How Long to Let Pork Butt Rest

How long to let pork butt rest

For many meat smoking enthusiasts, a pork butt is a great option for tossing in the smoker. Also called the Boston Butt or Pork Shoulder, this cut of meat is fatty and offers a rich flavor. And when you smoke it for a long time, it becomes tender, juicy, and incredibly delicious.

With that said, the rub and the smoke time aren’t the only things you need to consider when smoking pork butt. When all is said and done, you shouldn’t cut right into the meat, as tempting as that is.

To really get the best results, chefs and experts highly recommend resting your pork butt after cooking.

But how long should you let a pork butt rest after cooking?

In this article, we’ll find out.

Keep reading to learn more about how long to let pork butt rest, why you should rest pork butt, and some other tips to keep in mind when smoking a pork butt at home.

How Long Should You Let Pork Butt Rest?

After cooking your pork butt, chefs recommend resting it for at least one hour before slicing it. This means taking the meat off the heat and leaving it in the open air to rest and achieve the ideal internal temperature. This will also allow the meat to reabsorb and redistribute the juices that would just flow out of the meat if you decide to cut it right away.

While the minimum rest time is 1 hour, you can rest it for a maximum of two hours before slicing. Since pork butt is large, it will stay warm for at least 4 hours after cooking.

To properly rest the meat, take it off the heat and open the foil for 5 minutes to release the what. From there, you can move the meat to a dry cooler and wrap the foiled meat with a towel. From there, all you have to do is keep the meat there for an hour or so before slicing it and serving it.

When Should You Rest Pork Butt?

It’s ideal to rest pork butt when it reaches an internal temperature of at least 190 degrees Fahrenheit. You can wait til a bit later, but if your pork reaches an internal temperature between 195-200 degrees, it’s best not to cover it while resting to avoid overcooking.

This is because the temperature of large roasts like pork butt can rise between 10-15 degrees while resting. So, if you take it out for resting in between 190-195 degrees, it will reach 200-205 degrees by the time it’s done resting, which is the optimal temperature for slicing the meat.

Why Should You Rest Pork Butt?

slow roasted pork butt on wooden cutting board

The resting period after smoking or cooking meat is something you cannot miss. This is because resting the pork shoulder or pork butt is what allows the meat to reabsorb and redistribute the juices inside. This is what results in the tender and juice flavor that we all know and love with pork butt.

To start, resting is crucial for letting the meat reach the best internal temperature. To make sure the meat is ready for slicing, it needs to reach an internal temperature between 200-205 degrees. So, when you rest the meat, you allow the inside to cook until it reaches the optimal temperature.

The larger the cut of meat, the more important it is to rest the meat and utilize the carryover cooking time. So, for small pork chops, this process isn’t too important. But for an 8-10 pound slab of pork butt, it’s absolutely essential.

With that in mind, it’s important to take the meat off the smoker to rest when it reaches an internal temperature 10-15 degrees below your target. This is the optimal time to take the meat out for resting and is one of the reasons why a good meat thermometer is essential when smoking pork butt.

When a piece of meat cooks, the protein fibers tense up. This is a natural part of the process, but it causes the juices to spread out as the fibers expel moisture. This actually dries up the meat and makes it less tender than you might want.

But if you let the meat rest, you give it time to reabsorb and redistribute all these juices. So, when it finally comes time to slice into the meat and start eating the meat will be tender, juicy, and packed with flavor.

How Long Should You Smoke Pork Butt?

When smoking a pork butt, it’s important to smoke it for the right amount of time. The easiest way to do this is with a meat thermometer. You want to take the meat out of the smoker when it reaches an internal temperature between 190-195 degrees Fahrenheit and allow the temperature to rise 10-15 degrees during the resting period.

When smoking your meat at 275, this will mean around 60-90 minutes per pound of meat. But if you choose to smoke the meat at a lower temperature between 200 to 225 degrees, then you will have to wait at least 2 hours per pound of meat.

With that in mind, smoking a 10-pound piece of pork butt at 275 would take you between 12-13 hours. However, if smoke that same piece of pork butt at 225 degrees, you can expect to wait at least 24 hours before it’s fully cooked.

Regardless of the temperature and time frame you choose, it’s always best to use a meat thermometer to stay as exact and precise as possible. After all, you don’t want to wait hours of a piece of meat to cook just for you to miss out on your desired results.

What’s the Best Temperature for Smoking Pork Butt?

This is a contentious topic among chefs and smokers. While some people prefer the shorter cooking time when smoking the meat at 275 degrees, you do miss out on a lot of control at this temperature. And while you have to wait much longer when smoking at 225 degrees, it does give you much more control over the final output of the meat.

So, if you’re a beginner and smoking a pork butt for the first time, it’s best to start low and slow. Even if you have to wait for over 24 hours for your meat, it will be more than worth it considering the results.

And once you have experience smoking pork butt, you can start raising the temperature to reduce the total cook time of the dish.

Tips for Smoking and Serving Pork Butt

Roasted Pork Butt with Salt and Pepper

Here are a couple of things you can keep in mind the next time you smoke and serve pork butt for friends and family;

Take Your Time

First of all, there’s no reason to rush when smoking and serving pork butt. In fact, for many people, the wait is part of the fun. So, if it’s your first time, don’t be scared of the 24-hour cook time when smoking at lower temperatures, as it does wonders to the meat.

And as tempting as it may be, we urge you to rest the meat for at least one hour after cooking. That way, none of the juices and flavors go to waste.

The Texas Crutch

Another thing you can do to speed up cook time is using the Texas crutch. This is the process of wrapping your meat tightly in foil when after ⅔ of the cooking time has passed. Ideally, this is around when the meat hits 150-175 degrees Fahrenheit. This can reduce the cooking time by a couple of hours.

Only Slice What You Need

Once you’ve rested the meat, make sure to only slice the meat you want to eat. If you slice too much, the meat can dry out, which is far from ideal. So, after resting the meat, only slice as you go for the best results.


If you’re smoking pork butt, make sure not to skip the rest. Ideally, you want to rest the meat for a minimum of one hour and a maximum of two hours for the best results. But if you’re really in a hurry, you may be able to slice into it after 30 minutes, but if you can afford to wait a bit longer, we highly recommend it.


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