Boston butt is a type of pork roast. It is a tougher, fattier cut than many other pork roasts and and requires a different cooking method. When cooked properly, the results are juicier and more flavorful than other pork roasts.
Pork roasts can be differentiated by the area of the pig they come from. Tenderloin, top loin and sirloin roasts come from the loin. They are fairly lean cuts and are usually available boneless.
Boston Butt comes from the shoulder and is sometimes called shoulder roast. It typically averages 6 to 8 lbs. and may be sold boneless or bone-in. It is a well-marbled roast with a good amount of fat, making it juicier when cooked. Boston butt is used to make barbecued pulled pork and carnitas.
Leaner pork loin roasts are best prepared by roasting or grilling and should not be overcooked. They are not suited for cooking in liquid. Boston butt may be roasted or braised and benefits from long, slow cooking. Its texture improves by lengthy cooking.
Loin roasts are usually served sliced. Because Boston butt roasts are best cooked until they are falling-apart tender, the meat can be shredded or pulled. Boston butt can be sliced when it is well-chilled, then warmed for serving.
References and Resources"American Classics"; The Editors of Cooks Illustrated; 2002
J & B Butcher: Pork Guide
Hormel: Pork Basics