I know it’s been a while in coming, but here it is—the next installment of our pork cuts series. Today I’d like to talk about the front portion of the hog, specifically the shoulder and the shank.

Let’s begin with the pork shoulder, also referred to as the butt, which is the base for shoulder and pork steaks.


Now you might be thinking, wait a minute; If it comes from the shoulder why is it called a Butt? The term has been used for ages. Back in colonial times, New England butchers would put less desirable, or less purchased, meat cuts into barrels for storage and to simplify transportation. This practice gave the cut its name because the barrels were called butts, and the shoulder cut was eventually viewed as a New England specialty. Thus, the Boston Butt was born.

A well-marbled cut, the Butt can be cooked long and slow. As you cook the Boston butt, especially one from a Circle B Ranch Berkshire hog, it will become tender and deliciously flavorful. The Butt may be smoked, as John and I like to do on occasion, but you can also slow cook it in the oven on 300 degrees.  Either way, you get a succulent piece of meat that you can turn into a great tasting pulled pork dish. And, of course, it tastes great with Big John’s BBQ Sauce!

And now I’ll list a few pulled pork recipes for you to try:

Berkshire Pulled Pork with Homemade Baked Beans & Corn Bread

Slow Cooker Apple Juice Pulled Pork

Slow Cooker Pork for Carnitas

And if  you don’t want to go the pulled pork route, I also have a delicious Asian Braised Pork Shoulder recipe. My family loves it, and they think it is one of the best pork shoulder recipes I have ever made! This dish, adapted from an Anne Burrell recipe, will definitely satisfy any craving for oriental food.

Oriental Pork shoulder

Moving on to the Shank, it is cut from the lower portion of a hog’s leg. This tender meat is often braised. I have a recipe for Braised Circle B Pork Shanks that is exceptionally tasty.

Osso Bucco

 I also like to use my pork shanks to prepare Berkshire Pork Osso Bucco. While this traditional Italian dish is usually prepared with Veal shanks, I found that preparing it with pork gives the meal a robust flavor. This recipe, originally from “The Joy of Cooking,” is so easy that you’ll love it!




Up next, look for the following  installment of this series, which will be all about the Ham. We all love it, but most people consider ham to be a strictly holiday dish.  But should ham be only for holidays? I’ll give you some recipes to flavor up your holiday hams, and give you some ham recipes for your everyday fare.


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