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What type of pork is best for BBQ?

When it comes to indulging in a delicious BBQ feast, pork often takes center stage. From mouth-watering ribs to succulent pulled pork, there are numerous cuts of pork that are perfect for grilling and smoking. But with so many options available, it can be challenging to determine which type of pork is best suited for your BBQ needs.

The Importance of Choosing the Right Cut

Choosing the right cut of pork is crucial to achieving that perfectly tender and flavorful BBQ result. The various cuts of pork offer different textures, levels of fat marbling, and flavors. Some cuts are ideal for slow cooking and smoking, while others lend themselves well to direct grilling over high heat.

When it comes to BBQ, the two most popular cuts of pork are ribs and pork shoulder (also known as pork butt). Each of these cuts has its own unique characteristics that make them a favorite among BBQ enthusiasts.

Ribs: The Perfect Combination of Juiciness and Flavor

Ribs are a classic choice for BBQ lovers. They are typically divided into two main types:

  1. Spare Ribs: Larger and meatier, spare ribs come from the belly area of the pig. They have more fat content, making them incredibly juicy and tender when cooked low and slow.
  2. Baby Back Ribs: These smaller and leaner ribs are taken from the upper loin area. They cook relatively quickly and offer a delicate balance of tenderness and flavor.

Pro Tip: For melt-in-your-mouth ribs, try using the 3-2-1 method: smoke the ribs for 3 hours, then wrap them in foil with a liquid (such as apple juice or beer) and cook for an additional 2 hours. Finally, uncover and grill for the final hour to achieve a beautiful caramelized glaze.

Pork Shoulder: Versatility and Rich Flavor

Pork shoulder, also known as pork butt or Boston butt, is a wonderfully versatile cut of meat that’s perfect for BBQ. Despite its name, pork shoulder comes from the upper shoulder area of the pig.

It has a generous amount of marbling, which helps keep the meat moist and tender during the long cooking process. Pork shoulder is commonly used for pulled pork, where it is slow-cooked until it can be easily shredded using a fork.

Other Cuts for BBQ

While ribs and pork shoulder are the most popular choices for BBQ, there are other cuts worth considering:

  • Pork Belly: Known for its rich flavors and crispy skin when properly cooked, pork belly is a favorite choice for Asian-inspired BBQ dishes.
  • Pork Loin: Leaner and more delicate than other cuts, pork loin is best suited for direct grilling. It can be sliced into medallions or left whole for a flavorful roast.

Is Pork Shoulder or Pork Butt Better for Pulled Pork?


When it comes to making delicious pulled pork, choosing the right cut of meat is essential. In the UK, two popular choices are pork shoulder and pork butt. But which one is better for creating that juicy, tender pulled pork that everyone loves? Let’s compare the two cuts and find out.

Pork Shoulder

Pork shoulder, also known as pork shoulder butt or picnic roast, is a flavorful and versatile cut. It comes from the upper part of the pig’s front leg and contains a good amount of marbling, which adds flavor and moisture to the meat. One of the advantages of using pork shoulder for pulled pork is its higher fat content, which helps keep the meat moist during slow cooking.

Key points about pork shoulder:

  1. Contains more fat, resulting in juicier pulled pork.
  2. Has a bone-in option (pork shoulder blade roast) or boneless option (Boston butt).
  3. Provides a good balance between lean meat and fat for flavor.

Pork Butt

Contrary to its name, pork butt actually comes from the upper part of the pig’s shoulder. It is also referred to as Boston butt, which can be a bit confusing. Pork butt is well-marbled with fat, making it a popular choice for pulled pork due to its rich flavor and tenderness. This cut is typically boneless and offers convenience when it comes to preparation.

Key points about pork butt:

  1. Also has a good fat content for flavorful pulled pork.
  2. Boneless, making it easier to work with.
  3. Offers a more uniform shape, allowing for even cooking.

Choosing the Best Cut for Pulled Pork

Both pork shoulder and pork butt are excellent choices for making pulled pork. The decision ultimately comes down to personal preference and availability. If you prioritize juiciness and don’t mind a bone-in option, pork shoulder might be the way to go. On the other hand, if convenience and uniformity are important to you, pork butt is a great choice.

Pro Tip: Whichever cut you choose, make sure to slow cook it at a low temperature to maximize tenderness.

Ultimately, whether you choose pork shoulder or pork butt for pulled pork, both cuts have their merits and can produce delicious results. Experiment with different cuts and cooking techniques to find your perfect pulled pork recipe. Happy cooking!

Cut Key Features
Pork Shoulder Bone-in or boneless options available
Pork Butt Boneless and uniform shape, making it easy to work with

What is the best cut of pork for shredding?

The art of shredding pork

Shredded pork is a popular dish in the UK, often used in sandwiches, tacos, and barbecue dishes. The key to achieving tender, juicy, and flavorful shredded pork lies in selecting the right cut of meat. Not all cuts are created equal when it comes to shredding, so let’s explore some of the best options.

Pork shoulder – the ultimate choice

Pork shoulder, also known as pork butt, is often considered the best cut for shredding. It is a well-marbled and flavorful cut that becomes wonderfully tender after slow cooking. Whether you choose to roast it in the oven or cook it in a slow cooker, the result will be succulent, easy-to-shred pork.

Pork loin – a lean alternative

If you prefer a leaner option, pork loin can also be used for shredding. Although it may not have as much fat and marbling as the shoulder, proper cooking techniques can still yield tender and flavorful results. Slow cooking or braising the pork loin with plenty of liquid will help break down the tough fibers and create a melt-in-your-mouth texture.

Tips for perfectly shredded pork

  1. Season your pork well before cooking to enhance the flavor.
  2. Cook the pork low and slow to allow the connective tissues to break down.
  3. Consider marinating the meat overnight to infuse it with additional flavors.
  4. Use two forks or meat claws to easily shred the cooked pork.

“The key to perfectly shredded pork is selecting the right cut and cooking it with patience and care.”

Can you use pork loin for pulled pork?

When it comes to making delicious pulled pork, one of the most common cuts used is the pork shoulder. However, many people wonder if they can use pork loin instead. Let’s take a closer look at whether or not pork loin can be used to make tender and flavorful pulled pork.

Understanding the Difference

Pork shoulder and pork loin come from different parts of the pig and have distinct characteristics. Pork shoulder, also known as pork butt or Boston butt, is a more fatty and collagen-rich cut. This marbling and connective tissue contribute to the succulent and tender texture of pulled pork. On the other hand, pork loin is a leaner cut with less fat and collagen.

Using Pork Loin for Pulled Pork

While pork loin doesn’t naturally lend itself to pulled pork, it is still possible to use it with a few considerations. The lean nature of pork loin means it has a tendency to dry out during long cooking times. To counter this, it’s important to employ techniques that help retain moisture and enhance flavor.

One approach is to brine the pork loin before cooking. Brining involves soaking the meat in a solution of salt, sugar, and aromatics, which helps to maintain moisture and adds flavor. Another option is to use a slow cooker or an Instant Pot, which can help ensure the meat stays moist during the cooking process.

Is Pork Belly Good for BBQ?

If you’re a fan of barbecue, then you’ve likely come across the delicious cut of meat known as pork belly. Pork belly is a fatty and flavorful cut that has gained popularity in recent years for its melt-in-your-mouth texture and rich taste. But is it good for BBQ? Let’s find out.

The Versatile Pork Belly

Pork belly is incredibly versatile and can be prepared in various ways, including frying, roasting, or braising. However, it truly shines when it comes to barbecuing. The high fat content in pork belly lends itself well to slow cooking methods like smoking or grilling, allowing the meat to become tender and juicy while developing a savory crust.

When properly cooked, pork belly provides a wonderful combination of crispy skin and moist meat, creating a delightful contrast of textures. The fat in pork belly bastes the meat as it cooks, resulting in a flavorful and succulent final product.

Preparing and Cooking Pork Belly for BBQ

Before barbecuing pork belly, it’s essential to achieve the perfect balance between rendered fat and crispy skin. This can be achieved through scoring the skin, applying a dry rub or marinade, and employing indirect heat cooking methods. The slow and low technique is ideal for breaking down the connective tissues, resulting in tender meat.

Here are some steps to consider when preparing pork belly for BBQ:

  1. Score the skin of the pork belly to allow for better rendering of the fat.
  2. Apply a dry rub or marinade of your choice to enhance the flavor.
  3. Preheat your BBQ grill or smoker to a low temperature (around 225°F/107°C).
  4. Place the pork belly on the grill, fat side up, and cook it slowly using indirect heat.
  5. Baste the pork belly occasionally during the cooking process to ensure it stays moist.
  6. Continue cooking until the internal temperature reaches at least 165°F/74°C.
  7. For crispy skin, finish off by placing the pork belly on direct heat for a few minutes.

Why Pork Belly is Worth a Try

Barbecuing pork belly offers a unique and indulgent experience that brings out the best qualities of this cut. The combination of tender meat, crispy skin, and smoky flavors is hard to resist. As chef and BBQ expert John Doe says:

“Pork belly is an underrated cut for BBQ that delivers a level of decadence and flavor that you won’t find in many other cuts. It’s absolutely worth trying!”

In summary, pork belly is an excellent choice for BBQ due to its high-fat content, which renders down during slow cooking, resulting in juicy and flavorful meat. The crispy skin adds an irresistible texture, making it a favorite among barbecue enthusiasts.

Which pork ribs are best for BBQ?

There’s nothing quite like the smoky aroma and tender, juicy meat of barbecued pork ribs. Whether you’re a seasoned grill master or a beginner looking to try your hand at BBQ, choosing the right type of pork ribs is crucial for achieving that perfect flavor and texture. In this article, we’ll explore the different cuts of pork ribs and help you understand which ones are best suited for BBQ in the UK.

1. Baby Back Ribs

Baby back ribs, also known as loin back ribs, are a popular choice for BBQ enthusiasts. These ribs are cut from the top of the rib section near the spine, which means they are leaner and more tender compared to other cuts. They are typically smaller in size and have a curved shape, making them easier to handle on the grill.

2. Spare Ribs

Spare ribs come from the lower portion of the rib cage, closer to the belly. These ribs have more fat, connective tissue, and meat compared to baby back ribs, resulting in a rich and flavorful taste. They are larger and flatter than baby back ribs, requiring longer cooking times to become tender.

3. St. Louis Style Ribs

St. Louis style ribs are a variation of spare ribs. They are trimmed down to remove the breastbone and excess fat, resulting in a rectangular-shaped rack of ribs with a higher meat-to-bone ratio. St. Louis style ribs are known for their succulent meat and are a favorite among BBQ enthusiasts.

When it comes to BBQ, personal preference plays a significant role in selecting the best pork ribs. Some people prefer the tenderness and leaner meat of baby back ribs, while others enjoy the rich flavor and juiciness of spare ribs or St. Louis style ribs.

The key to great BBQ ribs is slow and low cooking, allowing the meat to become tender and infused with smoky flavors.” – BBQ expert

If you’re unsure which ribs to choose for your next BBQ, why not try a combination? A mixed rack of baby back ribs and spare ribs can offer a variety of textures and flavors to suit different tastes.

Rib Type Description
Baby Back Ribs Lean and tender cut from the top of the rib section.
Spare Ribs Meatier and richer in flavor, cut from the lower portion of the rib cage.
St. Louis Style Ribs Rectangular-shaped ribs trimmed from spare ribs, with a higher meat-to-bone ratio.

When preparing your chosen pork ribs for BBQ, it’s essential to remove the membrane from the bone side for better seasoning penetration and tenderness. Additionally, marinating or rubbing the ribs with your favorite spices and BBQ sauce prior to grilling will enhance their flavor.

Remember, whether you opt for baby back ribs, spare ribs, or St. Louis style ribs, the key to achieving mouthwatering BBQ ribs lies in the slow cooking process, using indirect heat and smoke to achieve tender, fall-off-the-bone goodness.


When it comes to shredding pork, pork shoulder is the go-to choice thanks to its marbling and tenderness. However, the leaner pork loin can also produce delicious results when cooked with care. Whichever cut you choose, remember to slow cook it for the best texture and use flavorful seasonings or marinades to enhance the taste. So, embrace your inner barbecue master and enjoy the succulent pleasure of perfectly shredded pork!

While pork loin may not be the traditional choice for pulled pork, it can still be used with some modifications to achieve a tasty result. However, it’s worth noting that pork loin will not have the same succulence and tenderness as pork shoulder. If you’re looking for that classic pulled pork experience, it’s best to stick with the tried-and-true pork shoulder.

Quote: “Pork loin can work for pulled pork if you take steps to prevent drying out the meat, such as brining or using a slow cooker.” – BBQ enthusiast