Pork butt is the cut of meat taken from the shoulder of the pig, says paulj, where the front leg meets the body. Despite the colloquial use of butt to mean rear end in American English, the rear of the pig is actually the hams.

Pork butt is “the essential cut” for barbecuing, says steakman55. It’s meant to be cooked slowly, with the meat then sliced or even literally “pulled” off the bone. It has lots of fat and is difficult to overcook. Ideally, the butt would be smoked for 8 to 10 hours under low, indirect heat, says nosh.

True barbecue happens with low, smoky heat, but pulled pork can be created when pork butts are prepared using any method of slow cooking over low heat, says paulj. The meat could be wrapped in foil and cooked in a slow oven, or prepared in a Dutch oven, or even fast-cooked in a pressure cooker. “Obviously these methods don’t contribute any smoky flavor, but you can still season the meat with the BBQ sauce,” says paulj.

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