Money muscle meats are often included in competition pitmaster’s turn-in boxes as an effective way of increasing appearance scores with their striking bark.
Pork butts contain two muscles on either side of the blade bone that require special consideration during cooking; this muscle often cooks at an uneven pace compared to its surrounding shoulder muscles and should be handled carefully to prevent injury during roasting.
What is it?
Have you heard of the money muscle before, especially if you are involved with competition barbecue? This cylinder-shaped portion of pork lies on the opposite end from where the blade bone of Boston Butt (aka pork shoulder) terminates; also referred to as a collar or tiger muscle due to vertical strips of fat running along it.
The pork butt money muscle is an elegant centerpiece in any pork box, serving both pulled pork or cut into medallions to be smoked like any Boston Butt cuts. Some chefs apply a dry rub before smoking their butt money muscle until its temperature reaches 205F before cutting up their butt money muscle into medallions for optimal results and an even cooking surface with an irresistibly delicious crust on its exterior.
Due to its position on the shoulder, pork butt money muscles cook faster than most of the pork cuts and are therefore an ideal candidate for creating pork medallions. You’ll get tender, juicy meat with an incredible bark on it – something judges frequently look out for!
What sets apart the pork butt money muscle from other shoulder cuts is its fat marbling. This adds an irresistibly rich, buttery flavor that distinguishes it from others and helps retain moisture during cooking to produce tender results.
When cooking pork butt money muscle, care must be taken not to overcook it as that can quickly result in tough and unpleasant meat. Furthermore, after smoking is complete it should rest so the internal juices can reabsorb back into the meat – thus the importance of knowing exactly how long to smoke your pork!
Where does it come from?
The money muscle can be found at the opposite end of a pork butt from its bone, and looks similar to a cylindrical shape made of meat with stripes of fat running throughout it. Sometimes referred to as the pork collar, neck fillet, faux loin or tiger muscle; its delicate, succulent flesh makes it perfect for low and slow smoking.
As one of the more flavorful parts of pork shoulders, money muscle is prized among competition chefs. Smoked alone since it requires less time than its pork butt counterpart, injecting the money muscle with juices such as apple, peach or white grape can further enhance its succulent quality and keep moisture locked into its core – something many top pitmasters do with success.
If you’re an avid barbecue fan, chances are that you have heard of “money muscle.” This coveted piece of pork meat boasts exceptional tenderness and incredible flavor – often used as the primary component in competition-style ribs due to its juicy and succulent qualities.
Money muscle meat is perfect for sandwiches and sliders. As it’s smaller than its pulled pork counterpart, it won’t take up too much space in either. Money muscle adds the perfect finishing touch to any meal while serving as an outstanding appetizer or snack option.
When purchasing pork butt, be sure to buy it as part of a bundle that includes both money and fat muscles for optimal results. Before smoking it, always score the fat cap to allow seasonings and rubs to penetrate it and reach down into the meat beneath, before coating with your favorite sauce and smoking until done to your satisfaction. Afterward, allow time for rest so that its internal juices can reabsorb back into its body.
How do you find it?
Competent chefs know that creating the ideal money muscle is the key to winning big in any pork box competition. Situated at the bottom of a pork butt, this cylindrical piece of meat resembles a small loin and boasts thick stripes of intramuscular fat (fat found between lean muscle tissue). When slowly smoked, this special type of fat renders slowly for a buttery, juicy, and tender texture.
To maximize their money muscle’s full potential, some competitors inject it with juices or rub solutions containing phosphates prior to smoking. This adds flavor while helping it retain its shape during smoking process – as well as making it less vulnerable to shrinkage or tear offs.
Some competition rules prohibit the separation of this muscle from its surrounding shoulder when cooking it, but many chefs still trim around this area and apply a rub to promote bark formation while the remainder of their pork shoulder cooks away – creating delicious tender pork meat with lots of personality for judges’ boxes.
Once meat reaches an internal temperature of 203-205F, many competition cooks will remove the foil and carefully unwrap their creation, pulling it from its bones before adding their own sauce for presentation purposes. Once that step has been taken care must be taken when cutting into at least six portions and ideally more.
While it requires extra work, diversifying your submissions can make all the difference when entering competitions. Most top pork competitors tend to submit different cuts such as pulled, tubes, chunks and “bacon”, along with money muscle for judges to sample both taste and tenderness of every cut, earning high marks in appearance marks while simultaneously giving each judge a taste and tenderness sample from every cut. Doing this allows judges to compare each taste sample equally across each cut while earning you higher marks in appearance marks than sending in only dry and overcooked cuts; otherwise judges might give lower marks both for appearance as well as taste! This is why top performing pork chefs utilize money muscle for judges by using its stunning mahogany bark and succulent meat!
How do you cook it?
As competition meat, money muscle must impress judges both with its taste and tenderness; but also its appearance; any dry and tough spots will result in penalties being levied against it in these categories. That is why many competitive chefs opt to separate and smoke certain sections separately from the main pork butt to increase their chances of obtaining maximum points in each category.
Smoked correctly, the money muscle has an inviting look and melt-in-your-mouth flavor when cooked properly. Located opposite of Boston butt bone, this cut features thick cylinder-shaped load bearing cuts known as money muscle or pork collar resembling smaller pork loin with deep strips of fat running throughout it – these strips render during smoking for an exceptional rich and buttery flavor!
Money muscle may not be as tender as other cuts of pork, but it still performs well when slow-cooked for several hours in your smoker. Before adding the pork to the smoker, season with salt and pepper before placing in. Once done, remove from the smoker and brush some BBQ sauce over its surface as an added touch!
After taking out of the smoker, pork butt should be allowed to cool slightly before being divided up into its component parts. Money muscle should be stripped of excess fat before being divided up into six equal sections – however some pitmasters prefer cutting their money muscle further apart than this number.
Once muscles have been cut into slices, they should be wrapped in aluminum foil and secured with a heavy towel for hot holding in a cooler. After about an hour has passed, these wrappings can be removed and your meat will be ready to serve!
Though this technique is used by competitive chefs, backyard barbecuers don’t necessarily need to do it themselves – most likely no one will even notice! Most likely no one will even remember taking extra steps to separate this meat before serving it separately.