10 Differences Between pork butt and pork shoulder

Difference Between Pork Butt and Pork Shoulder

What is Pork Butt?

Pork butt, also known as Boston butt, is a cut of pork that comes from the upper part of the shoulder. Despite its name, pork butt is not from the rear end of the pig, but rather from the shoulder region. It is a well-marbled, flavorful cut of meat that is commonly used in various cuisines.

Examples of Pork Butt:

  • Pulled pork sandwiches
  • Braised pork butt with vegetables
  • Pork butt roast

Uses of Pork Butt:

Pork butt is ideal for slow cooking methods such as smoking, roasting, or braising. The fat content melts into the meat, resulting in tender and juicy pulled pork. It is often used to make dishes like pulled pork sandwiches, stews, and casseroles.

What is Pork Shoulder?

Pork shoulder, also known as pork butt or picnic shoulder, is a primal cut that comes from the shoulder region of the pig. It is slightly more lean than pork butt but still offers a rich flavor and tenderness. Pork shoulder is a versatile cut that can be used in a variety of dishes.

Examples of Pork Shoulder:

  • Pork shoulder roast
  • Pork shoulder tacos
  • Pork shoulder curry

Uses of Pork Shoulder:

Pork shoulder is great for slow cooking, roasting, grilling, or braising. It can be used to make dishes like pulled pork, carnitas, chili, and stir-fries. The meat is flavorful and versatile, making it a popular choice for many recipes.

Differences Between Pork Butt and Pork Shoulder:

Difference Area Pork Butt Pork Shoulder
Location Upper part of the shoulder Shoulder region
Alternate Names Boston butt Pork butt or picnic shoulder
Marbling Well-marbled Slightly more lean
Flavor Rich and flavorful Rich and flavorful
Texture Tender and juicy Tender and juicy
Uses Pulled pork, stews, casseroles Pulled pork, carnitas, chili
Cooking Methods Smoking, roasting, braising Slow cooking, roasting, grilling, braising
Appearance Rectangular shape with visible fat Irregular shape with skin and fat
Weight Usually larger in size, around 6-8 pounds Varies in size, can be larger or smaller than pork butt
Availability Generally easy to find in most grocery stores Commonly available cut


In summary, while both pork butt and pork shoulder come from the shoulder region of the pig, pork butt is specifically from the upper part of the shoulder. Pork butt is typically well-marbled and used for dishes like pulled pork, stews, and casseroles. On the other hand, pork shoulder is slightly leaner and can be used for pulled pork, carnitas, chili, and stir-fries. Both cuts offer rich flavor and tenderness, making them excellent choices for various recipes.

People Also Ask:

Q: Can I use pork shoulder instead of pork butt for pulled pork?
A: Yes, pork shoulder can be used as a substitute for pork butt in pulled pork recipes. It will yield similar results.

Q: What is the best cooking method for pork butt?
A: Pork butt is best cooked using slow methods like smoking, roasting, or braising to achieve tender and juicy results.

Q: Is pork butt better for grilling or smoking?
A: Pork butt is better suited for smoking rather than direct grilling due to its tenderness and fat content.

Q: Can pork shoulder be used for tacos?
A: Yes, pork shoulder can be used to make delicious tacos. It can be slow-cooked and shredded for flavorful taco fillings.

Q: Does the size of the cut affect the cooking time?
A: Yes, larger cuts will generally require a longer cooking time compared to smaller cuts. It is important to adjust the cooking time accordingly.

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