How to Smoke a Pork Butt in an Electric Smoker: A Step-By-Step Guide

How to smoke a pork butt in an electric smoker? Well, if you have a reliable electric smoker that you can utilize, cooking this sumptuous delicacy is really worth the try. Smoking pork butts in the electric smoker is the ultimate flavor enhancer technique for this particular meat. The fume taste will boost the meat experience to such a heavenly level, that it would be unfair to compare that against any other cooking style, regardless of any spice or herb that you may use.

I have seen a lot of people who want to recreate the juicy and exuberant taste of pork butt. Pitmasters used to be the only ones who could achieve the perfection of this delicacy. Thanks to electric smokers, even ordinary folks like us now have the chance to do this recipe flawlessly.

Specifically, pork butt or pulled pork is one of the favorite weekend treats of many American households. You can inject different marinades with the use of a meat injector and create new flavors. Plus, you get to make the best sandwiches if you shred it. Once you learn the right way to smoke pulled pork, then you can utilize any way you want it.

If you are planning another weekend cookout or picnic, I recommend that you should try making a smoked pork butt. Don’t worry. I will teach you how to do this majestic smoked recipe. Let’s get started!

How to Smoke a Pork Butt in an Electric Smoker

Using old style charcoal smokers is time consuming and they need continuous attention which can get very tiring. However, modern electric smokers are very easy to operate in comparison. For one thing, the heat is adjusted automatically, and you still get the same rich flavor.

Pork butt has many different names. Some people call it pulled pork while others name it as the Boston butt. Specifically, this meat part is taken from the upper region of the front leg of the pork, and then sliced in half. The upper half is called the Boston butt (pork butt for some) while the lower half is the shoulder.

The pork butt is commonly used in various recipes. This is mainly because it has a nice texture and moderate tenderness.

When the fat melts, this meat can provide a riveting taste to your mouth. For now, let’s focus on how to prepare a pork butt with the use of your electric smoker. Here are the ingredients.


  • Pork butt (10 pounds)
  • Wood chips (Hickory, pecan, or apple)
  • Smoked paprika (1/3 cup)
  • Kosher salt (1/4 cup)
  • Ground black pepper (1/4 cup)
  • Brown sugar (1/4 cup)
  • Ground cumin (3 tablespoons)
  • Cayenne pepper (1 tablespoon)
  • Ground coriander (2 tablespoons)
  • Chili powder (1/4 cup)
  • Apple cider (1 cup)
  • Apple cider vinegar (1 cup)


Step 1:

The first thing that you need to do is to remove the extra layers of fat from the meat. Usually, you can see them on the sides and top of the pork butt. Use a sharp slicing knife to do this.

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Step 2:

Next, create around four long, but shallow crisscross slices on the fatty region of the meat (on its lower part). You can also ask your butcher to do this when you are buying the pork butt. Its appearance should be similar to the shape of a tic-tac-toe.

This type of slicing is known as “scoring.” The primary purpose of this method is to ensure that the meat can be as flavorful and tender as it gets.

Step 3:

You should fill its water box to the suggested amount. You can refer to the manufacturer’s manual and look up for this information.

Also, don’t forget to place the wood chips to its container. I always use hickory since they go great with almost all kinds of meats.  After this, you can ignite the electric smoker. Let it preheat to around 40 to 50 minutes (200°F).

Step 4:

While waiting for the device to get heated, you can start mixing all the ingredients in the bowl (except for the apple cider and apple cider vinegar).

Use a spoon so that you can mix them thoroughly and adequately. Once done, rub the mixture onto the surface of the pork butt.

Step 5:

If the preheating is finished, crank the smoker to 225 degrees Fahrenheit. Next, shove the pork butt in the device.

Make sure that the fatty side of the meat is placed upside.

Step 6:

Wait for five hours so that the heat and smoke can gradually cook the insides of the pork butt. Don’t worry if the process is long. After all, smoking is a slow-cooking method.

You don’t expose the meat to direct heat, which makes the cooking time a lot longer than frying. But of course, this approach enables you to get the most flavor out of the ingredient.

Step 7:

After five hours, take out the meat from the electric smoker. Use an aluminum foil sheet. Make sure that the sheet is big enough to cover the meat thoroughly. But before doing so, mix the apple cider and vinegar first.

Use this mixture to coat all the sides of the meat. I recommend that you should use a food sprayer when doing this step. The meat could still be hot and direct hand contact could scorch your hands.

If you are finished with coating the pork butt, cover it with the aluminum foil and place it back to the smoker.

Step 8:

Let the smoking continue for around 6 to 8 hours. Alternatively, you can stop the smoking process if the internal temperature of the meat goes down to around 200 degrees Fahrenheit.

And since we don’t want to do the guessing game, I recommend that you use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the pork butt.

You can skip this step if your electric smoker has a thermometer that accurately tracks its internal temperature.

Step 9:

If you have achieved the desired temperature, take out the pork butt from the smoker. Let it cool down for about an hour before you serve it to the hungry stomachs around you.


  • When working with the meat and the electric smoker, make sure that you are wearing a pair of barbecue gloves. Obviously, things could get extremely hot here. Having these protective gears can ensure the safety of your hands and the smoothness of the cooking.
  • If you want to shred or pull the pork, better use a meat claw. This tool can efficiently rip your meat without rendering too much waste.

Masterbuilt Smoke Hollow SH19079518

Digital Electric Smoker

Masterbuilt Smoke Hollow SH19079518 Digital Electric...
  • Exterior: 33.5 in. (H) x 18.2 in. (W) x 18.7 in. (L) Interior: 26.2...
  • Digital panel controls on/off, temperature, and time
  • Three chrome-coated smoking racks
  • Integrated thermostat temperature control for even, consistent smoking
  • Fully-insulated smoker body

Whether you are a novice or a pro level meat smoker, you have probably heard the brand name Masterbuilt. Every business segment has a company that sets the industry standards, and in the case of smokers, it is the Masterbuilt. A family company that grew into a titan that leads the innovation.

The company manufactures various electric smoker models. They come in many sizes and work with different power sources. This model is the most convenient and easy to use electric-smoker with digital controls. Yet, it produces the best-smoked meat out there. It took me several years, and models to figure it out. Cooking with this electric smoker is not so different than grilling. Put in some wood chips, fill up the water bowl and plug it in.

It takes around 6-7 hours to smoke a medium size turkey and some ribs in this. The company states that you can smoke 80 pounds of food at one time, but I never tried a batch that big. You can check out the temperature from the LED screen on top. It is all digital.

I have to mention that it takes a little longer to preheat in winter, but once it does then it cooks as usual without any issues at all. Never try to use the smoker indoors though thinking that the outside is too cold; you can start a fire. You don’t really need to open the door much thanks to the integrated thermostat control. This helps to reduce the cooking time since the heat and smoke are trapped inside.

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This one is a windowless model, that is why it is a little cheaper than others. If you prefer a see-thru door model, then you can check out the other ones I added below.


  • 18.5 x 18.2 x 33.4 inches
  • Weighs 46.1pounds
  • 800-watt heating element
  • Includes 3 chrome racks
  • Capacity: 30¨ – 700 square inch cooking space

How do you clean a Masterbuilt electric smoker?

Cleaning your Masterbuilt electric smoker is very similar to cleaning your regular oven. Get yourself a sponge and some dishwasher soap. You will need warm water too. Start scrubbing the inner parts of the smoker with the sponge. Once you are done scrubbing, then dry with a clean cloth. You can also wash the racks in the dishwasher, but check the manual first since some models have different specifications. Wrapping up the water and drip pans in aluminum foil prior to smoking helps to clean them easier afterward.

Char-Broil Deluxe Digital Electric Smoker

 725 Square Inch – Glass Door

Char-Broil 17202004 Digital Electric Smoker, Deluxe,...
  • Insulated, double-wall construction. Wattage-750
  • Advanced control panel with easy-read, blue LED display
  • Removable food thermometer
  • Glass door and stainless steel, dual-tone finish
  • Large, stainless steel locking latch for smoke-tight seal

This is my new favorite smoker. It is called Deluxe for a reason; it comes with a glass door, there is lighting inside, and a smart remote control is included. Char-Broil truly outperformed all its rivals with this model. You will get all the details you would need for a simple yet effective smoking with this digital electric smoker.

Fall of the bone tenderness and the smoky flavor can be achieved thoroughly with the accessories included. There is a removable meat thermometer that you can connect to the LED digital screen, so that you can watch out the temperature of the food without opening the door. It alerts when the meat is ready, and can also keep the food warm until your guests arrive. It is not just the accessories that make this smoker stand out; it has insulated, double-wall construction to lock in the heat and smoke effectively.

Fill up the wood chips only once; it lasts for up to 8 hours with the special new design. Inside is super functional too. I fell in love with the side access grease tray; it makes the cleaning so easy. It is also super portable with the help of the convenient wheels at the bottom and the integrated handle. If you ask me, I’d say this is electric smoker at its best with good capacity.

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  • 18.1 x 16.5 x 32.5 inches
  • Weighs 50.2 pounds
  • Smoke-tight seal
  • Includes 4 chrome racks
  • Capacity: 30¨ – 725 square inch cooking space

Dyna-Glo DGU732SDE-D

Digital Bluetooth Electric Smoker

Dyna-Glo DGU732SDE-D 30" Digital Bluetooth Electric...
  • Four chrome-plated Steel cooking grates offer a total of 732 Square...
  • Set and monitor cooking time or temperatures with digital thermostat...
  • Track the internal temperature of the food without disturbing the...
  • Removable rib rack and sausage hooks offer additional cooking options
  • Access water or wood chips without losing smoke or heat with the...

Here is an electric smoker with total Bluetooth control for your convenience. This is taking the lazy cook attitude to another level; you can watch out how the meat is smoking from your cell phone or other smart device. It is designed to simplify your meat smoking process. However, it is still a high-capacity electric smoker. Whether you are making some Boston butt or delicious jerky, this will provide you all the quality smoke you need.

My favorite part is that they added a separate drawer for the water and wood chips container. You can just pull it out and add more as you wish without opening the actual door of the smoker. This is really important to maintain a steady cooking environment. It comes with an integrated meat thermometer that allows you to check on the meat from the digital screen on top. The smoker will automatically turn off once the meat reaches to the targeted temperature.

Keep in mind that this can be used both with wood pellets or wood chips. It is totally up to you to use whichever one you prefer. It also includes removable a rib rack and sausage hooks. The rear handle and the heavy-duty casters make it easy to move around.

Dyna-Glo DGU732SDE-D 30' Digital Bluetooth Electric...

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  • 19.4 x 19 x 32.5 inches
  • Weighs 73.8 pounds
  • 1000-watt burner
  • Includes 4 chrome racks
  • Capacity: 30¨ – 732 square inch cooking space

LANDMANN MCO 32954 Smoky Mountain

Electric Smoker

LANDMANN MCO 32954 Landmann Smoky Mountain 26" Electric...
  • 3-in-1 combination tray
  • Non-insulated cooking chamber
  • Product is 26 inches

This model is an economical alternative to the other ones listed in this article. It does not have the fancy digital controls, but it does the job reasonably well. I think it could work as a great starter unit if you are just getting into the fancy world of meat smoking.

It includes a small see-thru glass window on the main door. The smaller window is easier to clean than big window models, and you can check the progress of your meat without opening the door. The grease, water and the wood chips pan are all fitted on to a 3-1 combo tray for easy removal. This is a compact size electric smoker that can hold the temperature well.

The heating element is stronger than all the other digital models; 1500-watt burner. So, if you are in need of higher temperatures, then this might be a better fit for you.

LANDMANN MCO 32954 Landmann Smoky Mountain 26' Electric...

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  • 28.7 x 18.9 x 15.3 inches
  • Weighs 33 pounds
  • 1500-watt burner
  • Includes 3 chrome racks
  • Capacity: 26¨

Cuisinart COS-330 Electric Smoker

CUISINART COS-330 Smoker, 30" Electric
  • 548 SQUARE INCHES OF INTERIOR: The spacious 548 square inch interior...
  • Product Dimensions: 19.88" L x 17.32" W x 33.3" H | Weight: 59 lb
  • THREE REMOVABLE STAINLESS-STEEL SHELVES: Three stainless steel racks...
  • BUILT-IN THERMOMETER: Features easy-to-read thermometer on the front...
  • 1500-WATT HEATING ELEMENT: Featuring a heating coil that provides the...

This is a user friendly, old school electric smoker from Cuisinart. It has simple yet effective design. Doors seal up tightly, and keep all the heat and smoke inside. For one thing, the design of the wood chip container is better than most other electric smokers, including the classy digital ones. The wood chips never have direct contact with the heating element. This helps to smoke the food slowly at a steady temperature. It is easy to fill in water or add extra chips since the water and the wood chip containers are both attached on to a single tray for quick removal. You can check the status from the easy to read temperature gauge on the door.

Assembling is fairly simple; all the nuts and screws are packaged separately. You will notice from the quality of the materials used that this is a solid piece of equipment. Just plug in and start smoking. The temperature range is pretty high due to the high capacity heating element (1500-watt); 100°F to 400°F.

CUISINART COS-330 Smoker, 30' Electric

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  • 28.7 x 18.9 x 15.3 inches
  • Weighs 33 pounds
  • 1500-watt burner
  • Includes 3 chrome racks
  • Capacity: 30¨ – 548 square inch cooking space

How Do You Shred Pork?

Slow cooked or smoked pork can be used in many different recipes when shredded into small pieces. First off all, this makes the best Boston style sandwiches with pickled cucumbers, add a little Dijon mustard in there too. Get a large enough bowl so you can shred the meat easily without creating any mess in the kitchen. Transfer the freshly cooked hot pork in to the bowl, and let it cool down. Grab two forks and start shredding the meat into small pieces. Make sure you separate all the large pieces of fat and bones. You can also use meat claws or your hands if you like. In the end you should have meat shredded into thin strips without any bones or fat. Don’t forget to return the shredded pork into the pan so that it stays moist with its own juices. Prepare some French dip for your shredded pork sandwich, coleslaw and French fries as sides. You can also use it for delicious tamales.

How Long Is Shredded Pork Good For In The Fridge?

You can keep the shredded pork in the fridge for up to 4 days. USDA states that you should not store cooked meat and poultry in the refrigerator for more than 3-4 days. Keep in mind that you can also freeze the excess pork when it is still fresh for future use. Frozen meat will remain in good status for 6 to 8 months. Having shredded meat in the freezer means that you can make a sandwich anytime you want, all you need is some soft buns or sliced bread.


Knowing how to smoke a pork butt in an electric smoker is pretty easy. As long as you have a decent and well-performing electric smoker, you can do this recipe anytime you want.

Moreover, you can use various marinades with pork butt, which makes it a very versatile ingredient.

Once you can master the basics of smoking, you can already explore new flavors and techniques. Trust me. Doing all these experimentations is worth your time. Not only it can make you fulfilled, but it can also fill your tummies, too! After all, slowly smoked meat is the best way to enjoy a weekend night dinner with family and friends.

Last update on 2021-06-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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