Pork shoulder French

What is Pork Shoulder in French & Where to Find it

Pork shoulder (or Boston Butt in the US) is a common, inexpensive yet delicious cut of pork meat. Easy to find in supermarkets in the US and the UK it’s surprisingly not a common cut here in France. That said, the French absolutely love pork and there’s plenty of different cuts available to buy in markets across the country. In fact there’s a saying in French “tout est bon dans le cochon” which means everything is good in the pig – every part of the animal is eaten!

Photo by Mark Miller.

Pork shoulder in French

Do you want to know what the French word is for Pork shoulder? In French it’s called épaule de porc (pronounced eh-pal de por) – épaule means shoulder and porc is pork.

If you want to ask for bone in pork shoulder, it’s épaule de porc avec os. If you want a boneless joint you’ll need to ask for épaule de porc sans os.

Where can you find pork shoulder in France?

Finding pork shoulder in France depends on where you live. Living in Paris for 7 years, I’ve very rarely seen the cut in any supermarket in the city centre. However the supermarkets in the centre ville don’t tend to be particularly big and even the biggest ones won’t have many options.

Your best way to find pork shoulder in France is to head to the boucheries (butcher shops) which are commonly found in cities, towns and villages across France. The second best option is to go to hypermarchés (hyper markets) – these are huge supermarkets often found around the outskirts of towns and cities. Note that the prices in butchers will be significantly higher compared to hyper markets but the meat will be higher quality.

If you’re in Paris, you will easily be able to find pork shoulder in hypermarchés just outside of the city. Myauchan Bagnolet is easy to reach on the end of Metro line 3 (stop Gallieni) and they stock large quantities of pork shoulder. It takes around 20 minutes to reach from Place de la République.

Alternative cuts to pork shoulder in France

Despite the lack of availability of pork shoulder, there’s plenty of other similar cuts that you’ll find in most supermarkets. Most English speaking countries will swear by pork shoulder, but in France the best replacement is échine de porc (similar to Pork collar/pork neck). Échine is a great cut located between the neck and and the first ribs. It’s similar to shoulder by the fact that it has plenty of intermuscular fat. The other great advantage? You can grill it and you can braise it and it’ll be tender either way. It also works well for:

  • Pulled pork
  • Char Siu style BBQ pork
  • Thai style grilled pork
  • Roast pork
  • Grilled pork
pork shoulder French echine de porc
Échine de porc in a Monoprix supermarket

If you can’t find échine de porc, then palette de porc is a good replacement. This is a cut between the échine and the épaule. It’s a tough cut that needs to be be cooked for a long time for it to become tender. Check out our recipe & food tips section for some great recipes including pork shoulder and pork collar.

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