Slow-Roasted Pork Butt

Slow Roasted Pork Butt recipe, pork on a tray

The Spruce / Loren Runion

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 4 hrs
Total: 4 hrs 10 mins
Servings: 8 to 10 servings
Yield: 4 pounds
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
25 Calories
2g Fat
1g Carbs
2g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8 to 10
Amount per serving
Calories 25
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 2g 2%
Saturated Fat 1g 3%
Cholesterol 7mg 2%
Sodium 132mg 6%
Total Carbohydrate 1g 0%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 2g
Vitamin C 0mg 1%
Calcium 5mg 0%
Iron 0mg 1%
Potassium 38mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Despite its name, pork butt is actually a cut that comes from the upper part of the pig's shoulder. Pork butt is the higher end of the foreleg, whereas the Boston butt is down on the foreleg. Both cuts are tough pieces of meat with lots of connective tissue but also with great marbling and lots of flavors. Pork butt, when it's cooked low and slow, turns so tender and succulent it can easily be shredded with a fork. Although we use a boneless cut, the choice is up to you to use a bone-in butt, as the cooking time won't be altered dramatically. What matters the most is the amount of fat on the cut, as that's what provides moisture and flavor.

The other beauty of our pork butt is that it's easy to make and feeds many. So this one dish can be the centerpiece of a meal alongside any form of potatoes, a green bean casserole, cornbread, and coleslaw. You can also use this meat in delicious sandwiches, tacos, enchiladas, nachos, sliders, or gyros if you have any leftovers.

While this recipe is deliciously seasoned, you can swap out the spices for chili powder or adobo for a Mexican-inspired flair; or for a barbecue kick, use your favorite barbecue seasoning. Once the pork is cooked, toss it with your favorite tomato-based sauce or mustard-based barbecue sauce if you'd prefer a saucier, more moist preparation. Our recipe takes around 4 hours to be completed, but the exact cook time will depend on the size of your pork butt. At a temperature of 300 to 350 F, it takes around 35 to 40 minutes per pound of initial weight.

"This was a good pork butt recipe. It’s easy to prepare and the spice rub gives it an enjoyable seasoning. Shopping was straightforward, and cleanup was minimal. The only trick to this recipe is calculating your cooking time. Take the pork butt’s weight and multiply it as directed in the recipe." —Colleen Graham

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A Note From Our Recipe Tester

Ingredients

  • 1 (4-pound) boneless pork butt (Boston butt or pork shoulder)

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1/2 teaspoon dried leaf thyme

  • Barbecue sauce, optional for serving

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for making slow-roasted pork butt

    The Spruce / Loren Runion

  2. Preheat the oven to 450 F. Remove the netting from the pork and trim off some of the fat if needed.

    Pork and a knife on parchment paper

    The Spruce / Loren Runion

  3. In a small bowl, combine the salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, and dried thyme, and mix well. Rub the mixture all over the pork.

    Pork butt with an herb and spice rub

    The Spruce / Loren Runion

  4. Heat a heavy skillet over high heat and sear the roast for a few minutes on all sides. If using a cast-iron or heavy oven-safe skillet, leave the pork in the skillet. Otherwise, transfer the pork to a roasting or baking pan.

    Seared pork butt in a black cast-iron pan

    The Spruce / Loren Runion

  5. Cover the pork with foil and place the skillet in the oven. Reduce the temperature to 325 F and roast for 3 hours.

    Aluminum foil covered pan, on a gray table

    The Spruce / Loren Runion

  6. Remove the foil and continue roasting for another hour, or until the roast is pull-apart tender and the inner temperature is around 165 to 180 F.

    Shredded, pulled-apart pork butt in a pan

    The Spruce / Loren Runion

  7. Let cool for a few minutes before shredding using 2 forks. Toss with the optional barbecue sauce or serve as is.

    Shredded, pulled-apart pork butt served on a white plate

    The Spruce / Loren Runion

  8. Enjoy.

How Much Meat Per Person?

This is a difficult question and depends on how many side dishes you're serving and if the pork butt is the main protein of your dinner. But, in general, aim to serve 1/3 to 1/2 of a pound of cooked meat per person. Also, keep in mind that when you buy the pork butt, the initial weight is far from the cooked weight as there is a loss in weight of at least 35 to 40 percent. A 10-pound uncooked butt will weigh around 6 pounds when cooked, feeding 12 to 18 people.

How to Store Pulled Pork

Once the pork is cooked, you can keep leftovers in an airtight container for up to four days. If you have too many leftovers, you can freeze the pork in resealable freezer bags for up to three months. Thaw overnight before using and use a sauce to serve it as the freezing process might dry up the meat.