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Baked Picnic Ham Recipe

Step-by-step, photo illustrated recipe for a delicious Southern style Baked Picnic Ham.  It’s not just for the holidays any longer.  We’re baking up a delicious ham from a Smoked Pork Shoulder Picnic with a quick and easy recipe.  Studded with cloves, topped with a brown sugar glaze and sliced pineapple as an option, your family is sure to love this any time of the year, but it’s just perfect for the holidays.

Baked Picnic Ham Recipe

Growing up at home during my younger years, a picnic ham was pretty much reserved for a holiday meal.  Sometimes we’d also have one for a Sunday dinner when Mama was having the preacher and his family over, or maybe when we had some other special occasion to celebrate.  The point is, we just didn’t have them but a couple of times a year.

We weren’t major farmers but we did raise some pigs and chickens when I was a youngster, even a goat or two.  We also had a good sized garden each year to supply the family with food, and mama would always can up plenty of vegetables and other things for the cold winter months.  As I’ve mentioned before, I grew up poor but I never knew it at the time.  Mama could always come up with a meal of some sort and, it wasn’t until years later that I started paying attention to some of the stories of my older brother and sister that I really realized that times were tough back then.

Hog killing time was around Thanksgiving each year if the weather was cold enough.  That meant we’d eat a little more of those “expensive” cuts of pork than we did the rest of the year.  Daddy would make his homemade sausage, start the curing process on some hams and pork side meat and, every once in awhile, one of those pigs would end up on a homemade pit created especially for turning a pig into barbecue.

I’ve been trying to collect some old family photos of “hog killing” time as it was called.  I’ve not had a great deal of success with it but I know mama had some stuffed away somewhere because I remember seeing them.  Her pictures ended up at my sisters house and my sister is no longer with us so I haven’t seen them in many years.  Maybe one day though.

I was recently gifted with a Smoked Pork Picnic Shoulder so I’m delighted to share it’s preparation with you here on Taste of Southern.  Pork Shoulders will probably be on sale around this time of year so be sure to watch out for one.  They were .99 cent a pound on the label for this one which was a pretty good price for any type of pork these days.  Even fat back sells for a higher price than that but, that’s a whole different story that I’ll save for later.

Baked Picnic Ham makes a great main dish for any meal and any leftovers make great sandwiches for several days afterwards.  Just give me a couple of slices of Old Fashioned style white bread and some Duke’s Mayonnaise and I’m good to go.  Ready to give it a try yourself?  OK then….Let’s Get Cooking!

Smoked Picnic Ham, ingredients you'll need.

Baked Picnic Ham:  You only need a few ingredients to make this great Southern meal.  Please note that we are using a Smoked Pork Shoulder Picnic as it’s officially called on this package.  It’s smoked for some added flavor but this one needs to be fully cooked before serving.

Smoked Picnic Ham, foil lined pan.

I’m using a 13×9 pan that is 2 inches deep.  To make for easier cleanup later, line the pan with some heavy duty aluminum foil.  And, for the record, the shoulder weighed in just under 9lbs so this pan was plenty large for it to bake in.

Preheat the oven to 350º

Smoked Picnic Ham, remove the plastic wrapping.

Just place the whole thing inside the pan.  The label says this shoulder has some “Water Added” so we’ll keep those juices in the pan.  Just cut a slit in the plastic wrapping, remove it from all around the shoulder and toss it.  Of course, the wrapper usually has some instructions on baking the shoulder so you might want to take a look at those for reference.

Smoked Picnic Ham, remove any other packaging.

You’ll also want to remove any other packaging materials that might be attached.  This one had a padded material that covered over the end of the bone.  This helps prevent the bone from ripping the plastic wrap during shipping and handling.  Sometimes you might also find a package of some type of glaze already made so look for anything else carefully before you proceed to bake the shoulder.

Smoked Picnic Ham, netting.

You should also find some cheesecloth type netting wrapped around the shoulder.  We’re going to leave this on during the first part of the baking process to help hold the shape of the shoulder together.  I hope you can see it in this photo.  I tried to lift up one corner of the netting for the photo but it’s kind of hard to see.

Smoked Picnic Ham, bake skin side up.

Flip the shoulder over to place the skin and fat side UP.  This picture also shows the netting that wraps around the shoulder a little better.  Just center it in the pan.

Smoked Picnic Ham, add water.

Now, add one cup of water to the pan.

Smoked Picnic Ham, cover with foil

Take a large piece of the aluminum foil and place it over the pan.  Don’t wrap it up tightly, just leave it lightly covered but do make sure to crimp it down all around the edges to close it up good.  Place this on the middle rack of your oven which should already be warmed up to 350º.

NOTE:  Check the cooking times listed on the package of the pork shoulder you have.  Cooking time will be about 18-22 minutes per pound of weight for each shoulder but as always, that will vary depending on your oven.

Let the picnic bake for about 3/4ths of the time needed to fully bake it.  For me, that was about 2 hours.  I didn’t do anything to it during those first two hours of baking but we’re going to remove it after it’s baked about 3/4th of the way to prep it for it’s final baking time.

Smoked Picnic, add brown sugar.

After the picnic has baked about 2 hours, according to it’s size, go ahead and mix up the ingredients to make the GLAZE we’ll be using to brush all across the top.  Start by adding the brown sugar to a small bowl.

Baked Picnic Ham, add yellow mustard

Add the yellow mustard.

Baked Picnic Ham, add pineapple juice

Open up the can of Sliced Pineapple and remove about 1/4th cup of the juice.  Add a little of the juice at a time to the brown sugar and mustard to make a slightly thick syrup.  Stir it together well.

Carefully remove the picnic shoulder from the oven.  It’s going to be hot and it has some juices so try not to spill those.  Sit it on a towel or rack and remove the aluminum foil.

Baked Picnic Ham, remove the netting.

Use some kitchen shears or a sharp knife to cut away the netting from all around the pork shoulder.  It’s going to be hot so be very careful.  Yes, it will probably stick in some places on the bottom.  The netting easily pulls away from the outer layer of skin on top but gets a little sticky on the bottom side sometimes.  Just do your best but, remove ALL of the netting.  You may have to use a knife to keep from pulling away a lot of meat with the netting but you can do it.  Again, it’s HOT so use caution.

Baked Picnic Ham, remove the skin and layer of fat.

This part is even HOTTER.  Take a very sharp knife and slip it up under the layer of skin.  Grab the skin with tongs if you have them then, carefully cut away the skin and fat from the meat portion.  It will normally peel up pretty easily at this point.  Cut away as much of the fat as you can as you go along.

Baked Picnic Ham, remove the skin and fat.

Set the skin aside.  Any pieces of meat that were attached can be removed and used later to season up some vegetables.  Most of the meat on the right was pulled away when I tried to remove the netting from the bottom of the shoulder.  The skin and fat usually pulls away pretty clean without removing much meat.

Baked Picnic Ham, remove any excess layers of fat.

Trim away any fat that may be left attached to the top of the shoulder.  It doesn’t have to be perfect but you don’t want to leave any large portions of fat on the meat.

Take a sharp knife and score across the shoulder.  Each cut should only be about 1/2 inch deep and about 1 inch or so apart.

Baked Picnic Ham, score it again.

Score the meat again in the opposite direction.  Now, you could get really creative here and make the cuts so the scored sections are more of a diamond shape…but I didn’t get that happy this time around.  It’s pretty when you do that though.

Baked Picnic Ham, add cloves.

I think this is more for decoration and the final presentation than for flavor.  Thus, you could do it or not, whichever you select.  Dump a bunch of the Whole Cloves in one hand and then carefully push one whole clove into each of the scored sections.  Some folks choose to put them at the intersection of the scored points, it’s just a matter of preference.

There’s only one real problem with using the Whole Cloves from what I’ve found.  You have to go back and remove them before you slice it up to serve it.  Nobody wants to bite into a clove while they’re eating.  Still, it’s gonna make it “purty.”  Go for it.

Baked Picnic Ham, add the glaze.

After you’ve added all four hundred of the cloves, pour about HALF of the Glaze mixture over the top.  You can brush it on if you’re more artistically inclined…or…just pour it all over the top.  OK…it didn’t really take 400 cloves…but it might have felt like it.  Smile.

Place one of the slices of pineapple right in the center of the whole picnic.  You’ll need some toothpicks to hold them in place.  I broke a toothpick in half and placed two picks in each slice to secure it in place.  Don’t push them in to far, just like the whole cloves, you’re going to have to remove them later.  Toothpicks are for AFTER the meal….not PART of the meal.  You can thank me later for that little bit of advice.

This is the point where I realized that I didn’t have any Cherries to stick in the center of each slice of pineapple.  What WAS I thinking to not get those?  Oh well, my mistake.  Please forgive me.  Some folks place a bright red cherry in the hole of each slice of Pineapple.  Of course, I figure if I have to remove the toothpicks in order to remove the pineapple slices…and…I have to remove the Whole Cloves before I can slice it…why bother with Cherries.  I’m a pretty ‘basic needs” kind of guy I think.

Baked Picnic Ham, add some more glaze.

Add the remainder of the glaze to the top of the pineapple slices.

DO NOT COVER the shoulder this time, just place it back in the oven to finish baking.

REDUCE the oven temperature to 250º.

Baked Picnic Ham, check for proper temperature.

You’ll want to keep a close watch on the shoulder as it cooks for the remainder of the time.  You don’t want to burn the pineapple slices but you do want to make sure the shoulder cooks all the way through.  Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the meat but do not press it against the bone.  I cooked mine to an internal temperature of just above 160º.

The United States Department of Agriculture has recently lowered the safe cooking temperature for pork down to 145 degrees.  It had been at an internal temperature of 160º in the past for leaner cuts of pork.  However, ground pork with more fat content should still be cooked to 160 degrees for safety.  You can read all about it by clicking here:  United States Department of Agriculture .

Those guidelines also say to let the meat rest for 3 minutes before carving and serving.  That’s not going to be a problem with this one because it will take longer than that to remove the toothpicks and the Whole Cloves.  Here, I’ve removed the Pineapple Slices.  Place them on a small plate and save them for serving later.

OK….I SHOULD have removed the Whole Cloves at this point.  Only, I didn’t think about it.  I highly suggest that YOU however, go ahead and remove them now…unless you think they look really pretty and want your family or guests to see all the hard work you did to prepare this picnic ham.  Choice is yours.

Baked Picnic, coat with mustard.

I decided I wanted to add a little more Glaze to this picnic so you can either follow the next few steps or not.  That really would depend on just how well you like the brown sugar coating on your ham.  I find it to be absolutely delicious to get that little taste of sweetness along with the saltiness of the picnic shoulder when you bite into it.

I haven’t mentioned it yet but picnic shoulders that have been smoked are a bit on the salty side.  That’s why you aren’t seeing any addition of salt in this recipe.  It has plenty already.  It’s just got something to do with the smoking and curing process.

Should you decide to add a bit more Glaze, which I think will also add to the beauty of the final presentation, then brush a little of the yellow mustard all over the top of the shoulder.

Smoked Picnic, add some brown sugar.

Sprinkle a generous amount of brown sugar over the mustard.  You can really get into it by patting the sugar down into the mustard or just lightly sprinkle it over the top.  Just get a good even coating of it all over the picnic.  Place it back in the oven still uncovered, set the oven to BROIL and let it bake for about 10 more minutes.

Set the oven to BROIL, bake for 10 more minutes.

Smoked Picnic, broiled.

Now…doesn’t that look absolutely delicious.  See how much of a difference that little extra mustard and brown sugar, along with broiling it another 10 minutes makes.  You just don’t want to let the sugar begin to burn.  It would be a shame to get this far along and burn the Glaze during that final 10 minutes.  Again, oven temperatures will vary so keep a close eye on it during this time.

Smoked Picnic, how to slice, step one.

Are you hungry yet?  I know my photography skills need a lot of work and improvement but this just makes me hungry to look at it.

I’m going to give you a few steps further on how to CARVE your Baked Picnic Ham once it’s ready to serve.  Of course, by this time, the meat has had it’s needed three minutes to rest.  OK, it’s actually had about 15 minutes by this time.  I needed to cut out a few slices for the final presentation so here’s what I did.

Starting on the smaller end of the meat, slightly angle your knife and cut down to the bone.  We’re going to basically cut a V-shape in it.

Smoked Picnic, slice number two.

Move the knife and angle it in the opposite direction, slice it again, down to the bone.

Remove the wedge shape you’ve cut and set it aside.

Smoked Picnic, slice at an angle.

Use a fork to help hold the meat, then make several angled slices at the thickness you desire, moving on back towards the larger end of the picnic ham.  Cut them down to the bone on each slice.

Smoked Picnic, bottom slice.

Run the knife along the bottom of each slice and the top of the bone to cut the slices free. Then, remove each slice and place on your serving platter.

Smoked Picnic, serve and enjoy.

Serve the Baked Picnic Ham up while it’s warm…and….Enjoy!!!

PS:  Don’t forget those baked slices of Pineapple that you have.  Uh…seems I might have left them out of the final serving.  They’re too good not to enjoy them.  This ham goes great with about any vegetables you want to serve.  And, don’t forget about those sandwiches the next day should you have any leftovers.

PSS:  When you’ve cleaned the bone, wrap it in foil and pop it in the freezer.  It’s a good “soup bone” to season your next pot of soup with.  Waste not, want not right?  Enjoy!!!

PSSS:  Those little black spots in the top of each slice may or may not be Whole Cloves left in by mistake.  Maybe I just thought it would make for a better presentation, just like actually having a slice or two of Pineapple in the picture would have added some more color.  It was still mighty good though.  I about couldn’t stop eating on it.  Just saying!

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