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What is Pork Cushion Meat? Pork Cushion vs. Pork Shoulder vs Butt

What is Pork Cushion Meat? Pork Cushion vs. Pork Shoulder vs Butt

You may not be aware that when you eat pork, you may be eating pork cushion meat on occasion. Pork cushion meat is quite tender if it is cooked properly. It is also quite versatile. Today, we are going to share everything you need to know about pork cushion meat. We'll cover how to cook it, and how to store it.

What is Pork Cushion Meat? 

bbq pulled pork sandwich made from pork cushion

Pork cushion meat is the meat that comes from the large muscle of a pig’s picnic shoulder. The meat is cut from the anterior side. The cut usually creates a triangular shape. 

This section of the pig gets a lot of exercise. So, the meat is quite lean. Plus, it has excellent texture. 

The best part about pork cushion meat is it is deboned. So, you will never need to worry about removing the bone before serving. 

Pork cushion meat also doesn’t contain a lot of fat. You will see why this is important to know in a minute. 

Pork Cushion vs Pork Butt (aka Boston Butt) vs Pork Shoulder

Due to their proximity to one another, the pork butt and the pork cushion are frequently confused. However, pork butt contains significantly more fat than the pork cushion. On the pig, the two cuts are actually touching on the pig's foreleg. 

There is very little fat in pork cushion meat. However, there is a lot of connective tissue. Therefore, you must cook pork cushion meat for a long time to make it tender enough to eat (connective tissues are tough and chewy)

The muscle of the pork butt is not used as much as the pork cushion muscle, which is also why it's more fatty than lean - it doesn't get much exercise. Therefore there is a lot more fat in pork butt.

Main Differences Between Pork Butt and Pork Shoulder

Fat content: Pork butt has more intramuscular fat than pork shoulder, which results in a flesh that is softer and more tender. Pork shoulder typically has less fat and may be tough or chewy.

Cut: The skin-on pork shoulder is normally cut by butchers into a triangle shape. Pork butt will be presented as a rectangular piece of skinless, bone-in meat.

Cooking techniques: To prepare pulled pork meals that can be shredded after stewing or slow-cooking it, like the Mexican dish carnitas tacos, many cooks utilize pork butt.

To prepare pork with a tasty crispy thin crust on the outside, like pig roast or crispy pork crackling, pork shoulder is more frequently grilled or roasted.

How to Cook Pork Cushion Meat

It is important to cook pork cushion meat at a low temperature for a long time. This will allow you to cook it for a longer period of time (without drying it out or burning it) so it gets nice and tender. 

Making Pulled Pork with Pork Cushion Meat

This is one of the most common uses pork cushion. After just a few hours of cooking, when your meat is done cooking, it will fall apart easily. Just shred it with a couple of forks, put on fall off the bone BBQ sauce on it, and you've got yourself a delicious bbq pulled pork sandwich.

bbq sauce drizzle on pulled pork sandwich

Hint: Even though you're adding BBQ sauce a the end, you still need to season the pork when you cook it! Its the same with cooking back ribs - you add BBQ sauce at the end, but you'd still need a dry rub to flavor it well when you're cooking the meat.

Other Ideas for Pork Cushion Meat

Oven Roasts

Another great way to cook your pork cushion meat is by roasting it in the oven. Like we said before, this cut packs a lot of flavor! It taste pretty good as a roast.

Preheat your oven to 300-325 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Place the pork cushion meat in an oven-safe dish. Roast for an hour per pound. 

The internal temperature should be at 185 degrees Fahrenheit when it is ready to eat. 

You might want to try this Boneless Cushion Pork Recipe, it's delicious! 

In the Slow Cooker

Cooking pork cushion meat in the slow cooker is one of the easiest ways to do it. Once you add the liquid, the slow cooker will allow that liquid to baste the meat during the cooking process. 

Here is our favorite Slow Cooker Pork Cushion Recipe

Stews / Leftover pork cushion

The best stew is made from pork cushion meat leftovers. Since the meat has already been fully cooked, and is tender, this stew cooks up quickly. 

You can easily make this stew on the stove top, in the oven, or in the slow cooker. 

You will love this Leftover Roast Pork Stew Recipe

Smoke the Pork


You must spritz your pork cushion meat with liquid throughout the smoking process, so it doesn’t dry out. We recommend using apple juice, apple cider, beer, chicken stock, or water. This is the main downside to smoking this type of pork. 

It will take between 6 and 8 hours to smoke a piece of pork cushion meat. It is all dependent on the size. Your smoked pork should have an internal temperature of 205 degrees Fahrenheit when it is done. You can measure the temperature with a meat thermometer. 

If you're working with a large piece of meat such as pork cushion, pork butt, or pork shoulders, you'll want a working surface that is twice as large as the meat itself. Our collection of wood cutting boards have sizes that is perfect for your pork cushion. Check out the 20x15" inch board here, or the 18x24 here.


Using the pulled pork you made above is a wonderful way to make delicious carnitas. It won’t take that much work to turn your pork cushion leftovers into a yummy carnita dish everyone will eat. 

How to Store Pork Cushion Meat

You can easily store recently purchased pork cushion meat in the refrigerator for 2 days or until the use by date on the package. The meat should be wrapped in plastic or paper from the store. Do not unwrap it before placing it in the fridge. 

If you will not be using your pork cushion meat right away, you must place it in the freezer. Place it in a freezer bag, wrap it in freezer paper, or vacuum seal it for the best results. It is best to eat the pork cushion meat within 3 to 6 months. 

Once your pork cushion meat is cooked, you can store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. You can also place it in the freezer for another meal. Simply eat it within 2 to 3 months. 

Final Words

Now you know everything you should about pork cushion meat. The next time you are at the store, grab a package of pork cushion meat. Take it home to prepare using one of the methods above. You will be pleasantly surprised at how wonderful it is when compared to other cuts of pork. 

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