Pork Butt Defined... By DocMorgan

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Pork Butt Defined... By DocMorgan

Post by DocMorgan » May 21st, 2012, 11:29 am

Pork Butt Defined (condensed from numerous sources, and supplemented with my experience)

Despite the name, pork butt does not come from the rear end of the hog.
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The "butt" is actually the front shoulder.
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A pork shoulder may average from 10-20 pounds and consists of two parts: the butt and the picnic. Both make excellent pulled pork. A whole pork butt is a rectangular roast weighing 6-12 pounds and may contain a portion of the shoulder blade bone (or not... hence "boneless butt"). Keep in mind that one thing that the bone does not do so well is transmit heat to the interior of the roast.

The picnic may average 6-9 pounds; and is a portion of the foreleg and is usually sold with some skin attached. This piece tends to have more "waste" as you will end up removing that skin, etc.


Other Names For Pork Butt:

Boston shoulder roast
Boston roast
Boston butt
Shoulder butt
Shoulder blade roast

Fun with Pun's (we all have thought of these)
You want to find a nice (piece of) butt.
Make sure to tell your butcher: “I want a butt. Make it a big butt, too, please.”
It could be a fat butt.
When driving home with the butt, you are hauling butt.
When on the smoker, it becomes a hot (piece of ) butt.
If your rub contains a large amount of sugar, it could be a sweet piece of butt.
If you use kitchen twine to tie the butt... (OK, I won't go there).

The fun goes on and on.

Both the Butt and the picnic portions contain a lot of fat and connective tissue. When you cook them low and slow, magic happens and the result is awesome Q.

Choosing A Pork Butt

All pork is inspected for wholesomeness by the USDA, but is not always "graded". I have read in places that the USDA claims this is because pork is "produced from young animals that have been bred and fed to produce more uniformly tender meat." Whatever. No two butts are alike.

When I look for Pork Butts, I look for untrimmed butts weighing 8-10 pounds each. Choose pork butt with a uniform, white fat cap and a good amount of fat marbling within the meat itself. The meat should be red-pink in color with a coarse grain. Cryovac units may look purple, but will "red up" when exposed to open air for a few minutes.

The way I prep a butt for smoking is to remove it from the packaging, pat it dry with paper towels. I then trim the fat cap off. Why? Smoke and rub won't penetrate the external fat and you waste precious "bark". The butt has enough fat internally to baste itself from within without the cap on. You'll want a large, sharp knife to trim a butt. Trim it off however you feel is best, just dont trim off too much lean meat. Next, trim any other large areas of external fat and veins, blod spots, lymph nodes, etc. that you find. Trim them down to the lean meat. If you find pockets of fat, trim out whatever seems reasonable. However there is such a thing as too much trimming, so don't trim it all, just the major stuff and anything that isn't something you wouldn't want to find on your plate.


- Doc

If I made any typo's, blame it on the mobile device.

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Re: May 12th - Pork Butt smoke

Post by Smokeone » May 21st, 2012, 7:44 pm

Doc, you are on it! That is an excellent post.

I like a sweet butt. :oopssign:


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Re: May 12th - Pork Butt smoke

Post by The Czar » May 21st, 2012, 8:40 pm

Okay the pork butt pic threw me for a loop..but dang it Doc that was a good post....I'm thinking this should be a sticky....


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Re: May 12th - Pork Butt smoke

Post by DUAYNE B » May 21st, 2012, 9:18 pm

very good readin there, i figure that the "love" you give it before it hits the grill is what makes the diff between good and great, like this thread alot



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Re: May 12th - Pork Butt smoke

Post by maccas66 » May 22nd, 2012, 2:58 am

Thanks Doc, that was a great reply and good information as well!.......what you call the "picnic", is what I cooked on the weekend and refered to it as a "Hand " of pickled pork.


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Re: Pork Butt Defined... By DocMorgan

Post by Frank_Cox » June 24th, 2012, 1:24 pm

Excellent post doc! I split this topic and made it a sticky so it would be easy to find!


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Re: Pork Butt Defined... By DocMorgan

Post by TuscaloosaQ » June 24th, 2012, 2:14 pm

great post doc heck I just found it!!!!!!!


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Re: Pork Butt Defined... By DocMorgan

Post by SoloQue » June 24th, 2012, 3:25 pm

dcman wrote:Okay the pork butt pic threw me for a loop
WHEW, I though someone had posted some Arkansas bachelor party pics for a moment :D

Nice breakdown of terms :kewl:


If it can't be smoked .... try frying it. It that don't work, it's probably best just left alone

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Re: Pork Butt Defined... By DocMorgan

Post by Gizmo » June 24th, 2012, 4:47 pm

That's a great post doc! :kewl:
... I remember that old pic - I was AT that party! :D


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Re: Pork Butt Defined... By DocMorgan

Post by SoloQue » June 24th, 2012, 5:28 pm

Rick wrote: I remember that old pic - I was AT that party!
you weren't the one yell in razer back razer back .. were ya! :D


If it can't be smoked .... try frying it. It that don't work, it's probably best just left alone

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Re: Pork Butt Defined... By DocMorgan

Post by Gizmo » June 24th, 2012, 5:38 pm

Nope - Wrong state ...:)


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Re: Pork Butt Defined... By DocMorgan

Post by PressureRanger » June 24th, 2012, 7:26 pm

Rick wrote:That's a great post doc! :kewl:
... I remember that old pic - I was AT that party! :D
I think I was at the same party....and I think I took that pork butt home with me that night/morning!!

:-o


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Re: Pork Butt Defined... By DocMorgan

Post by swedeshutr » February 14th, 2018, 1:31 pm

WHERE DID THE NAME COME FROM?
In pre-revolutionary New England and into the American Revolutionary War, New England butchers tended to take less prized cuts of pork like hams and shoulders and pack them into barrels for storage and transport, known as a BUTT. The shoulder became known as the "BOSTON specialty" Hence the term "BOSTON BUTT". Interestingly, they don't use the term in Boston, but that's what it is called elsewhere.



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