Is a cut of meat labeled as pork butt the same as pork shoulder?
It seems that in most cases, the answer is yes.
Pork butt is just the name for the cut of pork that comes from the thicker section of the pig's shoulder where there's more intense marbling of fat running throughout the meat. However, it must be noted that cuts labeled "picnic shoulder" are from the thinner, triangle-shaped end of the shoulder. Either way, you're not actually eating the rear end of the animal.
Pork butt is ideal for pulled pork--it shreds magnificently and the fat lends a flavor and moistness to the meat that other cuts of the hog might lack. This time, though, I eschewed the shredding and went for the simpler (but just as tasty) sliced shoulder. I wanted to add a sauce for some extra flavor, but my beau snuck a bite of the meat fresh out of the slow cooker and had such an enthusiastic reaction to the taste and texture of the pure meat that I didn't even bother making a sauce.
3 ingredients - effort + 1 happy hunka hunka burnin' love = win.
Incidentally, this piece of pork shoulder was only half of what I bought at the store. The other half was used for carnitas nearly a whole year ago. Mark this down as proof that a chunk of pork can keep in the freezer for at least 11 months and still be fine, nay, outstanding.
Simplest Slow Cooker
- 1 (2-3 pound) pork shoulder
- 2 tablespoons salt
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
Dry the hunk of meat well, then slather it all over with the salt and sugar. Refrigerated overnight.
Place the meat on a rack in your slow cooker (if you don't have a rack, use spoons!) and cook on low for 5 hours or so, until the internal temperature is at least 160 degrees F, though I've seen recipes specifying temperatures as high as 210 degrees F. I stopped at 160 degrees F and it was perfect--still tender and not the least bit dry! Let the meat sit for 10 minutes or so before you slice it.