Pork Butt vs Pork Loin: Which One Is Better?

August 06, 2023 5 min read

Pork Butt vs Pork Loin: Which One Is Better?

Pork butt comes from the upper shoulder area whereas pork loin is sourced from the back of the pig. 

Pork butt is marbled with fat, contributing to its rich and succulent flavor. Pork loin, in contrast  is more of a leaner cut of the meat. Because of its high amount of fat content, pork butt tends to be more tender than pork loin. Pork butt is also more affordable than pork loin.

Deciding between the two can be a bit confusing, but fear not! 

This guide is here to assist you in understanding thedifferences between pork butt and pork loin. And, also pick the perfect pork cut for your next cooking adventure. Keep reading!

Key Takeaways

  • Pork butt is marbled with fat, contributing to its rich, tender and succulent flavor. 
  • Pork loin is a leaner cut of meat. It is typically a tougher meat and more uniform in shape compared to pork butt.
  • Pork butt is the go-to choice for slow-cooked dishes such as pulled pork, stews, and braises. 
  • Pork loin is great for roasting, grilling, or pan-searing, as it retains its shape well and cooks relatively quickly. 

Pork Butt Vs Pork Loin:  Quick Overview

Source: qualitygrillparts.com

Both pork loin and pork butt, which is also referred to as pork shoulder, are upper-body portions of the pork. 

Both cuts are versatile and flavorful, but they differ significantly in terms of appearance, flavor, usage and best cooking methods.

Don't worry, though. They are much simpler thandifferentiating between meatstick, meater and yummly.

Here is a snapshot.

Differentiating Factors

Pork butt

Pork loin


Uneven shape,

Rough textured surface

Leaner, smoother cut of meat

Cooking Method

Cooking temp 225°F

Cooking temp 350°F


Used in slow-cooked meals

Used in quickly cooked meals on high heat

Flavor and texture

Bolder flavor

Less flavorful




Pork Butt vs Pork Loin: a Detailed Comparison 

Here is the in detail discussion regarding thedifferences between Pork loin and pork butt.Read to find out.

Nutritional Facts ( Per Pound)

Here I have included the nutritional facts for every pound of pork butt and pork loin.

Differentiating Factors

Pork butt (1 lb)

Pork loin (1 lb)





104 g

122 g

Staturated Fat

32 g

23 g


390.1 mg

362.9 mg


As you can see, pork butt is slightly higher in calories, fat, and saturated fat than pork loin. However, pork butt also contains more protein.

Ultimately, the best choice for you will depend on your individual dietary needs and preferences.


Pork butt has streaks of fat marbling throughout, whereas pork loin is a leaner, smoother cut of meat. 

The whole pork loin is a long, thin flesh cut that extends above the pork's spine. Pork loin is a more even-shaped, leaner cut of meat compared to pork butt. But the cut of pork steak is more uneven.

In contrast, pork butt is sourced from the upper portion of the pork's shoulder. It is also sourced from the space between its shoulder blades. Because of the amount of fat, muscles, as well as connective tissues, it has a more asymmetrical shape. It also has a rough, textured surface.

Cooking Difference

Pork butt should be cooked slowly over medium heat, while pork loin should be cooked on high heat. 

Pork loin should be cooked at 350°F for a total of 25 minutes per pound as a general guideline. 

Use a thermometer to check the internal temp. Because it needs to beat least 145° F to be considered cooked. 

TheUSDA's recommendation is also to cook pork loin in a internal temperature of 145° F. Then just allow three minutes for resting.

On the other hand, 225 °F is a great cooking temperature for pork butt. You may increase it within a few hours of accelerated cooking or cook it for the entire duration at 225°F.

You want it to be fork-tender and aninternal temperature of 195°F to 204°F. This is pretty similar tobrisket internal temp 205

Also, Be sure to allow yourself some time as it maytake 6 to 12 hours.

As pork shoulder is a fattier meat part. So it takes a bit longer to be cooked properly on the inside. This way it also tastes more delicious.


Lean pork loin is cut into roasts or tenderloins. So the meat is less fatty. It can be flavored with breading, marinades, or spices. You can use it to make pork chops or a roast with pork loin.

On the other hand, pork butt has more fat and tastes better when cooked slowly. You can use pork butt to make delicious pork sandwiches.

Flavor and Texture 

Pork loin is more tender than pork butt when basic seasonings are used.

However, after cooking, the butt is opulently softer than the loin.

In terms of flavor, the pork butt has a stronger flavor and can withstand sauces better than the pork loin.

Price Difference 

As it is a thinner cut of meat, pork loin generally costs a little more than pork butt.

Pork loin costs  between $3 to $5 per pound whereas pork shoulder does between $1 to $3 per pound. 

Keep in mind that,the less expensive the meat, the more probable it is to be fattier. 

Chops and roasts, which are regarded as the most expensive cuts of pig, are frequently made from loin. 

Contrarily, pork butt is a fatty meat cut which is typically less expensive than pork loin.

Prices, however, can differ based on where you reside and shop. Finding the best deal on pork loin or pig butt typically involves comparing costs at several retailers or online.

Also note that the cost may fluctuate depending on supply and demand. So, the price of one cut may vary from time to time.

Pork Butt vs Pork Loin: Which Cut Should You Pick?

If you love the idea of slow-cooking and want a rich, flavorful result, go for pork butt. 

On the other hand, suppose you prefer a leaner option. And also want a quicker cooking time, pork loin is the way to go. 

Think about whether you want tender, fall-apart meat or a leaner, faster-cooking option that's still delicious.

When it comes to deciding between pork butt and pork loin, the choice ultimately depends on the type of dish you're preparing. And also your preference for tenderness or leanness.

So, consider your cooking style and the dish you want to prepare. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): 

Can you eat pork loin everyday?

Yes, lean pork can be a regular element of your diet that is well-balanced and high in nutrients. Pork is a rich source of several vital nutrients. That includes iron for strong red blood cells, choline, and stimulating B vitamins. Lean pork has a high protein content and little fat in a 3-ounce portion. 

Is Pork Loin Good for Pulled Pork?

Although you can make pulled pork with pig loin, it's not the best cut. You'll need something a little fatter so that when it's pulled, the meat will be juicy and tender. So, say, you just have a loin. Or if you want your pulled pork leaner, simmer it in additional liquid to keep it moist.

What is the best cut of pork loin?

The tenderloin is the most popular cut. It is simple to locate in supermarkets. It is extremely lean and boneless. The tenderloin's fat content is somewhat comparable to that of a boneless.

Wrapping Up 

Hope I have resolved your confusion about the differences betweenpork butt vs pork loin?

In conclusion, both pork butt and pork loin have their unique characteristics and uses in the kitchen. The choice ultimately depends on your cooking preferences and the dish you have in mind. Whatever you choose, remember to enjoy the process and savor the mouthwatering flavors that pork has to offer. 

That is all as of today. Have a terrific day!

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