The money muscle is a particular muscle that is widely regarded as the “holy grail of pork packaging.” It comes from the bottom half of the hog shoulder, at the opposite end of the bone. This soft pork “money muscle” is attractively marbled with fat, giving it a melt-in-your-mouth flavor unlike any other. It has the appearance of a smaller pig loin, with deep strips of fat running through it. This distinguishes it from other pork cuts, which are recognized for having excessive muscle fat rather than substantial marbling. The fat gently renders as you roast your pork butt, providing a rich, buttery flavor to the money muscle.
Here’s everything you need to know about one of the pig butt or shoulder’s greatest components.
Selecting the Best Pork Butt
Getting the right type of pork butt is the first step in everything. Always pay close attention to the money muscle size as the bigger, the better. A quick way to examine a pork butt is to grab the muscle, and if it feels thick, then that’s the best.
While making a choice, you should also consider the size of your smoker. The size you go for should at least fit into the smoking chamber while also leaving enough space for sufficient airflow. It’s an essential factor to consider, but most people often omit it.
Locating the Money Muscle
Finding the bone and moving to the opposite side is the simplest approach to identify the money muscle. Though most people seek the perfect butt, it can be difficult to see which is the perfect one through the Cryovac packaging. All you need is to use your hands to feel the money muscle. It’s a firm muscle running across the face of the butt and one that provides the perfect cut.
Carve along the fat line in the pork shoulder with a sharp meat knife to remove the muscle and avoid cutting through the lines of fat. This fat will aid in the smoking process while also providing flavor and aroma to the final product.
Should I Trim the Money Muscle?
Though most other barbecue meats such as the brisket, chicken, and other beef cuts may need trimming, the money muscle doesn’t need any modifications. A significant number of pitmasters have successfully smoked their pork without trimming it.
But also, you can choose to trim, remove the tubes, muscles, and even the bone. Trimming might also be necessary for anyone seeking to get rid of the excess fat. This will leave you with the desired chunk of meat. It will also increase the surface area, ensuring even heat exposure for a well-done crust.
Regardless of choice, it’s also good to ensure you let your pork butt rest. Essentially, you want to give the internal juices time to reabsorb back into the meat.
How to Marinate Your Money Muscle
Injecting is one of the best ways to marinate the money muscle. It’s an easy and reliable means of enhancing the pork’s juiciness and flavor. The additional juices provide the extra moisture needed for a tender, juicy, and flavourful result for the smoking session.
Some of the best pitmasters commonly inject their money muscle with juices like peach nectar, apple, or white grape. The solution can sometimes be made up of juices and rubs containing phosphates.
Applying a rub is also a significant way to add flavor to your meat. You have the option to use a special rub made of your favorite herbs of choice. However, these herbs and ingredients must be compatible with the money muscle’s natural flavors. Sweet Heart is a commonly applied rub, a mixture of multiple other rubs.
If you choose to go the rub way, we recommend applying the rub on both sides to bring out that brownish or reddish coat. You will also need to let your pork butt rest in the refrigerator overnight to allow absorption of the new flavors.
How to Smoke Your Pork Butt
Smoking low and slow is one of the greatest ways to prepare your money muscle. Place your money muscle into the food smoker set at the optimum temperatures around 250 °F (121 °C) This is the ideal temperature recommended for smoking a money muscle with a cooking time of about three hours. You can also spray any juices of your choice during the smoking process.
Even though it’s better when smoked low and slow, it takes less time to prepare than the remainder of the butt. As a result, it’s best to cut the money muscle out and cook it separately from the rest of the meat. You run the danger of overcooking it if you don’t do this.
The money muscle’s high-fat content keeps it soft. The fat marbling penetrates deep through the meat of this muscle, making it unique in its flavor and tastiness. This is unusual for pork cuts, as the fat is generally outside and does not run through the meat, which is more common with cuts of beef.
Check out more articles about smoked pork butt:
6 Marvelous Steps to Smoke the Best Boston Pulled Pork Butt
What is the Best Way to Keep Pulled Pork Moist?
For more great ideas on how to get the most of your Bradley Smoker, check out the awesome articles on our Bradley Smoker Food Smoking Blog for more tips & tricks.