Today, in order to reduce consumer confusion in cuts of meat, the National Pork Board and the Beef Checkoff Program, with the approval of the USDA, is rolling out new naming standards. Pork chops? Gone, they’re called Porterhouse Chops, Ribeye Chops or New York Chops now. Pork butt? History. It’s a Boston Roast now and still has nothing to do with butts—it comes from the shoulder.
Why are butts involved in the first place? Because in pre-Revolutionary times, these lower-priced cuts were salted and kept in barrels, also known as butts, for shipment. More info here.
It’s intended for this system replace the current one but even under the old system pork butt was called different things depending on region. In the US it’s also known as a picnic roast, picnic ham, pork shoulder, Boston butt (but it’s not called that in Boston), or, in the UK, pork hand and spring. Perhaps the new nomenclature will stick this time.
For our MealPlanRescue subscribers, more than half of our meal plans are vegetarian but for the times the recipe calls for beef or pork we’ll use whatever names are the most popular. Personally, I’m gonna miss that butt.