Many people believe that pork butt isn’t from the pig’s back and shoulder meat is not a piece on the shoulder. Is that true? Check out the post “Pork Butt vs Pork Shoulder” to learn more about the differences between them and other related information!
Pork Butt vs Pork Shoulder: The Differences
Despite the fact that the two cuts of meat originate from the same body part, they still have a few key differences. Keep reading to learn more!
Pork shoulder and pork butt are frequently misunderstood by their name. Although they originate from the pig’s shoulder, the butt is higher on the foreleg while the shoulder meat is lower.
To be more specific, pork butt (also known as Boston Butt) is a premium pork cut located behind the pig’s head and above the blade of the shoulder. On the other hand, the pork shoulder (also referred to as picnic shoulder) is located beneath the pork butt and goes from the pig’s shoulder down to the hoof.
Indeed, the texture of each cut varies greatly depending on its location: pork shoulder seems to be denser and tougher than the butt.
Shoulder meat is triangular since it is cut from the thinner part above the blade of the shoulder and ends at the hooves. Meanwhile, the butt meat has a rectangular form due to its location above the blade part of the shoulder.
While purchasing these cuts, keep in mind that the meat on the shoulder is frequently sold with the skin on, which is the top choice for preparing a roasted pork dish. This pork can also be ordered boneless. Hence, you can cook a lot of dishes with this cut.
Nevertheless, meat butt can be sold with an intact fat cap. Thin slices of pork butt would be best served for either tacos or ramen.
To add-in, similar to the pork shoulder, you will have two options of butt meat to purchase: bone-in or boneless.
Pricing is another important consideration when deciding on the best meat cut to buy. The higher the price, the better the quality of the meat cut – so reasonable, right?
The price difference between the two pieces of meat varies by area. Typically, the meat on the shoulder part is less expensive than the butt’s as the butt meat is chopped into larger pieces. Furthermore, the meat on the butt has a more uniform shape with fat marbling along with the meat.
If you’re unsure which one to use, consider how much pork you’ll need to cook and how much money you want to pay for meat, then determine.
Marbling And Fat Content
Let’s discuss their nutritional composition. In detail, pork butt contains a high nutrient concentration, usually providing 277 calories, 21 grams of protein, and 15 grams of fat. It also includes marbling, which enhances not only the flavor of the butt but also the fat content.
When compared to pork butt, pork shoulder has lower fat and marbling. It has around 186 calories, 60 percent of which come from fat and 40 percent from protein.
In terms of health and diet, the shoulder is healthier due to the thinner fat layer. However, if you don’t want to eat too fatty, you can tell the butcher to completely remove it.
Moreover, you shouldn’t eat pork butt regularly because its fat is hard to remove completely. The percent of fat can indeed go down during the cooking process, but it does not entirely disappear.
In terms of taste, the pork butt seems to be much more delicious than the pork shoulder since it contains a lot more fat. Meanwhile, the shoulder tastes tougher and less juicy.
However, for those who cannot tolerate the taste of fat but still want to enjoy a tasty meal, we have cooking tips for you to make the pork shoulder tasty without any marbling fat added.
For example, if you want to grill shoulder meat without making it tough, slice it into little pieces to keep the seasonings absorbed better. This method gives pork shoulder meat a richer scent when you cook. So easy and simple, but still effective, right?
Best Used For
You can prepare pork butt in a variety of ways, including stewing, roasting, or smoking. Plus, because pork butt has more fat content, it’s perfect for slow cooking to make tender and pulled pork.
When a recipe asks for crispy pig skins, skin-on pork shoulder is the finest option. Because of the low fat content, the pork skin after frying will be so dry, so crumbly, but crunchy as well! So surprising, right?
In case you are wondering if pork shoulder is suitable for frying usage, let us answer: Yes, it is. For those who are on a diet but so graved for fried food, cook the pork shoulder instead of the butt to cut the amount of fat consumed.
About the toughness problem of the shoulder meat after frying, the solution is simple: before cooking, remember to take out a sharp knife, cut your meat into thin, small strips, and the fried shoulder won’t be so unpalatable tough.
There are big differences in storage time between pork butt and pork shoulder. Specifically, if you store your grilled pork shoulder properly in an airtight box, it will last for a few days. Meanwhile, the pig butt can only keep its taste for a maximum of two days in an airtight container with the same cooking method.
Don’t forget to cool down both portions of meat before putting them into the refrigerator!
Pork Butt vs Pork Shoulder – Which One Is Better?
From our perspective, pork butt seems to be a better cut as it is relatively fatty and juicy. You also can use this cut for cooking many dishes related to slow-cooking methods like caramelized pork and eggs.
However, for crispiness-demanded recipes like the crackling skin dish, we highly recommend you to choose pork shoulder. This pork cut is also the best choice for those on a diet due to its firm texture and low fat.
The Bottom Line
After all, we’ve finished discussing the differences between pork butt vs pork shoulder. Even though both cuts are rich in nutrition and good for your health, the pork butt has more votes from people for the juiciness.
It’s now time to prepare a dish using the best cut you’ve selected. Take a chance!