Make the most incredible, juicy and tender pork butt roast with just a few simple ingredients and steps. You don’t need any special outdoor equipment, just your oven and a roasting pan.
This homemade BBQ favorite is an excellent choice for any family gathering, special occasion or even a Sunday dinner. Load up the roast with pantry-friendly ingredients, put it in the oven, and let it slow roast to succulent perfection!
What is a Pork Butt Roast?
Pork butt, despite the name, is not from a pig’s rear end. The butt roast cut comes from the thicker park of the shoulder area. It has a lot of fat marbling, which makes it the perfect meat for slow roasting.
You’ll often see many similar cuts of meat from the same area labeled as pork shoulder, Boston butt, or picnic roast. Perhaps even a combination of shoulder and butt. All of these cuts are very popular for pulled pork recipes. For this recipe, we’ll focus just on the boneless butt roast/shoulder butt roast and cook it in a more traditional pork roast fashion.
Equipment and Ingredients
The only equipment you’ll need is a roasting pan. A roasting pan is an oven safe pan which has a wire rack upon which the food sits. The pan collects the liquids from the meat and the rack helps promote even roasting on all sides – which is important, especially when cooking times exceed a couple of hours.
If you don’t have a roasting pan with a rack, use a large enough casserole or baking dish and roll up some aluminum foil to use as a make-shift rack.
The ingredients are also very simple an you likely have most already in your kitchen. They include brown sugar (light or dark), paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, ground mustard powder, kosher salt, ground black pepper and just a little cayenne to give everything a nice little boost.
Of course, the main ingredient is the butt roast. You’ll find butt roasts in many sizes and some are bone-in, and some are boneless. For the very best results when making a butt roast this way, it is recommended to use a smaller sized boneless roast. Boneless roasts of 3-4lbs are quite common and many supermarkets. Roasts larger than 4 lbs are not recommended as the roasting time can greatly increase, drying out the meat. Larger pork butts are best used as a pulled pork. We have a terrific oven roasted pulled pork recipe you can try!
Many smaller pork butts will come with a netting that holds the meat in a nice, compact shape. Go ahead and gently cut the netting away. You can also rinse the meat under cool water. Again, do this gently as you don’t want it falling apart. Then pat the roast dry with a paper towel.
Some roasts have a fat cap. If the fat cap is very large or thick, you can cut some away with a sharp knife. You’ll want to some on though, it it can greatly increase the juiciness and flavor of the meat.
Next, we’re ready to apply our seasoning mix. Liberally apply all the rub and massage it in well. For extra flavor, seal it in a zip-top bag in the refrigerator overnight!
Now place the roast (fat cap side up if it has it) on the roasting rack. Having the fat side up is important as it will melt into the meat making it extra juicy.
Roast at 350°(F) for 3-4 hours
Place the roast into a preheated oven at 350°(F). The cooking times can vary, depending on the size and weight of the roast, but for one that is 3-4lbs, we’ll be looking at 3-4 hours.
The important thing is the internal temperature of the roast. We want an internal temperature of 185°(F). While pork is technically done at 145°(F), a pork butt roast will not be tender at that temperature. Once we start getting above 180°(F), the roast will really start to become tender as the fat and connective tissues start to break down. We don’t want to take this pork roast much higher that 185°(F) as then it starts to become much more supple, and more geared towards shredded pork. Now of course, shredded or pulled pork is totally fine, but we’re looking more for slices of pork roast with this recipe. Use a meat thermometer or instant read thermometer to monitor the internal temperature.
Let it Rest
Once the pork has reached 185°(F), it’s time to remove it from the oven. But we do not want to dig in right away! We need that meat to rest for at least 15 minutes. This allows all the natural juices to redistribute through the meat. Slicing it too soon will not yield optimum results.
Time to Serve!
Once your butt has had a chance to rest, transfer it to a cutting board and begin slicing. I like the slices to be about ¼″ thick. Some of the edges may shred a bit, but that’s fine. You should have a really nice bark on the outside of the roast, while it’s tender and super juicy on the inside.
Feel free to collect the pan drippings and use it to pour over the served slices. It will have a tremendous flavor all it’s own. And of course, you can also use your favorite BBQ sauce at anytime while enjoying the pork. Slather it right onto the meat or keep it on the side for dipping.
Goes Well With…
Roasted pork can go with just about any side dish. There’s really no wrong answers. But, you’ll find a few things are ideal for sides.
Macaroni and cheese with pork is a southern BBQ staple. Our Best Damn Instant Pot Mac and Cheese is excellent. Also, BBQ pork goes great with the cool crunch of coleslaw. Try our Homestyle Country Coleslaw for a great and easy recipe. And of course, cornbread. Oh my goodness I LOVE cornbread with any BBQ dish or pork dish. Our Cast Iron Skillet Cornbread is a homemade classic that you’ll absolutely love!
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: Does the pork need to be seared first?
A: Nope. By roasting at 350°(F), the roast will form a nice “bark” on the outside.
Q: Can the pork roast be marinated?
A: For extra flavor, you can season the roast and place in a large zip-top bag overnight in the refrigerator. The seasoning will act as a marinade and penetrate the flavor deeper into the meat.
Q: Should the pork roast be covered?
A: No. We want the outside of the pork to get nice and crusted.
Q: Can this recipe be made in a slow cooker?
A: A slow cooker is better for making pulled pork. See our Slow Cooker Pulled Pork recipe for complete instructions.
Q: Can barbecue sauce be added before roasting?
A: Barbecue sauce is best added after the pork has been sliced. Our dry rub will take care of all the seasoning needed prior to roasting.
Q: What’s the best way to reheat?
A: Place the pork slices in a shallow pan, covered and reheat in the oven at a low temperature, 250°(F) for about 15 minutes. Add a little water or broth to the pork to keep it from drying out. You can also reheat in the microwave. Again, add some liquid to help keep it moist.
Q: What’s the best way to enjoy leftovers?
A: Pork sandwiches are a great way to enjoy leftover pork roast. Make sure to use a good, hearty bun and add your favorite BBQ sauce or other toppings.