From Aaron Franklin's MasterClass

Smoke: Pork Butt

For your first cook, Aaron takes you step-by-step through his recipe and technique for smoking tender, flavorful pork butt: from seasoning and wrapping through shredding into tender morsels of pulled pork.

Topics include: Game Plan · Slather and Rub · Prepping the Fire · Spritz and Check · Wrap · Pull and Rest · Shred


For your first cook, Aaron takes you step-by-step through his recipe and technique for smoking tender, flavorful pork butt: from seasoning and wrapping through shredding into tender morsels of pulled pork.

Topics include: Game Plan · Slather and Rub · Prepping the Fire · Spritz and Check · Wrap · Pull and Rest · Shred

Aaron Franklin

Teaches Texas-Style BBQ

Learn More


[MUSIC PLAYING] - So get into a big, long barbecue cook. This is kind of, in my opinion, an inexpensive piece of meat. It's pork. It doesn't cost a lot. It comes from the shoulder. Even though it's called a butt, it's still a shoulder butt. It's got a lot of muscles, a lot of connective tissue. It's got a bone in it. And it's pretty easy to cook. You just have to cook until it's really, really tender. So pork butt's pretty easy to pull off, but it's still really nice to come up with a game plan. Won't be complicated. So getting into a cook, I like to kind of make a game plan. I want to start off with the time that I want to eat, and then I'm going to backtrack it from there. And I kind of want to just write down some bullet points of times, maybe some temperatures that I'm looking to keep the cooker. And then as I cook, I'll start making little notes of adjustments that I make. And then after I get to eat the food, check it out see, how the fat rendered, make sure it's moist, see if it's dry, or overcooked, undercooked, whatever. Then I start making notes, and then I can kind of backtrack from there to correct maybe what went wrong in the cook. So it doesn't take much resting time. There's not much slicing that needs to happen. We're just going to cook until it's tender. It's going to be wrapped in foil at that point. Open it up, shred it apart with our fingers hopefully. And I'm going to say we want this to come off at 5:30 because we're going to eat dinner probably about 6:30, somewhere in there-- plenty of time. So 5:30 off. I think this thing should take about 10 hours. It's going to cook unwrapped for about eight hours. Wrap it real tight in foil after it's got a really nice crust on it, and then we'll finish it out for about two hours hopefully. So that would be going on pretty soon at about 7:30. So then we go 8 hours from there. That's going to put us at 3:30 wrap. And these are kind of loose guidelines. This cook could go any direction. If the fire's kind of suffer up front, maybe it's an abnormally tough piece of meat. It might go a little bit longer, but this is kind of just a ballpark range. And we're going to start off with the cooker at 270. And there's a lot of fat in here, so I'm not too worried about cooking it too hot right up front. This fat's going to render. It's going to get wrapped up. Hopefully, all that fat and the moisture is going to cook down into the foil and kind of stay with the meat a little bit. It's not an incredibly long cook, so I'm not too worried about the edges drying out. It's all going to get pulled, so it doesn't really matter if there's a beautiful bark on it or not because it's all going to get chipped up. It's all getting mixed up together. It's maybe not the most complicated barbecue cook out there, but it's always good. So you have a lot of wiggle room. If you kind of mess it up a little bit, it's still going to be really, really good. You can throw some vinegar on it. You can...

The art of smoke and fire

Once a backyard hobbyist, Aaron Franklin is now the James Beard Award-winning owner of Franklin Barbecue, where the line for his famous smoked brisket is hours long. Now the Central Texas barbecue specialist teaches you his meticulous low and slow process for mouth-watering ribs, pork butt, and brisket. With perfectly seasoned cuts and optimal temperatures, you'll learn to handle an offset smoker like a true pitmaster.


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

I enjoyed this master class! Aaron is my BBQ idle! I'm excited to try all these techniques on my own and start my BBQ journey. I hope he comes out with another master class for some different foods on the BBQ pit. Thank you so much for making this class. Well worth it! Knowledge is priceless!

The early instruction aspects were filled with unpretentious sharing of experience-earned wisdom. Golden advice just thrown off the cuff. The biggest surprise was I did not expect this to end up inspiring. Well done Masterclass!

I have been looking to set up my own BBQ restaurant for about 10 years. We have been in the hospitality business for over 30 and finally have the right venue to add a BBQ food outlet on the back of the restaurant/pub we now have. This Masterclass from Aaron was quite simply the best information and education I needed to give me the confidence to open it to the public. many thanks, Peter

That was unbelievable! As the "bbq" guy in our group of friends and have cooked many briskets for them, I learned so many things that I've been doing completely wrong. I can't wait to get out and start working on this craft. What an honor that was to watch, I hope I can meet Aaron someday to thank him for this. I would have paid $1000+ for these videos!


Nick B.

Can't want to try this. Can you elaborate on the knife being used for the trimming, please?

Zack F.

I was surprised that Aaron's rub is so simple. I will be trying this on my next pork butt, instead of store rubs.

Mike L.

I felt like this lesson was particularly filled with useful info especially in the earlier part of the lesson where he talks about how forgiving the pork butt is and suggests using the butt as a training tool for brisket. I never really thought about it like that until he verbalized it and you really can experiment a lot with a butt during a cook and still have a decent piece of meat while at the same time trying to achieve that perfect butt.

Anh L.

Really nice tips and techniques shown. I have a question about keeping the pork moist and prevent it from drying out if you can't finish the butt in one go ? Like would you leave half of it untouched and only shred half of the pork butt before serving if you know you cant finish the whole thing? or would you leave it in some kind of sauce or fat to keep it from drying out ? Also wondering if anyone here try the same techniques with gas oven ?

Kent N.

Absolutely a great smoked pork butt. Followed the temps and timing to a "T." Was nervous during the stall but had "Franklin Faith" and he delivered.

Nick B.

WOW! I had no idea there was so much building and maintaining a fire. I mean I do OK, but now I feel like I can really ROCK my off set smoker at home!

Robert R.

Great Lesson. Really sets a great foundation. I would love to see more on the strategy of holding the meat for serving and heaven forbid there is any leftovers how would you reheat.

Chris F.

Just did a cook yesterday (Saturday) everybody normally loves the pork, there were a few pointers I picked up from Aaron and it came out even better than before! Only problem I had and still have, with all my rubs is a good shaker with the right size holes to get a good even mix of salt/pepper etc. Seems like I get a lot of settling in the shaker and always difficult to get a good even mix. Aaron mentions he just goes to the "store" to get his shakers. Anyone know where we can get the same shakers as Aaron?...thanks!

David B.

Great video. Pork butt is one of my best cooks. After watching this I think it’ll get better.

Marion D.

Excellent video. The spritzing was a new technique for me. Also, I've only ever done bone-out pork butt. Interested to try it with the bone in using this method as a guide.