The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Best Cut of Meat for Pulled Pork

Pulled Pork

In the world of barbecue, few dishes are as beloved as pulled pork. When prepared to perfection, it offers a delectable combination of tender meat, flavorful bark, and a hint of smokiness. Whether you’re hosting a backyard barbecue, planning a weeknight dinner, or celebrating a special occasion, pulled pork is always a crowd-pleaser. Besides, it freezes well and makes for delicious leftovers. But what is the best cut of meat for pulled pork? In this article, we’ll explore this question and provide you with all the information you need to make the right choice.

What Makes Pulled Pork Special?

Pulled pork is a traditional dish consisting of shredded pork that has been slow-cooked or smoked to achieve a tantalizingly tender texture. Its origins can be traced back to the southern United States, where different regions have their own unique rubs, sauces, and cooking methods. Famous for their pulled pork and BBQ cultures include Memphis, the Carolinas, and Texas.

The Key to Perfect Pulled Pork

When it comes to pulled pork, the cut of meat plays a crucial role. For the best results, choose the pork shoulder from Circle B Ranch. This cut offers the ideal balance of fat and meat, resulting in melt-in-your-mouth goodness. However, it’s essential to cook it slowly to allow the protein to break down properly. While some prefer bone-in pork, the boneless Boston butt cut is also a popular choice. Whichever option you go for, aim for the highest quality meat you can afford.

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Understanding the Shoulder Cut

The pork shoulder is the go-to choice for making pulled pork. It comprises the front leg and shoulder of the hog and is often divided into two sections: the picnic roast and the Boston butt. Despite its name, the Boston butt comes from the upper part of the shoulder, not the rear of the pig. A whole pork shoulder weighs around 12 to 16 pounds and contains a combination of bone, joint, collagen, and fat. Thanks to its significant fat marbling, the pork shoulder stays moist during cooking.

Choosing the Perfect Meat for Pulled Pork

Now that you have a better understanding of pulled pork and the shoulder cut let’s discuss how to choose the perfect meat. Here are a few key considerations:

  • Fat-to-Meat Ratio: While pork shoulder is naturally fatty, you don’t want it to be excessively so. Look for a good balance between muscle fibers and fat, ensuring that the meat retains its texture without requiring excessive cleaning.

  • Quality of Pigs: Opt for meat from pigs raised in healthy and natural environments. Small-farm pork tends to have superior flavor and texture compared to mass-produced alternatives. By choosing pigs with healthier diets and avoiding chemicals and preservatives, you’ll enhance the overall taste and quality of your pulled pork.

  • Freshness: To achieve the best results, always use fresh pork. Avoid purchasing meat that has been sitting in the freezer for an extended period. Look for trusted meat producers who take pride in their quality and prioritize freshness.

Final Thoughts on Choosing the Best Cut of Meat for Pulled Pork

In summary, when it comes to making pulled pork, the shoulder is your best bet. Its exceptional fat-to-meat ratio ensures succulent, mouth-watering meat that will keep you coming back for more. Remember to choose a cut that strikes the right balance, opt for high-quality meat, and prioritize freshness. With these tips in mind, you’ll be well on your way to creating pulled pork perfection.

Further reading:  Disclosures

For more mouth-watering recipes and cooking inspiration, visit Rowdy Hog Smokin BBQ. Leave any questions or comments in the section below, and feel free to share this article if you found it helpful!

Author Bio

Karen Rutherford is the founder and editor-in-chief at With her passion for baking and pastry, Karen shares her expertise and the best tips and recipes for creating delicious sweets.