Picnic pork is one of the cheapest cuts of pork, and is found above the front foot of the hog, below the Boston butt. It is also called pork shoulder and contains more meat than other cuts. It is a tougher piece of meat and lends itself to low and slow cooking methods like grilling, roasting, and smoking.
Is Picnic Pork the Same as Pork Shoulder?
Yes. Picnic pork roast is also called pork shoulder, picnic shoulder, picnic ham, pork picnic, or picnic roast. All of these names refer to the same cut of meat—the upper portion of the pig’s front leg. You can use any of these terms interchangeably.
Please keep in mind that the primal shoulder cut is also called pork shoulder. This part has two sub-primal cuts including the pork butt (top/blade shoulder) and the pork picnic (lower arm shoulder).
Additionally, the pork butt/Boston butt is also sometimes called a pork shoulder (as a general term) because it’s part of that primal shoulder cut.
When in doubt, you can ask your butcher for clarification.
Are Picnic Pork and Boston Butt the Same Thing?
Boston butt and picnic pork roast are different cuts from the pork shoulder, but they’re not the same. Here is an in-depth comparison of both of them:
Boston Butt (Pork Butt)
A common misconception about this piece of meat is that it comes from the pig’s rear end. The Boston butt actually comes from the upper part of the shoulder blade, and it is often sold bone-in with a layer of fat on top.
The Boston butt has a great deal of intramuscular fat, which makes it best suited for braising, roasting, or smoking slowly over low heat. It’s also ideally suited for grilling, stir-frying, or grinding into sausage. It’s considered one of the most versatile pork meat cuts because it has so many uses.
- The top part of the shoulder
- Has a rectangular shape
- Marbled with a lot of intramuscular fat
- Usually sold with untrimmed fat cap
- Great for pulled pork
Picnic Pork (Picnic Roast)
Picnic pork is a triangular-shaped pork cut that comes from further down in the shoulder blade than the Boston butt. It has less fat on top and contains more lean meat. It also comes with the bone in and skin on.
It lends itself better to grilling or roasting over high heat which ensures the picnic pork forms a nice crispy skin.
Some dishes you can make with picnic pork include pork roast with crackling, whole roasts, carnitas tacos, and char siu. Picnic pork works perfectly using reverse-sear cooking methods.
- Located at the top part of the leg, below the butt
- Has a triangular shape
- Has fat marbling – more than pork chops, but less than pork butt
- Usually sold with skin on
- Great for pork roast with crackling
Pork picnic roasts are amazing when they are allowed to cook slowly over a grill for several hours until they become tender. They are often used to make pulled pork because the meat falls apart easily after grilling.Print
Can You Use Picnic Pork Roast for Pulled Pork?
The answer is yes.
The picnic cut is a large muscle usually tougher than other cuts of meat, making it perfect for slow cooking (like in a slow cooker) at low temperatures over several hours. The picnic shoulder is often used for pulled pork recipes because it has a lot of connective tissue that breaks down during the cooking process, making it perfect for shredding into pieces.
It’s easy to use in your favorite pulled pork sandwiches to replace the more traditional Boston butt cut.
What Does a Picnic Pork Roast Weigh?
Pork picnic weighs 4 to 10 pounds uncooked. This meat cut will shrink by about 40% to 50% when cooked. So an 8-pound cut of meat will end up weighing 4 pounds. Not only is this an excellent weight for roasting and carving, but it’s also the perfect amount of meat for 6 to 8 people!
How Many People Will a Picnic Pork Roast Serve?
⅓ pound of pork picnic typically feeds one person. Depending on the size of your roast, a pork shoulder can serve from 5 to 20 people.
What is the Best Way to Cook a Picnic Pork Roast?
There’s no doubt that barbecuing is the correct answer here – the best way to cook a pork picnic is over an open fire or on a grill.
There are many reasons for this:
- The charring and grilling process will give the meat a unique flavor profile that you can’t replicate in any other way.
- Grilling allows you to infuse your picnic with smoke from wood chips, giving it even more flavor.
- Grilling allows you to control the temperature and cooking time. You can take your time to tenderize the pork shoulder when using a grill because you can cook it low and slow, ensuring the meat softens.
- Grilling ensures your pork picnic will turn out tender in the middle and crispy on the outside – the perfect combo!