Difference between Picnic and Butt....

Discussion in 'Pork' started by lucc, Aug 4, 2009.

  1. lucc

    lucc Smoke Blower

    What is it?[​IMG]

    I only smoked ribs before and decided to smoke a 10# fresh picnic that was sawed in half Saturday. Everything went great however when I went to pull it the meat looked like meat on a pork chop instead of the stringy dark meat. So I had to chop it up almost cubing it. I guess there is a difference between the two that I was not aware of. Anyhow it tasted great and almost the whole thing went between 8 adults and 4 kids.[​IMG]
  2. bigsteve

    bigsteve Master of the Pit

    I like them both, but given the choice, I'd rather use a Boston butt.
  3. lcruzen

    lcruzen Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    The Boston Butt is the same as Boston shoulder in this chart. They are just cut from a different area of the hog. Picnic makes for great pulled pork but you have to take the internal temp up to 200o-210o.

  4. dutch

    dutch Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    The Picnic is the lower portion of the whole front leg. The upper section is the butt.

    As has been said, the picnic will guve you some great PP but you got to take the internal temp up and chop up what you can't pull.
  5. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Yep ^^^^^^^^^...I've only smoked one picnic...That was a very long night...9-1/2 lb (if I recall correctly) took 17 hours start to finish...I had some temp swing problems as part of the long smoke. The large amount of bone/connective tissue in the picnic is another contributing factor.

    I would much rather do a boston/butt...soooooo easy and less smoke time overall. The 7-1/5 lb I just finished lastnight was a peach to do. [​IMG]

  6. tasunkawitko

    tasunkawitko Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    i've smoked two picnics - the first time, i only got it up to 190 and much of it had to be chopped; the second time, i got it up to 205 and it fell apart like butter melting. if you smoke it until you can twist the bone and pull it out of the roast, then it's all good.

    i found that a butt and a picnic of roughly-equal size will put out a lot of meat. the butt will put out slightly more because it has less bone, but the meat of the picnic tastes slightly better, in my opinion, possibly because of the bone?
  7. deltadude

    deltadude Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I have to be honest I have been smoking meat for about 6 or 7 years and always used a pork shoulder/butt. I have never used the picnic cut.

    I am only going from memory but doesn't the picnic taste more like ham?
  8. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    That's what we all though about the picnic I did this past winter...very good flavor though, I must admit.

  9. lcruzen

    lcruzen Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    A fresh picnic will taste like a butt, or a little better IMO. A smoked picnic will taste like a ham because that is what it is basically.
  10. pi in sc

    pi in sc Fire Starter

    I have a smokin buddy that swears the best pulled pork is when you mix the finished meat of the butt and the picnic.
  11. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    A butts a butt and a picnic is a picnic they are two differant part of the pig. If you want to mix them go right ahead there really aren't any pork police lurking out there.
  12. bigsteve

    bigsteve Master of the Pit

    Good idea!

  13. tasunkawitko

    tasunkawitko Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    i did this with my last shoulder smoke and your buddy is right - great flavor all around ~
  14. packplantpath

    packplantpath Smoking Fanatic

    Well, being a native of NC, the best pulled pork comes when you mix the meat from the entire hog ;-).

    Well, ok, the ham doesn't pull too well, and the ribs never make it that far. But, the ham chops good and mixes in with the rest great. And the ribs make a good lunch.
  15. pops6927

    pops6927 Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    The butt is up on the topside of the shoulder area and the muscle groups are less-used, therefore a higher fat to meat proportion. The shoulder picnic is connecting the foreleg of the pig to the body; leaner and tougher meat, more used muscles for locomotion and standing/sitting, etc. Because of the leaner and more-used muscles, this is why the flavor of the picnic is stronger than the butt, but also why it's harder to pull in the 190's° temp range and has to go higher to break down the stronger connective tissues.

    The picnic will taste like ham only when it's pickled with a brine with nitrite in it (curing salt); that's what gives it the 'hammy' flavor. Otherwise it's smoked fresh pork (which is wonderful too!).

    Mixing the butt meat and the shoulder meat gives you two flavors; one from the fat content (one kind of flavor) and another from the stronger muscle flavor, the best of both worlds mixed together!

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