Boiled Picnic Shoulder Recipe

| November 17, 2019 | 11 Comments

Boiled Picnic Ham – Boiled Picnic Shoulder

Follow our easy, step-by-step, photo illustrated 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. Printable recipe included.


Boiled Ham, enjoy!
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.


Boiled Ham, slider.

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 Ham, ingredients you'll need.
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.


Boiled Ham, rinse well.
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.


Boiled Ham, cover with cold water.
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.


Boiled Ham, bring to a boil.
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.


Boiled Ham, cover and reduce the heat.
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.


Boiled Ham, remove from water.
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.


Boiled Ham, remove skin and fat.
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.


Boiled Ham, enjoy.

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.


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Boiled Picnic Shoulder Recipe

  • Author: Steve Gordon
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 2 hours
  • Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
  • Yield: Varies
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stove top
  • Cuisine: American, Southern


We’re using a Smoked Pork Shoulder Picnic to make some delicious meat to use for making sandwiches. Or, use it with some cooked cabbage, carrots and potatoes to make a complete meal.



1 Ready-To-Cook Smoked Pork Shoulder, 5-8 pounds


Let refrigerated pork sit on counter for 1 hour prior to cooking.
Rinse the shoulder under cold running water.
Place shoulder in large stock pot.
Cover shoulder by 2 inches with cold water.
Place stock pot over Medium-High heat on stove top. Cover.
Let shoulder come to a rolling boil.
Reduce heat to just below Medium.
Boil ham, 20 minutes per pound or until done.
Ham is done when internal temp reaches 150F degrees.
Turn off heat. Let ham sit in pot to cool completely.
Remove from liquid and place on a cutting board.
Remove and discard the skin and the excess fat. Save the bones.
Slice as desired.

Keywords: Smoked Pork Shoulder, Picnic Ham, Sandwich, New England meal, Irish Cabbage and pork.

Your Comments:  Have you tried our Boiled Picnic Shoulder recipe?

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Be Blessed!!!


Here’s a recipe you might also like:  Baked Ham Shank with Brown Sugar Glaze

Or, maybe this one:  Baked Picnic Ham Recipe

Perhaps this one:  Sweet Potato Casserole







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Category: Main Dishes, Pork

About the Author ()

Award Winning Food Preservationist, Fisherman, Author of three cookbooks. "From Mama's Big Oval Table, From Mama's Big Oval Table - BOOK TWO and Carolina Christmas Sweets and Appetizers." Online Contributor to Our State Magazine Newsletter.

Comments (11)

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  1. Mike Ziemkowski says:

    Can you use a deep fryer with water instead?

  2. Deb Howard says:

    Put a couple cloves of garlic in the water when cooking the ham. It is delicious.

  3. Kim says:

    Other than slit pea soup, or cooking veggies, what could I use the broth for? I’ve got a LOT! Thank you.

  4. Karen says:

    I grew up with this. Then I had kids and made it for them. They used to call it “stringy ham”. I’m making one for dinner right now, as a matter of fact!

  5. Art McHugh says:

    Okay, I couldn’t find an uncooked smoked pork shoulder so I used one that was already cooked. Followed the recipe exactly for a boiled dinner and it was perfect. SO perfect that I then had a sandwich with Duke’s mayo and now I am hooked. Absolutely delicious. Easy to follow recipe. I am now a fan. Who says Northerners don’t love Southern cooking.

    • Steve Gordon says:

      Hi Art, I’m so glad you tried our Boiled Picnic Shoulder Recipe. I’m glad it turned out well for you and that you enjoyed it. You can’t go wrong if you make a sandwich with Duke’s Mayo of course. Smile. I’ve been known to just mayo between two slices of bread and enjoy it that way. I’m glad you’ve discovered some Southern way of life. Smile. Thank you for your visits. I do appreciate you stopping by and I hope you’ll stop by again… real soon. Be Blessed!!! -Steve

  6. Jeanne says:

    This is one of my favorite meals, the New England version with boiled onion, cabbage, carrots and potatoes! The leftover meat makes the best ham salad sandwich. Chop the meat and add your favorite mayo and sweet relish….yum!

    • Steve Gordon says:

      Hi Jeanne, Thank you for mentioning using leftovers to make ham salad. I hadn’t thought about that, but it would be a good way to use up any leftovers. That makes a great sandwich too. Smile. Thank you for your comments and for your visit today. I do hope you’ll stop by again… real soon. Be Blessed!!! -Steve

  7. Mary says:

    This is very useful information, especially when hams are on sale. Thank you. I bet the broth would make a great base for split pea soup.

    Totally agree about Duke’s. I was introduced to this southern mayo about seven years ago. It was like “Where have you been all my life!”

    Always in my pantry.

    • Steve Gordon says:

      Hi Mary, It’s always my pleasure to share a recipe. Yes, the broth could be used for various things. I’m happy to hear that you have discovered the best mayonnaise in the world. I love some Duke’s Mayonnaise. Smile. Thank you for sharing your comments with us today. I appreciate your visits and do hope you’ll stop by again… real soon. Be Blessed!!! -Steve

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