The best smoked pork recipes, from barbecue pulled pork to Boston butt. Fire up the backyard smoker and start cooking these BBQ classics today.
If you’re getting ready to break out the smoker, you can’t go wrong with pork. This meat’s rich, juicy flavors are a crowd-pleasing favorite at almost any BBQ, and pork gets even better when it picks up a unique smoky flavor thanks to this preparation method.
Here are the best smoked pork recipes to think about the next time you break out the smoker.
Pork butt, also known as Boston butt, is the part of the pig just above the pork shoulder. It is considered a primal cut and one of the best parts of the pig. The name ‘Boston Butt‘ comes from the butchering technique used to extract this cut, which started with butchers in Boston.
Pork butt works well in the smoker thanks to the tight connective tissue, which breaks down beautifully after several hours in the smoker. Before smoking, prepare the butt by seasoning it with mustard and dry rub. After smoking for many hours, serve the pork butt in slices or pull it apart to make pulled pork.
Baby Back Ribs
Baby back ribs come from the part of the rib cage that is directly connected to the pig’s spine. These ribs are smaller than spare ribs, making them much easier to handle, and are packed with flavor. Once you smoke them, the meat will be delicious and practically fall off the bone.Try these Texas-style ribs to see for yourself.
The best way to smoke baby back ribs is to put the whole rack on a sheet of aluminum foil. Then, slather on your favorite barbecue sauce plus some butter for moisture, wrap in foil, and smoke until the meat is tender. This can take up to six hours.
Candied bacon is a way to turn pork into dessert. Strips of smoked bacon are covered in caramel or sugar syrup for the perfect mix of salty and sweet.
You can make your own candied bacon at home using your smoker. Cut thick slices of bacon and place them on an elevated rack, which allows the fat to fall away. Then, brush the bacon with your choice of sweet (caramel and maple syrup are two popular choices). For extra flavor, experts recommend using applewood in your smoker.
Not to be confused with pork loin, pork tenderloin comes from the muscle that runs along a pig’s spine. It is a thinner, less fatty cut of meat than loin but the good news is that it needs far less cooking time.
Best of all, smoked pork tenderloin is an excellent choice for the smoker because it absorbs flavor very well. Serve it sliced immediately after smoking, but be sure to hold on to some of the tenderloin as the leftovers make excellent sandwiches. Be sure to season with plenty of dry rub before cooking, and after it comes out and rests, slather it with your favorite BBQ sauce. For extra decadence, wrap the tenderloin in bacon and then smoke.
For a luxurious centerpiece to your dinner, you can’t go wrong with smoked whole ham. A whole ham is the cured back leg of the pork, usually with the bone still inside. The average ham can feed up to 20 people, making this for a big crowd or holiday such as Thanksgiving.
Be sure to get a cured ham to make the process easier, as you will only have to smoke for 15 to 20 minutes per pound of ham. If you get a raw ham, you have to cure it yourself, which will take several days.
Pork chops are one of the most popular cuts of meat for holidays and weekday dinners. A pork chop is taken by cutting across the pork loin and usually has a rib or part of the vertebra still in the meat. Although some cooking methods tend to dry them out, smoked pork chop preserves the meat’s juicy, tender qualities.
To smoke pork chops, prepare them with your choice of dry rub. Serve with applesauce or as-is.
Pork loin comes from the meat along the top side of a pig’s ribcage, close to the backbone. This is a broad cut of meat with a thick coating of fat on top. The relatively lean texture of loin breaks down well in a smoker, particularly with the cap of fat that provides moisture.
Before making smoked pork loin, you want to infusing as much flavor into the meat as possible by marinating it in a marinade of your choice for several hours or overnight (for maximum flavor, score the pork to let the marinade get in deep). Then, smoke until the loin reaches an internal temperature of 145°F.
Pulled pork is a staple at any barbecue. Tender pork pulled apart after smoking and slathered in barbecue sauce makes the perfect filling for sandwiches. You can always buy pulled pork, but why do that when you can smoke it at home?
To make your own smoked pulled pork, start with a pork butt or pork shoulder. These large, rich cuts of meat break down beautifully once smoked. Prepare with your favorite dry rub, then smoke for many hours. Once the pork is falling apart, shred it with forks or meat claws and cover in your choice of sauce.
Double Smoked Spiral Ham
A spiral-cut ham is different from a regular ham because of the way that it is cut. While processing, the butcher slices a bone-in ham in one continuous spiral. This makes the ham easier to cut, and it absorbs flavor better.
Since spiral ham is already processed, that means that it’s already been smoked in the processing plant. However, a second round over the coals will add extra flavor to your smoked spiral ham. Moisten the ham with vinegar and smoke it for several hours to add extra flavor to a store-bought ham.
St. Louis Spare Ribs
While baby back ribs come from the part of the rib cage close to the spine, St. Louis spare ribs are cut from the part of the rib cage near the belly. They differ from spare ribs because the breast bone and cartilage are trimmed away, making them easier to eat and more flavorful.
These ribs are full of fat, which renders as the meat smokes and adds more flavor. To pack in the flavor, prepare your St Louis ribs with a dry rub before smoking.
Pork Belly Burnt Ends
Pork belly burnt ends are exactly what they sound like: Pork belly cut into cubes and smoked until they look almost burned. Pork belly is already a flavorful cut of meat, but these burnt ends practically melt in your mouth because of how tender they are.
To prepare smoked pork belly burnt ends, cut up a piece of pork belly and rub with dry rub. After smoking for two to three hours, evenly coat with your favorite BBQ sauce, coat the tray with foil, and smoke again. The result is the perfect smoked appetizer or snack.
Take pulled pork to a new level with these smoked pork carnitas. Our take on the Mexican classic dish prepares pork butt with a dry rub made from guajillo peppers, cumin, and paprika, before smoking it low and slow over pecan wood. With the fat rendered and marbling broken down, we shred the pork before serving in flour tortillas with guacamole, chopped cilantro, and frijoles refritos. The best way to enjoy shredded pork tacos.
Pork shoulder comes from the pig’s shoulder but is lower down on the shoulder than the butt. This cut of meat is leaner than the butt and is sold with the skin on, making for a perfectly crispy coating.
To smoke pork shoulder, prepare it with a dry rub that includes plenty of pepper. The shoulder works best when it has a crispy crust. Once it is done smoking, you can serve it in slices or pull it apart to make pulled pork.
Rack of Pork
Pork rack or rib roast is from the rib-end of the pork loin, giving the meat a beautiful layer of fat that lends itself well to barbecue smoking.
Traditionally roasted during the holidays, this barbecue spin on the classic is proof that pork can be enjoyed year-round. Our smoked rack of pork is cooked low and slow over fruitwood to create a beautifully balanced sweet flavor that matches the natural flavors of pork perfectly.
From the hog’s belly, pork belly is rich in the type of fat content that makes pork so good for low and slow cooking. Smoked over low heat, the abdominal fat renders out to give you a deliciously succulent bite.
Our easy smoked pork belly is dry brined overnight for extra moisture before seasoned with homemade dry rub and smoked over applewood. Smoke for six hours until the internal temperature hits 165°F (74°C) to ensure a serving of pork that melts in your mouth every time.
Pork brisket is an underrated meat cut that deserves a lot more love. Just like its beef counterpart, pork brisket is rich in fat and connective tissue, making it perfect for low and slow cooking. It’s also an easy cut for barbecue newbies to get to grips with, and is far more forgiving than pork butt or shoulder.
Our smoked pork brisket recipe is prepared with a simple dry rub before being cooked over applewood for three hours. The final result is a plate of moist, flavorful plate of barbecue meat.
If you’re after an intense flavor, look no further than this smoked pork shank. The combination of bone marrow with rendered connective tissue, and tough muscle meat is taken to a new level when cooked at low heat. Prepared with little more than yellow mustard and a brown sugar dry rub, this easy recipe is all about letting the natural flavors of shank do their thing.