How to Smoke Picnic Roast with Rootbeer Recipe

Smoked pork picnic
To make a smoked pork picnic roast, preheat the smoker to 225°F and add your favorite fruitwood wood chips or pellets. Bring the pork picnic to room temperature and coat with oil and dry rub. Smoke the roast until it reaches 145°F and allow it to rest for 1 hour before serving!

Method for Making Smoked Pork Picnic

Smoking meat is all about infusing smoke flavor, and it is easy to do with these simple steps:

Tools Needed to Smoke Picnic Roast

Before smoking, you must ensure you have a pellet smoker, pellet grill, charcoal grill, electric smoker, or Big Green Egg to smoke the meat.

Additionally, you’ll need the following:

  • Aluminum foil
  • Meat thermometer
  • Wood chips or wood pellets

How to Prep the Picnic Roast for Smoking

Bring the pork to room temperature and trim it ensuring you leave at least a 1/4-inch fat cap.

Rinse the meat under cold running water and blot dry with paper towels. Apply dry rub on all sides of the roast.

Prepare the Smoker

Preheat the smoker to 225°F. Add your favorite wood chips or wood pellets to the smoker. Hickory and fruitwoods are excellent when making a pulled pork recipe.

Smoke the Picnic Roast

As with brisket, place your shoulder picnic pork roast with the fat side up. Smoke for 4 hours, adding wood chips as necessary, and monitor the temperature to ensure the smoker is maintaining a temperature of 225°F.

Continue smoking your pork picnic until the exterior forms a crispy crust, and the internal temperature of the pork reaches 145°F.

Rest the Pork Picnic

Cover the roast with foil and allow the roast to rest for one hour before serving.

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sliced pork picnic

Smoked Picnic Roast with Rootbeer Recipe

  • Author: Whitney
  • Total Time: 6 hours, 10 minutes


This succulent, juicy picnic roast is bursting with flavor and is easy to make in your backyard! This recipe is perfect for pulled pork and can be used for sandwiches, tacos, salads, and more.


  • 1 1/2 tablespoons black pepper, coarse ground
  • 1 3-4 lb bone-in pork picnic roast
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon coarse kosher salt
  • 35 tablespoons mustard
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 can root beer


  1. Preheat the smoker to 225°F.
  2. Combine black pepper, brown sugar, garlic powder, kosher salt, and paprika in a small bowl to create the rub.
  3. Place pork on a flat surface and apply an even coat of mustard on all sides.
  4. Apply the dry rub all over the roast.
  5. Fill a heat-proof dish with 1/2 can of root beer and add the same amount of water. Place the dish inside the smoker.
  6. Place the pork picnic directly on the grill grates in the smoker, then close the lid.
  7. Fill a food-safe spray bottle with the other half can of root beer.
  8. Every hour, spritz the top of the roast with the root beer.
  9. Once the pork hits an internal temp of 160°F, pull it off the grill and wrap it in plain butcher’s paper or aluminum foil.
  10. Return the pork to the smoker. Add more root beer and water to the heat-proof dish if it seems to be running low.
  11. Increase the temperature of the grill to 250°F and cook the pork until the internal temp reaches 202°F.
  12. Remove the roast from the smoker, and double wrap in aluminum foil. Place the wrapped roast in a towel and place in a cooler for 1 hour. This will keep the meat hot while it rests and reabsorbs the juices.
  13. Remove the roast from the cooler, shred the pork with a fork or meat claw, and toss it with any remaining juice or your favorite barbecue sauce.


You can use a mixture of apple juice and apple cider vinegar as a spritz solution for your piece of meat instead of rootbeer if you prefer a more traditional flavor profile.

You can use a dry bbq rub seasoning in lieu of creating your own. Most dry rubs will have all of the necessary seasonings incorporated.

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Rest Time: 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 5 hours


  • Serving Size: 150g
  • Calories: 318
  • Sodium: 432mg
  • Fat: 8.8g
  • Saturated Fat: 1.8g
  • Carbohydrates: 46g
  • Fiber: 3g
  • Protein: 14g
  • Cholesterol: 22mg

Best Temperature to Smoke Picnic Roast

The best temperature range to smoke picnic roast is 225°F to 250°F. This temperature is ideal because the low heat will dissolve the fat and connective tissue resulting in mouthwatering smoked pulled pork that is fork tender.

How Long Does It Take to Smoke Picnic Roast?

A general rule is to smoke picnic roast for 75 minutes per pound at 250°F. The following chart will give a rough timeline for smoking picnic roast at 250°F. Continuously monitor the internal temperature of the meat because the total time can vary.

Weight of Picnic RoastTime Needed to Smoke
4 pounds5 hours
5 pounds 6 hours and 15 minutes
6 pounds 7 and a half hours
7 pounds 8 hours and 45 minutes
8 pounds10 hours
9 pounds11 hours and 15 minutes
10 pounds 12 and a half hours

Target Internal Temperature for Picnic Roast

Per the USDA, pork must reach a minimum internal temperature of 145°F however, the target internal temperature of picnic roast is 202°F because at this temperature it can be easily shredded.

Bone in Picnic Roast vs Boneless Picnic Roast

Bone in picnic roast is often considered better than boneless roast because the bone keeps the meat moist and adds flavor. However, boneless picnic roasts cook much faster and are easier to handle.

Best Side Dish Ideas for Smoked Picnic Roast

There are so many delicious side dishes that work well with smoked pork butt and pulled pork sandwiches! Here are a few of my favorites:

Rosemary Roasted Potatoes

This recipe is a delicious medley of roasted potatoes, parsnips, carrots, and onions. It is colorful, healthy, and has a short prep time. Roasting brings out the natural sweetness of the vegetables, and they’re seasoned with fresh herbs and vegetable broth.

Baked Macaroni and Cheese

Mac and Cheese is a classic side dish for a roast. This Southern-style recipe includes a quick from-scratch cheese sauce and a buttery toasted breadcrumb topping that adds crunch to the creaminess of the casserole.

Baked Bacon-Wrapped Asparagus

This is a side that will impress dinner guests. These spears are a mix of sweet, tangy, salty, and smoky. There are only four ingredients, and it is easy to make!

Tips for Shredding Pork Picnic for Pulled Pork

  • Wait until the pork picnic or pork butt reaches 202°F before shredding as it will pull apart easily.
  • Shredding pulled pork can be done by hand, but it is easier to use two forks or a meat claw.
  • While shredding pulled pork, pull out any bits of unrendered fat and discard.
  • Be sure to use shredded pulled pork immediately or mix it with bbq sauce to keep it moist.

Best Way to Store and Reheat Smoked Picnic Roast

The best way to store leftover roast is to refrigerate it by placing it in an airtight container.

To reheat a whole smoked pork shoulder, place it in an oven-safe roasting pan with mopping sauce, cider, or water. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and reheat in the oven at 325°F for 30 to 40 minutes. Check the internal temperature to ensure it is at least 160°F.


Whitney resides in Kentucky, where she enjoys cooking and grilling with her husband. She loves visiting restaurants and exploring different types of BBQ. She believes food brings people together and opens people to new experiences.

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