Spoiler alert: Pork Butt does not come from anywhere near the butt of the pig. The butt is actually the top half of the shoulder. Because our hogs are raised in the woods with plenty of room to roam and root, this hard working muscle develops a deeper flavor and pink hue unlike anything you can find in the grocery store. Braise or smoke your bone-in Pork Butt to achieve pulled pork nirvana.
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The Pork Butt is the top half of the shoulder, not the actual butt. Since it’s a very hard-working muscle it must be cooked low and slow. It got its name during the colonial days when butchers transported the meat in barrels called “butts,” the actual behind of the pig is where ham comes from.
Low and slow is the name of the game. To achieve the desired fall-off-the-bone perfection, you need to cook your Pork Butt to 180°F, and keep it there for a few hours. This time allows the connective tissue to break down, and lessens the chance moisture will escape. When slow cooking meat, you want to layer your flavors by using REAL stocks and bone broths along with fresh herbs in your braising liquid. One final piece of flavor voodoo is to not be afraid of acid. Always finish a deep braise with vinegar or fresh citrus. If you prefer to BBQ / smoke your Pork Butt, use real wood or wood chips and lump hardwood charcoal. You want your meat to be as dry as possible before going on a smoker to build a good pellicle for the smoke to adhere to.