Boston pork butt/shoulder (How do you use one?)

January 27, 2010

My local grocery store has Boston pork butts and shoulders on sale at least once a month. And by on sale, I mean well under a dollar a pound so I can get 8 or 9 pounds of meat for something ridiculous like $6. But I kept passing the sales by because I didn’t know what to do with those cuts of meat. Finally, I got impatient with myself one day and realized, look, I know how to use Google. I practically live on allrecipes.com, why not just do a little research and find some recipes? Turns out, I’m really happy I did because I found two recipes, both slow cooker recipes, that I can use to prepare meals not only for that night, but also enough for freeze-ahead portions. Both these recipes were serendipitously tasty, too, so it was a win all around.

First up: carnitas. As always, the basic recipe came from allrecipes.com, but I read through the comments and adapted it to our tastes.

Carnitas (recipe adapted from allrecipes.com)


* 2 teaspoon salt
* 2 teaspoon garlic powder
* 2 teaspoon ground cumin
* 1 teaspoon crumbled dried oregano
* 1 teaspoon ground coriander
* 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1 (4-8 pound) boneless pork shoulder roast
* 2 bay leaves
* a few sprigs of fresh cilantro (optional)
* 4 cloves of garlic (crush to release flavor, no need to mince)
* 3 cups chicken broth


1. Mix together salt, garlic powder, cumin, oregano, coriander, and cinnamon in a bowl. Cut pork into managable pieces (maybe 6-8 pieces). Coat pork with the spice mixture. Place the bay leaves, garlic and cilantro in the bottom of a slow cooker and place the pork on top. Pour the chicken broth around the sides of the pork, being careful not to rinse off the spice mixture.
2. Cover and cook on Low until the pork shreds easily with a fork, about 8 hours, or on High for 5 hours. Turn the meat after it has cooked for 5 hours. When the pork is tender, remove from slow cooker, and shred with two forks. Use cooking liquid as needed to moisten the meat. Remove bones.
3. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Place shredded pork on a large jelly roll pan (cookie sheet) and crisp pork for 20 minutes.
4. Serve as tacos, use in enchiladas, burritos, nachos, etc.

For something different, how about pulled pork?
Pulled Pork (adapted from allrecipes.com)


* 2 tablespoon mild paprika
* 4 teaspoons light brown sugar
* 3 teaspoons hot paprika
* 1 teaspoon celery salt
* 1 teaspoon garlic salt
* 1 teaspoon dry mustard
* 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
* 1 teaspoon onion powder
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 8 pounds pork butt roast
* 1 teaspoon liquid smoke


1. In a small bowl, mix mild paprika, light brown sugar, hot paprika, celery salt, garlic salt, dry mustard, ground black pepper, onion powder, and salt. Rub spice mixture into the roast on all sides. Wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate 8 hours, or overnight (I did not do this and it was still very tasty).
2. Cut pork into 6 to 8 manageable pieces, put in slow cooker on high for 5-6 hours or low for 8 hours.
3. If you’re cooking this much meat, you will need to switch bottom pieces with top pieces at some point, so it all gets cooked evenly.
4. Shred into bite-sized pieces using two forks. Remove bones.
5. At this point, I just add a small amount of barbecue sauce for flavor because I like just a little sauce. Then each family member can add to their own sandwich individually.

All recipes at a glance: