We recently had our American Guinea Hog/Kune Kune mixes butchered. They were about 6 months old and provided our family with about 160 lbs of meat. It was a pleasure to have these gentle boys on our homestead, they were very easy going and friendly.
What is Pork Butt?
Pork butt or Boston Butt is a tender cut of meat that comes from above the shoulder cut of a pig. The name might suggest that the meat comes from the pig’s back end, but it comes from the upper part of the pig’s shoulders. The Boston Butt got its name during World War II when butchers in New England started to store this meat in barrels called butts. Eventually, the city of Boston in England became famous for its delicious cut of meat.
The meat can come from any breed of pig. The shoulder is sold as a bone-in (my recommendation) or boneless cut. It is important to note that pork butt and pork shoulder butt are not the same. The pork butt comes from the higher part of the pig’s foreleg, with more fat running within the meat, while the shoulder butt comes from the shoulder’s lower part. Both types of meat are tough and require a long cooking process until they become tender. Although in some recipes you can use pork shoulder and pork butt interchangeably, it is better to use pork butt if you want to make barbecue recipes like pulled pork where the goal is to have the meat shred easily. If you plan to chop or slice the meat without breaking its shape, then you may use pork shoulder.
Pork butt is usually cheaper, but when cooked “low and slow,” it softens and tastes exactly like an expensive cut of meat, which is why it is preferred by so many. Once the meat is tender, it becomes one of the most delicious and flavorful meat cuts. The fat content in the pork butt gives it a lot of flavors and makes the meat juicy and succulent.
Ways to Cook Pork Butt
Now there are many ways to cook this delicious meat and enjoy it. These include:
- Oven: You can simply season the pork butt with some common spices and toss it into the oven for a few hours until it is tender enough to eat.
- Slow Cooker: Using a crock pot is one of the most popular ways to cook pork butt. A slow cooker makes the pork butt extremely tender. All you have to do is simply season the meat and put it in the slow cooker on low temperature for about 8 hours.
- Instant Pot: Similar to the slow cooker, an instant pot can also be used to cook the pork butt by slowing down the cooking process.
- Smoked: Pork Butt can also be cooked using a smoker. The best quality of the smoker is that it can cook low and slow while adding smokey flavor (if desired).
Where can you Buy Pork Butt?
If you are not currently able to raise your own pork, you can easily get pork butt at a local butcher shop or farm. If you do get it from a supermarket, just make sure to look for a cut that has a healthy pink color, when it’s not fresh has a grey or tannish color, which should always be avoided.
Once you have bought pork butt, you can store the meat in the refrigerator for three to four days easily. Leftovers can be eaten easily within four days, provided that they were stored properly. If you want to store the meat for a longer time, you can freeze and even pressure can the cooked meat.
How much Meat is the Right Portion for a Person?
This is a rather difficult question because the right size of the portion depends upon the person’s appetite and the side dishes available. However, if you are planning a dinner or a barbeque, as a rule of thumb, you can aim to serve ⅓ to ½ pound of cooked meat per individual. You also need to remember that the weight of the pork butt bought from the market and the weight of the cooked pork butt are quite different. Cooking can reduce the weight of the pork butt to at least 35 to 45 per cent. Therefore, you should plan the portion sizes accordingly.
The Perfect Recipe for a Pork Butt
Making pork butt is extremely easy! You can follow what I did, a simple rub of salt, pepper, onion powder, dried thyme, cumin, and garlic powder to the meat. Toss the meat in a slow cooker carefully and let it cook for about 8 hours. The pork should be so tender by the end of the cooking process that even a spoon can cut the meat easily. You can let the meat cook simply overnight or while you are away from home. When the meat is done cooking, you will also have a flavorful broth. My husband makes an incredible ramen from the leftover broth.
Once the meat is cooked thoroughly, you can serve it by itself, add it to sandwiches, serve it on top of mashed potatoes, etc. Using the cooking liquid or adding barbeque sauce can help keep it moist and delicious.
Leftover options are endless. Make tacos, mac and cheese, salad, sandwiches, sliders, make pasta sauce, freeze or pressure can.