook, and for bone-in cut, you can expect at least 2 hours per pound to cook at these temps. At the last hours of cooking between 150-165 degrees you can proceed to wrap your pork butt.

Doing too early prevents you from achieving that tantalizing bark that barbecue fans appreciate. The internal temperature of the pork may stop rising at 150-160 degrees and remain this way for several hours. It worries some people since the meat may seem to stop cooking midway through the cooking process, but it’s perfectly normal and usually referred to as “the stall,” period.

The Wrap

The wrapping process of pork is crucial for instilling flavor and aroma in your pork. An adequately wrapped pork butt produces juicier and tastier meat. Since pork butt requires a slow cook time, the best way to speed up this process is by wrapping up the meat. But how do you do it? Keep reading. 

How To Wrap Pork Butt

The only best way to achieve tender, favored, juicier, and delicious pork butt is by mastering the right way to wrap it. Otherwise, you may lose all the juices as they drip off to the bottom of the grill.

Additionally, you have to ensure you wrap the meat at the right time as doing it too late may give you overcooked meat, and too soon prevents the bark from developing. The internal temp of the pork ought to be at least 150-165 degrees Fahrenheit before wrapping it. 

You can opt to use butcher paper or a high-quality foil to prevent tearing from bones and leakage of the juices, which may ruin the flavor you are aiming at. For best wrapping, use two wide sheets of foil to go around the pieces of meat perfectly. Get some tongs and wear silicone gloves to prevent burns when removing the meat from the hot grill. Place the meat at the center of the foil sheet and ensure the fatty side is pointing up.


Now it’s time to season your pork butt, and you may go ahead and add honey or sugar depending on the sweetness you’re looking to achieve. Spritz some apple cider vinegar to spice up the juices, and sprinkle a light coating throughout the surface of the aluminum foil.

Some of the most common flavors that barbecue lovers use may include; garlic powder, salt onion powder, black pepper brown sugar, or honey and paprika to give some color. But of course, spices and flavors are a personal choice, and you can always go for what works best.

Next is to wrap your piece of meat

Start with the longer sheets by bringing them up and folding the cut of meat to create a nice and tight wrap. Repeat with the shorter sides until the meat is well-wrapped with no exposed edges. Ensure all the loose ends are tucked in, then return the meat to the heat to finish cooking.

Keep the Lid Closed

Some people fail terribly at this and give in to the temptation of checking and rechecking the temperature. Avoid doing this; otherwise, you mess up with the cooking process and the bark. Heat escapes each time you open the Lid, increasing the cooking period. To avoid this, know the amount of meat you’re cooking. For 8 – 10 pounds of meat, cook it for around eight hours before checking the temperatures.

Removing the Boston butt from the smoker

Now you’re at the grand finale of your cooking process! So at precisely 195 degrees Fahrenheit, you need to remove the Boston butt from the smoker. You can use an instant reading or meat thermometer to check the desired temperatures.

The instant thermometer is easy to use and pops out the degrees once you insert it into the meat. But you have first to remove the smoking pork. For the meat thermometer, insert it in the meat as you start the process and let  stay it in the smoker with the pork throughout the cooking process.

To avoid misreading from the thermometer, always insert to the thickest and not near the bone as bones heat up more quickly than other areas of the meat. Remember that the meat continues to cook even after removing it from the heat for some time, which can increase the internal temperature to 6-10 degrees.

The Rest

Don’t be in a rush or underrate the last step of resting the pork butt after removing it from the smoker. The best way of achieving that delicious and moist meat is letting it rest for 30-45mins though some extend up to 2 hours before serving!

During this period, the pork reabsorbs the natural juices, the fiber, and the juices around the foil and produces tender, juicy, and delicious meat. To serve it, unwrap the pulled pork and shred it into small pieces. You can use some shredding claws or two folks, and you’re good to go.

Final Thoughts

Wrapping the Boston butt is not too complicated and offers you tastier, juicier, and more delicious meat. Preparation is essential, but you must know when and how to wrap your pork butt perfectly.

Doing it earlier messes up the flavors, something you want to avoid doing. And wrapping the meat too late produces overcooked meat. With the information provided above, you have no excuse not to smoke a pork shoulder and enjoy the most delectable meat. All you have to do is follow our guide when smoking a pork butt.




Colin has been grilling, smoking, and barbecuing in his yard for as long as he remembers.  His favorite dish is pork belly smoked on his favorite offset smoker. Read more about Colin here.


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