What is Boston Butt?

The cut of Boston butt

For fans of pork, Boston butt might be a familiar dish – it is known as pork shoulder in the UK and is a great choice for making perfect pulled pork. Although widely consumed and used by home cooks and pit masters alike in the US, the cut of meat has just begun to become popular in the UK. Hence why we thought it was time to spread the word of Boston butt to anyone who might not be aware of it. This article provides an overview of what Boston butt is and the information you need to know about it.

Boston butt comes from the neck-end half of the pig’s shoulder. The skin is removed first, with care being taken to leave a layer of fat. The fat content gives the meat extra flavour and protects it from drying out when its being cooked. This cut has a white fat cap and a good amount of marbling running through it, making it ideal for BBQs as it stays juicy. Depending on your preference and how you are cooking the meat, the chin bone can be left in or taken out.

Where does Boston butt get its name?

People have different ideas about the origin of the name “Boston butt.” According to some, the name came from colonial-era butchers in New England who packed the less-used cuts of pork into barrels and sent them to other places. These barrels were called “butts,” and the shoulder cuts from within these barrels became a speciality in New England, eventually being named “Boston butt.”

Others believe that the name “Boston butt” originates from the city of Boston itself. In the US, pork shoulder is typically divided into three sections called the picnic, the shank, and the butt. It is theorised that the butt cut became widely used in Boston during the 19th century due to its affordability, with Irish immigrants in the city using it in stews. Irish butchers were responsible for removing the rind, making it easier to cook in the stew.

These aren’t the only ideas of where the term comes from either! We might never know the true origins of the name, but we can still enjoy the delicious meat that has resulted because of it.

How to cook Boston butt

Boston pork butt is best cooked low and slow with either a dry rub of your favourite herbs and spices or sticky glaze or sauce. You can cook it on a smoker, BBQ, or in the oven with delicious recipes widely available for all three methods. See our oven roast example below.

Heat your oven to 220C (fan 200C) and cover a roasting tin with foil. Slightly fold the foil back and place the Boston butt in the oven for 20 minutes while exposed to the heat. Lower the oven’s temperature to 150C (fan 130C) and remove the meat. Carefully ensure the butt is completely covered with the foil and place it back in the oven to cook for around 5 hours or until it is soft.

Take the cooked Boston butt out of the oven and let it cool for a half hour in the foil. Afterwards, split the pork into sizeable chunks with either two forks or your hands. Mix in some extra seasoning or sauce to enhance the flavour and then serve the succulent shredded pork. the great thing about pulled pork is that if it all doesn’t get finished at the BBQ you can use it as leftovers and turn it into sandwiches, wraps, or even tacos for another meal.

However, if you don’t want to prepare pulled pork there are plenty of other ways to enjoy Boston butt. For example, it makes a flavourful stew, and it can be braised which ensures the meat is tender as the fat is melted away.

What sides go well with Boston butt?

Boston butt is a beloved BBQ food that produces delicious pulled pork, and it pairs wonderfully with the usual BBQ accompaniments such as mac and cheese, BBQ beans, corn on the cob, mashed potatoes, wraps, salad, French fries and the like. If you’re looking for a more convenient weeknight meal, try using the Boston butt as a pot roast or with roasted greens and potatoes.


Now you have a greater insight into what Boston butt is, why not try and create some beautiful pulled pork for yourself? At The Village Butcher, we sell only the freshest and highest quality Boston butt UK to our customers. With summer just around the corner, there’s no time to waste. Get quality and affordable Boston butt delivered straight to your door. And if you haven’t got any seasoning don’t panic! We don’t just sell meats but also dry rubs, seasonings, and sauces, so all your bases are covered. Shop today.

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