How to Season a Boston Pork Butt

by Mark S. Baker
Although often mixed with sauce, seasoning beforehand is the key to delicious pulled pork.

Although often mixed with sauce, seasoning beforehand is the key to delicious pulled pork.

The Boston pork butt is a versatile cut of meat that has a number of uses in the kitchen. Cooked whole, the Boston pork butt can be shredded to make pulled pork sandwiches or sliced for roast pork. It can also be broken down and used for stew or sweet and sour pork. Because this cut is naturally mild, seasoning Boston pork butt greatly increases the flavor of the meat, especially when slow-cooked over low heat.

Rinse the Boston pork butt under cool running water and pat completely dry using a paper towel.

Place the Boston pork butt on a cutting board and trim any excess fat from the surface, otherwise known as the fat cap, using a sharp knife, keeping the fat cap in tact for flavor. Additionally, remove any hard pockets of fat on the other surfaces of the meat, like near the bone if you're using a bone-in Boston pork butt

Lightly score the fat cap in a criss-cross manner without cutting into the meat; this will help the seasoning seep in during the cooking process.

Mix the seasonings for the Boston pork butt in a bowl. Use your favorite savory seasonings, such as salt, pepper, chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder, cumin, coriander, sage or thyme. The seasoning mixture can also contain sweet components like brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, allspice and ginger. An ideal blend would combine sweet and savory to help bring out the flavors of the pork.

Rub the surface of the meat with the seasoning mixture using your hands. Ensure that you coat all sides and both ends. Wrap the Boston pork butt tightly in plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator for at least four hours, preferably overnight.

Remove the plastic wrap and cook the Boston pork butt using your desired method. Options for cooking the Boston pork butt include slow roasting in the oven, smoking in a smoker grill or simmering slowly in a slow cooker.

Items you will need

  • Boston pork butt
  • Paper towel
  • Knife
  • Cutting board
  • Seasonings
  • Bowl
  • Whisk
  • Plastic wrap


  • Boston pork butt should be cooked to a minimum of 145 degrees Fahrenheit before eating. However, if making pulled pork, the meat should be cooked through to 190 F so that the meat is tender and pulls apart easily.

About the Author

Based in Virginia Beach, Mark S. Baker has been working in editorial for more than 20 years. He has served as a writer and editor for publications such as the "Houston Post," "Boca Raton News" and "Interactive Week," among others. Baker also has a culinary arts degree from Johnson & Wales University and has his own catering business.

Photo Credits

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