Everything You Need to Know About Boston Butts

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What is Boston Butt?

If you’re going to create pulled pork, you’ll most likely be looking for a piece of meat called the Boston butt. Most recipes will advise you to utilize this method.

However, there is some misunderstanding regarding what a Boston butt is. It may be referred to differently depending on where you reside. To make things worse, a Boston butt has nothing to do with the pig’s rear end.

So let’s get things straight so you can purchase your butts with confidence from now on.

What exactly is a Boston Butt?

Everything You Need to Know About Boston Butts

A Boston butt comes from the pig’s shoulder, the meaty area closest to the spine. This identical piece of meat is also called as pig butt.

When you seek for it at the store, it will be rectangular in form, with some of the bone still present.

This BBQGuys video demonstrates how to discern the difference between several kinds of pork roasts.

How to Know the Differences Between Pork Roasts

Watch this video on YouTube

It is entirely up to you whether you purchase it with or without the bone. Some people like Boston butts with the bone in, since the extraction of the bone causes the incision to be a bit crooked and may result in inconsistent cooking.

The bone also functions as a thermometer. Your butt is ready to pull when it slips out with little effort.

There are a few ideas as to where the term butt in pork butt derives from. Some believe it alludes to the fact that it originates from the thicker region of the shoulder, which contains more muscle and fat. Others claim it’s because the shoulder butts were shipped in barrels called butts.

The pig butt is also known as the Boston butt since it was initially cooked, packaged, stored, and delivered in the city of Boston. It is also stated that the butchers of Boston had a unique technique of cutting the meat, which earned it the moniker “Boston butt” across the nation.

Butt… What About the Rear End of the Pig?

Now that we know what a pork butt and a Boston butt are, and that they both originate from the shoulder, let’s talk about the real butt, as in the back end.

The ham is really derived from the rump end of a pig. A ham is derived from the thigh and the glutes. Butt butt butt. It’s simple to see why hams are so meaty.

Why is Shoulder Meat used for Pulled Pork?

You may be asking why, since the ham is so meaty, it isn’t the ideal meat for pulled pork.

All of the fat and collagen in the shoulder meat is the key. This substance degrades throughout the cooking process, resulting in delicate, melt-in-your-mouth meat.

Pork Butt vs Pork Shoulder

Everything You Need to Know About Boston Butts

You may be asking what the difference is between pig butt and pork shoulder. Where does the butt come from if it comes from the shoulder? It is, indeed, from the shoulder. However, the thinner, lower portion.

This cut, also known as the picnic shoulder, is conical in form and contains the bones. It will sometimes have the skin left on.

Some pitmasters like to make pulled pork using the picnic shoulder. While the final decision is yours, there are a few factors that may make it more difficult to deal with.

The skin must be removed since it will not develop bark. So it is another thing to consider while cooking the meat.

In addition, the unusual conical form of the cut might make cooking it equally difficult.

If you have a strategy in place to address these challenges, feel free to experiment with the picnic shoulder as well!

The Money Muscle

The money muscle is a kind of pork butt named for its ability to win barbecue contests.

It’s incredibly delicate and marbled with fat that renders down with time.

The money muscle is placed high on the shoulder and is part of the loin. It is more sensitive since the hog does not work it as hard.

This video does an amazing job of demonstrating how to find the money muscle.

Sections of a Pork Butt – Money Muscles & Tubes Pork Shoulder – HowToBBQRight.com

Watch this video on YouTube

Best Alternative Cuts for Pulled Pork

It might be difficult to find Boston butt in certain regions. Some pitmasters may experiment with tenderloin or fresh ham to make their pulled pork. We would not endorse any of those alternatives as a replacement for pulled pork.

Most of the time, the reason your pulled pork comes out dry is because you utilized the improper cut.

Tenderloins, in particular, may dry out rapidly when cooked and can become a rubbery mess.

The greatest pig for pulled pork includes a lot of fat and collagen, which may degrade throughout the extended cooking process. Your best bet will be shoulder cuts of beef. A leg or shank is another viable option.

If you can’t locate a Boston butt on the shelf, try asking your local butcher, even if it’s the one at the supermarket. You never know what they may be able to find.

How Much Pork Butt Per Person?

This is when things get a little technical. Of course, you don’t want to run out of pulled pork if you’re serving a large group, but how do you calculate how much you’ll need?

The first thing to keep in mind is shrinking. A typical Boston butt will shrink by around 30% after cooking. If your butt is really obese, it may shrink by up to 50%.

We must now consider how many guests you will be entertaining. Teenagers consume almost the same amount as adults, although women often eat less than males. Children often consume just a modest quantity of food.

However, the safest method is to consider your visitors individually, since I know many of ladies who can eat just as much as a male!

Now lets go back to school.

  • B number of big eaters
  • S number of small eaters
  • Uncooked Boston butt (in pounds) is required.

The formula is as follows:

U = ((2B + S)/2) + 1

Assume you have three large eaters and two tiny eaters.

2) + 1U= 4 + 1U= 5 2) + 1U= (8 2) + 1U= ((6 + 2) U= ((2 x 3 + 2) U= ((2 x 3 + 2) U= ((2 x 3 + 2) U= ((2

I’m getting a headache now, but I know I’d need a 5 pound uncooked butt to serve everyone.

If you’re serving your pulled pork on sandwiches, you’ll need around a pound of cooked pulled pork per sandwich. A large eater would most likely have two sandwiches, while a little eater would consume one.

Remember that this approach calculates the quantity of cooked pork you need (which has shrunk by around 30%), therefore the raw slice of pork you purchase must be somewhat heavier.

How To Cook Pork Butt

Boston butt is best cooked slowly. Stewing, grilling, braising, and slow cooking are all popular methods to prepare this piece of beef. The most popular technique to cook hog butt is to create pulled pork.

Preparing pulled pork is an excellent introduction to low and slow cooking. If you want an in-depth explanation of how to do it, check out this guide to smoking your first pig butt, which includes all the information you need.

In general, keep the following guidelines in mind while smoking a pig butt:


  • In terms of trimming and cutting, a Boston butt will not need much preparation.
  • Before applying a rub, use a binding agent such as mustard. This is not for taste, but rather to aid in the adhesion of the rub.
  • Apply the rub shortly before putting the butt in the smoker, and don’t use too much rub. It is more vital to ensure that it is uniformly administered.


  • You’ll be cooking for around 10 hours at 225 235F. Place the butt in the smoker’s middle. Pecan and cherry are both excellent smoking woods for pork butt.
  • The easiest approach to measure the inside temperature of your meat is to use a probe thermometer.
  • Allow the bark to form for approximately half the cooking time before wrapping the meat with aluminum foil. At this stage, the internal temperature of the meat should be about 160F.
  • After wrapping the meat, return it to the stove (with the thermometer back in place) and cook for another 4 hours, or until the internal temperature of the beef reaches about 195F.

General tips:

  • Once completed, let the butt to rest for at least 30 minutes. You may even use a fake cambro to rest and reheat your butt for hours before serving it.
  • Wear heat resistant gloves and be cautious of cross contamination to ensure safety and hygiene.
  • Don’t hurry through the procedure. Having a couple of beers on hand may keep you occupied while you wait.

You may also experiment with it and produce pork butt burned ends.

Wrapping it up

Knowing what kinds of meat you have and what they are best suited for is just one of the many keys to making some wonderful low and slow dinners.

To be sure, the phrases pig butt and Boston butt may be perplexing. But now that we’ve established that the butt does not refer to the rear end, you can go into your local butcher with confidence, knowing exactly what you’re looking for, where it comes from, and, most importantly, how to prepare it effectively.

Have you ever created some delectable pulled pork? If you have any suggestions to contribute or questions to ask, please leave them in the comments area below. And, if you liked the post, please spread the word!

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