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Feb 28, 2009 08:33 AM

Large pork shoulder

I want to buy a large pork shoulder roast to make pulled pork. Last year for some reason pork was dirt cheap and I picked up a 20-pounder for about $20. This year I'm not seeing much around. Has anyone seen it for sale lately? Inexpensive would be excellent - don't need heritage, local or organic pork or anything fancy. Anywhere in the GTA is good.

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  1. I saw it at Highland Farms a week ago, but the price was up to $1.69/lb, although it was $1/lb in January. Smaller shoulder cuts are about the same price at Soon Lee or T&T

    Highland Farms
    850 Ellesmere Rd, Toronto, ON M1P, CA

    Soon Lee
    629 Markham Rd, Toronto, ON M1J, CA

    T And T Supermarket Milliken
    5661 Steeles Ave E, Toronto, ON M1V, CA

    2 Replies
    1. re: jayt90

      Pigs have to eat too. The cost of feed has increased to the pork producers so they are just passing the cost along to us. In Mississauga T & T and the other large Asian markets have recently had the bone-in, skin on pork blade roasts as low as 69 cents per pound on week ends but I haven't been in one for almost two weeks. I bought 2 at Yuan Ming at that price for Mardi Gras and they smoked up beautifully.
      That cut is usually the most desirable for competition PP as it has more of the choice bits like the "horn" and the "tubes" and a bit of the rib eye. It cooks quicker too although I know you are not in any particular rush with PP.

      1. re: jayt90

        Hi, not sure if you are Mississauga way or not..but Yuan Ming Supermarket with two locations have pork shoulder on sale for $0.69/pp!! Cheapest of anywhere I know of by far..I just picked up three to smoke tomorrow night for a Saturday family ~27lbs of the three for less than $20.00. Sale may end today though...I can post again when it is on sale if you wish...Boston Butt is $1.59 regular price if that is your preference.

      2. My latest visit to Highland Farms revealed whole pork shoulders at $1.29/lb on Saturday. These are cut from a carcass, not shipped in cryovac.

        Buster Rhino has a good pork butt rub at $7/kg.

        Let us know how you make out, Nyleve! A whole shoulder is a big project.

        Buster Rhino's
        2001 Thickson Rd S, Whitby, ON L1N, CA

        9 Replies
          1. re: grandgourmand

            yes, it extends shelf life with salt, added water, and shrink wrap.

            1. re: jayt90

              Highland Farms had a special on the whole shoulders at $0.99/lb in January, but that's a pretty good price. However, for BBQ, I prefer smaller cuts and no arm meat. It's all about that great flavor and that way I get more rub and smoke on the edible bits.

              I've seen it both ways in packing houses. Cryovac is the heavy film meat packaging process and doesn't automatically meat "seasoned". If the meat has been "pumped" or "seasoned" and it came from a federally inspected packing house it must be so labeled because it is a form of adulteration. If it from a provincially inspected facility, which is the euphemism for rarely, you get what's going.

              You can usually identify "seasoned" because pumped meat feels quite soft and flabby vs the more solid feel of fresh meat. It's similar in feel to a sweet pickled picnic. Back in the 90's some packers did offer a "light pump", about half the usual, that was a little more difficult to tell. I thought it was only useful for chicken breasts as it enhanced moisture without giving them the taste and texture of a salty cellulose sponge.

              1. re: iamafoodie

                Haven't been in a month, but I get nice ones in Gerrard/Broadview Chinatown.. Cheap

                1. re: iamafoodie

                  iamafoodie - you are almost correct except provincial meat plants actually have to follow the same rules as federal for labeling. Labeling is controlled by the federal government period - very specific rules you have to follow. Even in Grocery stores etc - if the meat has been seasoned in any form at all it must be labeled as such - NO MATTER WHAT.

                  The other thing to pay attention to - pork shoulder (as iamafoodie says) gets flabby when it is pumped or seasoned - pork shoulder also gets flabby at about the 8 day mark if it is fresh. This does not mean it's bad, it just gives you an indication of kill date. We get hundreds of shoulders a week and the pork is always firm - the kill date was the previous day. If we get it on a thursday and cook it monday or tuesday we can absolutely feel a difference in the shoulder. Fresh pork uncryovaced has a 10 day life cycle roughly (+/- 1 or 2 days) and cryovaced pork can easily get to the 20 day mark without worries. We only buy paper wrapped shoulders - for us it is a form of quality control.

                  1. re: BusterRhino

                    Buster, thanks for the clarification. Still, I have more trust in a plant that has an inspector in regularly. It can be a substantial liability issue.

                    Does anyone around here make "Hash"? In SC yesterday's BBQ gets a tasty makeover and served over rice. I recall liver and onions being the other main components with a generous amount of sauce.

                    1. re: iamafoodie

                      We buy from a federal plant only - and only because we like their meat. We are a provincial plant and we have inspectors in more than some of the federal plants we know about (we are HACCP, AA rated plant - the AA rating is simply because it's our first audit, we would of been a AAA plant if it had been our second).

                      As for Hash, hmmmm, I have a great family recipe from South Carolina, let me ask my cousin if she minds me sharing it - or were you looking for somewhere to buy it?

                      1. re: BusterRhino

                        Buster, thank you. I must brave the trip East to see your facility and enjoy your products.

                        None of the local BBQ restaurants have Hash, but there's likely not much interest in it either. The problem is that liver in any form is a poor seller in my house and that is probably common. I certainly enjoy it though. I'd like to make a small batch, if there is such a thing.

                        I'll post a request for SC Hash on the Home Cooking board and see what shows up.

                        I often use my home BBQ ends to fortify a batch of NOLA Red Beans.

                2. re: jayt90

                  jayt90, I'm seeing more of this lamentable packaging option across the board on supermarket pork. Loblaws is also selling cheapo US-sourced pork-in-plastic, mainly ribs and tenderloins--low quality and flavorless. It's unsuited to cuts like tenderloin that get mushy. I'm going to Costco now for everyday pork cuts just to avoid that gawdawful salty-sweet Koolaid packaging liquid. Yes, Highland Farms is surprisingly good for pork--good quality and cut selection. BTW, check today's NYT magazine food section on pork--worth a look.

            2. European Meats in Kensinton Market.

              1. Upper Cut meats at the St Lawrence Market is my go-to place (I think that's the name.. I go there so often, and I'm always on autopilot at the market. The one across from teh uber expensive and recently renovated meat place in the main aisle on the top floor)).. I got a humongous bone-in, skin-on pork shoulder for $21 which was amazing quality.. If you take the whole thing "as-is" and don't make them cut it they'll make a great deal.

                Perhaps also try the pork guys at the north market on Saturdays. They'll probably chop one off for you on the spot!

                1. I wouldn't buy chicken or even beef from No Frills, but I've been reasonably satisfied with their pork. I consistently buy their Picnic Shoulders fresh at the butcher counter for $1.00/lb. Only thing is, they're not large and are generally about 4 lbs, give or take.

                  It says "sale" but I haven't seen the price change in a long time. Try to go to one of the newer No Frills. They seem to take more pride in what they do.