How to Pick the Perfect Pork Shoulder for Your Memorial Day BBQ


The pork shoulder is one of the four primal cuts of a Hog. A primal cut is a section of meat that is cut from the whole carcass of an animal. Each primal cut is then further processed into retail cuts. The pork shoulder which weighs between 14-18 lbs is divided into two parts…the Boston Butt (also known as Pork Butt) is the upper part of the shoulder; the Picnic shoulder is the lower part. The Boston Butt weighs between 6-8 lbs. It is well marbled, contains a lot of connective tissue, and is most commonly used to make pulled pork. The method for making pulled pork entails seasoning the butt and smoking it at a low temperature for a long period of time to break down all of the connective tissue.

The market price on the Boston Butt does vary throughout the year. When the market is down, I’ll always put them on sale. My customers really appreciate it!!!  I recommend it to people who are looking to feed a large crowd. It’s a large cut of meat, is very affordable, yields a lot of meat and is relatively easy to prepare.

When shopping for a Boston Butt always choose one with the bone for more flavor.  Make sure it has a nice even layer of fat on it (at least ¼ inch) so it can render down during the cooking process. Ask your butcher to score the fat so your rub can get deep into the meat.

The Boston Butt will lose about 35-40 percent of its original raw weight when cooked. That’s due to the large amounts of fat and the bone. An 8lb. Butt will yield about 5lbs. of cooked meat and will serve about 10-12 people. 

A few of my other tips are:
-Use bear claw shredders! They help to take the Butt off your smoker and are great for pulling the meat apart.

-Make sure the internal temperature reaches 195 to 200 degrees and let it rest for 45-60 minutes. This will ensure an easy removal of the bone and shredding.

-Make enough to have leftovers!! There are endless recipes for leftover pulled pork.

I’ve made something out of pulled pork for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!

Check out Kevin’s video on Perfectly Smoked Pork Shoulder