If you’ve ever cooked Boston butt on the grill or smoker, you already know how delicious it can be when it’s done right. Fortunately for us BBQ lovers, it’s also a great deal. This Boston butt price guide will explain why.
Boston Butt Price / Pork Butt Price
Boston butt is usually sold at a per-pound rate of about $1.79 to $2.29. Often, you can find it on sale for 99 cents per pound, in which case you should buy a large batch. It’s not a huge investment when the price is this low, and the results are well worth it.
About Boston Butt
Boston butt is another term for pork butt, which is cut from the animal’s shoulder. Don’t confuse the cut with pork shoulder, though, which is cut from a lower section of the foreleg. If you see a cut that’s labeled “whole pork shoulder,” it consists of both the Boston butt and the pork shoulder, which may also be called the “picnic shoulder” or “picnic roast.”
This cut contains a high percentage of fat and connective tissue. That makes it a natural partner for slow cooking, since most of that fat will have a chance to render out and make the meat unbelievably juicy. If it’s cooked low and slow, Boston butt will be tender enough to fall apart when you touch it.
If you’re making pulled pork sandwiches, Boston butt is the cut to buy. It also makes excellent pork carnitas, a popular filling for Mexican street tacos.
Boston Butt Price: Guide
The pork butt price depends on a number of factors. If you hit the right combination of circumstances, you can save a great deal of money.
Buying in Bulk
This is the first rule to follow when buying pork butt. When you purchase a great deal of meat at once, the price per pound is often lower. Look for deals at big-box retailers like Sam’s Club and Costco.
The pork butt price per lb may vary based on the region where you live, not to mention the current market. A per-pound price of around $1.79 to $2.29 is typical.
That said, it’s not unusual to find Boston butt priced below a dollar a pound in some places, particularly for bone-in cuts (see the section below). The low cost makes it even easier to purchase large quantities in advance.
If you’re worried about what to do with all that pulled pork, bear in mind that it’s a highly versatile ingredient. Once cooked, it can even be frozen and used at a later date. For more ideas on what to do with your leftover pulled pork, see Other Uses for Boston Butt, below.
Bone-in vs. Boneless
Bone-in pork butt will also cost less per pound than boneless. Of course, you won’t be getting as much meat, because a percentage of the weight will be taken up by the bone.
We should point out, however, that the difference in bulk is barely noticeable once the meat has cooked down. As a bonus, the meat from bone-in pork butt is more juicy and flavorful, too.
How To Prepare Boston Butt For the Grill or Smoker
First of all, don’t be tempted to trim too much of the fat from the meat. It might not look very pretty right now, but the heat from the smoker is going to transform that fat into something special.
Tip: If the Boston butt is especially large, you might want to cut it into smaller portions. These will cook more quickly and cut down on the dreaded “stall” time We’ve found that a 3- to 4-pound pork butt is easiest to manage. You can still cook the pieces at the same time if you’d like.
To begin, slather the pork butt with prepared yellow mustard to help the spices adhere. You can also experiment with Dijon or spicy mustard, as long as the taste won’t interfere with the flavor profile you’re trying to create.
Your next step is to coat the pork all over with a seasoning blend. We prefer to make our own, but you can use a store-bought rub if you’d like. Note that you’ll need about 1/4 cup for a pork butt that weighs 8-10 pounds. These proportions can be scaled up or down as needed.
If you’re using a pellet smoker or wood chips, try using a combination of apple and hickory. This will give you plenty of smoke flavor without overpowering the pork.
Preheat the grill or smoker to 225 degrees Fahrenheit. When the grill has reached the desired temperature, place the seasoned pork in the center of the rack with the fat side facing up.
Close the lid of the grill and let the pork cook until it reaches an internal temperature of about 200 degrees Fahrenheit. For a pork butt that weighs 8 to 10 pounds, this could take as long as 20 hours, so be patient. You can also attempt to speed things up by wrapping the pork in foil or butcher paper once it’s had a few hours in the smoker.
After you’ve taken the pork off the grill, it’s a good idea to wrap it in foil anyway during the resting period. It should sit for at least an hour before you begin shredding it. Otherwise, the juices will run right out onto your prep space, leaving you with pulled pork that’s uncharacteristically dry.
While you’re shredding the pork, you can discard any large pieces of fat and gristle that were left behind. There shouldn’t be much, but if there is, you’ll want to get it out of the way before serving.
Once the pork is shredded, you can either coat it with barbecue sauce or serve the sauce on the side. We would recommend the latter, as it will give everyone the chance to season the meat to their liking. It will also make it easier for you to repurpose the leftovers later on.
Other Uses for Boston Butt
Remember that the pork butt will shrink down a great deal after it’s cooked. That’s because most cuts of meat are made up of about 65 percent water, which evaporates during the cooking process.
If you cook off a lot of meat at once, though, you’ll still end up with a huge pile of pulled pork. In case you’re wondering what to do with all those magnificent leftovers, here are a few ideas.
Roll out a round of pizza dough, top it with your favorite barbecue sauce and shredded mozzarella cheese, and add a few handfuls of pulled pork. Once the pizza is done, you can put a scoop or two of fresh coleslaw on top. This is an especially good way to use up pulled pork that was previously frozen.
Tip: If you don’t want the pork to get too crispy, put it under the cheese instead. You can also coat the pork in barbecue sauce beforehand instead of adding the sauce separately.
Baked Potato Filling
Baked potatoes serve as the ideal canvas for using up leftover meat and vegetables. Once the potatoes are tender and flaky inside, split them in half and top them with shredded pork, barbecue sauce, sour cream, and cheddar cheese. If you want to add an extra kick, place a few pickled jalapeno peppers on top. Sprinkle with scallions before serving.
The savory, smoky flavor of pulled pork makes it an excellent base for a rich stew or chili. Try roasting a batch of fresh tomatillos with yellow onions and whole cloves of garlic, then pureeing the mixture with a cup or two of chicken stock. Add the puree to the pork, slowly reheat the mixture, and season with salt, pepper, and cumin to taste.
Tip: You can make this chili into a hearty full-course meal by serving it over rice. It also goes well with freshly baked corn bread.
The preceding suggestions are all delicious, but they can be tough on the waistline. For a lighter alternative, toss a batch of mixed greens with tomatoes, cucumbers, and a homemade vinaigrette. Divide the salad into bowls and top with pulled pork. If you’d like, you can slowly reheat the pork before adding it to the salad.
When you see Boston butt priced below $2 per pound, do yourself a favor and buy a batch. The upfront cost will be well worth it in the long run, particularly if you’re able to keep a few portions frozen for later use.
Best of luck, and happy grilling!