When To Wrap Pork Butt: The Only Guide You Will Ever Need

May 10, 2023 8 min read

When To Wrap Pork Butt

Getting that perfect pulled pork texture can be challenging when you are smoking the pork butt and wrapping it up. However, it is good to increase your knowledge to understand the techniques that will bring the meat closer to perfection. Once you have the meat, you can use it for burgers, tacos, and much more. 

So, if you are taking out your smoker and need to know how and when to wrap pork butt, you are in the right place. Here is a detailed guide that will help you understand when you should wrap the pork butt for the perfect flavor and texture. 

Is Wrapping Pork Butt Necessary?

smoking a pork butt

The first thing you must be wondering is whether wrapping the pork butt is necessary for the cooking process or not. If you want to manage the stall properly, then wrapping the pork butt is important to the entire cooking process. The stall is when the meat's temperature reaches between 150 and 175F, and it begins evaporating liquid. 

When this happens, the meat will cool down a bit as it wrestles with the smoker's heat while cooking. This process is known as the stall, which can easily last between two and six hours. Wrapping the pork butt will help the meat get through the stall and reduce the evaporation as much as possible. 

So, wrapping the meat is necessary to get that perfect juicy texture from the inside and a crispy texture from the outside. Here are some other reasons why it is necessary to wrap pork butt: 

Protecting The Meat From Smoke And Heat 

When you smoke the pork butt, it allows the meat to cook slowly on low heat. Gradually, the connective tissues in the meat begin to break down, and the fat renders. Because of this, the meat is juicy, flavorful, and tender. 

So, it is important to protect the outside of the meat when this happens to ensure the even distribution of heat throughout the meat. In addition, the wrapping will protect the meat and guarantee that the bark is not dry. 

Retaining Moisture 

Another reason why wrapping is necessary is that it retains the moisture inside the meat. When you wrap it, the pork shoulder has a humid environment that ensures the meat doesn't dry out as you cook it. Another bonus of the wrapping is that it will retain any drippings of the fat that come out of the meat. 

So the meat will be flavorful and juicy. Retaining moisture is crucial to the smoking process for the perfect meat. 

Speeding Up Smoking Process 

Smoking the meat is a long process as it can take hours for the meat to cook. If you want to fasten the process, then you need to wrap the pork shoulder properly. This will retain all the heat and guarantee even distribution so that it can cook faster. 

You can also increase the temperature after placing the wrapped pork shoulder in the smoker. The high temperature will not burn the exterior because the pork shoulder will be wrapped and protected. 

When Should You Wrap Pork shoulder?

wrapping a  pork butt

Knowing when to wrap the pork shoulder is crucial to the cooking process to perfect the texture of the meat. The best way to do this is by checking the temperature of the pork shoulder. For example, as a general rule of thumb, you should wrap the pork shoulder when it reaches a temperature between 155 and 170F and the bark is cooked the way you prefer it.

Wrapping the pork shoulder at this temperature helps prevent the stall so that the meat can stay juicy and tender. However, a few factors will affect when you should wrap the pork shoulder. This includes the pork shoulder's size, how you cook the meat, and more. 

pork butt out of the wrap

So, make sure that you don't rigidly follow a recipe you have seen. Instead, you need to check the temperature and bark of the meat. These signs will help you make an informed decision about when you should wrap the pork shoulder. 

When Should You Take The Pork Shoulder Out Of The Wrap?

It is as important to know when to unwrap the pork shoulder as it is to know when to wrap it. However, the unwrapping will depend on how you want the meat to be. But, as a general rule of thumb, the pork shoulder will be thoroughly cooked when it reaches a temperature of 190 and 195F. 

Make sure that you have a thermometer handy so that you can keep an eye on the temperature for a better idea. Overcooking the meat is never a good idea because it will lead to chewy meat that you will not enjoy eating. 

The Process Of Wrapping Pork Shoulder

Wrapping pork shoulder correctly is important to retain the moisture and retain all the benefits of wrapping. There are two methods you can follow to wrap the pork shoulder. These include the following:

Wrapping In Aluminum Foil 

The first option you have is to wrap the pork shoulder in aluminum foil. Here is the process you can follow for this: 

  • Place the pork shoulder in a sheet of heavy-duty foil. It should be big enough to completely wrap the pork shoulder
  • Start folding the foil around the meat
  • Wrap it tightly so the moisture doesn't escape. However, make sure it is not too tight, or it will crush the pork

These three steps will help you correctly wrap the pork shoulder in foil without any issues. Just make sure that your aluminum foil is heavy-duty for the best results. 

Wrapping In Kraft Paper 

The second option is to use the kraft paper to wrap the pork shoulder. Here are the steps you can follow:

  • Use a large piece of kraft paper and spread it on a table 
  • Keep the pork shoulder in the middle with the fat side facing down
  • Begin by folding the edges on the pork shoulder, as you ensure every side of the meat is wrapped
  • Then, turn over the meat and do all of this again
  • When you are done, ensure that you completely seal the meat 
  • Use a kitchen string or kraft twine to wrap the kraft paper and place it in the smoker

You can easily get kraft paper from anywhere, and it will also help the meat stay tender and juicy. Just make sure you follow all these steps for the perfect wrapping process. 

A Guide To Preparing The Pork shoulder For Your Smoker 

Now that you know how and when to wrap the pork shoulder, you can also understand how to prepare the pork shoulder for the best results. Preparation is key to ensuring that you create flavorful meat your friends and family will love. Here are all the steps to prepare the pork shoulder for the smoker: 

Create A Delicious Rub

The rub and seasoning will determine how flavorful the meat is, which is why it needs to be perfect. Make sure you season the pork shoulder a minimum of twelve hours or a day before you decide to cook. However, if you are in a hurry, you can season it an hour before. 

As a general rule, make sure that if the weight of the pork shoulder lies between eight and ten pounds, then you should use half a cup of dry rub. However, it is best that you don't go overboard with the rub and not make it too thick. If it is too thick, it will feel sandy as you take a bite of the pork shoulder after it has been cooked. 

Cook It Correctly

Once you have created the perfect rub and let the meat be, it is time for you to preheat the grill or smoker. First, you have to let the grill heat up to a temperature that ranges between 180 and 225F. As soon as it hits this range, you can place the pork shoulder inside the smoker and close it.

If you are using a boneless pork shoulder, it will take an hour and thirty minutes for every pound to cook thoroughly. On the other hand, if you have selected pork shoulder with bones, then it will take two hours for each pound to cook. So you can do the math and decipher how long it will take the pork shoulder to cook. 

Wrap The Pork shoulder Properly 

You can wrap the pork shoulder in aluminum foil or kraft paper, depending on what you prefer and what is available. You must wrap it when at least two-thirds of the cooking process has passed. The specific time will depend on the pork shoulder's size and other factors. 

Let the bark develop before you begin wrapping it. That is because once you wrap the pork shoulder, the bark will not get the chance to crisp up further. So, keep all of these factors in mind before you wrap the pork shoulder. 

Take It Off The Smoker 

When the meat reaches a temperature of 195F, you can remove it from the smoker. Keep in mind that the meat will still continue cooking for a bit after you have removed it from the heat. That is because the wrap takes in all the heat and conducts it to the meat so it can cook. 

Because of this, the temperature of the meat will rise by five to ten degrees more before you serve it to your friends and family. So, don't worry about the small rise in the temperature. 

Let The Meat Rest, Then Serve 

Don't make the mistake of serving the pork shoulder as soon as you take it out of the smoker. Instead, you need to let the meat rest so the juices of the meat can be absorbed once more into its fibers. When this process takes place, the meat turns out to be just how tender you want it to be. 

You have to let it be inside the wrap for at least two hours. Whenever you want to serve the meat, all you have to do is unwrap it and then use a fork to shred the meat. You can also use a shredding claw for this purpose. 

Top Tips To Achieve The Juiciest Pork Shoulder 

Here are some tips to help you get the most out of this process:

Use The Right Wood 

If you want the perfect flavor, make sure you use the right wood in the smoker. The different types of wood you can use for pork shoulder include hickory, oak, and much more. It depends on your personal preference and the type of flavor you prefer for the smoked pork. 

Serve It With Some Delicious Sides

The best way to enhance the flavor of the smoked pork butt is to serve it with sides that go well with the meat. For example, you can serve it with roasted vegetables, cheese casserole, sweet potato, salad, mac and cheese, and much more. The sides will elevate the taste of the pork even more and provide a complete meal. 

Keep Checking The Temperature 

The most important thing you should do to get a perfectly cooked pork butt is to keep an eye on the temperature. Invest in a thermometer gun so that it can provide you with accurate readings. This will help you do everything in time to achieve perfect tender meat. 

Final Words 

Now that you know when and how to wrap a pork butt, you can apply these techniques the next time you plan on cooking this meat. It is one of the juiciest meats you can make that will be the star of any dinner party. Just make sure that you follow the right guidelines and cook delicious sides. 

Once you do, everything will come well together, and you and your loved ones will enjoy this dish. The cooking process will vary for each individual, depending on various factors, so don't forget to check the temperature to achieve perfection. 


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