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Is Pork Shoulder The Same As Pork Butt? [ANSWERED]

Is Pork Shoulder The Same As Pork Butt? [ANSWERED]

Pork meat is one of the most delicious meats for many people around the globe. However, the different parts of a pig have different preferences among different people.

The pork shoulder and the pork butt are never the same, even though they come from the same general area. The pork butt is found at the top of the shoulder close to the spine, while the pork shoulder is from below the butt but on the top of the front leg.

There is more to learn about pork’s different cuts and why anyone passionate about pork needs to understand these differences.

pork ready for eatWhat Is The Difference Pork Shoulder Vs Pork Butt

The fact that both the pork shoulder and the pork butt are cuts from the shoulder makes them have very few differences. Some of the differences that you should know when analyzing pork shoulder vs pork butt include;

  • Although both cuts have a large fat cap left on, pork shoulder is more likely to have the skin on.
  • Pork shoulder is cut into a triangular shape, whereas pork butt is uniformly cut into rectangular pieces.
  • The pork butt is fattier, and it contains more marbling.
  • Pork butt is mainly used for pulled pork and stews due to its fat content, while the pork shoulder is perfect for roast
  • When it comes to the cost, pork shoulder is cheaper than pork butt. Nonetheless, both cuts are economical compared to other parts.
  • Pork butt is best when you either slowly cook/smoke it, as this allows the connective tissues and fat to break down to give you a delicious meal. On the other hand, the pork shoulder is usually the best when cooked at a slightly higher temperature.
  • The pork butt is more flavorful than the pork shoulder because it has more fat. However, it is good to understand that your cooking method will significantly influence the flavor of both cuts.

The Cuts Can Give A Delicious Meal.

Whether you settle on either the pork butt or the pork shoulder, the truth is that you will get a delicious meal. Moreover, these two cuts are the most popular cuts of pork as they are great for different purposes, and they are often confused with each other.

Understanding the difference between the two cuts is crucial as it makes it possible to decide on the best and most appropriate cooking method.

Shoulder Vs. Loin Vs. Butt Pork Roast. Which Is Leaner?

Although the pork loin, shoulder, and pork butt come from the same animal, they all differ in one way or the other. For instance, the three cuts have different fat content.

The pork loin is the leanest cut of the three, followed by a pork butt. On the other hand, Pork shoulders have more fat, collagen, and connective tissues. Knowing the difference between the three cuts of pork is significant in that it helps to decide on the most appropriate cooking method.

Why Is The Pork Loin Special?

To understand why the loin is one of the unique parts of pork, you need to understand where it is cut from. The cut is from the center of the pig’s back. It is one of the sweetest cuts of pork, and it has several ways of preparation.

One of the traits that make the pork loin popular among many people is that it has very little fat and its flavor varies depending on the cook’s expertise.

Further, when it comes to nutritional value, the pork loin is by far the healthiest choice compared to different parts, including the pork shoulder. It has relatively low calories, less fat, more proteins, and less sodium.

Additionally, it is worth mentioning that since the pork loin is the leanest cut of pork and does not have a lot of connective tissues, it is easy to slice thin for grilling or roasting.

What Is Special About Pork Shoulder?

As the name suggests, the pork shoulder refers to the cut of pork derived from the upper part of a pig’s front leg. It is also called the Boston Butt or the Picnic ham. Pork shoulders are also versatile because they are fat and lean at the same time.

When comparing the pork loin price to that of the pork shoulder, the pork shoulder is more affordable.

What Is Butt Pork Roast?

The pork butt comprises the shoulder blade, the neck, and the upper arm of a pig. The pork butt is in most cases used in pulled pork, and it can either be cut into steaks or roasted. In addition, it is also well-suited for stewing and braising or for making sausages.

To cook the pork butt to perfection, you will need to ensure that you do it slowly in a slow-cooker. They are an excellent option to braise, barbecue, or serve as a stew.

What Is The Difference Pork Shoulder Picnic Vs Pork Butt?

Shopping for the best pork cut can be pretty confusing. If you are not familiar with the different cuts of pork, the chances are that you will have a hard time making your selection.

Pork shoulder, also called pork picnic shoulder, is found directly below the pork butt of the pig. It has muscles making it dense and tough. Pork butt, on the other hand, is located behind the pig’s head and it is above the shoulder blade. Most people think that since it is referred to as butt, it comes from the pig’s hindquarters. That is not correct.

The Differences Between Pork Butt And Pork Shoulder

Pork Shoulder Pork Butt
Common names Picnic roast, picnic shoulder Boston butt
Traits and characteristics Less fat making it tough unless cooked properly Has a lot of intramuscular fat
Shape Triangular shape Rectangular shape
Excellent for Pork roast with crackling Pulled pork

Pork Butt Vs Shoulder What Is Best For Pulled Pork

Deciding on the cut to use for pulled pork between the pork butt and the pork shoulder is never simple considering that the two cuts are close to each other and similar in some ways. For delicious pulled pork, you must get it right.

The pork shoulder is the best cut for pulled pork because it contains optimum fat content that makes it tender, melty, and easy to cook. It is recommendable that you cook it slowly to allow the protein to break down well.

When to use Pork Butt

While the pork butt might not be the best choice for pulled pork, it is ideal for braising and stewing. This is because the pork butt has fatter marbling and a uniform shape. We recommend pork shoulder if the pork recipe does not call for crackling-crisp skin.

pork for familyChoosing The Best Pork Cuts For Roasting

The preparation method should always come first when deciding on the best pork cut. Check out the best pork cuts for roasting.

  • The pork shoulder – can be roasted on the bone, and it has an excellent flavor as it is succulent
  • The blade is tasty and gives a crackling, and it is affordable.
  • Hand – best suited for feeding a crowd
  • Loin – a great flavor, and it is very healthy. However, it is one of the most expensive cuts of pork.
  • Chump
  • Tenderloin – A very lean cut that is perfect when roasted properly. Seasoning is essential to prevent drying.
  • Belly – The Chinese consider this cut the tastiest when roasted.


The best way to ensure that you do not make a mistake when deciding on the best pork cut for your recipe is to familiarize yourself with the characteristics of different cuts. Additionally, you should consider the method of preparation and the nutritional value. For instance, if you are looking for the leanest cut, the pork loin will serve you right.

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