It’s a BBQ secret weapon. If you’ve ever judged a BBQ contest you may be familiar with what’s called “the money muscle.” Using it in a judged box is a bbq trick that has become well known.
It’s named “money muscle” because a lot of competitive cookers think it’s the best tasting part of the Boston Butt (or pork butt) and is essential on winning the top level money in pro cook-offs.
How do you find the money muscle? Look at the opposite end of the bone. It’s tube shaped (with striations and stripes). You’ll see the bands of fat evenly spaced along the muscle. When fully cooked that fat should easily melt away and render to provide almost a mini loin that cookers will slice and present in a blind box for competition. It’s located high on the pork shoulder (read “high on the hog”) and is the beginning of the loin.
That muscle just doesn’t get worked much so it’s super tender.
Cookers will also promote bark creation around the money muscle by trimming around the muscle and using a good rub. Some competitions will disallow full separation from the rest of the but while cooking so often it is carved so it is still connected.
“You have to trim it up so it’s nice and round and it’s kinda like a little loin. The great cooks really use that muscle to really showcase their meat” according to champion Pitmaster Jack Waiboer.
The money muscle will cook faster than the rest of the butt (shoot for 180 degrees for the muscle 195 for the rest of the butt). Once done, the log shaped muscle can be sliced into medallions and presented beautifully in the turn in box. The addition of a good bark on the succulent meat is a combination that wins over judges (especially in the tenderness category).
See more about the money muscle on THIS Episode of GrateTV