The Most Delicious Pork Shoulder Substitutes For Your Cooking

For many people, pork shoulder is an ingredient that you just can’t get enough of.

Since it works well in so many different types of dishes, it’s an extremely popular ingredient served all over the world, and chances are you’ve probably sampled some of this delicious meat for yourself at some point in your life. 

This cut of meat is extremely flavorful and tender, and is a popular addition to many slow cooker recipes, which allow the meat to take on the flavor of the other ingredients. 

The slow cooker isn’t the only way in which you can cook Pork Shoulder though, 

But what happens when you’re making a recipe and it asks for you to add pork shoulder and you dislike it? Or what if your local supermarket or butcher has no pork shoulder left? 

The Most Delicious Pork Shoulder Substitutes For Your Cooking

Although both of these scenarios might seem worrying, with the help of this list, they’re easily resolved, as we’re going to cover the best substitutes for pork shoulder that you can use in your cooking. 

So, no matter what the reason is for needing an adequate pork shoulder substitute, we’ve got you covered. 

What Is Pork Shoulder?

If you’ve never heard of pork shoulder before, then allow us to introduce you to this incredible pork cut. 

As you can imagine, pork shoulder is a cut that is taken from the front end of the pig, and is an immensely muscular cut too.

Because this muscle is so well-exercised throughout the life of the pig, it makes the meat cut extremely flavorful, which is why so many people enjoy this cut. 

Two of the most prominent examples of pork shoulder dishes include carnitas and pulled pork. However, these are just two of the many dishes it can be added to. 

Pork shoulder is also favored due to its cost, as it’s not a particularly expensive cut of meat, making it great for those who are looking for a cut of meat that is going to provide plenty of flavor without costing a lot of money. 

However, if for whatever reason you can’t add pork chop to a recipe that calls for it, then you’re going to have to find a suitable replacement. Even at such short notice though, this is much less difficult than you might initially think. 

Pork Shoulder Substitutes

Whether you avoid eating pork altogether, or simply can’t find any pork shoulder at your local supermarket, finding a good substitute for pork shoulder is much easier than you might think, and with this handy list, you should be able to find plenty of great substitutions that don’t compromise on flavor! 

Beef Chuck Roast

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One of the heartier cuts of beef available from a cow, chuck roast definitely deserves its spot in the realm of meaty comfort foods, and since it’s also packed with a load of great nutrients, it’s favored amongst a lot of chefs all over the world. 

Much like pork shoulder, this cut of meat comes from the shoulder, with a lot of its immense flavor coming from the incredible fat marbling all over the cut. 

When slow cooked, this brings out the richness of the beef, making it the perfect addition to any number of dishes, as well as being a great substitute for pork shoulder too. 

Another reason why beef chuck roast makes such a good alternative to pork shoulder is because it’s always relatively inexpensive, making it budget friendly too, much like pork shoulder is. 

So, for a cut that is rich, juicy, and tender, then beef chuck roast is most certainly an excellent substitute for pork shoulder. 

Lamb Shoulder

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Another shoulder cut that is possible amongst people who are looking for substitutions for pork shoulder is lamb shoulder, so it’s definitely one to consider when looking out for something to replace your pork with. 

This is another meat cut that is brimming with rich flavor, and much like the other cuts of meat featured on this list, it is known for its rich flavor.

However, many people choose to pair this cut of meat alongside a variety of different sources and seasonings, and it is often grilled, braised, or roasted. 

For those who are looking for a slightly healthier alternative to pork, then lamb is a great choice, and this is all thanks to the fact that it contains a lot less fat, with it tending to be a leaner cut of meat. 

If you’re going to be buying lamb, you want your cut to be free of any blemishes or bruises, and as pink in color as possible, with a nice firm texture. 

When cooked properly, the taste of a lamb shoulder is immense, and you’ll soon forget it was ever just a substitute for pork shoulder in the first place! 

Chicken Thighs

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While chicken breasts tend to be the preferred most of the time, chicken thighs still have a lot to offer, especially as a replacement for pork shoulder. 

One thing about chicken thighs is that they tend to be much moister and more flavorful than chicken breasts, which is all down to them being kept on the bone. 

Thighs also tend to be much easier to cook too, so if you need an easy-to-cook pork shoulder alternative to cook on weeknights then chicken thighs are definitely the way to go. 

The amount of recipes available for chicken thighs are almost endless too, so there are a huge number of different things you can make using chicken thighs. 

So, whether you just want to cook something nice and simple, or something more complex, there should definitely be a recipe for you out there. 

Pork Butt

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We know what you might be thinking, but don’t worry, this cut of meat doesn’t come from the literal butt of a pig. Instead, this cut comes from the upper portion of the pig’s shoulder, and is often referred to as a Boston Butt. 

This cut also tends to feature plenty of fatty marbling, which is why its flavor excels when it’s cooked for long periods of time in a slow cooker, although some people tend to prefer to braise or smoke this cut instead. 

This cut pairs exceptionally well with various seasonings, so you can change up the taste depending on your preference. 

Pork butt is another cut of pork that is used in making pulled pork and carnitas too, and while it might take a small amount of time to cook, it’s definitely worth the effort and wait! 

Boneless Pork Leg

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Taken from the hind leg of the pig, the final cut of meat featured on this list is another great substitute for pork shoulder if you’re unable to get ahold of it. 

High in protein and low in fat, this cut is definitely a healthy alternative, and it’s also super easy to cook too! 

Final Thoughts

We hope that this guide has helped you to find the right pork substitute for you, so no matter what you go with, we hope you enjoy it!

The Most Delicious Pork Shoulder Substitutes For Your Cooking

Recipe by AubreyCourse: Substitutes


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Check out these delicious and flavorful pork shoulder substitutes for your next recipe that are just as satisfying and easy to work with.


  • Beef Chuck Roast

  • Lamb Shoulder

  • Chicken Thighs

  • Pork Butt

  • Boneless Pork Leg


  • Decide on what substitute you need
  • Pick a substitute from the list above
  • Read what you need to substitute with
  • Create the recipe and enjoy
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