Butt or picnic shoulder

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Original poster
Jun 12, 2006
Well I smoked my first butt last week and it turned out ok. I'll get it a little better next time , I had trouble maintaing a constant temperature.
But I want to make sure I had the right cut of meat.The butcher told me
it was a boston butt,and it was about 7 pounds , but I've read on this forum where people say they just grab the bone and pull it out. This one I smoked did'nt have a very big bone . It was more of a flat bone and the
butt did'nt really have a whole lot of fat on it. I've done a picnic shoulder
a few different times that turned out pretty good , and they had a bigger
shank type bone in them and more fat to them, and I was able to pull the bone out of them really easy. Did I get the right thing on the butt? Thanks for any advice you can give
Hi Buddy!
I've never done a picnic, cause I've had such great results with the butt and really enjoy that cut.Some other guys I'm sure will chime in and give ya a better recap, but IMO nothing is better ( so far) than a butt for me
It is called pork butt when I put it on the table, I think it is a picnic butt in the wrapper. I think the shoulder sits a little higher on the "leg". One of the "butcher" / farm guys can explain it better. I have only seen live food twice in my live. Once, visited my grandma in Oklahoma on her farm. The other time, the ZOO!

My meat roams the aisles of the grocery store, or sometimes I go to the only butcher market I know of. Would love to go "hunt" some ribeye steaks, but that would be another thread.

When I am finished with my pork butt, I grab the bone, slight twist and light pull. bone comes out clean,

Sounds like you got the right cut.

When I get a boston butt, the bone is definitely smaller than a picnic, and sometimes it has just one small flat bone (it all depends on how the butcher was cutting the rest of the cuts that day)

You also might have gotten one a little more trimmed that on a picnic (I have had some with a fat cap, some without, but picnics go as far as having skin on) and 7# is not unheard of, although I have gotten them as big as 11 to 12# range.

You didnt talk about your method, other than temp problems, but a 7# boston butt would take about 9-10 hours on average. I take it to 170ish, wrap in foil (spraying the chit out of it) then back in and up to 190ish, then out in the cooler still wrapped in foil for 2+hours. Unwrap, retaining juices, and pull. If you grab the bone, there ain't no way it isnt gonna just slide out in your hand.

Best part about comparing picnics to butts? You get to eat twice as much!

Good luck
Thanks for the information , it sounds like I had the right thing. When I
cooked that butt , I started late on a saturday evening to smoke through the night , but we work a lot of hours where I work and I had trouble
staying awake.I had the temp. right then dozed off several times and the
temp. would drop. I should have smoked it to a certain point, then put
in the oven I guess. I ended up going well past the hour and a half per
pound , and never did reach 190 degrees. Next time will be better.
I did a trifecta last time I smoked. I did a combination of a shoulder, and 2 butts. One was brined and one was not.
I didn't notice THAT much of a difference in the brined one, so I'm not messing with it this time. However, the butts are a bit 'sweeter' and have more overall juiciness and flavor.
My .02.
I've done quite a few boston butts, haven't done a picnic yet. I take my butts to about 160-170, wrap in foil and put back on smoker till 205*. Wrap in a towel and let sit for an hour or 2. I've had bones slide right out, clean.........and I've had to tug on them before too. It all depends. If you want pulled pork, take them higher........for sliced .......obviously lower. Pulled for me is 205, sliced is..........???????? I always pull my pork...................................I'm married.

Keep at it, you'll have it just how you want it. Try a picnic, do you really need a reason to smoke something?? I always tell my wife "it can be better", that way I have a reason "according to her" to smoke.
Hi Buddy -

It should have looked something like this and has an almost long T shaped flat bone. Notice these two butts have very little fat. The second picture is a shoulder.

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