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Pork Shoulder Substitute

If we consider a pork shoulder substitute, there’re many options. So, in this article, we’ll talk about the best of such replacements. Boneless pork leg, beef brisket, etc., can be some examples of alternatives.

However, we’ll talk about more substitutes as we move on with our discussion. But why do we need a replacement for pork shoulders in the first place? We need them if we want a change in taste or flavor.

Also, when we talk about recipe suitability, pork shoulder might need replacing with another option. Overall, whatever the reason is, we’ll talk briefly about five different choices today on our website.

Pork Shoulder Substitute

So, along with beef brisket and four other options, we’ll discuss the pork shoulder substitutes in detail. Go through each option and find which one suits your recipe and other requirements.

First on our list is the pork or Boston butt, which many consider the best replacement by many.

1. Pork Butt (Boston Butt)

Boston butt is another name for the pork butt. When cut from the pork, they have a similar shape. However, they’re different in a few ways.

For example, the shoulder cut comes from the upper portion of pork. But, on the contrary, the pork butt comes from the lower part.

But, since they come from pork, the taste is pretty similar, and they can replace one another. One similarity is that both the shoulder and the Boston cuts need a slow cooking process.

So, pork butts are an excellent option to replace pork shoulder due to the cooking time and taste similarity. You should note that pork butt is widely available in most supermarkets.

Hence, there’s no need for you to process the pork butt additionally. Just buy from a store and do the cooking.

2. Boneless Pork Leg

It’s a tasty cut of pork that’s often used in various recipes. Also, just like the shoulder cut, it requires slow cooking. Considering the shape, it’s a triangular chunk of flesh taken from the pig’s front leg.

Pork leg, when boneless, is also called ham, depending on how the meat is processed. Overall, it has many of the same features as the shoulder cut.

For almost any pork shoulder substitute, the portion originating from the inside of the top hog leg is preferable. It’s the section of the pig closest to the rear. You can either use the meat cut with or without bone.

As a result, pork leg is an excellent substitute for complete pork shoulder. 

3. Beef Brisket

Processing beef to make the taste similar to pork shoulder is tough. Due to the moisture content in meat, it’s also hard to dry out.

But, beef brisket is a great option. If we can process the item correctly, it’ll take all the flavor of seasonings and other ingredients. Hence, the taste and flavor will match that of a pork shoulder.

Beef brisket is the perfect answer whether you want steaks, hams, ground beef, or other likewise items. One key thing to note is that beef cuts can be larger than pork shoulder.

So, it’s better to make the cuts in smaller proportions to match the weight accordingly. But, overall, beef brisket is the option to consider for those who don’t prefer the pork taste.

4. Center Cut Pork Loin Roast

Another great option to replace the pork shoulder is the center cut pork loin roast. The portion between the back leg and the shoulder is the loin. The meat is exceptionally delicate, and it’s a popular boneless pig portion. 

Compared to other cuts, the meat cut has a more even shape and contains less fat.

The bone is frequently removed just before we serve since it adds more flavor and taste. That means we remove the bone after cooking.

When you cook with the bone, it’s possible to cook at high temperatures for long periods without coming apart.

So, the center-cut pork loins are perfect for those looking for a delicate and less fatty option. Next, we’ll talk about the lamb/beef shoulder.

5. Lamb or Beef Shoulder

Shoulder cuts from beef or lamb are one of the best replacements. It’s because of the origin of the meat. However, the meat from the beef shoulder will have a more oversized shape and weight. But, the taste will be pretty the same.

Also, lamb shoulders are compatible if we consider them as an option. Finally, the flavor variety in lambs is interesting.

However, they’re low in fat content. So, those looking for the same fat amount as pork should add more of the lamb meat in their recipes.  

You can use oil, butter, or similar items to increase the dish’s fatty content, providing additional moisture. A whole lamb may take a little longer to cook than pork. However, it all depends on the meat amount and the ingredients.

And, we’re done with talking about five different options to use as a substitute. However, we’ve got more to discuss as we’ll discuss some questions and answers in the following sections.

Pork Shoulder Substitute

Pork Shoulder Substitute

If we consider a pork shoulder substitute, there’re many options. So, in this article, we’ll talk about the best of such replacements. Boneless pork leg, beef brisket, etc., can be some examples of alternatives.


  • Pork Butt (Boston Butt)
  • Boneless Pork Leg
  • Beef Brisket
  • Center Cut Pork Loin Roast
  • Lamb or Beef Shoulder


  • Choose your preferred replacement from the list
  • Add substitute to your recipe
  • Make your own delicious recipe

Pork Shoulder with Harissa and Fancy White Beans 

Final Words

So far, it has been a brief discussion. We talked about five options, from the pork or Boston butt to the lam shoulder. Replacing pork shoulder is easy if we know the available ways.

Also, when we replace with another food item, it’s necessary to add in proper amounts. For example, beef has more weight and size than pork. So, we should include the appropriate beef amount instead of the pork shoulder.

However, we’ve got five perfect substitute options to replace pork shoulder. Now, it’s up to you to choose the one that matches your taste and other factors.

Once you conclude, it’s all about the creativity of your recipe. Ingredients like spices, herbs, and others can have a great food taste. For example, beef brisket quickly soaks up the ingredient flavors.

Next, we’ll go through a question and answer section where we plan to answer four related questions. After that, you should have no other doubts regarding pork shoulder substitutes.

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So, we talk about the frequently asked questions on pork shoulder and its substitutes. We found that many ask these questions often. So, we’re going to answer the following four questions.

Can I substitute Pork Loin for Pork Shoulder?

Yes, pork loin is one of the best replacements that you can find. Some consider the loin part as the perfect substitute. Also, the loin parts are readily available with excellent packaging in different stores.

However, the center-cut pork loin is the best to consider. The meat portion comes from the leg (back part) and the shoulder of pork. So, if you don’t find the loin in stores, you can easily remove the portion from the whole pork.

An exciting factor is that the taste of a pork loin is pretty rich with butter and other similar ingredients. So, you can substitute pork loin for pork shoulder.

What can I use instead of Pork Shoulder for carnitas?

Carnitas is a Mexican pork food item. Shredded pork meats are mainly known as carnitas. If you want to replace pork shoulder for carnitas, beef brisket and shoulders are two excellent options.

Also, lamb shoulder is compatible with replacing pork shoulder. However, lamb shoulders will give you flavors in variety. So, lamb shoulder is the answer for those looking for a richer flavor with a variation in taste.

What is the same as Pork Shoulder?

Thick meat cuts from different pork parts are the same as pork shoulder. However, thin cuts cook fast and aren’t compatible to replace pork shoulder.

Also, pork shoulder might be difficult to replace with thin cuts because of the meat’s lack of fat and moisture and the fact that they cook more quickly.

This method is not ideal for meats you cannot cook for prolonged periods, such as slow-roasted pork shoulder or other alternatives.

However, if we consider the thickness of meat cuts, beef brisket or shoulder can be an excellent option. Overall, any meat cut with a thick texture can be the same as the shoulder cuts.

How long does it take to cook a Pork Shoulder?

It’s worth noting that pork shoulder has a thick texture and surface. However, the shoulder cuts are also high in fat content. Thus, it’ll take a longer cooking time than most meat types.

But, cooking temperature is a factor that affects the time to cook. For example, it’s usually common to cook pork shoulder at 350 degrees. When you cook at 350 degrees, it can take around 30 or some additional minutes.

So, accordingly, if you cook higher or lower than 350 degrees Celsius, the cooking time will vary. Note that the 30 minutes is for one or two pounds of pork shoulder only.

Now, we’re done with our discussion on pork shoulder substitute. We welcome any additional questions, so let us know in the comments section without any hesitation.

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