Monday, November 2, 2009

Why Do They Call it Pork Butt if it's the Shoulder?

Pork Butt (Shoulder?) roast is a huge hit around here. I really thought it was the actual "butt" part of the pig until recently - shows you what I know. It's actually the shoulder and it has the big shoulder blade bone in it. It's not something my mom ever cooked, and I had probably never had it up until a couple of years ago. A friend fixed it, with her secret marinade which I'll get to in a minute, and I was/am completely hooked. It got even better when I made it and both kids loved it - a rarity! Of course Mr. D liked it - he'd eat a shoe if you covered it in BBQ sauce. And, while I make fun, I actually appreciate that about him.

I like to get a roast between 5-8 lbs, but I've made some bigger than that. You definitely want a bone-in roast. I got a pork butt that was boneless and had twine, or whatever that string is, around it holding it together and it was awful. I think it was just a bunch of pieces stuck in there together. We fed it to the dog. Anyway, you can find pork butts on sale pretty often for around $1.49/lb.

When I make one, I let it sit in the fridge and marinate for at least 2 days, but I've done it up to 4. My mom would probably die - she doesn't let anything sit in the fridge very long, cooked or not. I usually marinate it in a stock pot, or if it's small enough, in the insert for my big crock pot.

The base of my marinade is sherry. DRY sherry, not the sweet kind of port sherry or whatever it is. My friend that cooked the first pork butt I had told me "sherry" and I mistakenly got the sweet kind and I thought my friend was batty. But, you get the dry sherry and all is well. Then - the rest of my marinade does not have measurements or rules. It is a kitchen sink sort of thing - throw it in and I promise it will be good. I use varying amounts of:

brown sugar
pepper
marjoram
rosemary
cinnamon
seasoned salt
garlic - minced, powdered, probably both
any kind of BBQ spice blend
mustard

Really, this list seems short - I put so much crap in there, you wouldn't even believe it. It always turns out great.

To cook it, I have occasionally used the crockpot, which works fine, but it isn't my favorite method. I like to truly roast it in the oven. I put it in a roasting pan (mine is the kind with a shallow bottom and a big lid/top) and cook it at 275 or 300 for hourrrrrrrrrrsssssssssssssss. I usually go by 30 minutes per pound, and then add a little to be sure.

When it's done, I let it rest for at least 30 minutes-1 hour. Then I put on latex gloves (I have boxes of them in the kitchen - I hate touching raw meat, or - in this case - getting all greasy) and I start tearing the roast apart by hand. I have a big bowl for the good pieces and the trash can by me for the ick. And I tear through the whole thing and get rid of as much fat as possible, etc. Then I pour the pan juices over the meat in the bowl. We eat our first meal from it like this when it's hot. Then, after it cools enough for the fridge, I put the covered bowl in the fridge and the next day, the fat from the juices has risen to the top and hardened and I spoon it off and throw most of it out.

We eat on it for a couple of days and I also make freezer baggies with enough for 1 meal. It lasts a really long time and it is so good. In fact, it's so good that we were so busy eating it that I forgot to take pictures!!!!!!!!! I'll be making another one soon and will post some then.

The kids like to eat the roast just plain with a fork, but Mr. D and I like to make it into sandwiches. We use hamburger buns with a thin layer of mayonaisse (keeps the juices from soaking the bun so bad), then we top the bun with meat and then some BBQ sauce. Sometimes I make the sauce, sometimes we use bought sauce. We never have tried topping it with cole slaw, though I know lots of people do that. I personally don't want to screw up my pork butt with cabbage.

Peace, Love, and Shoulder-Butt,

~HD

Mom of Fred and Ginger
Wife of Mr. D
Ravishing Roaster of Pork Butt

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