Slow Roasted Pork Picnic Shoulder

Slow Roasted Pork Picnic Shoulder

The Spruce 

  • Total: 6 hrs 45 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins
  • Cook: 6 hrs 30 mins
  • Servings: 8 to 10 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
914 Calories
53g Fat
8g Carbs
95g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8 to 10
Amount per serving
Calories 914
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 53g 68%
Saturated Fat 19g 97%
Cholesterol 344mg 115%
Sodium 411mg 18%
Total Carbohydrate 8g 3%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Protein 95g
Calcium 123mg 9%
*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 comes the picnic shoulder, and the Boston Butt, two cuts that are different, but 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, great for pulled pork. It 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 crockpot, 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
  • 4 cloves garlic (halved)
  • 1 medium onion (cut in chunks)
  • 1 large carrot (sliced)
  • 2 ribs celery (sliced)
  • 3 to 4 bay leaves

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Slow Roasted Pork Picnic Shoulder Recipe
     The Spruce
  2. Preheat the oven to 450 F/230 C/Gas 8.

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

    Slow Roasted Pork Picnic Shoulder Recipe
     The Spruce
  4. Rub a generous amount of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper over the pork, rubbing it into the slits.

    Slow Roasted Pork Picnic Shoulder Recipe
     The Spruce
  5. Place the pork in a large roasting pan and roast for 30 minutes.

    Slow Roasted Pork Picnic Shoulder Recipe
     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. Return the roast to the oven and roast for 4 hours.

    Slow Roasted Pork Picnic Shoulder Recipe
     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.

    Slow Roasted Pork Picnic Shoulder Recipe
     The Spruce
  8. Return to the oven and continue roasting for 1 1/2 to 2 hours longer, until the meat is very tender and the skin is crispy.

    Slow Roasted Pork Picnic Shoulder Recipe
     The Spruce
  9. Remove from the oven and let rest for a few minutes before serving.

  10. Enjoy!

How Long Should I Cook Pork Shoulder?

The most common oven technique to cook pork shoulder starts with a temperature of 450 F for 30 minutes. The temperature then gets reduced to 325-350 F for as many hours as it takes until the inner temperature of the roast reaches 170 F for sliced pork and 195 F for pulled pork. The rule of thumb is to give the shoulder 25-35 minutes per pound at 350 F after the initial 30 minutes at 450 F.

The best indication of well-cooked pork is the inner temperature, so a meat thermometer is a great tool to have at hand.

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 ziptop bag for up to three months. Try to take as much air as possible from the bags before freezing them.