Ask most people from New England what a “Boston Butt” is and you’ll probably get a funny look, a snicker, and a wise-butt answer. Ask anyone in the South and you’ll probably get a funny look, a snicker, and an “edumacation”, as my Southern Man would say…jokingly, of course. Boston Butts are often sold as fundraisers and, in fact, our children’s church youth group is selling them for $25 (if you’re a local and happen to be interested).
So, what is a Boston Butt, you ask? It is pork, the shoulder to be exact:
How the heck did it get its name, you ask?
Well, according to the National Pork Board:
“In pre-revolutionary New England and into the Revolutionary War, some pork cuts (not those highly valued, or “high on the hog,” like loin and ham) were packed into casks or barrels (also known as “butts”) for storage and shipment. The way the hog shoulder was cut in the Boston area became known in other regions as “Boston Butt.” This name stuck and today, Boston butt is called that almost everywhere in the US,… except in Boston.”
So, there you go. I find it interesting how so many of former foods that were not highly valued, are now in high demand and, oftentimes, expensive. Take lobster, for example. Once considered food for the poor and nicknamed “poor man’s chicken” , “cockroach of the sea”, or “scavenger of the sea” in colonial New England, it is now quite the treat, to say the least!Unless you live in coastal New England where prices occasionally dip to under $5/lb, they are definitely not “poor man’s chicken”!
Now, as I wipe my drool, back to pork and the South. Do you know you can eat just about every part of the pig?
Did you know pigs have lips?
I assure you, these remained on the shelf and did not go into my shopping cart after I photographed them. I wonder if the artificial coloring is lipstick? Anyways…Boston Butts.
Here is a photo of the finished product, usually warm, wrapped in foil, and oh, so yummy!
So, if you have a chance to eat some Boston Butt (also known as Boston shoulder which is not as humorous to talk or write about) this holiday season–or whenever–I highly recommend it! Enjoy!