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Mar 15, 2003 12:44 PM

Smoked Pork Shoulder Butt?

  • j

Growing up my mom and my husband's mom both called this "tenderloin." I know it's also called "daisy ham" in some parts of the country according to Karl Ehmer's website. We bought one today, but can't for the life of us remember how our mothers (both bad cooks) cooked it. He thinks it was boiled, I thought baked, but I do seem to remember my mom maybe cooking potatoes in the same pot, much like the dreaded corned beef and cabbage.

Any suggestions for a simple preparation?

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  1. Years ago, a friend used to bring me "smoked butts" from Milwaukee. They were simply divine -- about the size of a small ham with the taste and texture of a cross between a quality ham and Canadian bacon.

    I've tried to get the same thing in various parts of the country but it's just not the same as I used to get from the friend from Milwaukee. Usually what I end up getting when I ask for a smoked butt is a roast-sized hunk of meat that's more like a cross between a pork roast and a ham. I want the Canadian bacon touch though, so I've been unhappy with what I've gotten elsewhere.

    Anyone know any other name, a more universal name, for what folks in Milwaukee call a "smoked butt"?

    1 Reply
    1. re: Jane

      We may have bought what you're looking for. We're in NYC and got it at Karl Ehmer. I put a picture below of their hams, what we bought is on the top shelf, just above and to the left of the pineapple covered ham.

      It's smokey like Canadian bacon and ham-like, from what I can remember, but it's been years since I had it.


    2. When I was growing up here in Baltimore we would have smoked butt on a regular basis. It was always boiled with potatoes & cabbage. I've never heard of it being baked, I'd be afraid the skin would become overly tough & dry. You could probably steam it, surrounding it with potatoes, carrots etc. I think I might try that myself!! I'm having comfort food thoughts :)

      1 Reply
      1. re: ocdreamr

        I grew up in NYC and we ate "tenderloin". My husband and I both enjoy it and found it easily in Florida. Now in Richmond VA, I can't find it.
        I simmer it in water for about 45 mins. I always serve it with boiled or mashed potatoes and a greenie - brussel sprouts, broccoli, green beans.
        Leftovers make great sandwiches,the sliced meat for eggs Benedict, or chopped for omelets.

      2. On the West Coast, smoked shoulder is also called "picnic ham". It's about half the size of a regular ham, and you prepare it just as you would do a ham.

        1. Are you talking about something that is wrapped in a netting? We always boiled it and served it with mashed potatoes and a veg with horseradish or mustard. My brother, however, used to cut it up and put it in his pea soup and it was wonderful.

          1. If you think about it, this is closer to what the poor Irish ate for occasions like St. Patrick's day than a corned beef. They ate no beef - the beef they helped raise was for the gentry of England. Corned beef didn't become a tradition until they came to the US, where even in the 1800's beef was relatively abundant, and the lesser cuts, like the brisket, were readily available to the poor immigrants.

            The tradition of boiled dinners is millennia old. A cheap cut, like the butt (the piece that abutts the shoulder), is salted and smoked for preservation and ends up providing great flavor. I put mine in a dutch oven (ceramic lined cast iron pot with a heavy top like a Le Creuset, but much cheaper and works as well..) with some water at the bottom and braise in the oven for about 3 hours total at about 250F. The last hour or so, I put in potatoes, carrots and onion and cabbage wedges (if you're careful to not cut off the core entirely, they stay together pretty well).

            Sometimes, the commercial stuff is way too salty. I can tell after the first hour of cooking. If that's the case, I'll change the water, bring the temp up on the stove top, and then continue to cook in the oven.

            Like corned beef, you can cure and smoke your own. But I find no equivalent of a gray corned beef - so you do need to use pink salt to get it right. You also don't want to overcook or oversmoke it, since it will be finished in the braise. I don't let the inside get over 185F out of the smoker. This is exactly the same as what I do when making a pastrami, except that I don't dry rub it at all.

            Other uses include beans of all sorts. Making southern style beans and cornbread with the butt instead of ham hocks leads to a much meatier meal. Ditto Pea soup (but it's best to pre-cook the butt.) I've even used the butt in lieu of prosciutto or cotto in cannellini or Tuscan style beans (like a meaty/beany ribollita) and with appropriate seasoning, it comes out quite well - the smokiness and the saltiness integrates with a lot of flavors.