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Apr 16, 2010 09:45 AM

Pork Shoulder or Pork Butt????

Get confused with the two different cuts. I love slow cooked pulled pork but my grocery store only sells bone in pork shoulder with the skin (Which I love crispy and crunchy). I want to make pulled pork this weekend or perniel ( Not really sure if that is how you spell it but im talking about the slow cooked pork you can get at Puerto Rican and other types of restaurants. Can anyone explain the difference and then does it matter if the bone is in? Any cooking ideas and recipes on how I can do this. I have a slow cooker and roasting pan so either method is good for me. Thanks in advance.

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  1. It's the same cut. It's usually called the pork butt, but it comes from the shoulder.

    I make pulled pork with bone in or bone out (it cooks a tad faster bone out, but it's easier to handle bone in):

    2 Replies
    1. re: Indirect Heat

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      1. re: Indirect Heat

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      2. Pork butt and pork shoulder are the same thing. I usually only see the skin on the fresh ham (hind leg) and not the shoulder (front leg) but that could be a regional difference. I think it's better with the bone in the pork shoulder. I would season it and just roast it in the oven for a few hours.

        1. Yes, same cut...Could be a regional or a butcher's lingo thing. Verify that you want the cut with that funny shaped flat bone. They will know. Just made my version of Cubanos with my leftover pernil:

          1. Shoulders, pork butts and picnic "hams" are part and parcel of the same front leg and shoulder of a hog...When the top of the shoulder is removed it becomes a pork butt or Boston butt. What remains is a picnic or picnic shoulder, or if it's cured (like a ham) it's a Picnic "ham" ...Not a true ham.. like the hind leg of the hog but called a "ham" because of the cure. Whole shoulders, which consist of the butt and picnic intact can be, but are not usually seen in grocery stores except in some areas. Pork butts (Boston Butts) and Fresh (uncured) picnics are more common. Both can be used for "pulled pork". The butt being favored because of the higher meat to bone ratio..or boneless. Whole shoulders, and fresh picnics are usually sold skin on...while the butt portion is sold skin off.....HTH


            1 Reply
            1. re: Uncle Bob

              The leg portion is more lean muscle, and is stringier and less tender than the meat up on the shoulder. My favorite cut for slow-roasting or braising is the bone-in shoulder butt, boneless my second choice. I've done the leg, or "picnic" portion, and while it's tasty enough it really can't compare.

            2. I make pulled pork all the time, and use pork shoulder, no bone (since that's what I can get at my local grocery). I follow the Joy of Cooking recipe, and use a dry rub on it for as long as I can before I cook it..sometimes only a couple of hours. I then brown it in vegetable oil on the stovetop on all sides, then cook at 325 for 3 to 3 1/2 hours. until it pulls away easily with a fork. Comes out perfect every time. Hope this helps.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Tante

                Boston butt (which is a meaty, nearly boneless portion of the picnic roast or whole shoulder) is ideal for pulled pork. Start with a good rub. Then give it a good sear all over in a cast iron skillet with some bacon drippings. (Or grill over a very hot grill until well browned all over). Then you can either double wrap and cook indirectly on the grill or cook in a slow cooker. Give it lots of time -- three or four hours at least. Don't plan this one "to the minute!" It will be ready when it's ready and not a moment sooner. The roast is done when the bit of shoulder bone can be easily pulled out and the meat yields effortlessly with a fork.

                A good rub, FWIW, from BH&G:

                1/2 tsp salt
                1/2 tsp black pepper
                1/4 tsp celery seed
                1/8 tsp garlic powder
                1/8 tsp onion powder
                1/8 tsp ground clove
                Dash ground red (cayenne) pepper