What To Cook When You Can’t Get Pork Shoulder? Try These 5 Alternatives

pork shoulder substitute

One of the most important parts of cooking is finding a good substitute for an ingredient that you may not have on hand.

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It can be difficult to find substitutes for some foods, such as pork shoulder.

Luckily, there are many different options available! This post will recommend some pork shoulder substitutes and explain what they taste like.

What is pork shoulder?

Fresh Brand – Pork Shoulder Country Style Rib, Bone-In, 2.25 lb

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Pork shoulder, also known as pork butt, is a cut of meat from the upper part of the pig’s hind legs.

This section includes muscles that are used for movement and those that connect to the spine.

The high amount of fat in this area helps keep it moist during cooking and gives it a rich flavor.

It can be roasted or cooked by other methods such as braising and barbecuing.

Pork shoulder can be purchased bone-in or boneless depending on how you plan to cook it.

If you want to roast or smoke your meat, then buy bone-in so your cuts will stay juicy while cooking; if you’re going to cook with liquid like in a stew recipe, then go for an easier option like buying boneless.

Can you substitute pork shoulder in cooking recipe?

Many recipes call for pork shoulder.

Can you substitute other meats in cooking recipe? Yes, if the recipe allows it.

For instance, a slow cooker dish will be fine with any meat as long as the cook has enough time to make sure everything is fully cooked.

If you are following a more specific recipe that specifies what cut to use and how much of it, then there are no substitutes for pork shoulder since it is an essential ingredient.

What can you substitute for pork shoulder?

Pork shoulder is a lean, flavorful cut of meat that’s perfect for making pulled pork sandwiches.

But what can you substitute if your local grocery store doesn’t carry it? We have some great alternatives below!

1. Beef stew meat

Fresh Brand – Beef Stew Meat, USDA Choice, Boneless, 1 lb

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Beef stew meat can substitute for pork shoulder.

Pork has a stronger flavor but beef is more tender and mild, making it easier to cook without having any chewing discomfort or stuck gristle that may occur with its alternative counterpart in terms of texture alone!

2. Ground beef

Fresh Brand – Ground Beef 80% Lean/20% Fat, 1 lb

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Ground beef can be used in place of pork shoulder.

The texture is similar, with ground beef being more forgiving when making traditional dishes like pulled or chopped BBQ meats..

3. Chicken thighs

365 by Whole Foods Market, Chicken Thigh Boneless Skinless Tray Pack...

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If you’re looking for a cut of meat that has the same texture and tenderness, but comes from an animal with different bones then chicken thighs may be what your taste buds are after.

They have many similarities such as being able to substitute in place on pork shoulder when needed!

4. Ham hocks

Pinto Beans Hobe's Ham Hock Linney's Corn Meal Kit With Extra...

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Ham hocks are a great alternative to pork shoulder.

Ham Hock extract, or jus is used in many recipes because of its rich flavor which can’t be found anywhere else on earth!

5. Beef chuck roast

Fresh Brand – Beef Chuck Center Roast, USDA Choice, Boneless, 2 lb

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If you have a preference for meat, but don’t want the hassle of pork shoulder (or are looking to save money), then beef chuck roast is an excellent substitute.

It has similar flavors and can be cooked in many ways just like its white-meat counterpart!


In this blog post, we’ve covered a few of the most commonly used substitutes for pork shoulder.

All options taste different from one another and can be substituted in your favorite dishes to add some variety!

If you want help finding other substitutes that are available on our website, don’t hesitate to contact us.

We hope this article was helpful and if so please share it with friends or family who might also find it useful.

Thank you for reading!