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Pork shoulder v. Pork Butt

Pork shoulder v. Pork Butt
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  • Pork shoulder v. Pork Butt

    Post #1 - May 22nd, 2007, 12:19 pm
    Post #1 - May 22nd, 2007, 12:19 pm Post #1 - May 22nd, 2007, 12:19 pm
    Until I called Peoria Packing today, I thought that Pork Shoulder and Pork Butt were the same. I'm preparing to do Step 5 of Wiviott's course this Saturday and was calling around to check on the meat. Anyway, they guy at Peoria not only said they're different cuts of meat (albeit only slightly), the price is certainly different. He just quoted me .79/lb for shoulder and 1.39/lb for butt. I then asked which would be the preferred cut for pulled pork, he said "either one." Any advice on this? Please? GARY?!
    "Skin that smoke wagon and see what happens..."
    - Wyatt Earp, Tombstone
  • Post #2 - May 22nd, 2007, 12:28 pm
    Post #2 - May 22nd, 2007, 12:28 pm Post #2 - May 22nd, 2007, 12:28 pm
    Nomenclature can vary (especially in chain supermarkets), but traditionally, the whole shoulder consists of the lower arm (picnic) and the upper arm (butt).

    In order of what I prefer for smoking:

    1) whole shoulder
    2) picnic
    3) butt

    Bill/SFNM
  • Post #3 - May 22nd, 2007, 12:51 pm
    Post #3 - May 22nd, 2007, 12:51 pm Post #3 - May 22nd, 2007, 12:51 pm
    Seems like the guy from Peoria was using "shoulder" as shorthand for "picnic shoulder", which can confuse the issue a bit since the butt is part of the whole shoulder.

    Here's an image that might help you out a bit:
    http://welldressedhog.com/pig1.gif

    If you're doing step 5, buy the butts.

    Best,
    Michael
  • Post #4 - May 22nd, 2007, 3:10 pm
    Post #4 - May 22nd, 2007, 3:10 pm Post #4 - May 22nd, 2007, 3:10 pm
    Sleeve,

    Specifically when shopping at Peoria Packing for Step 5 you should be, as has been pointed out, buying pork butt. (Current PP price $1.39 per/lb)

    Enjoy,
    Gary

    Peoria Packing Butcher Shop
    1300 West Lake Street
    Chicago, IL 60607
    312-738-1800
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #5 - May 22nd, 2007, 3:15 pm
    Post #5 - May 22nd, 2007, 3:15 pm Post #5 - May 22nd, 2007, 3:15 pm
    Thanks everyone!
    "Skin that smoke wagon and see what happens..."
    - Wyatt Earp, Tombstone
  • Post #6 - May 22nd, 2007, 4:57 pm
    Post #6 - May 22nd, 2007, 4:57 pm Post #6 - May 22nd, 2007, 4:57 pm
    G Wiv wrote:Sleeve,
    Specifically when shopping at Peoria Packing for Step 5 you should be, as has been pointed out, buying pork butt. (Current PP price $1.39 per/lb)


    Sorry for giving advice contrary to The Program. Actually, my application to participate in The Program was rejected. Something to do with the essay section where I described the perfect rib texture as being "gelatinous fall-off-the-bone". :(

    Bill/SFNM
  • Post #7 - May 23rd, 2007, 4:35 am
    Post #7 - May 23rd, 2007, 4:35 am Post #7 - May 23rd, 2007, 4:35 am
    Bill/SFNM wrote:Something to do with the essay section where I described the perfect rib texture as being "gelatinous fall-off-the-bone". :(

    Bill,

    Of course you jest.

    You are the E.F Hutton of BBQ, you speak others, myself included, listen.

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #8 - January 27th, 2009, 11:35 am
    Post #8 - January 27th, 2009, 11:35 am Post #8 - January 27th, 2009, 11:35 am
    All -

    Looking to try the G Wiv step 5 in an oven, is this possible? Going to a condo this weekend where a smoker will not be an option. I realize I will of course miss out on all the smoke flavor, but any ideas on how to port this over. I guess at the end it would more or less be a variation of bbq pulled pork. So with that being said I am open to any other stellar recipes, but thought I might try this in an oven.

    Thoughts?
  • Post #9 - January 27th, 2009, 11:59 am
    Post #9 - January 27th, 2009, 11:59 am Post #9 - January 27th, 2009, 11:59 am
    jpeac2 wrote:All -

    Looking to try the G Wiv step 5 in an oven, is this possible?


    By definition, no.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #10 - January 27th, 2009, 12:03 pm
    Post #10 - January 27th, 2009, 12:03 pm Post #10 - January 27th, 2009, 12:03 pm
    Why not smoke the butt ahead of time and reheat using cider vinegar? While nothing can quite match the freshly pulled pork, reheated pulled pork done the right way is certainly better than what you'll get by cooking it in an oven.
  • Post #11 - January 27th, 2009, 12:18 pm
    Post #11 - January 27th, 2009, 12:18 pm Post #11 - January 27th, 2009, 12:18 pm
    Well you guys answered that pretty easily. Smoking will be tough as I am flying to this place so I think I will shift gears and instead find an oven recipe to use.

    Never made Pernil, but it looks to be quite delicious.

    Thanks for the help!
  • Post #12 - January 27th, 2009, 12:36 pm
    Post #12 - January 27th, 2009, 12:36 pm Post #12 - January 27th, 2009, 12:36 pm
    You can definitely make pork in the oven but, as noted, by definition it won't be Step 5 of Gary's program.. Rub as usual, set on middle rack, set a roasting pan below to catch drippings, set oven from 250-300, and roast until it pulls (and exhibits the same characteristics the pork in Step 5 does.) It'll be different, won't have the smoke flavor, but it'll work. Cooking ahead of time on a smoker and reheating is a better option, but the above will yield a decent product, given your constraints. You might want to pump up the heat at the end (to, say, about 450 or so) to crisp up the bark at the end. Just don't call it barbecue. ;)

    Others make pulled pork in a crock pot; dump pork, sauce, and let sit. I recommend the oven roasting method (which concentrates the flavor, renders some of the fat out, and produces a bark) over the more common crockpot/dutch oven wet-cooking methods (which take the pork into meat jello territory and, as much as I like fat, there's just way too much fat rendered into the sauce or liquid you're cooking in, and it gives the meat a mouthfeel I don't like.)
  • Post #13 - January 27th, 2009, 12:42 pm
    Post #13 - January 27th, 2009, 12:42 pm Post #13 - January 27th, 2009, 12:42 pm
    Binko wrote:Just don't call it barbecue. ;)

    Not even if he pours BBQ sauce all over it? :wink: :lol:

    =R=
    Gardening is a bloodsport --Meghan Kleeman

    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #14 - January 27th, 2009, 1:26 pm
    Post #14 - January 27th, 2009, 1:26 pm Post #14 - January 27th, 2009, 1:26 pm
    ronnie_suburban wrote:
    Binko wrote:Just don't call it barbecue. ;)

    Not even if he pours BBQ sauce all over it? :wink: :lol:

    =R=


    As long as he makes those little finger scare-quotes when he says "barbecue," I'm cool with it. :)
  • Post #15 - January 27th, 2009, 2:09 pm
    Post #15 - January 27th, 2009, 2:09 pm Post #15 - January 27th, 2009, 2:09 pm
    ronnie_suburban wrote:
    Binko wrote:Just don't call it barbecue. ;)

    Not even if he pours BBQ sauce all over it? :wink: :lol:

    =R=


    Don't forget the Liquid Smoke. :wink:
    Objects in mirror appear to be losing.
  • Post #16 - January 27th, 2009, 3:59 pm
    Post #16 - January 27th, 2009, 3:59 pm Post #16 - January 27th, 2009, 3:59 pm
    jpeac2 wrote:Looking to try the G Wiv step 5 in an oven, is this possible?

    Jpeac2,

    Might I suggest the parallel universe 5-Step, Cheater BBQ

    Ultimate Cheater Pulled Pork is on the web site for your dining pleasure.* Please note you will need 1/2-cup liqu*d sm*ke for a 5-6 pound Boston Butt.

    Regards,
    Gary

    I should be clear, my suggest to make any recipe with liq*id sm*ke, much less 1/2-cup, is meant as sarcasm.
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #17 - January 27th, 2009, 4:38 pm
    Post #17 - January 27th, 2009, 4:38 pm Post #17 - January 27th, 2009, 4:38 pm
    From Gary's link:

    The BBQ Purist Personality Profile
    Prefer doing most things the hard way.
    You and your friends own matching shirts with a cheerful pig logo.
    Can tell the difference between hickory, pecan and apple wood chunks.
    Enjoy napping under the stars in a folding chair in a parking lot.
    Require little sleep.
    Think dinner at 11:30 pm is perfectly normal.
    Don’t have time for side dishes,
    Can’t buy less than 20 pounds of meat at a time.
    Interested in air flow engineering.
    Hauling and chopping wood is your favorite form of exercise.


    Check, check, check, and check! They must have a mole somewhere in our organization...
  • Post #18 - January 27th, 2011, 10:40 pm
    Post #18 - January 27th, 2011, 10:40 pm Post #18 - January 27th, 2011, 10:40 pm
    I thought I'd bring this thread back because I'm in the same position as jpeac2 was years ago. I just picked up a 11.5lb bone-in boston butt from Butcher & Larder and will be roasting it for a crowd on Saturday. I really don't want to mess it up so I'm hoping folks can chime in with advice.

    I saw a recipe in Cook's calling for 5-6 hours at 325 on a v-rack (cook until 190 internal). Of course, this was for a 6-8lb. pork shoulder. About how long can I expect my (much larger) roast to take? I would prefer to leave it slice-able rather than pulled pork-able. I've looked up some recipes for pernil but few work with such a large single piece of meat. I know, too - it's done when it's done, but I'd like some sort of a ball park so I can plan accordingly. I'd rather have it done earlier rather than later since I know it can hold pretty well. Should I go with a lower oven temperature and just put it in the oven before I go to bed on Friday night?

    If I had a smoker or a grill, I'd cook it that way (or a dutch oven large enough to allow me to braise this beast), but it's not in the cards for this roast. My oven will have to do.

    I wasn't planning on a terribly aggressive rub - just a mixture of brown sugar, salt and pepper for 12-24 hours prior to cooking. With some of the pan drippings, I'll make a cherry/red wine sauce to go with the pork.

    Anyway, everything I've been able to read suggests that the boston butt is pretty forgiving and so long as I go 'low & slow', it will be delicious. I guess my main concern is how 'low & slow'. Like I said, I really don't want to mess this up so any feedback would be appreciated!
    best,
    dan
  • Post #19 - January 28th, 2011, 9:11 am
    Post #19 - January 28th, 2011, 9:11 am Post #19 - January 28th, 2011, 9:11 am
    At the Cook's temperature, they're saying the average is about 45 min/lb. That will pretty much hold true for the heavier butt you have.

    The time shortens some if you let the meat sit out for an hour or two at room temperature before hand.

    I usually cook them at a lower temperature, more like 250 -275, and that takes about 1.5 hours/lb. I have cooked at 350 a few times, and thought the exterior got a little overdone.

    There is so much fat and collagen in a butt that it is hard for them to dry out. However, with a really long cook, it can help to inject some apple cider or other sweet liquid late in the cook, about when the meat reaches 180.

    If you want sliceable, you could pull it around 185. Once you hit 190, most of the connective tissue has turned to gel, and if you hold the meat, the residual heat will cook it farther. Might fall apart, altho that's not bad.

    Good luck!
  • Post #20 - January 28th, 2011, 9:20 am
    Post #20 - January 28th, 2011, 9:20 am Post #20 - January 28th, 2011, 9:20 am
    danimalarkey wrote:Anyway, everything I've been able to read suggests that the boston butt is pretty forgiving ...

    It is, unless you stick with your plan to slice it rather than pull it. Trying to slice a pork butt roast can be a huge pain in the ass, and, to be honest, I don't think the texture of slices are ever as pleasant as the texture of pulled meat from a butt roast. The first problem is that to make your meat sliceable, you'll have to cook it to a much narrower internal temperature window - something like 182-188 degrees. Much below it's inedibly tough, and much above the collagens have broken down too much to slice. The second problem is that even if you hit the right temp window, you have to slice it properly - against the grain - or it doesn't work. And finding which way the grain is running in a huge pork butt can be a pain in the ass.

    If you're pulling, on the other hand, you can cook it to a much wider temperature range - something like 190-210 - and end up with pleasant eats no matter where it ends up. And you eliminate the stress of finding the grain. It's a forgiving, easy, delicious way to go.
    ...defended from strong temptations to social ambition by a still stronger taste for tripe and onions." Screwtape in The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis

    Fuckerberg on Food
  • Post #21 - January 28th, 2011, 12:04 pm
    Post #21 - January 28th, 2011, 12:04 pm Post #21 - January 28th, 2011, 12:04 pm
    Thank you both for your feedback/reassurance! If nothing else, I'm glad to find out that I should be able to get this roast cooked in less than 10 hours (I really didn't want to wake up at 5am tomorrow to get things going).

    And if I miss the 'sliceable' range and it falls apart when I start cutting into it... well, that sounds like I'll be better off for it. I'll be sure to report back after the meal.
    best,
    dan
  • Post #22 - January 28th, 2011, 2:08 pm
    Post #22 - January 28th, 2011, 2:08 pm Post #22 - January 28th, 2011, 2:08 pm
    danimalarkey wrote:Thank you both for your feedback/reassurance! If nothing else, I'm glad to find out that I should be able to get this roast cooked in less than 10 hours (I really didn't want to wake up at 5am tomorrow to get things going).

    And if I miss the 'sliceable' range and it falls apart when I start cutting into it... well, that sounds like I'll be better off for it. I'll be sure to report back after the meal.


    If you really want it sliced, you could cook it ahead of time, refrigerate it, slice while cold and reheat for the party.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #23 - January 28th, 2011, 2:23 pm
    Post #23 - January 28th, 2011, 2:23 pm Post #23 - January 28th, 2011, 2:23 pm
    Hi,

    Steve's suggested technique of chilling, slicing and then reheating works well for pot roast, sauerbraten and other braised meats, too.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #24 - January 30th, 2011, 8:54 am
    Post #24 - January 30th, 2011, 8:54 am Post #24 - January 30th, 2011, 8:54 am
    In the end, it was in the oven for just over 9.5 hours and the innermost sections were just shy of 190. I let it rest for about an hour before attempting to slice into it. Kennyz was correct - it was hot mess and I wound up just hacking it into large pieces. Still tender and amazingly delicious. Thanks again everyone for the feedback!

    Image

    Image

    ETA: Here's a before picture, too, for the heck of it:

    Image
    best,
    dan
  • Post #25 - January 31st, 2011, 1:33 pm
    Post #25 - January 31st, 2011, 1:33 pm Post #25 - January 31st, 2011, 1:33 pm
    Looks like it came out pretty well. If there's any left, it freezes well, and upon thawing may even taste better.

    Usually once a butt gets past 190, the internal temperature goes up pretty quickly. Another 45 minutes might have taken it to +200, at which point butts have a tendency to fall apart under their own weight. Very easy to deal with at that stage.
  • Post #26 - February 1st, 2011, 12:27 pm
    Post #26 - February 1st, 2011, 12:27 pm Post #26 - February 1st, 2011, 12:27 pm
    I just can't see keeping the oven going for 9 hours, versus keeping a crock pot going for 9 hours, though I admit I know nothing about the relative energy costs. I know electricity tends to be more expensive than gas, but keeping one electric appliance going versus keeping an entire stove going... I wonder.

    I do see the appeal of the dry crust on the oven-cooked pork shoulder, but I'm wondering if that couldn't also be achieved by putting the crock-pot-cooked shoulder in the oven for a half hour or so at the end. Know what? I have a pork shoulder here and I'm going to test that out.
    "Your swimming suit matches your eyes, you hold your nose before diving, loving you has made me bananas!"
  • Post #27 - February 1st, 2011, 1:42 pm
    Post #27 - February 1st, 2011, 1:42 pm Post #27 - February 1st, 2011, 1:42 pm
    Katie,

    I'm not sure they make crockpots that big! :D

    Geo
    Sooo, you like wine and are looking for something good to read? Maybe *this* will do the trick! :)
  • Post #28 - February 2nd, 2011, 6:08 am
    Post #28 - February 2nd, 2011, 6:08 am Post #28 - February 2nd, 2011, 6:08 am
    ? Five-poundish pork shoulder fits fine in mine. Or did I miss a joke?

    Oops - I see now danimalarky was dealing with an 11.5-lb pork butt. Too big for my crock pot. But then, also too big for my crowd to finish eating before the end of February. I'd cut it in half, cook one half and freeze the other.
    "Your swimming suit matches your eyes, you hold your nose before diving, loving you has made me bananas!"
  • Post #29 - February 2nd, 2011, 10:59 am
    Post #29 - February 2nd, 2011, 10:59 am Post #29 - February 2nd, 2011, 10:59 am
    Katie wrote:I just can't see keeping the oven going for 9 hours, versus keeping a crock pot going for 9 hours, though I admit I know nothing about the relative energy costs. I know electricity tends to be more expensive than gas, but keeping one electric appliance going versus keeping an entire stove going... I wonder.


    I'm curious if you think the difference in the cost of running a gas oven for 9 hours versus using a crock pot for 9 hours less than 50 cents, about five dollars, or more than ten dollars.
  • Post #30 - February 3rd, 2011, 5:23 pm
    Post #30 - February 3rd, 2011, 5:23 pm Post #30 - February 3rd, 2011, 5:23 pm
    Oh, don't make fun of me, I already said I admit I know nothing about the relative costs. Just tell me.
    "Your swimming suit matches your eyes, you hold your nose before diving, loving you has made me bananas!"

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