Money Muscle: What is It, How to Carve It and Ideas for Smoking


Pork “money muscle” is tender and beautifully marbled with fat, giving it an unparalleled melt-in-the-mouth flavor. Here’s everything you need to know about one of the best parts of pork loin or shoulder.

Smoked pork loin

If you’re a fan of smoked pork shoulder or Boston butt(let’s face it, who isn’t?), you might have heard the term “money muscle.” You may have mentioned it in BBQ recipes or maybe you were lucky enough to have eaten it.

BBQ veterans and pitmasters around the world revere this section of the pork shoulder as the gold standard for pork cuts. It’s tender, delicious, and quite possibly the best part of the pork.

But what exactly is money muscle? In what part of the pork shoulder can we find it? Our pork guide will show you everything you need to know, as well as how to carve it and some smoking ideas so you can get the most out of it.

What is money muscle?

The money muscle is a small portion of the pork shoulder(also called the “butt”) located at one end of the cut. It is highly revered by grill professionals and pit masters and is often considered the best part of the pig. Hence the name “money muscle”.

The money muscle is part of the pork shoulder or loin and is the section that is on the opposite end of the bone. It sits high on the shoulder(hence the phrase “eat high on the hog”) and is the beginning of the loin.

It looks similar to pork tenderloin, has the shape of a cylinder and is only a few centimeters thick. Because it runs the length of the pork loin, it is sometimes referred to as a pork collar.

When you look, you look like a tube, like a cigar. One can even call it cylindrical. It is quite similar to pork tenderloin and is usually quite thick. It also has streaks of fat that run the length of it, adding a juicy flavor to the meat. It also adds to the cuteness.

In some circles, it’s called a pig’s collar because it’s found along the buttocks. But don’t let the tail end of the definition fool you. It’s the upper shoulder. Most people will cut it into medallions. It’s a great way to show off the muscles and also how juicy the meat is.

Its rich texture and delicious taste, as well as its esteemed status among seasoned champions, has earned it the Money Muscle name.

So this very a delicate cut, it’s not from the start. The money muscle is a stress muscle, which means it has various connection problems. This will mean it has a hard texture. To maintain a tender texture whenever YOU slow cook the meat. 

The high fat content in the cut keeps it tender. This muscle is special because you’ll find that the marbled fat penetrates deep into the meat. This is fairly rare with pork cuts, which generally have the fat on the outside and not through the meat. This has been the case for cuts of meat since November. It’s also the fat that makes this muscle tasty and full of flavor. 

Although it’s best prepared over low heat, it still takes less time to cook than the rest of the butt. Therefore, it is recommended to cut the muscle from the money and cook it separately with the rest of the meat. If you don’t die, you run the risk of overcooking it. 

In general, well-trained muscles result in tough, lean cuts of meat. In the case of the money muscle, it comes from a part of the pig that is not hard written. As a result, the meat we harvest is usually tender and has good marbling. Perfect for BBQ grilling.

Money muscle is sometimes called “tiger muscle” thanks to the streaks of fat that run vertically through it.

These stripes make Money Muscle the precious meat it is. These strips are high in fat and connective tissue, making them perfect for slow, low cooking. If you smoke it well and cook it at the right temperature for several hours, you’ll end up with a great cut of meat.

The bottom line about money muscles is that they cook at a different speed than pork shoulder due to their connective tissue and tender meat. This means that IF YOU want to serve money muscles, YOU have to remove them and fry them separately.

BBQ Pulled Pork Butt on Parsley

How to take the muscle out of money

The easiest way to find the money muscle is to find the bone in the pork shoulder first. Once you have this, just go to the opposite side. YOU may have to use your hands to find your way around until YOU find the tight, cylindrical strip of muscle that runs down the front of the shoulder cut.

To remove the muscle, use a sharp steak knife to run along the line of fat on the pork shoulder, being careful not to cut through the lines. This fat aids in smoking and adds flavor and aroma to the finished product.

Once you’ve removed it from the shoulder, trim off any excess fat that remains on the surface of the meat. This will help release more heat when smoked, making it perform better.

How to cook

The best way to cook the money muscle after it’s removed from the pork loin is to smoke it low and slow. You can enjoy it on its own or as a filling for burgers or sandwiches.

When the muscle is removed and trimmed into a cylinder shape, season with a dry seasoning of your choice and baste with barbecue sauce.

Place in the smoker and cook at 250°F for about 3 hours, or until the internal temperature reaches 170°F. Mist with apple juice every 30-60 minutes. Remove from the smoker and let rest for 20-30 minutes. Cut into medallions and serve.

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