Butt vs Shank Ham: Similarities and Differences

In this guide, we will be looking at butt vs shank ham and particularly the similarities and differences between the two.

The butt ham is the part just above the shank ham, which means it is just above the lower portion of the leg.

On the other hand, the shank ham is the portion at the lower part of the pig’s leg, closer to the hoof.

Butt vs Shank Ham Similarities and Differences

Both cuts are good protein sources, but in my opinion, the butt end is the better cut, given that it is succulent, healthier, and has a rich flavor.

Now, let’s get into the topic of today, butt vs shank ham. You will get to know their similarities and differences.

What are Butt and Shank Ham?

Butt ham is gotten from the upper part of the leg, whereas shank ham is gotten from the lower part of the leg.

In comparison with butt ham, shank ham is fattier. Shank ham is more visually pleasing, but butt ham is much leaner.

That being said, butt ham is not as tasty as shank, but shank ham can be costlier.

Although similar, this means butt and shank ham do have some identifiable differences, and you must take note of these as a BBQ lover or meat chef.

Differences Between Butt Ham and Shank Ham

Butt ham is gotten from the top portion, and given that it is so much leaner, most times it can serve so many people.

However, shank ham is obtained from the pig’s lower legs and has a single bone running along the length of the leg.

The meat is fatty and easy to carve, thanks to the position of the bone.

Overall, the shanks have a nice appearance. That being said, the butt ham actually wins if you prefer leaner meats.

Regardless of everything about butt ham, shank ham often carves much nicer and has a much nicer appearance.

So, when it comes to deciding on which meat to serve up at a dinner party, shank wins, thanks to these reasons. However, keep in mind that there will be more fat to cut off.

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How to Identify Butt Ham and Shank Ham

What you will notice is that the butt ham is distinguishably smaller compared to the shank portion, and it has a rounded edge that makes it easy to distinguish.

As previously mentioned, the meat is leaner on this end but comes with a shape that makes carving more difficult.

As for the shank portion of the ham, it has a slight funnel shape. This is because the cut contains both a section of the femur and a shank bone.

That being the case, the meat is extremely savory, although it is slightly tougher compared to the meat that is gotten from the butt end.

What Is the Best Type of Ham?

The butt ham is leaner compared to the shank ham. The shank ham is easier to cut compared to the butt.

Both of them have their advantages and disadvantages.

When you are preparing a big meal, boneless ham is always your best option. Ham bones are delectable in soups.

Different cures, rubs, and glazes can make or break a ham. However, everyone has different taste preferences.

Do You Need to Cook Ham?

In general, you don’t need to cook ham. Ham has been cured and is normally cooked, which is unlike fresh pork. On that account, you don’t need to cook it.

However, you might be able to buy fresh ham butt or shank in rare instances. Then, you will need to learn how to prepare fresh ham.

Although you might want to heat it. You can expect around 10 minutes of cooking time for each pound at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

So many people will add some flavor by seasoning or glazing the ham.

Pineapple-glazed ham is a favorite recipe. So many people prefer to make a brown sugar crust for their holiday ham.

You have the option of using something sweet, such as maple syrup or adding some salty flavors. There are unlimited baked ham recipes to pick from.

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How Do You Serve Ham?

A lot of people glaze or season a ham before warming it up and serving it. Just carve it immediately after the ham is ready to eat.

You can expect to serve 1/3 pound for each person. And, count on ½ pound of meat for each person if you are buying bone-in ham.

You can store ham in the refrigerator, which will make it last for up to a week.

However, it is highly recommended that you keep it away from strong-smelling foods.

You can freeze ham for two months. I suggest you freeze smaller pieces of ham, as this makes reheating much easier.

You can reheat the leftovers in the microwave or oven. Just cover it with aluminum foil and cook it for a minimal period of time, as this will help prevent it from drying out.

There are definitely several options out there, whether you are serving ham at a family meal or a backyard cookout.

Both butt and shank ham come with the pork flavor that people crave.

Where Do You Get Butt Ham?

Well, it is clear that just because a ham was referred to as “butt’ that it does come from the butt itself.

Butt ham refers to any ham that is obtained from the butt of a pig. And below are some sources that sell butt ham.

Farmers’ Market

Some farmers’ markets sell raw ham, but I strongly suggest that you do your research and ask questions.

Specialty Market

Several specialty markets have this product. Keep in mind to ask where the butt ham came from before buying.

Butcher Shops

Butchers are able to get this type of ham from suppliers.


When it comes to ordering different meats online, websites like Amazon have different kinds of options.

Butt ham is not the only option they have. You have the option of checking each website individually for their selection of products.

Grocery Stores

Even though grocers do not necessarily sell butt ham, they are very likely to stock these products. Just ask them for information about butt ham.

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Where Do You Find Shank Ham?

Most regions have their own unique variations, even though shank ham differs based on where you live.

Below are some places you should look if your area does not sell shank ham commercially.

Online Retail Websites

Websites such as MercadoLibre.com permit customers to order food online without having to leave the comfort of their homes. Your ham will be delivered right to your doorstep immediately after you place your order.

Local Farmer Stand/Farmers Market

A lot of farmers’ markets carry shank hams. They might have their own unique names, so it is important that you do your research.

Grocery Store, Deli Counter, or Specialty Market

You should know what type of ham you are getting from grocery stores, specialty markets, and delis, which are larger chains. The quality of your shank ham will be determined by who produces it.

A Local Butcher Shop (If You Have One)

A lot of butchers have access to local farms and purchase directly from them. So, the quality of your ham will be determined by how well cared for it is.


I’m sure you came for the similarities and differences between butt vs shank ham, and here you have it.

Given the fact that shank ham is healthier, well-rounded, and savory, it is the more popular choice.

However, butt ham does have its benefits, particularly when it comes to convenience and ease of preparation.

Eventually, it comes down to personal preference, as everyone’s preferences are so varied.

There will always be those who will choose one over the other for whatever reason.

In the end, what matters is which cuts you choose for yourself. So it’s time to get out there and get tasting.

To wrap it up, this concludes this guide on “Butt vs shank ham: similarities and differences.”

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