Breaking Down Pork Shoulder
aking money on costlier ingredients like heritage breed whole hog can be a challenge. But there are some wonderful yet overlooked cuts that come from the shoulder primal, which can help to make the higher price of the pork worth it. And you don’t have to just make fresh sausage again.
Start by separating the traditional Boston butt and picnic from the shoulder primal. A butcher can isolate the triceps muscle, which is part of the picnic subprimal. The triceps makes a nice roast, or smoke it and slice for sandwiches or even quick arm chops to go beyond plain pulled pork.
Dry heat cuts from the Boston butt include the coppa and the pluma.
Add more value to your menu by following these cutting steps.
Start with a whole pork shoulder. Remove the trotter (foot) (A) and the hock (B). Use a handsaw to separate the picnic (C) from the Boston roast (D) by following the ridge of the spine.
Remove the scapula bone from the Boston roast (D) by allowing the knife to follow the natural curve of the bone.
Isolate the coppa (E) and the pluma (F) from the Boston roast. The pluma is the serratus ventralis muscle. It is a large single muscle portion and is located directly under the scapula bone.
The remaining portion of the Boston roast (D) can be used as a coppa roast or cut into chops. The roast is best oven-roasted.
If the skin is left on the roast, make sure to slice the skin to allow the fat to escape during the cooking process.
Remove the arm bone from the picnic by scraping the bone with the edge of your knife. Isolate the triceps muscle (G). The triceps muscle can be left whole as a roast for smoking or sliced into boneless pork arm chops.