Pork Shoulder is a "primal cut", one of the main divisions of a pig's carcass before it is cut up further into smaller pieces for consumers. It will be approximately 1/5th of the weight of the carcass.
In some definitions, the entire front leg is included as well as the shoulder, but most definitions treat the leg separately.
A whole shoulder will weigh anywhere from 12 to 18 pounds / 5 1/2 to 8 kg (minus the leg.)
It contains arm and shank bones.
Because of all the fat in this area of the pig, this area is beloved of barbequers, as there's enough fat for the meat to baste itself and to allow for a long, slow cook to allow a smoky taste to get into the meat. As it cooks, though the fat renders out, it stays in long enough during cooking to keep the meat moist and very flavourful.
It's cut into two smaller areas, the upper part into the Boston Butt area, and the lower into the Picnic Shoulder area. These may be further cut into chops, or into Pork Stewing Meat.
Some cuts are also available smoked.
Generally, slow-roast or braise meat from the Pork Shoulder, though if it is from young pigs, it will be very tender, and you can cook it almost any way you want.
Cook roasts at 350 F / 180 C / Gas mark 4 to 5.
For medium well-done, 30 minutes per pound (450g) plus 30 minutes "for the pot".
For well-done, 35 minutes per pound (450g) plus 35 minutes "for the pot".
On a barbeque or gas grill, cook low and slow over indirect heat.
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Pork Blade Shoulder; Échine de porc, Soc de porc (French); Schopf, Schweinenacken (German); Pernil de Cerdo (Spanish)