How To Trim a Boston Butt

Way back in the day, New England butchers packed hams and pork shoulders in barrels, known as butt, to store and transport. And so, pork shoulders were called Boston butt. Also known as pork butt, it comes from the upper part of the front shoulder. Boston butt is the most common cut used for pulled pork.

When you master how to trim a Boston butt, you’ll find that trimming this piece of meat allows the rub and smoke to penetrate more fully. You’re going to remove the thick skin usually located on two sides of the shoulder, as well as excess pieces of fat that would not render properly during cooking. Check this article for the technique.

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1. Using a sharp butcher knife or carving knife, make an incision between the skin and the meat. Pull the skin upward while slicing through the fat just under the skin. Remove the skin completely.
Hot TipWatch the embedded video for a demonstration of this technique.
2. Locate and remove any chunks of fat thicker than a ¼ inch from the pork shoulder.
3. The Boston Butt is now ready to be seasoned and smoked.

Try your hand at our Tennessee-Style Smoked Pork Butt for a tangy pulled pork sandwich.

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