Close this search box.

Boiled Picnic Shoulder Recipe

Follow our easy, step-by-step, recipe to learn how to make a Boiled Picnic Shoulder. Sometimes called a Boiled Ham, it’s great for making sandwiches or as an entree.

Boiled Picnic Ham is often used as a main dish with boiled cabbage, carrots and potatoes. Personally, I just like to use the meat for making sandwiches. It’s easy to do, but takes longer to cool than it does to cook.

I’ve posted numerous recipes here on Taste of Southern that use a Pork Picnic Shoulder piece of meat. Most of them are baked in the oven, but we’re going to boil this one on top of the stove.

Smoked Pork Picnic Shoulder is the meat we’re using. It’s been cold smoked, but has not been cooked at all. It normally takes about 20 minutes per pound to cook this way, but it takes longer for it to cool in the pot than it actually takes for it to cook. But, the results will be well worth the time. Smile.

Our New England and our Irish friends like to boil shoulder meat this way and serve it with cooked cabbage, carrots and potatoes. The larger pieces are great served that way, and you could easily cook the vegetables in the same broth leftover from boiling the shoulder.

I prefer to shred it up, or pull it apart to make sandwiches. It would be great for game night, or any type of family gathering. Then again, I just always seem to enjoy a good sandwich. Especially one with plain white bread and my favorite Duke’s Mayonnaise.

Mama would boil a ham shank when I was growing up. Ham comes from the hind leg of the pig, while shoulders come from the front legs. We called those City Hams as opposed to the cured Country Hams. Confused yet? Smile.

Save the bones when you remove them. They are good for seasoning meat in beans, soups and with lots of your favorite vegetables. And, while I pretty much pick a bone clean, I do add a bit of the meat to go along with the bones for added flavor.

Normally, I’ll buy these shoulders when they go on sale. You can cook them, then freeze the meat for later if you wrap it up good or vacuum seal it before you put it in the freezer.

So, ready to give our recipe a try? Alright then, let’s head on out to the kitchen, and… Let’s Get Cooking!

Boiled Picnic Shoulder Recipe – You’ll need a smoked pork shoulder, that’s it.

In my area, these go on sale quite often. It’s a Smoked Pork Shoulder Picnic. They are cold smoked to give it lots of flavor, but are not cooked, and makes for some great sandwich material.

Remove the shoulder portion from its wrapping, and place it in the sink where you can rinse it well under cold running water. It may have a bit of fat, and it does have a rind or skin, but we’re going to leave it all intact while we boil it.

I leave mine out for about an hour before I cook it so it starts to come up to about room temperature.

You’ll need a very large stock pot, one big enough to hold the shoulder and allow you to cover it with a couple of inches of cold water.

Place the pot on your stove top with the heat set to about Medium-High. Let the water come up to a good boil, and skim off any foam that might appear. Discard the foam. They say the foam comes from some kind of impurities so you need to remove as much of it as possible.

When it reaches a boil, COVER the pot and REDUCE the heat down to just below Medium.

The shoulder needs to boil for about 20 minutes per pound of meat. The shoulder is done when the internal temperature reaches 150F degrees. I always like to use a digital thermometer, but I must admit, it was kind of difficult to use with a piece of meat floating around in hot water. BE CAREFUL. Just saying.

Check the temperature in several places and try to avoid touching the bone so that you get a good reading all the way around.

WHEN DONE:  Turn off the heat and just let the shoulder sit in the pot until it all cools. This part takes several hours so be prepared to wait a bit.

Carefully remove the meat from the water once it’s cooled. It will probably try to fall apart on you. I used tongs to help lift it from the water. Place it on a cutting board.

Remove the skin/rind, and the excess fat from the meat. Then, remove the bones.

This part can get a bit messy so be prepared for that. Discard the fat and skin, but save the bones. We’ve got another recipe that we’re going to use those with.


I love to make sandwiches with this. Some pieces of the meat between two slices of white bread and Duke’s® Mayonnaise makes me a happy camper. It shreds easily and if you wanted, you could add some of your favorite barbecue sauce. I just like to enjoy the taste of the smoked meat, so the mayo is all I need.

Larger pieces can be served with cooked cabbage, carrots and potatoes for a Irish or New England style meal. You could even cook the vegetables in the broth left over from cooking the meat.

And, save those bones to season other vegetables or to make soup.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top