Desperate for Boston Butt [Food/Vendor]

2009 Jul 22
We are having a pulled pork bbq on Saturday and we cannot find a boston butt pork anywhere... We need approx 8-10 lbs. Any suggestions are welcomed.

2009 Jul 22
what area of the city are you in? any butcher should be able to procure that size pork shoulder/pork butt.

2009 Jul 22
I live in Aylmooo. Tried A1 butcher, Super C, Costco, Marcus... Nothing yet. I need it by tomorow so I can! I do work in Ottawa, so any suggestions there would be ok.

2009 Jul 22
look for an entire pork shoulder

i think this is simply a problem of nomenclature - i dont see too many places call the butt portion 'boston butt' around here

can we get a bbq expert to chime in?

2009 Jul 22
Pork shoulder and butt = same thing. It is the upper part of the front leg.(the piece with the shoulder blade in it) The lower part is called a "picnic" roast It is slightly less fatty and usually has the hock attached.
I see them at all the stores, metro, bla blas and butcher shops such as "the butchery" in bells etc...
The picnic roast also makes a wonderful pulled pork. Although the best is the "whole picnic" with both cuts attached all bone in! This cut can take up to 20 hours to cook depending on the size!

2009 Jul 22
As DB already pointed out, a picnic roast comes from roughly the same area of the pig, and it's a cut that I'm seeing more and more of in the standard grocery store. Produce Depot on Carling Ave almost always carries this cut (as well as sliced pork belly & other wonderful piggy cuts). One roast costs about $6-8 and makes enough pulled pork for about 3-4 people (depending on how hungry they are). I just want to point out that the Butchery did not have this cut on hand the last time I sought it out from there, the guys behind the counter said I should call ahead next time.

2009 Jul 22
Thank you guys!! I was actually going to the Produce depot tmo after work. This is perfect!

2009 Jul 23
Da Butcher: I saw in an old thread a mention of a dry rub recipe. I would love to try yours. Can you share? :-)

2009 Jul 23
Poutine - Don't know what Da Butcher's Rub features, but here is "the one" from the Dinosaur Bar-B-Q Cookbook (my go-to for all things BBQ).
All Purpose Red Rub

1/2 Cup Paprika
1/2 Cup Kosher Salt
1/2 Cup Light Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup Granulated Garlic
6 Tablespoons of Granulated Onion
1/4 Cup Chili Powder
1 Tablespoon Black Pepper
1 Teaspoon Ground Cumin
1/2 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper

DUMP all the ingredients into a bowl and rub them together with your hands.

STORE in a plastic or glass container til ready to use.

MAKES 2-3/4 Cups.

2009 Jul 23
I recommend using a mix of hot & smoked paprika (2:1) if you aren't using a smoker to cook the meat.

2009 Jul 23
Try Simpson's Meat Market on Downpatrick if you don't luck out at PD. We usually use a full pork shoulder with the bone, but last time we used a boneless butt (2 actually) and they were excellent, and slightly easier to 'pull'. I know purists like the bone in for added flavor.

2009 Jul 23
Thanks to both, I love the flavour of smoked paprika, I will use that for sure. I am using a regular bbq with a smoker box for chips, will use both apple wood and hickory... any suggestions on if I should cook/smoke the whole thing in the BBQ or finish in the stove...

2009 Jul 23
Poutine - I haven't done it myself (so this is just by the book)... Dinosaur Bar-B-Que recipe takes about 8 hours in total... 4 to 5 Hours of Smoking (ala soaked wood chips on the grill) and then another 3 to 3-1/2 Hours of cooking at 225 to 250 F while wrapped in foil. I suppose one could do the last part in the oven (as it says keeping the temperature even is important).

2009 Jul 23
As noted above, I get it at the Produce Depot, which ALWAYS has it, and for a very reasonable price (maybe 3 bucks a pound?). Has the skin attached, which I like. They cut it in big slabs (bone-in), about three inches thick.

You can also find it at the New 168 Market on the western edge of Chinatown, but they usually have it cut up.

I have not found a cheap source for a boneless, rolled pork shoulder for roasting--anyone seen that? I also miss what we called in Michigan a "smoked picnic," which was a cured/smoked pork shoulder (often boneless). Like ham, but cheaper, tastier (often), and often more manageable size-wise. Anyone seen that here in Ottawa?

As you are all aware, Ottawa is a great place to be a home cook (but a less good place for restaurant dining, sadly). But one thing that struck me when I moved here from the States was that the supermarket had a far, far smaller meat section, with far less variety than I was accustomed to. I almost never went to the butcher back home, but I go all the time here in Ottawa, mainly for the variety, not the quality.

2009 Jul 23
Mark_Ottawa - Just putting this thought out there...

I think that the reason our grocery stores are less like the American ones you are used to is because, traditionally we shop more like our European ancestors than our American cousins. I know that there have been studies conducted that say that Canadians are far ahead of the Americans when it comes to meals prepared at home, and I believe that we carry some of our European roots with us in that we are more likely to specialty shop (cheese shops, fishmongers, a butcher, bakeries, farmers' markets, etc) than our US neighbours who like one stop shopping, and rather than shopping just once a week, we are more likely to pick up goods several times a week from a variety of sources.

2009 Jul 24
I tend to think you can't find those cuts because only a small minority of shoppers are buying these cuts. My local Metro almost never has a nice piece of pork shoulder. If they do it is not that nice of a cut, with way too much skin left on.
And why do they have to tuck in all that exxtra chicken skin under the meat. Are that desparate too make profit!

2009 Jul 24

I think that the reason our grocery stores are less like the American ones you are used to is because, traditionally we shop more like our European ancestors than our American cousins.

Erm. Can I take offense to the fact that you're assuming that historically none of us have American ancestors? Please? I know the point you were trying to get at, but I've taken a few courses on the history of immigration, and well...we all came from somewhere but some us (including my mother's mother) came from the States.

now back to your originally scheduled programming

2009 Jul 24
^ but prior to landing in the USA where did they come from?! :P

2009 Jul 24
Ireland. But they were in the US for several generations. So, do I have Irish ancestors, American ancestors, or both?

2009 Jul 24
I found my meat :-) .....a whole picnic roast that is. Produce Depot is the best! Thanks for everyone's suggestions, you guys are amazing! Now if I could only find a Jicama, I was going to make my julienne salad, but it seems no one has any this week....If you spot one today, let me know.
I will make sure to take pictures.

2009 Jul 24
Lady Who Brunches - I of course meant no offence, and obviously YES Canadians have ancestors from around the world... but lets face it a fewer percentage actually come from American vs the whole (the whole being everyone else and their ancestory).

The rest of the world, still primarily shops as I stated (in an old world style where one shops more than once a week, and picks up items from a variety of sources) and we as Canadians today tend to keep those traditional methods vs superstores (which really are relatively new to us... whereas they have been the norm in the USA for over 30 years). There are of course places in America where the old world style is more prominent (NYCity comes to mind). But it isn't something you'll find so much out in rural America, whereas here in Canada we tend to maintain our roots to more of a degree so you'll find great Butchers, Bakeries, and such in even small towns. Many of them preparing not only "middle of the road" fare that please the masses... but also great sources for traditional food-items from their heritage (example - a Butcher who also makes German Sausages based on traditional methods that he learned from his Father, Grandfather, etc).

Our style is to source our food items from a variety of sources, vs one big superstore. This seems to be true whether one lives in a big city or a small town.

I do think though that there is a food movement afoot in America to move towards a more back-to-basics style vs a big box superstore... but it certainly will take a lot of time before that becomes the norm (especially now that so many seem to be buying their groceries at WalMart... ???) In my mind anyways, I see that style of shopping to represent a greater concern with price rather than quality.

I do think that Canadians are far more aware of what we eat (partially due to our packaging laws) and probably even more so to the factors that make us naturally more aware (cost and importation). We are all acutely aware of where our food comes from because so little of it is produced right here... and many more items therefore are seasonal.

When it comes to my post that started all this... what I was trying to say is that we are quite accustomed to going to a Butcher for specialty cuts, knowing full well that our local grocery store tends to stock only those items that are the big sellers (and tend to come prepackaged from a meat packing plant). Such is the case at Blah-Blahs. A Butcher on the otherhand, gets the whole animal and prepares it for his customers as per their wishes and buying habits... just as it was here 100 years ago, or today in other parts of the world.

Does this make sense?


I don't even know if my words are clearly expressing my thoughts at this time.

Monty - Lol, which is exactly why I said "cousin", a close relative, but can also be the term used for someone connected and yet seperated by other generations.

LWB - And here is the ultimate conundrum... when does a Canadian claim themselves as having "Canadian Ancestory"? If my family has been here close to 200 Years and more than 10 Generations, do I have a Scottish-English-Irish Heritage... or am I just Canadian?

2009 Jul 24
To answer your last question F&T, I think you have both in the same way that I have Irish-American on my mum's side, and German-Dutch on my dad's...

I remember being on the bus with a man whose ancestors were Indian and him being asked where he was from, but of course he was trying to convince the other man that he had been here long enough to be "Canadian" (specifically, 3 generations).

2009 Jul 24
^ but prior to landing in the USA where did Boston Butt come from?! :P

2009 Jul 26
My pulled pork was a success. Thank you everyone. I wish I could show you pictures.. by the time I remembered to take them, this is all that was left of the pork!

2009 Jul 27
RE: Jicama: You can get this at the Produce Depot as well--they must have been out when you were there.

I am BBQ'ing a couple of shoulders right now--they were about $4 bucks per kg--a steal!

2009 Jul 28
Yes, that is where I usually get my Jicama, but there have been out for about 1 month now. I called pretty much everywhere...same story. Also, I will never buy my pork shoulder anywhere else from now on, Produce Depot has the best I have seen. For 14$ I fed a group of 10, and most had 2 servings!!

FYI; for a bigger cut, you have to ask the butcher, they are not displayed in the front.

2009 Jul 28
They sell jicama at Reette's Foods on Carling. (though I haven't been there recently, so maybe they are out too). Also most Caribbean stores would carry them, and Hispanic groceries.