Pork Shoulder Vs Pork Ham: What’s The Difference?

The holiday season is upon us and with it arrives a plethora of cooking decisions, one being whether to use ham or pork shoulder for your Christmas dinner.

They are both very delicious meats, but they can be easily confused, too.

Therefore, to help you have your decision this holiday, we will put these pork cuts into comparison so that you can easily differ them and choose your favorite.

What is pork shoulder?

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Pork shoulder, also called pork butt or Boston roast is a cut of meat from the upper side of the pig’s shoulder.

The pork shoulder has fat marbling throughout the meat, which gives it a tender texture when cooked.

The muscle can be used for pulled pork sandwiches and other dishes like barbecue or smoked ham.

What is ham?

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Ham is the cut of the pig’s back leg.

The word ham comes from the old English term “hamm,” which means a piece of land near or surrounded by water.

The word also meant enclosure in general, so it was used to describe meat that was cured and preserved for storage in barrels.

What are the differences between pork shoulder vs ham?

Pork sirloin roast and pork loin are both great cuts of pork.

However, there must be some people who prefer one to the other because of its unique texture, taste, or other factors that differ these meat ingredients.

 Pork shoulderPork ham
Pig’s partFrom the upper part of the pig’s back (the shoulder section)From the hind leg
Fat content and textureLeaner  Have more fat  
FlavorMilder and taste like baconStronger and taste like roasted beef
PriceCheaper because they are usually sold in larger quantitiesHigher
Cooking timeLess because it doesn’t have too much fatLonger
UseCan be roasted, grilled, smoked, or braisedCommonly cured with salt and sugar to make it last longer Perfect for sandwich

What are the similarities between pork shoulder vs ham?

Despite some key differences between pork shoulder and ham, we cannot deny that they are relatively similar.

1. They are great to be smoked

Pork shoulder and pork ham are usually used in smoking recipes.

There are different parts of the pig that can be cured, but in fact, only the back leg is entitled to a ham.

2. They should be cooked under indirect heat

The reason is to prevent the outside from being burnt whereas the meat inside is not cooked.

Which one is better?

Product ComparisonFresh Brand – Pork Shoulder Blade Roast, Bone-In, 2 lb365 by Whole Foods Market, Ham Black Forest Family Size Sliced, 14...
Product ImageFresh Brand – Pork Shoulder Blade Roast, Bone-In, 2 lb365 by Whole Foods Market, Ham Black Forest Family Size Sliced, 14...
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It really depends on your preference to choose which cut is better.

Both cuts of meat are delicious, but it all comes down to personal taste and what you like more than anything else.

If you’re not sure which cut will be best for your Christmas dinner this year, we recommend getting a small amount from both so that you can try them out first before committing to any decision.

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