Pork butt is one of our favorite recipes that we have on our site and an easy dinner for the family. It is a tender cut of meat when you cook it slowly, because as the fat renders it becomes softer and softer. It is also a good and easy way to make shredded pulled pork.
Pork butt is one of those cuts of meat that is on the cheaper side to buy but when you cook it properly, it softens up and then tastes like a more expensive cut of meat.
What’s nice about this pork butt recipe is that you may not have an instant pot or slow cooker in your kitchen but will most likely have an oven in your home!!
If you liked our pork shoulder, then you will love this recipe too! We also have recipes for instant pot pulled pork and slow cooker pulled pork which you may have already seen and tried.
What is Pork Butt?
Pork butt is a cut of meat that does not come from the back end of the pig, as its name would make you think, but instead it comes from the pig above the shoulder cut. It is usually sold as a boneless cut, whereas the shoulder is usually sold as a bone-in cut.
Pork butt has more marbling running through it than the shoulder and is skinless. Another name for it is Boston butt, so if you see that name it means the same thing as pork butt.
What Does Pork Butt Taste Like?
Pork butt roast is a tougher cut of meat but when cooked long and slow the tissues break down and the meat becomes very tender, which makes it one of the most flavorful and delicious types of pork. Since pork butt is so sweet and tasty it is used to make many yummy dishes.
Why Is It Called “Pork Butt”?
Hearing the name bork butt may lead you to think that this cut of meat comes from the back end of the pig, but instead it comes from the upper shoulder part.
The name comes from the practice in colonial New England to pack pork shoulders into barrels of brine called butts, hence the nickname “Boston Butt,” after a big city in New England.
Are Pork Shoulder and Pork Butt the Same?
Even though pork butt and pork shoulder butt may seem the same, they are not.
Neither one of them comes from the back side of the pig, they are both from the front, the shoulder area. The pork butt is higher on the foreleg, and the shoulder is further down.
They are both tough and fatty cuts which require a longer cooking process to break the meat and fat down so that they will go from tough to tender.
What is the Best Pork for Pulled Pork?
Pork butt is the best cut for pulled pork because it is not very expensive to buy and when it is cooked slowly it gets so tender and just pulls apart.
The Best Ways to Cook Pork Butt
There are several ways that you can cook a pork butt:
- Oven – Making boston butt in the oven is a great way to cook it. It is very simple, just seasoning it with common spices that you probably have in your kitchen and then bake it.
- Slow Cooker – Using a crock pot is a slow cooking process that will make your pork butt come out tender. It is very simple. Just season it and let the slow cooker do the rest. Cook it on low for about 5-7 hours depending on the size of the pork butt. It is convenient to use this method because you can set the timer and walk away.
- Instant Pot – A quick way, similar to a pressure cooker, to make a tough cut of meat into a tender piece. If you don’t have an instant pot you might want to buy one, they are not very expensive, and you will use it to make a lot of yummy recipes once you get one. They are good for making a quick dinner after a busy day.
- Smoked – You need to have a smoker in order to smoke a pork butt. When you do, it changes the flavor from pork to the yummy taste of ham.
Which is the Best Way?
I like all of the ways mentioned here to cook a pork butt, and each one has its purpose. Sometimes it’s nice to change it up so that you feel like you are eating a different cut of meat or meal, so it’s hard for me to pick a favorite way.
If I had to pick one I would say oven roasted, especially for your first time and that’s why we wrote about this method. When you cook your pork butt in the oven it comes out crispy on the outside but tender and juicy on the inside.
What Ingredients are in Pork Butt?
- Pork Butt – The cut of meat used in this recipe, which when cooked slowly becomes a tender piece of meat that can be broken apart easily. It comes from the shoulder part of the pig, not the back side, as its name might suggest.
- Garlic Powder – Who doesn’t think that all meats taste better with garlic? Fresh garlic is good too, but in this case the granulated form is tasty and it mixes well with the other spices.
- Onion Powder – This tasty spice is similar to garlic powder and packs a good punch to any meat recipe.
- Salt – Any salt will work well, in this case we used pink himalayan salt.
- Pepper – Black pepper is the best, and it can be fine or coarsely ground.
- Paprika -This amazing spice adds just enough heat to the meat without making it spicy.
- Sweetener – We used a sugar substitute called Swerve that comes in a packed form like brown sugar, but without all of the calories and carbs of the regular one. You can also use brown sugar if you are not worried about your carb intake.
Different Variations of Boston Butt
- Pork Ragu – Tomato sauce being the key ingredient.
- BBQ Sauce – A common flavor that turns your pork roast into a pulled pork flavor. Feel free to shred your meat and serve it on a roll with some low carb coleslaw, recipe on our website.
- Beer Braised – Pour some beer over the top of your pork butt.
- Butter – While you are letting your pork butt rest, put some butter on the top and let it melt over it.
- Cranberry Sauce – The tartness is a good combo with the meat, follow the recipe on our website.
Spices are always open for interpretation. Some people like a little seasoning, and some like a lot, it’s entirely up to you. Besides the spices we used in this pork butt recipe, you can also use:
- Cumin – For a more Mexican flare.
- Italian Seasoning – To change the taste of the pork butt into an Italian dish with basil, oregano….etc.
- Chili Powder – This is a warm spice with a slight kick.
- Parsley – Fresh parsley is best for a stronger flavor, but dried can also be used to add some color to your pork shoulder butt.
- Crushed Red Pepper – For the real spicy flavor, add a little or alot, it’s your preference.
- Mustard – Brown mustard or dried mustard.
- Lemon Pepper – This spice gives your pork a light lemon flavor.
- Pork and Chili Peppers – A yummy way to spice up your pork.
- Pork and Apple Sauce – A great, all time favorite combo. If you are watching your carbs then measure out your portion of apple sauce so you do not eat too many carbs.
How to Serve Oven-Cooked Pork Butt?
There are so many yummy things that go with pork butt roast in the oven, here are a few suggestions:
- Macaroni and Cheese (or Cauliflower Mac and Cheese for something healthier)
- Sandwiches – Slice your pork butt and serve it on your favorite bread or rolls with some mustard or some cheese.
- Coleslaw – Try eating your pork with some coleslaw, either on the side or it on your plate or on your sandwich. Try our Low Carb Coleslaw as the perfect side.
- Potato Salad (or Cauliflower Potato Salad)
- Macaroni Salad
- Green Salad – Pork butt makes a good salad topper for a low calorie, low carb meal.
- Chicken Soup – I love making chicken soup and then add whatever kind of leftover meat that I have in the refrigerator, and this pork butt is no exception.
Shopping for Pork Butt
Picking out a good pork butt is your first step. Here are some things to keep in mind:
You can find a pork butt/Boston butt at your local grocery store or meat market. If for some reason you can’t find it, ask your butcher because they might be able to order you one.
What to Look For?
When shopping for fresh pork shoulder butt, always look for a piece that is a healthy pink color. If it’s not fresh it will have a tannish/grey color, which means it’s already going bad.
The date on the package will help you decide on the life of the meat but don’t always rely on the date because the meat may deteriorate faster than expected, which has happened to me several times.
If you are going to make the pork butt roast in a couple of days after purchasing it, then it is most likely going to stay fresh in the refrigerator. When in doubt, freeze it until you’re ready to use it.
How Much Pork Butt Per Person?
When cooking your pork butt, most people will eat anywhere from 3-12 oz, depending on their appetite. You need to know your audience, so to say. A good medium is 6oz per person.
If you have some adults that are good eaters, then figure on more than you would if there were a couple kids at your dinner table. It also depends on how many veggies or side dishes that you are serving with your meat.
Buy When On Sale
When meat is on sale I always take advantage of the savings by buying a few packages and stick them in my freezer. Most meat will keep for 6 months if wrapped well so that it won’t get freezer burned.
Should I Buy a Pre-Seasoned Pork Butt?
I have never seen a pre seasoned pork butt, but that is not to say that they never come that way. If it’s a good price buy it pre seasoned, but if it costs more to buy it that way then season it yourself. It is very thing and you can also season it the way that you want to.
Storing Pork Butt Before Cooking It
The pork butt can be stored in the refrigerator for as many days as it says it’s good for on the printed label from the store. You could cover it in plastic wrap or a plastic baggie to keep it from leaking in your refrigerator.
How to Cook Pork Butt in the Oven
Now that you have all of this background information, it’s time to get to the cooking part of the recipe. Let’s see step by step how to cook pork butt in the oven.
STEP 1: Preparing the Pork Butt
Before you cook a Boston butt in the oven you need to prepare it.
Get your oven pan ready and place a baking rack on top in order to elevate the meat during the cooking. You can line the pan with a piece of aluminum foil for a quicker clean up.
Get a small bowl and mix together all of your spices and the brown swerve sweetener (or brown sugar).
After they are all well blended, sprinkle and rub the spice mixture all over the pork butt on all sides. Now it’s ready to go in the oven.
We like to put the pork butt on a wire rack on top of a baking sheet. That lets the air flow even under the meat, giving it a nice crispy exterior.
STEP 2: Roasting
Start the oven and preheat it to 325 degrees. Place the pork butt in the oven and begin to cook it.
How Long to Cook Pork Butt?
Cook the boston butt for about 20 minutes per pound, the slower the better. Use a meat thermometer to check it. Pork is best when it is cooked to about 145 degrees.
STEP 3: Resting the Meat
Next, rest the meat for about 20 minutes before cutting it. This is a very important step.
As it rests out of the oven it will continue to cook. When you rest your pork butt roast, the juices get absorbed into the meat which makes the meat more tender.
If you don’t let the meat rest and cut into it right away, the juices pour out which causes the meat to be not as tender as it could be.
Cut into the meat, serve, and enjoy!
FAQs & Best Tips
Here are the answers to some questions that you may have when making this pork butt recipe. We will also pass along some helpful tips that we have learned along the way.
- The fattier the pork butt the better. The flavor comes from the fat.
- A large pork butt is good but a smaller piece of meat is even more moist and tender.
- The best size is a 3-4 pound piece. If you need more meat then make 2 pieces side by side.
- If for some reason you can’t find a pork butt then you can use a picnic shoulder.
- Don’t rush the cooking process, the slower it cooks the better.
- Resting the meat after it is cooked is a must in order to retain the juices inside. If you cut it when it’s hot right out of the oven the juices will run onto the plate. Resting the meat is a necessary step, so please don’t rush cutting into the pork butt. It needs to rest for about 20 minutes which allows the juices to soak into the meat instead of them running all over your plate as you are cutting it.
Should I Cover Pork Butt in the Oven?
There is no need to cover pork butt when cooking it in the oven. By cooking it at a low temperature and with the fat that is in the meat, it will not dry out if left uncovered.
Should I Use a Cooking Rack?
When we make our pork butt in the oven, I feel it is a must to use a cooking rack in order to elevate the meat up off the pan. That way it won’t sit in its own fat that is dripping off the meat during the cooking process.
How to Store Boston Butt?
If you have leftover Boston Butt, then by all means, refrigerate it for the next day. I love leftovers and they are easy to store.
It will stay fresh if you place it in an air-tight plastic container and will keep in the refrigerator for about 4 days. If you are not going to use it right away then just freeze it instead by following the instructions below.
How to Reheat
I think the best ways to reheat the leftover pork butt are:
- Microwave – for just 1-2 minutes.
- Stove – In a non-stick frying pan for about 5 minutes on low-med heat, stirring to avoid sticking.
Can You Freeze Pork Butt?
Yes. You can freeze your pork butt both raw and cooked.
If it’s raw, I like to wrap all my meat in white freezer paper, and label it with all of the appropriate info like what it is, the size and date. Then I place the wrapped meat in a plastic ziploc bag for double protection.
If the pork butt is cooked and I have leftovers, then that is simple too to freeze. Put the meat in an airtight plastic container and then put the container in a ziploc bag also for double protection.
Or you could do it the opposite way by first putting the leftover pork butt in a plastic baggie and then put it in an airtight container.
Either way the pork butt will keep for at least 3 months if wrapped properly.
Tools to Use
There are only a few kitchen tools needed to prepare your pork butt.
- Bowl – Get a small bowl to mix the spices together.
- Spoon – A small spoon is needed to blend the spices together in the bowl.
- Baking Tray – To bake the pork butt on in the oven you will need a large cookie sheet or roasting pan, big enough to be able to accommodate the rack in order to elevate the roast during the cooking process.
- Rack – To place on top of your tray to elevate the pork butt so that it doesn’t sit in its own grease.
- Cutting Board – You will need a nice big cutting board to cut the roast on. If there is any juice that comes out of the meat, reserve it to pour over the top before serving.
- Knife – To cut the meat, you will need a nice sharp knife.
Best Pan for Pork Butt
I like to use a baking pan or cookie sheet that is about an inch thick with a rack on top to elevate the roast. You could really use any baking or roasting pan as long as it has a rack in it. Glass, metal or stone are all good choices.
Is Pork Butt Healthy?
Pork butt is a fairly healthy piece of meat. It is obviously high in protein and has no carbs in it. And when you cook it slowly the fat drips out, so that makes it leaner too, but still tender.
Like most meats, pork has some health benefits with vitamins and minerals but moderation is always the key because you can’t just live on eating pork. Add some veggies to your plate and it’s a well rounded meal.
How Many Calories in Pork Butt?
In a 1 oz serving there are 89 calories, so if you are counting calories it is a smart choice for protein on your plate.
Diets This Recipe is Good For
- Keto/Low Carb – A good option when you are not able to eat carbs.
- Gluten-Free – There is no gluten in our pork butt recipe.
- Dairy-Free – This yummy piece of meat does not have any dairy in it.
- Paleo – A meat lover’s dream recipe.
- Candida – An approved recipe to avoid a sugar overload in your body.
- Sugar-Free – There is no sugar in our oven roasted pork butt.
- Nut-Free – This is safe to eat if you have a nut allergy.
- Whole 30 – This yummy roast is perfect for this way of eating.
- Egg-Free – There are no eggs in our pork butt.
Other Delicious Pork Recipes
We have a few other pork recipes on our website that you are going to love:
- Juicy Pork Shoulder
- Crispy Roast Pork Belly
- Easy Stuffed Pork Chops
- Instant Pot Pork Chops
- Pork Loin Roast
- Baked Pork Tenderloin
- Pan-Fried Pork chops with Garlic
All of them are easy-to-make dinners and will have your friends raving!Print
Perfect Pork Butt | How to Cook Boston Butt
- Total Time: 105 minutes
- Yield: 8 Servings (6 oz per serving) 1x
This recipe for oven roasted pork butt is so easy to make and delicious to eat. As it cooks slowly, this tough cut of meat gets softer and more tender. It is a cheaper cut of meat that tastes like an expensive cut that just falls apart. If it’s on sale, buy a few of them and freeze them for your next family dinner. If you like this oven roasted pork butt, then try our instant pot and slow cooker ones too.
- ¼ tsp Salt
- ¼ tsp Pepper, Black
- ¼ tsp Paprika
- ½ tsp Garlic Powder
- ½ tsp Onion Powder
- ¼ cup Brown Sugar Swerve
- 3–4 lb Pork Butt
- Get your pan ready by lining the pan with foil. Place a baking rack on top of your baking tray which will elevate your meat during the cooking process.
- Get a small bowl and mix together all of your spices along with the brown swerve sweetener.
- After they are well blended, sprinkle and rub the spice mixture all over the pork butt on all sides.
- Preheat your oven to 325 degrees, then place the pan into the oven.
- Cook the pork butt for about 20 minutes per pound, the slower the better. Use a meat thermometer. Pork should be cooked until it reaches 145 degrees.
- When the pork is done cooking, take it out of the oven and let it rest for at least 20 minutes to allow the juices to soak into the meat before cutting.
0 NET Carbs
The best pork butt to buy is one that is about 3-4 pounds in size, one that is fattier, than leaner. If you need more meat than this you can buy 2 roasts and cook them together, rather than buying a large piece of meat.
Don’t rush the cooking time, cook the roast slowly for a more tender piece of meat.
Make sure to rest the meat when it comes out of the oven so that the meat will not lose its juices when it gets cut or sliced.
Storing: It’s easy to store your pork butt in the refrigerator. Just put it in an airtight container, so that it stays fresh for 4-5 days.
Reheating: To reheat your pork butt, place it in a non-stick frying pan on the stove and heat on medium heat for 5 minutes, or so, moving it around the pan so that it does not stick. Heating it in the microwave for a minute or two is also another good option.
Freezing: If you wrap your pork butt properly in an airtight container inside a plastic ziploc bag, your meat will freeze well and stay fresh for about 3 months.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 90 minutes
- Category: Main Courses
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: American
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Saturday 25th of March 2023
This was good, but it took a LOT longer to cook. My roast was just over 4 pounds, and took about 3 hours.
Saturday 25th of March 2023
Laurie, Glad that it came out well in spite of it taking longer. Thank you for the 4 star rating
Wednesday 8th of February 2023
Diana, Yes, it is boneless. Pork butt is always boneless, I have never seen one with a bone in.
Friday 3rd of February 2023
I have never made this, but it looks delicious!!!!! Would you serve any type of a gravy or sauce with it? and if yes, what would you recommend?
Saturday 4th of February 2023
Alison, This recipe does not have an abundance of liquid when it's done cooking, but if you like gravy with your meat you can try our keto gravy recipe. It will taste yummy on top of the pork. Also, pork is one of those meats that you can serve with just about anything. If you like it sweet, serve it with cranberry sauce. We also have a recipe for that on our site. In our house, we like mustard with our pork. Another suggestion is a sauce we make for our crab cakes but also use it on other things. It is made with mustard, mayo and dill. You will find it in our recipe for crab cakes.
Monday 9th of January 2023
For the first time in my over 60yrs., I made a Boston butt. I’ve always seen it in the store but turned my nose up at it because of its name. Well, in this economy, when I saw it on sale for $.99lb, I bought it and thought I’ll just look for recipes online. I’m so very glad that I found your site! I made the butt today following every tip and instruction you so deftly laid out. The darn thing was 10lbs. (the smallest one available!). I cooked it at 325 degrees. It reached 165+ degrees on my meat thermometer after 6.5 hrs. I then let it rest in the oven for about 45 mins. before trying to cut it. I didn’t even have to use a knife - it just perfectly fell apart with a couple pulls of two forks: moist, juicy, tender…wow!! I’m heading back to the store tomorrow before the sale ends to stock up on more to make again, thanks to your wonderful recipe. I don’t always trust internet recipes, but yours turned out to be wonderful and spot on. Didn’t have to tweak a thing (other than adjusting the seasoning measurements for my 10lb. behemoth Boston butt). Thanks so much!
Tuesday 10th of January 2023
Hi Ave Maria, Thank you first of all for trying our recipe. I am so glad you had such great success with your 10-pound roast. A wise choice to go to the store while they are on sale and pick up a couple more. You can't beat that price! And thank you for giving the recipe a 5-star rating. It will help others to also try our recipe. Please feel free to try some of our other recipes and let us know what you think. It makes us very happy to help other people!
Tuesday 19th of July 2022
Hello. We tried the recipe last night. I have to agree with the commenters on the raw meat/temperature condition. We had a 3.75 pound butt and cooked at 325 for 75 minutes, checked the temp and it was 145, let sit for 20 minutes and sliced. The meat was raw in the center. We had to nuke in the microwave for 5 minutes which pretty much ruined it. Looking at the photos on your web site, the pork looks like you would expect, but I don't think that's possible based on the recipe. Seems like the way to cook is long time (hours)/low temp. Sorry to be so negative.
Thursday 21st of July 2022
Hi Pat, It is good to know what others' experience is. I'm sorry that you had some trouble with it. I know that the oven temperatures can vary even when it says one thing on the setting, the temperature can be off. Also, check your meat thermometer to ensure it is working correctly...replace it often if you need to. Pork can also be eaten pink, don't cook it to death. If in doubt cook your pork until the temperature reaches 155 degrees. But just FYI for the future, don't put undercooked meat of any kind in the microwave because it automatically makes the meat tough....it ruins it. If it is undercooked just put it back in the oven for a few minutes to complete the cooking process.