Big Bob Gibson’s BBQ pork butt recipe

BBQ Pork Butt

I’ve had the BBQ book Peace love and Barbecue for some time now and haven’t dedicated myself to its content nearly enough. Today, the 4th of July 2006, I have. There is a recipe for pork butt included in this book that has garnered so much attention and picked up a few awards around the BBQ circuit that I had to give it a try.
I am speaking of Big Bob Gibson’s championship pork shoulder recipe.

I followed the recipe to the letter, except for the fact that I used pork butt instead of shoulder, and have found the results to be fantastic. I wouldn’t usually post a recipe from a book on this site, but his method is the worse kept secret in the world of barbecue. It can be found all over the Internet and television.


This is what it looks like after you pull it

Here is The BBQ Pork Butt Recipe:


  • Smoker or BBQ that you can set up for indirect cooking
  • BBQ fuel (a bag of charcoal in my case)
  • A couple of handfuls wood chunks of your choice. Hickory works well.
  • An injector
  • Heavy duty aluminum foil
  • A thermometer
  • Rubber gloves

The meat

  • 2 pork butts

The injection marinade

  • 3/4 cup apple juice
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt finely ground
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire

BBQ rub

  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup paprika
  • 1/3 cup garlic salt
  • 1/3 cup kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon oregano leaves
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

The day before you BBQ

Mix your ingredients

First off your going to want to get your marinade and rub prepared. I like to do it before I start working with the raw pork butts. Mix all ingredients for the marinade together and refrigerate. Mix all for BBQ rub ingredients and set aside.

Trim your meat

Next, you’re are going to want to trim your pork butt of any excessive fat. Leave about 1/8″ layer of fat on top. The trimming of the fat doesn’t have to be perfect and can be a little less.

Inject the marinade into each butt as much as you can. I insert the needle at half-inch intervals slowly releasing the marinade into the flesh as it is removed. Once you’re doing injecting the meat, sprinkle the rub generously over each pork butt. Be sure to cover all surfaces. Save about a 1/4 cup of rub for adding to the pork as you pull it. It helps bring out some of the flavors. Let the butts sit refrigerated for at least a few hours.

Get your smoker ready

Be sure that your grills are clean and your ashes emptied from your previous BBQ. Light your fuel, add some wood chunks, fill your water pan (if you have one), and let your smoker get to temperature. Adjust your smoker vents accordingly.

Time to cook your meat

You might want to get your meat out of the fridge/cooler before putting it in the smoker. Once your cooker has gotten to temperature, and the initial smoke has subsided, add your meat to the grill. Insert your thermometers so that you can check your temperatures throughout the cook. I can take from 10-13 hours to get these butt to 195f, so be patient. You can wrap them in aluminum foil halfway through, and it will speed up the cook times. It’s also a good idea to wrap them in foil if you don’t intend to serve them right away. Wrapped twice in aluminum foil and stored in a small cooler, the butts will stay hot for a few hours.

Serve that meat

Get them out of the smoker when the internal temperature reaches 195f and let them rest about 15 minutes. Put on your gloves and start to shred it (pull it). It’s best to shred your pork in a deep pan or bowl. Add some of the reserved BBQ rub to enhance the flavor and mix it in. Put some meat in a bun with a little of your favorite BBQ sauce. Add a little coleslaw if you wish and enjoy.

5/5 (1 Review)

43 thoughts on “Big Bob Gibson’s BBQ pork butt recipe”

  1. Ya’ll,
    Plan before you cook or smoke; you may have to get up early the day you do this recipe. Trim the meat, inject and marinade overnight in the frig in an air proof bag or pot with a lid on it. This will cut the prep time on the day you smoke and cook. The difference is between smoking and cooking. Smoking is performed early in the “cooking” stage and the smoke should cease after an hour or 2 maximum at LOW TEMPERATURE, not exceeding 190 degrees F. by the temp gauge on your smoker. Any higher temp or longer smoking time will render the meat unpleasant. Hickory and Pecan make the best flavors for pork, but take any risk if you want to make it your own (you may be eating alone).
    The time required by pounds of meat is the time to cook it and don’t deviate or you could be chewing on leather; check this site for weights, time and temperature for smoking/cooking: .
    A water pan is an absolute must, but apple, orange or pineapple juice work great and add a unique profile. Why not beer? Most drinkable liquids will work, but you must have high moisture when smoking at long periods.
    Follow the exact recipe to the “T” and learn how to smoker-cook effectively and then share your results.
    You just can’t go wrong with this recipe.

  2. Hello! I am getting married july 31st and plan on cooking everything myself so pulled pork seemed appropriate since I can make it the day before. Couple questions…. I have a brinkman dual gas grill/charcoal grill. I have smoked just about everything but as i am new to this i think i maybe doing it wrong. I have been putting the coals on one side with wood chips that soaked for 30 min. And the meat on the other with a water pan underneath. Is that the correct way to smoke on a charcoal grill or what should i be doing? My other question is i am expecting between 50-75 people, how many boston pork butts should i purchase? thank u for your guidence. I am new to smoking meats but i am a fantastic cook so everything i have done has been very tastey but for my wedding i want to make sure i do it perfect. Thanks again!

  3. Another good tip that I found on other sites was to slather the entire Butt with cheap regular yellow mustard before applying the rub. It imparts no taste to the meat but acts as a great way for the rub to stay on and forms a nice “bark”. Apparently a lot of the “pros” who cook in contests use this method…I tried it and it worked extremely well.

  4. I haven’t tried the injection yet, but the rub was delicious!! Gives a great flavor…not too strong, yet definitely there…I used the rub along with a NC Eastern Vinegar mop every 2 hours, and my butt was done in about 9 hours…had some severe issues starting out keeping the temp down, as I think I started out with too many coals, and went thru what seemed like a liter of water trying to cool it down. Finally got it under control and it was basically smooth sailing from there…made it for the main dish for my daughter’s 3rd birthday party and I had people tripping out about how good it was…definitely a great recipe!!

  5. Hello, Thanks for putting such an intriguing site on the web. I think you hav put some realy important stuff on there and I discovered it to be one of the most useful I have come across. I hope you manage to keep it updated because I will be returning once again to have a another study.

  6. Cooked a 6 pounder this weekend in a Weber kettle BBQ. It took about 8 hours, but it was well worth the effort. The bark was perfect, the meat juicy, just so much more successful that I Imagined. I can’t wait to do it again. Thanks for all the info.

  7. I said one would feed 15 people. forgot to tell you, I all so did 15 brawts and about 30 fresh jalapeno’s cut in half and stuffed with cream cheese and wraped in bacon that I had cooked about 3/4 of the way done. then smoked untill the bacon was crisp. if you do the peppers rember to take out ALL THE SEEDS and the WHITE VEINES that hold the seeds in place. this will take away 90% of the heat and leave the flavor of the pepper.

  8. I just wanted to thank you. I tryed the Pork Butt for the first time on Christmas day. It was great! I smoked it for 11 hours. had a little trouble keeping the heat regulated. it was 20 deg. and I had three inches of snow on the deck. that offset smoker would drop 30 deg. if I walked off for more than 10 min. sounds like the bullet smokers are the way to go. But I just built this one,so I will be useing it for some time to come. I ran out of time, and had to finish them in the oven had outher stuff that had to go on the smoker/grill. I was wondering I did two 8 lb. Pork Butts at the same time. how long should it have taken me to finish smoking the on the smoker? after 11 hours I was only at 160 deg. and what is the best way to keep a whole cooked pork butt? found out that one will feed 15 people….going to reheat the outher one for new years.what is the best way to keep it and reheat it?

  9. Jon – you can get an injector at your local grocery store. It looks like a baster with a big nasty needle on it. Stick and squirt, that’s all there is to it. I have never injected any Briskets (nor would I want to) but it’s great for pork and birds.

  10. Bill,

    The difference is kosher salt is a larger grind and doesnt have the idodine thats found in regular table salt. besides the blessing it also tastes much much MUCH cleaner.

  11. Using both of the recipes at the top of this page. I have become known as the King of Butts….. The injection I do add one thing more Peach Schnapps about 2 ounces

  12. What is the difference between kosher salt & regular salt otherb than the blessing thing? Sorry, dumb questin, I know, but I DONT know.

  13. The sugar rub everyone uses burns during the smoking process and leaves a bitter taste…especially if you like the “brick” (crusty outer shell).Try this rub instead.First…NO INJECTIONS!! Why ruin a good piece of meat. Place the butt fat side up on the smoker.
    The Rub:
    1/4 cup kosher salt
    1/4 cup black pepper (try the new Smokehouse pepper from McCormick)
    1/4 cup chile powder (I like Spice Islands but use your favorite)
    1 tablespoon oregano
    1 tablespoon thyme
    1 teaspoon cayenne
    1 teaspoon cardamon
    Smoke until you get an internal temp of about 180F, 8 to 10 hours depending on your smoker temp. 195F as previously mentioned is to high and will overcook the pork.

  14. HI. We are preparing to smoke 6 pork butts. We did 2 last weekend on a test run and they took about 12 hours. Will 6 increase the smoking time significantly? Thanks.

  15. I am prepairing to smoke a butt with this recipe right now,, the first pork butt I have done,
    my question is in prepairing the butt, do you remove the skin and some of the fat before smoking? if so how much fat is left on the butt?

  16. Won a BBQ contest with this exact recipe! The key is low and slow. 225 for 10-12 hours over hickory. The injection gives it a nice moistness with a hint of swet from the apple juice. Enjoy!

  17. Okay, thanks. Now I’m not trying to be annoying, but what about the opposite situation: could you cut the cook time of a pork butt in half by cutting the meat in half?

  18. Can anyone tell me if I smoke two butts at the same time, will the cooking time double or increase at all? Or will each butt take the same amount of time to cook as it would if it were all alone in there?

  19. In pre-revolutionary New England and into the Revolutionary War, some pork cuts (not those highly valued, or “high on the hog,” like loin and ham) were packed into casks or barrels (also known as “butts”) for storage and shipment. The way the hog shoulder was cut in the Boston area became known in other regions as “Boston Butt.”

  20. I have made this twice and each time………Awesome, at least that is what everyone who had some said. Pulled Pork perfection. Cooked 4 butts each time 230F, they got to 195F in 10-12 hours……Still eating this stuff 4 days later. Had enough to freeze some for the cold days ahead.

  21. I heard once that the reason pork shoulder are called “butts” is due to the fact that they were once shipped in containers called butts.

  22. scottw is correct. butt is part of the shoulder. sometimes called blade roast. there are many variations in the name of the butt. it all depends on what they call it at your grocer or butcher. I find most places call it pork butt.

    There are two parts to the shoulder. Picnic and butt. The picnic comes from the lower part of the pigs shoulder and the butt comes from the upper part.

  23. > except for the fact that I used pork butt
    > instead of shoulder

    I do believe that pork shoulder is actually called a butt. If you are thinking of what might be a “butt” in the normal sense of the word, that’s the ham and would produce a completely different product when smoked.

  24. I did this recipe over the Labor Day weekend. The first butt I have ever attempted to cook. It was, without a doubt, fantastic! I was the hero of the back yard bbq!

  25. To anyone interested in smoking pork butts…

    I NEVER respond to internet article stuff, but I have to now. This recipe / instruction guide is amazing!!! I have a lot of Friends that dine reguarly at a local rib joint, and they all say that “my pulled pork” is better that anyting they have ever had!!! I love my bullet smoker, and this reipe is in my golden book! If this is your 1st time smoking, do this recipe and your guest will think you invented the craft. Thanks so much for posting,

    Rob Piersielak

  26. Salomon,

    No, the internal temperature refers to the meat. Put a remote probe in the butt, not touching bone, hopefully not in a fat vein. At 195, the pork should pull very easily. The smoker temp should be 225. Time is only an estimate….10 hours should be close. Two different temps, the ACTUAL (internal) MEAT temp, and the cooker temp. Got it?

  27. Okay I am new to smoking meat especially when it comes to large portions of meat like shoulders and butts. I understand how to inject a pork butt and how to mix rubs etc., but Im wondering what does it mean when you say or the recipe reads smoking temperature 225F and 195F INTERNAL temperature. Does it mean that the meat has to read 195F or smoke at 195F for 10 hours, and how do you maintain the temperature so low?
    Thank you very much
    Rookie smoker Sal

  28. I Use this basic mix on butt ribs and brisket. All work great. My variation, cut the salt in half, use garlic powder instead of garlic salt, increase the apple juice instead of water, and add a bit more pepper if you want a bit more kick. I just vary the pepper bite from meat to meat for variety.

  29. I use the same injection recipe butt added 1/2 cup White wine.Works well especially if you use a fruity white wine.I also have used a Burgandy in this marinade.

    • I do every time, you can also use apple juice, or other juices, depending on what meat you are cooking. More for moisture inside the smoker than for flavor I believe.


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