Why Is It Called Boston Butt?

Have you ever wondered why a particular cut of pork is known as a “Boston butt”? With a few different theories, it can be difficult to pinpoint the exact origin of the name.

But one thing can be certain—it’s an incredibly versatile cut of meat with a storied past. In this article, we will demystify the origins of this much-loved cut of pork as well as explore its culinary possibilities. So, if you’re ready to learn why pork butts are called Boston butts, what you can do with them, and perhaps why they make great sandwiches, let’s get started!

Why is it called Boston Butt?

Have you ever wondered how the Boston butt cut of pork got its name? Before delving into the history of this cut of pork, it can be beneficial to examine what the Boston butt is.

What is the Boston Butt Cut?

The Boston butt is the upper portion of the pork shoulder, more specifically the portion of the shoulder located closer to the neck.

This cut of meat is an ideal choice for smoking or slow roasting, resulting in an incredibly flavorful and tender piece of meat.

History of the Name “Boston Butt”

The term “Boston butt” dates back to the 18th century, when pork shoulders were put into barrels for storage or preservation.

These barrels were labeled as “Boston butts” not because they were made from the back of the animal, but because of the shape of the preserved meat. Rather than being stored flat, the pork shoulders were packed into the barrels in an upright position, resulting in the shape of a butt. This shape and the barrels it was stored in became known as “Boston butts” due to the popular port city they were shipped from.

Alternate Names for Boston Butt

Despite the fact that the origin of the name refers to the shape of the roast or the port from which it was shipped, it is still technically the upper part of a pig’s shoulder. As a result, it is also referred to as pork shoulder, picnic shoulder, or California cut.


In conclusion, the Boston butt cut of pork got its name from the barrels it was packed and stored in during the 18th century due to its shape. While the barrels were labeled with the name “Boston butt,” the cut of meat itself actually comes from the upper part of a pig’s shoulder, and is also referred to as a pork shoulder, picnic shoulder, or California cut. Citation URL: https://www.

cherrythreetimestwo. com/blog/2020/5/6/why-is-it-called-a-boston-butthttps://www. thespruceeats. com/boston-butt-cut-of-pork-335213

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