The picnic shoulder is located directly below the Shoulder Roast, and includes all of the leg until the hock, right above the pig’s front foot. The picnic shoulder is almost always sold bone-in and skin-on, and that’s a large part of what makes it so desirable. This portion of the pig gets a lot of use, so the tough muscle requires low and slow cooking. During cooking, the bone ensures the pork stays moist, while the skin renders, crisps up, and insulates the meat.
Because of the tapered shape of the leg, it can be difficult to cut a picnic shoulder into consistently sized pieces. Because of that, we recommend opting for pork shoulder roast when uniform chunks of pork shoulder are called for in a recipe.