Welcome to my ultimate guide to pork shoulder.
Until Dominic pointed out how cheap the pork shoulder was from the supermarket and how good it tasted and how versatile it was, I had hardly ever eaten it. I could probably count on one hand how many times I had eaten it in my whole life.
Then I got a slow cooker and I decided that pulled pork was the perfect dish for me!!!! (you can get my Indian pulled pork here) and then I made more and more different dishes in it.
When I buy a pork shoulder it costs me about 3,50€ (about $3.70) and the size of the shoulder is enough to feed our family of four including some leftovers for another day. If I look at it from a frugal point of view, it works out at about 61 cent ahead and for a meaty meal I find this fantastic.
Plus my dad who will normally only eat prime beef enjoys it so if I can get him to eat it then I think it would suit anyone that is not a vegetarian!
We will usually serve it up with some salad and a sauce or sometimes some bread and we will often end up eating in silence because we are enjoying our meal so much.
You can of course make a lot of other dishes with a pork shoulder and it is its versatile nature that has always made me fall in love with it.
Another winter favourite of ours is a simple pork shoulder cooked in the slow cooker with some apple and celery. Delicious and even better if it is served with warm crusty bread and coleslaw.
But the best thing about a pork shoulder is that as a cook you can have one in the fridge and know that you can easily make a dish to please anyone. Or like us buy them in bulk and have them in your freezer for that day when you just can’t decide what to cook.
What is a pork shoulder?
I love the definition given by Wikipedia for the pork shoulder:
Boston butt or pork butt is the American name for a cut of pork that comes from the upper part of the shoulder from the front leg and may contain the blade bone.
I love this definition because as a former Brit I love the cultural differences between how us Brits talk about food vs the Americans. I even sit there watching Masterchef USA and quizzing Dominic about certain foods that I have never heard of. So to read that it is also called the Boston Butt sounds really cool and delicious.
On another note – it is also really interesting that it can be served on the bone. Well when it is I find the taste of the meat is much better but you get less meat. So it is very much a catch 22 situation over how I buy it!
What are the benefits of eating pork shoulder?
I doubt there is any benefits of covering slow cooked pork shoulder in barbeque sauce and then shredding it, before placing it into a bun. But I am sure if you cook it a different way that the benefits could be huge.
Average in calories – 100g of pork shoulder is just 269 calories so for meat this is very good. If you pair it up with some seasonal vegetables you have a very healthy meal.
Vitamin B12 – It is high in vitamin B12 which a lot of us lack in our diet.
High in protein – Pork is very high in protein and because of this it stops you bingeing. You’re left full for longer and tend to avoid picking between meals. As a family of four we never finish our pork shoulders and we end up looking stuffed like many people do after a big roast dinner.
Versatile – I find pork shoulder very versatile. I can cook a whole range of dishes with it and usually pair it up with some of my leftovers for a perfect evening meal. I have even had it for breakfast before to make use of leftover bits from the night before.
Iron – it is also a good source of iron. When I was pregnant my iron levels got very low and I would have my iron fix via pork on a regular basis and it would give me a real energy hit. Especially if you have it with other high iron foods.
It clearly doesn’t have the same benefits as the cauliflower that we featured last month, but for a cheap cut of meat I don’t think we can really complain with what I have mentioned above!!!!
What else can you cook with pork shoulder
I think a lot of us can be rather boring when it comes to pork shoulder. We end up using it to make slow cooked pork or pulled pork and that is where it begins and end. There are of course a lot of other things we can make with it and I have picked out my favourites below from around the web.
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Here are my top 10 favourite pork shoulder Recipes:
Also as I love them so much I have included four different versions before for pulled pork. Or you can check out my own Indian spiced version by clicking here.