What Is Pork Cushion Meat? [EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW]

The pork cushion meat is a delicious pork cut for many BBQ enthusiasts. It is a triangular-shaped pork cut obtained from the picnic shoulder. The butchering style of the pork can result in the varying shape and sizes of the pork.

The pork cushion meat is cut from the anterior part and typically takes the shape of a triangle, although that might vary depending on the butcher’s way of carving up the spoils. It is one of the cuts obtained from the picnic shoulder, a primal of the front legs of a hog.

Since the pork cushion meat is cut from an area of the hog that goes through a regular workout, it has a great deal of flavor despite the high percentage of connective tissues. Read on to learn more about pork cushion meat, including its best cooking methods.

piece of pork

What Is Pork Cushion Meat?

Whether it is your first time interacting with pork cushion meat or you are used to it, having a clear understanding of what it is will make it possible to cook in the best way possible. Often, people do not get it right when cooking the different cuts of pork because they lack knowledge of the specific pork cuts they want to try out.

The pork cushion meat is obtained from a hog’s picnic shoulder, typically exposed to regular workouts. It does not have bones; it is typically triangular and weighs about three pounds after the bones are removed. Further, when examining the cut, you will notice a significant amount of connective tissues meaning that it can get tough, especially if you do not cook it correctly.

The name pork cushion is a result of the fact that the picnic should feature a fair amount of joints coupled with a large bone running through the center with a big lean muscle on the side. It is the big muscle that gives the cut the name of the pork cushion.

How Long Do You Cook Pork Cushion Meat?

By now, you know that the pork cushion is cut from an area of a hog exposed to regular workouts. Consequently, the meat has a fair percentage of connective tissues making it a bit tough. Therefore, the best way to cook pork cushion meat is to do it low and slow.

As such, the period for cooking a pork cushion roast should be 40-60 minutes per pound. In addition, you need to ensure that the internal temperature of the meat is at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit for safety.

Is Pork Cushion Meat Good For Smoking?

The precise answer to this question is yes. The pork cushion meat is characterized by a fair percentage of connective tissues making it a bit tough. Therefore, the best way to cook is low and slow, making smoking one of the ideal methods for cooking tasty pork cushion meat.

Fortunately, smoking pork cushion meat is never challenging, especially if you know how to smoke pork butt, as the process is similar.

To make your pork cushion meat delicious and flavorful, you must season it with a dry rub. Combining salt, black pepper, ground sage, dried oregano, granulated sugar and onion powder, dry cayenne pepper, and mustard will provide you with a tasty dry rub for a flavorful pork cushion meat.

The Instructions

When smoking pork cushion meat, ensure you do not rush the process, as this can quickly turn the lean meat chewy. The following instructions will help you cook delicious pork cushion meat.

Rest The Pork

While the rest may not sound significant, it plays a vital role in ensuring you serve a mouthwatering meal. Resting the pork for about an hour allows it to attain room temperature and guarantees even cooking.

Set Your Smoker To 225 Degrees Fahrenheit

The step is to heat the smoker to 225 degrees Fahrenheit. Going beyond or lower than this may prevent your pork cushion meat from cooking properly.

Smoke The Meat

After setting your smoker at 225 degrees Fahrenheit, place the meat in the smoker. Putting the fatty side up is a good idea as it always produces the best results.

Cook the meat for 1.5 hours per pound for the best results. Completing the cooking process can take 5-14 hours, depending on the size of the pork cushion. The minimum internal temperature should be 145 degrees Fahrenheit. Most BBQ enthusiasts recommend an internal temperature of 185-195 degrees Fahrenheit.

Rest The Meat

Once the meat has attained the desired internal temperature, get it out of the smoke and let it rest for about 15 minutes for the best texture. After that, you can comfortably enjoy the fruits of your labor.

Is Pork Cushion Meat The Same As Pork Shoulder?

Although both the cushion meat and the pork shoulder are derived from the shoulder of the pork, they have several differences. The main difference between the two cuts is based on the amount of fat content, with the pork shoulder having a lower percentage of fat content.

When it comes to similarity, the pork cushion and the pork shoulder are similar in that they both come from the shoulder, an area where the back meets the pig’s neck. Additionally, both have fats which makes them juicier when properly cooked.

The Differences Between A Pork Shoulder And A Pork Cushion

Pork Cushion Pork Shoulder
Price The pork cushion is costlier than the pork shoulder. The high cost is a result of the fact that it has less fat making it popular among those people who do not want to consume a lot of fat. Pork should be a cheaper cut of the hog. However, this does not mean that it is less flavorful. In any case, it is pretty juicy and delicious.
Texture The pork cushion has more fat compared to the pork shoulder, making it juicier. The pork shoulder is cut from the front leg and arm of the hog. It has more connective tissues and less fat than the pork cushion. Therefore, the pork shoulder is tougher and chewier than the pork cushion.
Cooking Time The cooking period for pork cushion is shorter than that of a pork shoulder since you can cook the cut at a higher temperature for a short period. Longer cooking time as it has more connective tissues that require you to cook it at lower temperatures for a long duration.
Cooking Method You can cook the pork cushion by braising, roasting, or smoking. The best method to cook the pork shoulder is by braising or smoking.
Serving Pork cushion is best for dishes such as pork pulled sandwiches. The fact that the pork shoulder is lean makes it ideal for dishes such as pulled chicken sandwiches.

Uses Of Pork Cushion

There are many uses you can put the pork cushion to. One of these uses is to make pulled pork. Pulled pork from the pork cushion is tasty and worth your time and investment. Additional uses include;

pork ketchup


The pork cushion is tasty and tender, making it ideal for roasting. To roast your pork cushion to perfection, you need to start by setting your cooker to 300-325 degrees Fahrenheit. Roast the meat for about an hour per pound until it attains an internal temperature of 185 degrees Fahrenheit.


The pork cushion can also provide an excellent way to enjoy pork chops. Curve the pork cushion into pork chops. However, they are likely to be chewier than traditional chops. Their flavorful taste is worth trying. Nonetheless, you can use a meat hammer/mallet to make the pork cushion tender.

Final Thoughts

The pork cushion is a cut of pork that you should give a try. Besides its incredible flavor, it does not cost much money. After giving it a try, the chances are that you would want to keep trying it, as it never disappoints. Further, you have several methods that you can embrace to prepare the pork cushion and render it delicious and mouthwatering.