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How do you prepare Pork Butt (other than pulled)?

Lately we've been grilling a 2.5lb tied/boneout pork butt with a mustard seed/sea salt rub. It's fantastic, makes the best bark and the fat is just melty.

Besides pulled pork, what are other great options for pork butt (the best part of the pig, imho)

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  1. Braised with milk a la Marcella Hazan. I made it last night and paired it with some dandelion greens that I blanched then sauteed with garlic and olive oil and some lemon juice. The bitterness of the greens offset the richness of the pork.

    1. Rub in latino spices like chiles, cumin, paprika, fresh oregano, some garlic and let sit for a day, then either grill it or cover tightly in a low oven until the same texture as for pulled pork. Shred the meat and serve w/tortillas, Pork Pernil, or fry or crisp up under the broiler for carnitas, use in tacos as well.

      Marinated overnight in achiote, lemon & orange juices, garlic & oregano, and roast or grill it the same way, it's Cuban Roast pork, delicious with black beans & fried plaintains.

      1. Cook's Illustrated's version of pork carnitas.

        1. From the Aug 09 Cooks Country: St. Louis BBQ Pork Steaks:
          "Test Kitchen Discoveries

          * There is no substitute for pork steak, so the only option was to cut our own. We ordered five boneless Boston butts and cut them in half crosswise, then turned each piece on end to slice 1-inch-thick steaks.
          * One of the hallmarks of these steaks is their chewiness. Inspired by a test kitchen recipe for brats and beer, we used a method of sear, simmer, sear again. This untraditional process gives the steaks a nice char, candylike edges, and succulent, slightly chewy interiors."

          Have not tried it yet.....

          4 Replies
          1. re: domestikate

            I have seen a lot of hype for "pork steaks". Definitely a new take from the other white meat council?!

            Please let me know if you've tried it. I've seen prepackaged in the markets and costco too. Don't know if it's cut from the shoulder. tho. Will look closer next time.

            1. re: Phurstluv

              Pork "butt" and pork "steaks" are both from the shoulder. Marketing.

              1. re: Fritter

                i don't know if i'd chalk this up to just some "marketing". a butt is a large part of the shoulder. if they're cutting a steak from it, then it's, well, a steak.

                1. re: tommy

                  Hmmm I see your point. No difference at all between the front shoulder (butt) and the hind quarter which I'm sure many think of as the "butt" for obvious reasons.
                  Many sellers like those where I get my Berkshire pork from call a shoulder exactly what it is.
                  A steak could be cut from different places but the ones at Costco I have seen were front shoulder. I expect that when many think of pork steak they are thinking "ham" steak.
                  For those that might not know here is a link to a site that might be useful. slide down the pig for a cross section view of the flesh on the right.


          2. check this topic on Filipino style adobo... it starts out talking about chicken, but both chicken and pork are commonly used.


            6 Replies
            1. re: KaimukiMan

              Oh yea, I love the filipino pork chops I do, but they are the very thin cut, may not be suitable for a pork shoulder roast.

              1. re: Phurstluv

                Not sure what you mean by pork chops. I am talking about chunks of pork butt cooked in the traditional vinegar and shoyu until tender. (see pic)

                1. re: KaimukiMan

                  Yes, I know, I was thinking of the filipino flavors, and the only thing I do like this is a marinade for super thin pork chops that you grill in a flash. I'm assuming that the flavors of that marinade (garlic, ginger, sugar, fish sauce, rice wine, soy) may work on the pork shoulder, but never tried it.

                  1. re: Phurstluv

                    3 lbs. Pork Butt
                    3 Tbsp. White Vinegar or 4-6 Tbsp. Unseasoned Rice Vinegar
                    1 C. Shoyu (Soy Sauce)
                    4 Garlic cloves, minced
                    1 Tsp. Peppercorns or Black Pepper
                    1/2 C. Water
                    2 Bay Leaves
                    1 Tsp. Sugar

                    1. Cut pork into 1 inch cubes, may be browned or not.
                    2. Put all ingredients into large pot and bring to boil
                    3. Lower heat and simmer for 30-40 minutes
                    or till pork is tender with the lid on
                    4. For an additional 15 - 20 minutes, remove lid and let liquid evaporate to desired thickness

                    whether or not to brown the meat first can cause great controversy in some families. it doesn't make that much of a difference in the end, I have cooked it both ways.

                    1. re: KaimukiMan

                      Really? Interesting, I would think it would be a little richer with browned meat and fond in the pot before stewing. Thanks for the recipe, will have to try it!

                      1. re: Phurstluv

                        There is some difference in taste, but not as much as you might expect, but both camps have strong adherents. Other points of contention are whether or not to include onion and how much to reduce the juice. Some like their adobo very wet, others evaportate till the liquid is virtually gone and the meat starts to carmelize on the bottom of the pan. It can be good that way, but you have to be careful not to let it burn. I tend to go towards the middle ground. Like the flavors concentrated, but not to the point I have to stand over the stove for the last 15 minutes. The proportions of shoyu and vinegar vary from family to family, in some cases as much as a 50/50 mix with no water added. Even with rice vinegar that is a bit too strong for me. And in response to the OP's name, i know one family that doesn't like the taste of vinegar and use lemon juice instead. An interesting and pleasant substitute.

            2. I make a paste of lots of salt, fresh garlic, dried oregano, lemon peel, lemon juice, and a touch of olive oil. Make sure the butt is fully covered. Cook on the Weber kettle with the fire off to the side for usually 3 to 4 hours depending on the size. Slice and serve. Very tender, but not necessarily pullable. Your body will exude garlic for at least a day so make sure all you friends are invited and it is early in the weekend! We like it with a zingy cole slaw and scallion steam buns.

              7 Replies
              1. re: torty

                Casserole-braised Pork butts are great done in the traditional French manner.

                We are partial to an onion, apple and mustard braise served with Au Gratin potatoes.

                1. re: iamafoodie

                  That sounds wonderful. Can you give me the recipe?

                  1. re: Phurstluv

                    Phurst, thank you for asking. I'm more of a technique cook than a recipe type of cook, so feel free to adjust ingredients as you go to suit yourself. Anyway, here goes my best recollection of how I make this item:

                    Normandy Style Casserole Roasted Pork

                    3 lb. boned and tied pork blade roast.
                    olive oil as required for browning
                    2 big cooking onions, peeled & sliced
                    1 big carrot, peeled & sliced
                    4 cloves of garlic, just peeled
                    two firm apples like Mitsu or G. Smith, cored and chopped
                    bay leaf
                    fresh sage
                    fresh parsley
                    1 cup dry white wine or good stock
                    2 T. grainy-style Dijon mustard
                    2 T. whipping cream
                    salt and pepper

                    1. Dry and season the meat. Heat oil in a heavy casserole over medium-high heat (450 F). Brown pork on all sides and set aside. Preheat oven to 325 F. regular or 300 F convection.
                    2. Remove all but 2 T. of the fat in the pot. Sweat vegetables in the remaining fat, covered, for about 5 minutes over medium low heat.
                    3. Increase heat under the pot. Place pork roast on the vegetables, fat side up. Add sage and bay leaf and a little more salt and pepper. Cover the casserole and when it starts to sizzle put it down low in your hot oven. Baste the roast with the juices every half hour. Listen to the roast and if it sounds like it is cooking too quickly, reduce the oven temperature. You shouldn't be able to hear it in the covered casserole. After 90 minutes, add the chopped apples to the casserole. After 2 hours check the meat's internal temperature. You want to reach a terminal temperature of about 180 F.
                    4. When the meat is done remove it from the casserole, place it on a platter and remove the twine. Tent the meat with foil and let it stand in a draft-free place while you complete the remainder of the meal. It can rest for up to 2 hours.
                    5. Place the casserole with the cooked vegetables and apples on your stove over medium heat. Add the wine or stock and boil gently for 5 minutes stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and skim some of the fat from the surface. Return to medium heat and quickly stir in the Dijon mustard and the whipping cream. Keep warm but don't boil again. Serve the pork sliced with the pan sauce and garnished with minced fresh sage and parsley. Serves 6 generously.

                    This technique can be used to cook many other similar cuts of meat, not just pork, using a variety of accompaniments such as parsnips, turnips, potatoes, red or green cabbage, etc. while substituting appropriate herbs and spices. Have fun with your food.

                    1. re: iamafoodie

                      Yum, sounds right up my alley. Already copied it to my hard drive. Thanks so much. Recipe sounds right on, I would say you have very good technique and recipe writing skills ;)

                      1. re: Phurstluv

                        Phurst, thank you, your compliment is appreciated.

                        I used to teach cooking without a recipe, just the basic techniques.

                      2. re: iamafoodie

                        That sounds absolutely delicious! Thank you!

                  1. there are lots of mexican stews that are made with cubed pork butt.

                      1. My mom used to make pork butt and cabbage -
                        It was corned beef and cabbaage with out the beef part! I was soooo good -with potatoes dripping in butter and pork and cabbage!

                        1. Slather heavily with jerk paste (Walkerswoods).

                          1. I like to buy packages of Achiote seasoning from the latin market and sour orange juice, and make cochinita pibil. Put the achiote in a blender with the sour orange juice, some lime juice, orange juice, salt, and garlic. Blend until consistently smooth and saucy. Marinate the chunks overnight or for a few hours. Don't forget to make pickled red onions. Cook meat in the oven at 350 in a covered dutch oven for 3 hours or so. Reserve some of the liquid, put in a pan and reduce. I like to add orange juice at this point for some sweetness. Shred the meat, add some of the reduced liquid to moisten the meat. Make tacos with the pickled onions and some diced chilies as condiments.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: Homero

                              I made cochinita pibil last winter using Diana Kennedy's recipe and it was just wonderful! I used the achiote cubes like you did (she calls for grinding the seeds) and cooked it in the crockpot instead of the oven. There, you get such an even temp, it is perfect for this recipe. Normally, it is cooked in banana leaves, which I forgot to buy, so maybe I lost another flavor element, but I can't complain. It is perfect for guests because you marinate for a day, cook it the day before you want to serve, then shred and reheat on the day. No last minute work.

                              1. re: MazDee

                                Love cochinita pibil, too, and agree that the pickled red onions are essential. I have never used the commercial achiote--just grind the seeds and spices myself. The banana leaf does add some characteristic flavour--but it is not essential, in my book. Sour orange juice is ideal for the marinade/braise, but sour oranges can be difficult to find (in which case a 50-50 mixture of orange (or better yet, tangerine) juice and lime juice works well).

                                I serve this as an appetizer: Serve on Mexican-style taco chps (totopos), with a bit of pickled red onion, and a few threads of cilantro.

                                1. re: zamorski

                                  I serve something very similar, more like carnitas, than conchinita pibil, on mini fresh corn tortillas with he pickled red onions. They're always the first to go!!

                            2. I often cut these into manageable pieces and boil until tender with onions, garlic, bay leaf and garlic. Dry overnight in the refrigerator. The next day, bring them to temperature on the counter and deep fry until the skin and exterior are all crispy but the interior is still tender and moist. The traditional sauce to serve is made from pork liver mashed with chilies and seasonings, but you can also serve with garlic and vinegar or even a tart chimichurri.

                              Pork butt also makes wonderful vindaloo and pad prik khing.

                              6 Replies
                              1. re: JungMann

                                I love vindaloo, but always get lamb. Never thought to make it with pork. Not on most Indian menus, tho, right? I can't remember seeing pork.

                                1. re: Phurstluv

                                  Pork vindaloo is a traditional dish from Goa, where a lot of the Indians are Catholic (from Portuguese colonial days). I get it a lot from my in-laws. It's awesome.

                                  1. re: grandgourmand

                                    Oh, okay, I guess the restaurants I frequent are representative of other regions, the Hindi ones.

                                    Good to know, my husband would probably love it. Do you happen to have a recipe?
                                    Or, Jungmann, perhaps? TIA!

                                    1. re: Phurstluv

                                      It is not just Hindus who eat lamb vindaloo. Muslims enjoy it as well.

                                      Pork vindaloo, however, is a rare treat outside Catholic Goa. This recipe looks about right, but I would use cider vinegar or palm instead of white wine and triple the number of chilies: http://uktv.co.uk/food/recipe/aid/534185

                                      1. re: JungMann

                                        I know, I have Muslims in my family ;). I would think it is very hard to find outside of Catholic Goa. I had no idea their were any Catholic Indians! Thanks for the recipe!

                                        1. re: Phurstluv

                                          You can thank Doubting Thomas for regaining his faith and by bringing Christianity to India, bringing pork vindaloo to the world!

                              2. If you have the equipment necessary, butt is perfect for making sausages (but you need to add some extra fat). If you just have the grinder, there are lots of uses for ground pork.

                                Alternatively, as JungMann says, pork vindaloo, which is deliciously spicy.

                                1. After posting here about my moms pork butt and cabbage, I decided to make it.

                                  I found what she used and realized that it was a smoked pork butt that she used.

                                  So my question to all - are you all using a fresh pork butt in these recipes?
                                  I'm especially interested in making the cochinita pibil at some point

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: NellyNel


                                    I wonder if the smoked butt was also cured. Smoked pork and cabbage sounds eastern european or german, and they used a lot of cured pork.

                                    1. re: NellyNel

                                      Yes, fresh. And Conchinita pibil is delicious. Have fun with it!

                                    2. My mom taught me this years ago and it's my go to recipe when I feel lazy. Punch holes in a 4 lb. roast and fill with garlic, season with salt and pepper. Cover roast with nappa cabbage and envelope in heavy-duty aluminum foil. Bake on a rack in a roasting pan for 1 hour at 450 degrees, reduce heat to 350 degrees and roast for 3 hours. Tender, juicy and tasty.

                                      1. Braise it with onions and garlic, herbs and mushrooms. For example, brown the meat and put it in a braising pan. Saute a generous amount of onions in the same pan, adding minced garlic as the onions get transparent. (You can add a bit of tomato paste if you like.) Meanwhile, rehydrate dried mixed mushrooms or your favorite (porcinini?) in dry vermouth or sherry for about half an hour. Lift the mushrooms out of the liquid and filter it to catch the grit that was clinging to the mushrooms. Add the mushrooms and onion mixture to the brasining pot with the meat. Deglaze the pan with the vermouth mushroom broth. Add your favorite herbs: fresh thyme, basil, bay leaf and some dried oregano go well. Seal the pot tightly and cook slowly. If you have plenty of time, do it at 250. (A ten pounder recently took seven hours at that temp and the results were perfection.) Cook it the day before hand if possible. Chill the meat and drain the juices. Chill the juices and remove the solidified fat--there will be plenty of gelatin in the juices. Slice the meat and rewarm it with some of the warmed juices. Serve with the mushrooms or--if you like--puree them and serve them on toast.

                                        1. Check out the Zuni Cafe recipe for Mock Porchetta; substitute pork butt. Let juices sit overnight after cooking to defat resulting sauce.