Cooking a Boston Butt – Tips to Keep the Fat Up Or Down

Cooking a Boston butt can be done in two different ways – with the fat facing up or down. If cooking on the side with the fat is not your style, make sure you read the cooking instructions for each method carefully. Here are some tips for keeping the fat on the up side of the meat. If cooking on the side with the fat facing down, be sure to rotate the meat while cooking. To cook a Boston butt on the up side, be sure to follow the recommended cooking time.

How to cook pork butt fat up or down

Whether you cook your Boston butt with its fat cap up or down, the meat will remain moist and flavorful. However, the melted fat cap can wash away the seasoning rub. In such a case, you should apply it again. A generous amount of Dijon mustard before cooking will help the seasoning stick. Cook the Boston butt until it reaches an internal temperature of 145°F.

The process of cooking the pork butt can be difficult, as this cut is a complex combination of several muscles that converge at the shoulder. This can make determining the grain of the meat difficult, so we recommend experimenting with different cuts. Once you find a cut that looks good, you can slice it. It is then served on a plate. Then, you may want to try cooking it in the other direction until you find a suitable result.

To make this dish, you should remove the skin and fat from the pork butt. Place the butt in a pot with plenty of water. Cook the butt for eight hours on low heat, or about two hours at 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Once cooked, you should be able to pull it apart using a fork or a meat grinder. You can use a meat grinder equipped with a cutting blade if you prefer to cut the cooking time.

When cooking the pork butt, you should use an instant-read thermometer to determine the internal temperature of the meat. If you plan on using a smoker, it is best to keep the temperature at 350 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. This will ensure a juicy, tender piece of meat with tons of flavor. While some people believe that wrapping the meat with foil will speed up the cooking process, it will not affect the taste.

Depending on the thickness of the meat, you can cook the pork butt boneless or bone-in. However, bone-in cuts tend to yield less meat per pound. Pork butt is a very fatty cut of meat. The meat is often covered in a fat cap, which is a layer of solid white fat. Some chefs may find this fat cap intimidating and don’t cut the fat. To avoid this problem, cut the fat cap down to reduce moisture and let it render more flavor.

While the fat side is generally better, it is not essential to cook it that way. It is possible to smoke your pork butt with the fat side up, but this will reduce the bark flavor. A smoker that allows the fat to penetrate the meat will allow you to cook it in this manner. But you should always flip the meat halfway through the cooking process to maximize the flavor. It is worth experimenting to find what works best for you.

Tips to keep meat fat side upwards

When cooking Boston butt, you can use tips to keep the fat up or down. Usually, it is best to cook the meat with its fat facing up. You can also cook the meat with its fat facing down. Either way, you should follow the recommended cooking time. If you plan on cooking your meat with its fat up, it is best to use indirect heat. A slow cooker is also suitable if you want to save time and energy.

Cooking a Boston Butt Step By Step

A Boston butt, also known as a pork shoulder, is a fantastic cut of meat for slow-cooking and smoking. It’s ideal for making pulled pork, a favorite in BBQ culture. Here’s a guide on how to cook a Boston butt, whether you have a smoker or an oven:


  • 4 to 8-pound Boston butt (pork shoulder)
  • Dry rub of your choice
  • Wood chips or chunks for smoking (if using a smoker)
  • BBQ sauce (optional, for serving)


1. Preparing the Boston Butt

  • Start by removing the Boston butt from its packaging and patting it dry with paper towels.
  • Trim any excess fat from the surface, leaving a thin layer for flavor and moisture.
  • Apply your choice of dry rub generously to all sides of the pork. You can use a store-bought rub or make your own blend of spices, sugar, salt, and other seasonings.
  • Place the seasoned Boston butt in a large resealable plastic bag or wrap it in plastic wrap. Let it marinate in the refrigerator for at least a few hours, or overnight if possible.

2. Smoking the Boston Butt

Note: Smoking is a traditional and popular method for cooking Boston butt, but if you don’t have a smoker, you can also use the oven. Skip to step 6 for oven instructions.

  • Preheat your smoker to a temperature of 225-250°F (107-121°C). Use wood chips or chunks for smoking; hickory, apple, and oak are popular choices.
  • Place the seasoned Boston butt on the smoker grates, and insert a meat thermometer probe into the thickest part of the meat.
  • Smoke the Boston butt for several hours, usually allowing for about 1.5 hours per pound of meat. You’re aiming for an internal temperature of around 195-203°F (90-95°C) for tender, pull-apart pork.
  • Make sure to maintain a steady smoking temperature, adding wood chips or chunks as needed to maintain smoke.

3. Wrapping (Optional)

  • You can choose to wrap the Boston butt in aluminum foil when it reaches an internal temperature of around 160-165°F (71-74°C). This technique, known as the “Texas Crutch,” can help speed up the cooking process and retain moisture.

4. Resting

  • Once the Boston butt reaches the desired internal temperature, remove it from the smoker, and let it rest for at least 30 minutes to an hour. This allows the juices to redistribute and the meat to become more tender.

5. Shredding

  • After resting, shred the Boston butt using two forks or meat claws. It should be tender enough to easily pull apart.

6. Oven Method

  • Preheat your oven to 275°F (135°C).
  • Place the seasoned Boston butt in a large roasting pan or oven-safe dish. Cover it tightly with aluminum foil.
  • Cook in the oven for approximately 6-8 hours, or until the internal temperature reaches 195-203°F (90-95°C).

7. Serving

  • Serve the pulled pork with your favorite BBQ sauce, coleslaw, and buns for sandwiches. It’s also great as a standalone dish or served with sides of your choice.

Cooking a Boston butt takes time, but the result is tender, flavorful, and perfect for a crowd. Enjoy your homemade pulled pork!

Read more great BBQ articles at Bob’s BBQ Tips