Finishing Pork Butt in Oven: Putting the Final Touches!

November 17, 2022

Let’s face it – smoking a pork butt in a smoker can take a long time – we’re talking half a day or even longer sometimes! By taking the meat out of the oven at the stall and finishing pork butt in oven, you can save yourself a lot of time and hassle.

I do consider myself a BBQ purist but I have finished up a pork butt in my oven a fair number of times! This is usually when my cook takes longer than expected and guests are right around the corner. After fine tuning my technique, I’m ready to share it with you.

In this post, I am going to talk about the advantages of finishing the butt in an oven and talk you through how to do it. Let’s get started!

Finishing pork butt in oven

Can You Finish BBQ in the Oven?

Yes, you can!

Listen, I am just as much of a fan of grilling and smoking pork butt as the next person. I do have to admit that there are a couple of drawbacks.

First off, smoking meat is a long and slow process. When you have the time, it is fine. If you are on a schedule or need to feed guests in a timely manner, then a smoker alone won’t do. In this instance, popping the pork butt in the oven is the perfect solution.

There is also the fact that you can only smoke meat outdoors. So, if the weather starts acting up, you can’t just cut your smoke short, can you? Nope, you just use the oven instead.

Can You Finish Pork Shoulder in the Oven Too?

Yes, pork butt and shoulder are pretty similar to one another and can be cooked in the same way.

Due to this, it is possible to finish a shoulder in the oven too.

What Can You Expect When Finishing Pork Butt in the Oven?

If this isn’t something that you have ever done before, you may be wondering how your pork butt or pulled pork is going to end up.

Well, the good news is that it will actually end up tasting pretty great. When you finish pulled pork in the oven, you aren’t changing the taste or texture all that much.

The pork butt will be in the smoker for several hours. This gives the meat enough time to absorb that smoky flavor. What’s more, this is also plenty of time for the connective tissue in the meat to break down and become nice and tender.

Oven Baked Pork Leg

When Should You Finish Pork Butt in the Oven?

I wouldn’t say that you need to do this every time that you grill or smoke pork butt but sometimes it is necessary.

Here are the circumstances under which you should pop this cut of meat in the oven:

Unreliable Grill or Smoker

Has your grill or smoker seen better days? Or, were you not sure that you were going to get much use of it and bought a cheap make and model?

In either of these cases, it is quite likely that the temperature inside your cooking chamber fluctuates. It is also possible that the hood thermometer isn’t giving you an accurate reading.

Now, an inconsistent temperature can cause a few different problems. If the temperature is too high, then your meat will be cooked too quickly. Not only does this mean that there will not be enough time for the connective tissue to break down, there is also a risk of the meat drying out.

If the temperature is too low, then this means that your meat is going to take far longer to cook than you anticipated. If you are hosting a meal or cookout, this can throw off the timing of everything.

Poor Weather

Even when barbecuing in the summer, there is no guarantee that the nice weather is going to last. There is always the risk of a sudden storm.

So, if you notice the wind is picking up or it is about to rain, don’t try to keep the smoker or grill going. You’re going to find it a lot harder to maintain a consistent cooking temperature and, as such, there is no guarantee about how your pulled pork is going to turn out.

Instead, fire up the oven and use it instead.

You are Running Out of Time

Last but not least, use the oven to finish off the pork if you are short on time. We have all been there – you calculated the rate of cooking perfectly but somehow, you have fallen behind schedule.

To add to this, your guests are about to arrive and you have nothing to feed them. The temperature on your oven can go higher and so, you can cook the meat faster.

Roasted Pork with Veggies and Dressing

When Should You Move the Pork to the Oven?

There is a right time to move the pork into the oven. Never do so before the perfect moment or you could end up ruining your pulled pork.

See, when making pulled pork, you need to ensure that the meat has been smoked for long enough to absorb the smoke flavor and to be nice and tender.

Move the meat too soon and your pulled pork just won’t taste as great. It will also likely be a lot more difficult to shred, too.

It is vital that you leave the pork butt in the smoker until the meat reaches around 160 degrees F.

At this point, it has reached something known as the BBQ stall. It is where the meat stop cooking for several hours. The best way to overcome the stall is to wrap the meat. This allows the internal temperature of the pork to rise once more.

Now, once you wrap the meat, it can’t absorb any more smoke. So, putting it into the oven at this point isn’t going to impact the final result in any way.

And, in case you are wondering:

Should you cover pulled pork in the oven?

The answer is yes. When you wrap the meat, the heat trapped around the surface of the pork ensures that the meat starts cooking again. This way, you can prevent an overnight cook.

How Long Does It Take to Finish Pork Shoulder in Oven?

This is a little difficult to estimate. This is because this depends on the internal meat temperature when it goes into the oven, the oven temp, and the size of the cut of meat.

I should also advise you that you should never cook meat according to time. Instead, you should track the internal temp using a digital or instant read thermometer.

It is quite difficult to determine the rate at which any cut of meat is cooking. To avoid making any errors in judgement, simply keep and eye on the internal temp instead. This will let you know when the pork should be taken out of the oven.

A pork butt is considered done when it is around 190 to 195 degrees F.

How Do You Finish a Smoked Pork Shoulder or Butt?

Here is a step by step guide on how to finish a pork butt in the oven:

Step 1: Preheat the Oven

Always make sure that the oven is hot before you place the butt in it. Otherwise, you will slow down the cooking process even further.

I like to set the oven temperature to 225 degrees F to ensure that it cooks at a slow and consistent rate. If you are in a rush and want the pork butt to cook faster, then you can increase the heat to 300 degrees F.

If you opt for the hotter temperature, make sure to keep a close watch on the internal meat temperature. The butt will cook so much faster and you need to make sure that you don’t overcook it and dry it out.

Step 2: Take the Pork Butt Out of the Oven

Keep an instant read thermometer inside the butt as it is smoking and check the internal meat temperature of the butt. When the internal temperature reaches around 165 degrees, the stall has set in. If you want maximum smoke flavor you can wait for another 30 minutes and check the internal temperature again.

If it hasn’t changed, then you can the pork butt out of the oven and place on a cutting board.

Baked Pork Shoulder

Step 3: Wrap the Pork Butt

Personally, I like to use butcher paper to wrap the pork butt in. This is because the butcher paper is more breathable. This lets some of the moisture out while the meat is in the oven, preventing the bark from becoming too soggy.

Now, aluminum foil will help to cook the pork faster but you will compromise the bark in the process.

Some people like to spray in some apple juice, chicken stock, or other liquid on the meat before adding it. I find that this is unnecessary as it doesn’t have much of an impact. However, the apple juice can add a little bit of sweetness.

There are those that also like to sprinkle in some kosher salt or brown sugar. As this is already in the rub, though, it won’t really add much in terms of flavor.

After wrapping the meat, make sure to keep the instant read thermometer in the pork to get an accurate reading.

Step 4: Place the Pork Butt in Oven

Place the wrapped butt in a roasting pan or foil pan. This prevents any juices from leaking out and making a mess in your oven.

Then, place the pork in the oven and keep it there for a few more hours until it is finished cooking.

Wait until the internal temperature reaches between 190 and 195 degrees F.

Once it has finished cooking, take the meat out of the oven, out of the roasting pan, and place on a cutting board.

Let it rest for about 45 minutes to an hour. During this time, the internal temperature reaches to about 200 to 205 degrees F.

Step 5: Shred the Meat

After the meat has had time to rest, you can begin to shred it.

Then, serve with a side of barbecue sauce and enjoy!

The next time you are running late with a cook or the weather isn’t cooperating, you now know what to do. So, go ahead and give this a try!

By Kristy J. Norton
I'm Kristy – a chef and connoisseur of all things BBQ! You can find me either in my kitchen (or someone else's) or at a big outdoor barbecue surrounded by friends and family. In both my professional and personal life I’ve picked up more than a few tips and tricks for turning out delicious food. I consider it a privilege to share it with others!
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