A Southern Grace: butting in

June 18, 2015

butting in


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.

Crispy bits!

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 Pork Butt Pork Shoulder Pork
  • 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.


Pam said...

Yes, you're right as I remember it from growing up on a farm, both from the front leg, with the pork butt closest to the shoulder and picnic end closest to the hoof. I love shredded pork but your way sounds really good with it sliced, not sure I've ever had that. Great recipe for a slow cooker and the fewer ingredients, the better! Have to try it!

Pam said...

I love that you kept it simple... sometimes simple is best.

Marjie said...

I often cook pork butt, just roasted with a simple gravy, or sometimes cream sauce. Everyone loves it. Because of the fat marbling it, I usually cook 50% more pork butt by weight than I do of leaner meats, like eye round roast.

Beth said...

Sounds like a great way to serve pork. And how amazing that it kept in the freezer so long!

Angie's Recipes said...

I didn't know they were the same!! This looks like something I can cook too as it's really simple and fuss free.

Marcela said...

what a lovely way to serve pork! I love it! Thanks for sharing!

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Wow you've just solved a big mystery for me! I was always reading about pork butt thinking that it was the bottom of the pig and wondering why we never got this cut. But of course we get shoulder easily!

Barbara said...

Pork butt is not from a pig butt? Go figure.
Love this slow cooker recipe, Grace. So simple and it looks perfectly cooked. Definitely will try this one!

Big Rigs 'n Lil' Cookies said...

Pork, salt, and sugar? Simple genius!

Erica said...

Simple and delicious way to cook pork, Grace!

I Wilkerson said...

Who would have thought! I got a (local organic) half pig last fall and now I need to go check out my remaining cuts...