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Sep 25, 2011 02:23 PM

Pulled Pork Shoulder in Crock Pot with Disappearing Bone?

I've been making boneless pork shoulder in the crock pot for pulled pork sandwiches and it's delicious. The other night I tried it with a bone-in pork shoulder. I used the same recipe for a rub, added liquid (cider vinegar and water), cooked it on low for about 8 or 9 hours, and when I went to shred it up, I noticed the bone was 90% gone. There was only a small, about 3" long, pencil sized piece of bone left.

Where's the rest of the bone?

The pork was delicious, but the whole bone thing kind of put me off. Did I cook it too long? Something else? Is this all right? Has it happened to anyone else out there?

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  1. That is weird. I have cooked pork many times and recently oxtails in the crockpot for 6 - 8 hours and have never had any "missing" bone. You would really have to incinerate it for the bone to burn, but it still wouldn't disappear. Are you sure that someone else didn't remove it from the pot??

    1. Could it have been the collagen attached to the bone that disappeared? If so, that's good.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Leepa

        Well, I must say that I didn't really investigate how big the bone was before the thing was cooked, but the only bone I found in the liquid was very small...kind of like what you would expect a human thumb bone to look like--about that size at least.

        How big are the bones in the bone-in pork shoulder?

      2. Someone pulled out your bone, man!! (Or girl!!)

        The front shoulder is made up of two pieces, one called the Butt and the other the Picnic. The butt has a good sized bone that is hard to describe... like a deep T with flat sides... sort of a blade bone. The picnic has a traditional bone like what Wilma Flintstone would wear in her hair. They are substantial. Some people cook their shoulders at 225 for 14 or 16 hours or much more. I don not see them "disappearing" in a low setting crock pot after 8 or 9 hours.

        Did you actually see the bone when you put it in? Could it have been a mislabeled boneless shoulder?

        13 Replies
        1. re: woodburner

          The bone in question: (had it hanging over the patio)

          1. re: BiscuitBoy

            Okay, no WAY was that in my pot. All I had was that little flange part that shows on the first photo. This is really starting to freak me out...a bone like that can't just disappear, right?

            1. re: sillyp

              it sure isn't easy to remove when the meat is raw, but who knows, maybe an old time butcher has a trick I haven't thought of. I'm pretty sure it didn't just cook away. "Bone tampering", funny, sounds a little kinky too!

              1. re: BiscuitBoy

                And why, exactly, was that item hanging over your patio? Just wondering...

                1. re: sillyp

                  to celebrate and honor the porcine spirits, of it looks cool!

                  1. re: BiscuitBoy

                    "it looks cool"

                    Haha, I bet your neighbor's dog thinks so too!

              2. re: sillyp

                You did not buy the whole shoulder, just a portion. And the portion that you got was nearly boneless - i.e. it just had a portion of the blade. Sometimes a cut of meat is boneless because they have intentionally removed the bone (e.g. a boneless leg); sometimes it is boneless because they cut it from an area that did not have bone.

                1. re: paulj

                  Ah HA! I bet you're right!! Thank you SO MUCH for figuring that out and taking the time to reply. <sigh of relief>

                  1. re: paulj

                    Agree. You have to cook meat longer than 8 hours to get the bone to really dissolve, and then there are chunks of it all through the meat.

                    1. re: jvanderh

                      Have you really, actually done that? Dissolve a pork butt bone during cooking? So that there are chunks of it throughout the meat?

                      1. re: woodburner

                        they do that on"breaking bad" every coupla episodes...pretty sure it aint edible, however!

                        1. re: woodburner

                          I dunno. I've definitely done it with chicken.

                    2. re: sillyp

                      I think you might have had a mostly boneless picnic shoulder roast instead of a shoulder blade roast.

                2. I have found that sometimes butts just come with a small bone, sort like a small T-bone or similar.

                  1. I doubt if you used enough vinegar to dissolve the bone, but maybe it was part of a harmonic convergence of sorts? What are the chances that somebody removed it when yu weren't looking? That would drive me right out of my mind eventually.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: EWSflash

                      Absolutely zero chance that anyone tampered with my bone.

                      I'm liking the idea that sometimes butts come with just a small least I'm hoping that was the case.

                      Thank you all for your speedy responses, you're right, this issue has been weighing on my mind...

                      1. re: sillyp

                        "sometimes butts come with just a small bone"

                        That's what I think. Let your mind rest...

                          1. re: bushwickgirl

                            Between that and " I've definitely done it with chicken" and "Absolutely zero chance that anyone tampered with my bone" I went into an insane giggle fit. I'm usually better behaved.

                            thanks sillyp, King of Northern Blvd, and jvanderh for the definitely good natured belly laugh of the month. I absolutely promise that it's usually me that misspeaks and realizes after the fact.

                            And to paulj for solving the mystery.

                          2. re: sillyp

                            Absolutely zero chance that your bone dissolved. lift the weight, it didn't happen.