How to Trim a Pork Shoulder

Updated April 17, 2017

If you've ever eaten a pulled pork sandwich or a pork roast, that meat has come from the tender, fatty shoulder area of the pig. The pork shoulder cut is typically less expensive than other cuts because there is a lot of fat and connective tissue in the shoulder. This keeps the pork moist and juicy. However, the majority of excess fat should be trimmed off so that it doesn't overpower the natural flavours of the meat.

Wash your hands thoroughly. Place the meat on the cutting board. Grab and pinch a hanging piece of fat and hold it taut.

Set your knife in between the piece of fat that you are holding and the actual meat. Cut downward and slice away the fat with one hand, as you continue to pull the fat away from the meat. Pull the fat so that it becomes parallel with the cutting board. Tilt the knife towards the fat to avoid slicing into the meat.

Work in sections. Don't try to remove fat all over the pork shoulder at the same time. Rotate the pork shoulder around so that the fat is always at the top when you begin to cut.


If you don't want to throw away the fat, you can melt it over medium heat in a pan, strain it and use it as a lard to fry and cook other things.


Always proceed with caution when working with sharp knives.

Things You'll Need

  • Sharp cutting knife
  • Cutting board
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About the Author

Based in Los Angeles, Zora Hughes has been writing travel, parenting, cooking and relationship articles since 2010. Her work includes writing city profiles for Groupon. She also writes screenplays and won the S. Randolph Playwriting Award in 2004. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in television writing/producing and a Master of Arts Management in entertainment media management, both from Columbia College.