Sunday, November 9, 2008

Bone in vs. Bone out Pork Shoulder

I have read a lot of articles praising the value of cooking meat with the bone in. In addition to adding a lot of flavor, these sources indicate that cooking meat with the bone in can also help keep your meat moist during the cooking process. It is also pretty cool when the meat has finished cooking to be able to simply pull the bone right out without any type of resistance from the meat itself. Additionally, it is generally cheaper to buy meat with the bone in because it requires less labor by the butcher.

There are some caveats however to buying meat, especially pork shoulders, with the bone in. For one thing, depending on the size of your crockpot, it can be difficult to squeeze in as much meat because you have to contend with an immovable object that is the shoulder bone. I would also argue that while the bone in shoulders tend to be cheaper, you always have to consider that you are paying for the bone itself, which can account for a lot of weight. Buying pork shoulder with the bone in will also require more work on your part to trim away a lot of excess fat which has been left on.

I have made pork shoulder using deboned pork butts and bone in shoulders and couldn't say that I have noticed much of a difference in taste or moisture between the two. This could have a lot to do with nature of the crockpot itself, which keeps the meat moist throughout the entire cooking process. I am also a big fan of dry rubs and barbecue sauces, which could block out whatever subtle flavor that the bone provides to the meat. I'm hoping that someone can shed a little light on this debate for me as I am pretty well stumped.


Mallika said...

Interesting. The pork here tends to be sold without the bone. But I find very good quality meat doesn't need much adding to in terms of flavour.

Jared said...


I 100% agree. My guess is that it depends on the store. You could probably ask a local butcher if he could give a shoulder with the bone in, but I don't know if it would really make a huge difference one way or the other.

Thanks for reading

Lorie said...

I will have to ask my BIL the pork butt expert which he prefers. And I have to say that although I don't have my own opinion on pork shoulder, I do have an opinion on your blog! Love it!

Jared said...


Please do ask because I am quite stumped on this one.

Thank you for reading.