Slow Roasted Pork Picnic Shoulder

Slow Roasted Pork Picnic Shoulder

The Spruce 

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 6 hrs 30 mins
Total: 6 hrs 45 mins
Servings: 8 to 10 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
1069 Calories
78g Fat
2g Carbs
85g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8 to 10
Amount per serving
Calories 1069
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 78g 100%
Saturated Fat 29g 143%
Cholesterol 327mg 109%
Sodium 383mg 17%
Total Carbohydrate 2g 1%
Dietary Fiber 1g 2%
Total Sugars 1g
Protein 85g
Vitamin C 3mg 17%
Calcium 98mg 8%
Iron 5mg 27%
Potassium 1250mg 27%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Picnic shoulder is a cut of pork that comes from the shoulder of the animal, a cut known to be a primal cut, alongside the loin, belly, and hind leg. From the shoulder come the picnic shoulder and the Boston butt, two different cuts that are often confused. The picnic shoulder is a muscular piece of meat with a lot of flavor. It requires proper cooking to make the meat tender and juicy, and is great for pulled pork. Picnic shoulder is basically the same cut as the part sold as pork shoulder, but some slight differences come from how the part is cut by different butchers.

Because of its tough nature, the picnic shoulder needs a slow and gentle cook; some cooks choose the crock pot and some the oven. Our recipe uses the latter to achieve a perfect, tender, and juicy meat with a crispy and crunchy crackling. Simple additional ingredients allow the flavorful pork cut to shine yet add a fragrant profile. Use the meat for stews, tacos, pulled pork sandwiches, mini quiches, empanadas, or as the centerpiece of a special meal, with sides of potatoes, vegetables, or casseroles.


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  • 1 (6- to 8-pound) pork picnic shoulder (with skin)

  • Kosher salt

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 large carrot, sliced

  • 1 medium onion, cut in chunks

  • 4 cloves garlic, halved

  • 2 ribs celery, sliced

  • 3 to 4 bay leaves

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for slow-roasted pork picnic shoulder
     The Spruce
  2. Preheat the oven to 450 F/230 C/Gas Mark 8.

  3. Pat the roast dry. With a very sharp knife or razor, score through skin and fat, but not into the meat. Space the slits about 1/2 inch apart.

    The roast is scored with a knife
     The Spruce
  4. Rub a generous amount of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper over the pork, rubbing it into the slits.

    The scored pork roast is seasoned
     The Spruce
  5. Place the pork in a large roasting pan and roast for 30 minutes.

    The pork picnic is placed in a roasting pan
     The Spruce
  6. After 30 minutes, carefully remove and cover the pan tightly with heavy-duty foil. Place back in the oven and reduce the heat to 325 F/165 C/Gas 3. Roast for 4 hours.

    The meat is covered with foil
     The Spruce
  7. Remove the foil and pour off all but a few tablespoons of the fat that has collected in the pan. Add the garlic, onion, carrot, celery, and bay leaves to the pan, lifting the roast slightly to position some of the vegetables under it. Or carefully lift the roast out, add the vegetables to the pan, then return the roast to the pan. This could be a challenge if the pork is beginning to fall apart.

    Vegetables are added to the pan with the roast
     The Spruce
  8. Recover with the foil and return to the oven. Continue roasting for 1 1/2 to 2 hours longer until the meat is very tender and the skin is crispy.

    Cooked pork picnic
     The Spruce
  9. Remove from the oven and let rest for a few minutes before serving.

  10. Enjoy.

How to Store Pork Picnic Roast

  • If raw: Wrap well and keep in the fridge for up to three days; after that, it's best to either cook it or freeze it. The cut will keep in the freezer for up to six months.
  • If cooked: Place all the leftover meat in an airtight container and keep in the fridge for up to three days; after that, it's best to freeze it in a zip-top bag for up to three months. Try to take out as much air as possible from the bags before freezing them.

How Long Should I Cook Pork Shoulder?

The best indication of well-cooked pork is the inner temperature, so a meat thermometer is a great tool to have at hand. The rule of thumb is to give the shoulder 25 to 35 minutes per pound until the inner temperature of the roast reaches 170 F for sliced pork and 195 F for pulled pork.