What Temp is Pork Butt Done? Mastering the Art of Tender Pulled Pork

Picture this: you’re at a backyard barbecue, eagerly anticipating the moment when you can sink your teeth into a mouthwatering pulled pork sandwich. The aroma of slow-cooked pork wafts through the air, making your stomach growl with anticipation. But hold on a minute – how do you know when that pork butt is truly done and ready to be shredded into juicy, tender perfection?

Understanding the Pork Butt’s Journey to Tenderness

When it comes to cooking pork butt, patience is key. This cut of meat, also known as pork shoulder, is laden with connective tissue and fat. While that might sound unappetizing at first, it’s actually the secret to achieving the most succulent pulled pork you’ve ever tasted.

As the pork butt cooks low and slow, the collagen in the connective tissue breaks down, transforming into gelatin. This process is what gives pulled pork its signature tender texture and rich, full-bodied flavor. But how do you know when this magical transformation is complete?

The Magic Number: 195-205°F (91-96°C)

While the USDA recommends cooking pork to an internal temperature of 145°F (62.8°C) for safety, pork butt needs to go the extra mile to reach its full potential. The ideal temperature range for a pork butt to be done is between 195-205°F (91-96°C).

At this temperature, the collagen has fully broken down, and the meat is so tender that it practically falls apart at the mere sight of a fork. This is the point where your pork butt transforms from a tough, unappetizing hunk of meat into a thing of beauty – juicy, flavorful pulled pork that will have your guests lining up for seconds (and thirds, and fourths…).

The Pitmaster’s Preference: Sliceable vs. Shreddable

Now, some pitmasters argue that the perfect pork butt is a matter of personal preference. For those who prefer their pork sliceable rather than shreddable, a slightly lower internal temperature of around 195°F (91°C) might be the way to go.

At this temperature, the meat is still tender enough to enjoy in slices but hasn’t quite reached the point of falling apart. It’s a texture that’s perfect for sandwiches or serving alongside your favorite barbecue sides.

The Final Verdict

So, what’s the verdict? What temp is a pork butt done? The answer, my friend, lies somewhere between 195-205°F (91-96°C). It’s a range that promises tender, juicy pulled pork that will have your taste buds singing with joy.

But remember, cooking a pork butt is an art as much as it is a science. It takes time, patience, and a little bit of love to coax out the best in this flavorful cut of meat. So fire up that smoker, grab a cold beverage, and let the low and slow magic happen. Your taste buds (and your lucky guests) will thank you for it.

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