Sunday, February 28, 2010

Pork Butt

Here in Southern Wisconsin, there is still a blanket of snow on the ground at least a foot thick, and as much as I love winter, I'm beginning to long for warmer weather. I'm not even talking about Spring. My vitamin D deficient body has fantasies of sitting on the beach somewhere very very south of here, turning myself over like a pig on a spit and roasting in the sun until my marrow thaws out. The gist of it is this: I'm tired of constantly being cold. No matter how high the thermostat, no matter how many layers, no matter my woolly tights and my rated -23 degree Sorel boots, I'm always cold. Since I don't have the ways and means right now of hopping on a plane for Mexico, I decided we needed to bring the warmth of Mexico to our kitchen table. How serendipitous then that my friend Freya called with a recipe for Shredded-Pork Tacos. Freya has an equally lovely and amazing sister named Annie, who gave her this recipe from Martha Stewart. Freya made it, ate it, and called me raving about it and sent me the recipe quicker than you could say "chipotle!"
When I went to the grocery store with the recipe and scoured the meat dept., I saw nothing with the words Pork Shoulder stamped on it, so I braved the deli counter and asked the butcher. He gave me a disparaging look and said, "it's not called pork shoulder, it's pork butt" and handed me a 3lb. slab of meat. Ryan and I looked at each other, a bit confused. "Is it just me or is the shoulder in an entirely different section of the body than the butt?" Ryan asked and I was just as perplexed, but we crossed our fingers and bought it anyway, seeing as though there were no other likely options.
On the way home, Ryan googled it on his iPhone and sure enough the two are interchangeable. Which is just as well because it made for a lot of laughter over the dinner table. The boys thought it was hilarious because frankly, when you are 7, 5, and 3, just saying the word "butt" can send you into a paroxysm of giggles like nothing else. I suppose the dinner table isn't the proper place for such talk, but we made an exception in this case, and it got the boys to eat their dinner.

All potty talk aside, this seems like an economical meal since it yielded enough leftovers for Ryan and I to eat 3 lunches and 1 more dinner. I didn't simmer it quite as long as it called for because we were all to hungry to wait another 35 minutes but it wasn't too soupy and I wouldn't change a thing. The queso fresco is a must as well as the cilantro and the corn tortillas blackened nicely on our gas burner. So thank you Annie and thank you Freya and "Pork Butt!"

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 (3-pound) boneless pork shoulder, cut in half lengthwise
  • 1 can (28 ounces) whole tomatoes in juice
  • 1 large chipotle chile in adobo sauce (from a small can), minced (about 4 teaspoons)
  • 16 (6-inch) toasted corn tortillas
  • 1 cup crumbled queso fresco, feta, or goat cheese
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves


  1. I just breathed a sigh of relief that since you just got this recipe, I haven't eaten pork butt yet (I'm assuming the tacos you made pre-Vincent were free from booty).

    I'm sorry to say, too, that the hilarity of the the notion of pork butt may transcend the age limitation of 7. Sometimes I think I should wait another ten years to have children, until I have fully matured.

  2. um, I'm going to plead the fifth here. but you liked it and it's too late to say otherwise. suckah.

  3. pork butt pork butt pork butt.
    it does not get any funnier than that.

  4. hahah! i remember seeing "butt roast" at the grocery store recently....interchangeable with "rump roast," but didn't know that it was also the same as pork shoulder. i'll remember all this if/when i ever add pork back into my diet.

    felix is getting so old. :/