help with first pulled pork

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Fire Starter
Original poster
Jun 14, 2007
Elk Grove
Okay I have mastered pork and beef ribs, smoked a killer hamburger, did some great dogs, and even some awesome corn on the cob (thanks to all of your help of course).

Now I have good pointers here already for pulled pork:

My question is: is pork butt the way to go, and does a pork sholder or other cut work for pulling?

Also when doing a brisket can you also pull that? I guess you would call it pulled beef?
The butt is all that I use.

I've never pulled my brisket, just sliced ........ although the ends just fell apart once ....... it was good that way come to think of it!
I use the butt mainly because it is easier to find around here. I have friends that use the whole shoulder. They say it is a little better when using the whole thing.
i use shoulders cause their cheaper here & it works fine. i also make pulled brisket. i just throw a whole(about2-3lb) end in a pot w/ a couple cups of water,the brisket drippings,some smoked garlic paste, & mccormick au jus and simmer it down for 3-5 hours and it comes out great according to the people i've fed it to.
Butts and shoulders will work equally well but as Roadhog said butts are easier to find. Bought a case at Sam's in early July for $1.18/lb. Briskets can also be pulled but I seperate the point from the flat after the cooler rest. Let the flat cool a while and slice for sammies. While the point is hot pull it, as it is not as good a quality as the flat and is better pulled IMHO.
Save the juices from the wrap and add it to your pulled meat for moisture and flavor. Good luck with your smoke and enjoy some good eats.
I use both. Which ever is cheaper. The shoulder has a bigger bone in it so that is why it is usually cheaper. They cook about the same except the buts are sometimes quicker and they have less fat. There seems to be more waiste with a sholder ie bones and skin. However the skin does make some good eats (skins/craklins)
I'd recommend the boston butt... it's pretty easy to do but if you can find a picnic for cheaper get that. Same results, really if you're shooting for pulled pork.
You better check on the place you go for the meat as well. I'm not 100% on all the terminology for cuts of meat, but I'm pretty sure that shoulder and butt are the same thing. Or at least, a pork butt is a pork shoulder.

I noticed at Costco when I bought one last time it was labeled as a "Pork Shoulder" but it also denoted on the packaging that it was "rear." So check for that.

Anyway, That pork rear shoulder or butt whatever you call it was delicious. I wouldn't even mess around with anything else after doing that once. I just threw it in for 6 hours and viola!
Different labels in different parts of the country. Here we mostly call them butts. I think the full name according to the USDA is "Item No. 406 - Pork Shoulder, Boston Butt". (From a document that describes Institutional Meat Purchase Specifications ) It is the shoulder blade of the hog. The "picnic" shoulder also has the upper arm bone along with the connective tissue and some skin. The "rear" of the hog usually has the cuts that we know as hams.

Hope this helps!

Take care, have fun, and do good!


Wow thanks for all your help folks. As I now understand, if the store lables it correctly, the shoulder is really the butt and picnic combined. I haven't found a picnic yet but plenty of butts around, so that's what i'll be doing this weekend. Don't worry pix will be coming...

Thanks Shortone for the brisket help that will be coming soon...
I think you're on to something. Down here in north Florida, we have an awful lot of butts too..... especially during tourist season. Fortunately, the season is just over. The roads are again uncrowded and the beach is ours. Seriously, you seem to have the definitions straight. The butt is really the top part of the shoulder. Seldom do you find the combination of the picnic and butt together as a "shoulder." My advise is to pursue the butt. It's a wonderful cut of meat with the right combination of fat to lean. Just remember low and slow. Jeff's e school will guide you through the process. My only plea (for your own enjoyment) is to add Florida Jeff's finishing sauce to the final pulled product. You'll really be glad you did. Good luck!!!!
Hey Florida Bill you had me cracking up late last night on your response!
Anyway, as a matter of fact I found Florida Jeffs recipee several days ago and I definately had that plan in mind...

I went to Savmart today and found my choice. They call it a pork butt roast. It'a a nine pounder for $1.49 a pound.

I will keep you guys posted.
OKay here are some pixs, it turned out great!

Thanks to all your help, I had a great plan all laid out. I was going to take a little nap from about 8pm till around 11pm at which time the meat would go on the smoker. At the last minute I got a last minute job that was too good to pass up. So I got home just in time to start the smoker, but no nap.

Did everything right, sprayed each hour, kept my eys open with a four hour war picture etc. It was time to foil at 5am, and since it was now foiled I moved it into the oven. With no prior nap, I went ahead and left my Maverick therm in the meat and hung it out the oven door, and went to sleep. At 7 am the therm woke me up with the temp done at 205 degrees. Great, I wrapped it up and tossed it into a cooler and went back to bed. At 9 am, i woke up and realized there was no way it could have been done that fast!!! I took it out of cooler, still very hot and of course not cooked enough to be pulled yet. So realizing that I fried the maverick probe, I stuck a round therm in and back in the oven it went. It was ready right around 1PM, and after two hours in the cooler, I pulled it right apart and mixed with the finishing sauce!

So it didn't go exactly as planned, but considering it was for a coed baby shower/ dinner, nobody new the wiser.

Sorry I wasn't coherent enough to get finishing pictures. I was a little stressed with the boo boo and very tired as the guests were showing up...


Awesome job - see, now not only did you have a great meal, you have a great story to go along with it.

You're right on the money about the shoulder being the butt+picnic, btw.

BTW, I hate it when I'm alseep and then wake up with a jolt because I forgot something. Good thing your senses weren't as burnt out as your mav was.
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