When following a pork butt/pulled pork recipe online, you might see or hear the person mention the "money muscle."
Its something that you'll more-so hear about in competition barbecue as Pitmasters will serve up pull (pulled pork), pork medallions from the money muscle, chunks, and tubes in their turn-in boxes.
All of these cuts showcase technique and ability to smoke pork butt proficiently.
The money muscle is a cylindrical/tube of muscle that's found on the opposite end of the blade-bone on a Pork Butt (Boston Butt). The pork butt comes from the upper foreleg of a hog.
The money muscle is easily identified on a pork butt as it has striations of intramuscular fat that run through its length.
This is actually uncharacteristic of pork cuts which is why it's so prized by Pitmasters and folks who do barbecue.
Most cuts of pork have intermuscular fat (fat that separates individual muscles) as apposed to intramuscular fat (fat found between lean muscle tissue) also called marbling.
The reason it's called the Money Muscle is because it's what most folks would consider to be the single best muscle on an entire hog.
The Money Muscle resembles a smaller pork loin. However, unlike the loin which has very little fat, the money muscle has large striations of intramuscular fat.
In terms of a barbecue competition, it's what gets competitors "in the money." Which simply means that they score high enough to win money by placing well.
Most folks aren't barbecue competitors and simply smoke pork butt to pull the entire cut. However, in the case of competition barbecue, these folks are turning in individual muscles to showcase their skill.
Smoking the Money Muscle is troublesome for a couple of reasons:
You might think that the easiest way to combat all these problems is to simply separate the money muscle from the rest of the butt. However, in a competition, this isn't allowed.
With that said, at your own home nobody is going to slap you on the wrist. Meaning, you could very well separate this muscle and smoke it separately.
In most cases, the people you're cooking for are just looking to eat good barbecue and won't understand the work you put into separating the money muscle; Offering them the money muscle likely isn't super fruitful unless they love barbecue.
Aside from being called the "Money Muscle," more scientifically, it's the pectoralis profundi muscle.
Non-scientifically, you might hear it be called pork collar (neck fillet), faux loin, or tiger muscle.
The obvious issue with the money muscle is that it's a super small part of the pork butt itself - which is disappointing; You basically have the best meat on the pig and yet you get so little of it.
Again, for backyard barbecue, most folks won't appreciate the money muscle. However, it's still worthwhile to smoke properly every once and a while.
If I'm cooking for a large crowd and I'm serving lots of pulled pork, I'll forego separating the muscle; My goal is just to get as much meat yield as possible.
If I'm smoking pork butt for my family and intimate friends, I'll separate it and treat it as a "Pitmaster tax." Meaning, I get to eat it and appreciate the hard work I put into smoking it.