How to Cook a Smoked Picnic Ham

Baked picnic ham (pork shoulder ham) is one of my favourite types of ham to cook. While it is a different cut of pork than the traditional ham, it generally tastes the same because it has been cured and smoked just like a ham. In the end, it tastes just amazing and a great ham to serve the family.

I cook ham quite often, especially during the cold months of the year when I don’t mind having the oven on for good chunks of the day. Buying a full sized ham is a lot to serve my family, so a picnic ham is ideal! Any time I see the smoked picnic pork shoulder ham on sale, I grab one or two and throw them in the freezer.

How to Cook a Smoked Picnic Ham Pork Shoulder

Smoked picnic hams are the perfect size for my family. Usually weighing somewhere between 5-8 pounds, these hams usually give my family of 5, two full meals and then I love having the bone to make a pot of soup in my Instant Pot or slow cooker!!

How to Cook a Smoked Picnic Ham Pork Shoulder

Lay the picnic ham in a roasting dish. I use my large lasagna pottery baking dish. It is the perfect size for the ham. Make sure that you lay it down, fat side up. If there is cheesecloth or anything else that was in the packaging, remove that so only the ham is in the baking dish.

Pour 3/4 cup of water into the baking dish.

How to Cook the Picnic Ham

Cover the roasting pan with foil. Bake the ham in a 350F oven for 1 hour. This loosens up the fat and allows the rind to be pulled off easily.

How to Cook a Smoked Picnic Ham Pork Shoulder

After baking for 1 hour, take the ham out of the oven and remove the foil. Peel up the rind from the ham and discard. The rind will be hot, so I used tongs. If desired, you can trim some of the fat off the fat cap, but I usually leave most of it on the ham.

How to Cook a Smoked Picnic Ham Pork Shoulder

Using a sharp knife, cut slits in a cross check pattern. Make sure to go deep enough that you not only cut the fat, but also slice into the meat as well.

How to Cook a Smoked Picnic Ham Pork Shoulder

I puree the glaze in the blender so that it is smooth. Then I brush it all over the ham, using a BBQ brush to make sure the glaze gets right into the slits of the ham.

I do not pour all the glaze on the ham. Instead I initially brush about 1/3 of the glaze before baking the ham. Then twice, during the baking, I will brush some more of the glaze all over the top of the ham. This gives that ham a wonderful caramelized glaze all over the top and sides of the ham. The flavour is amazing!

How to Cook a Smoked Picnic Ham Pork Shoulder

Bake the ham for another 2 hours.

After 1 hour, brush the ham with more glaze. About 30 minutes later, brush the ham with glaze one more time. Bake the ham for the remaining 30 minutes.

How to Cook a Smoked Picnic Ham Pork Shoulder

I let the ham rest for about 5-10 minutes after I take it out of the oven. Then, carve it using a nice long carving knife, making slices of the ham that are about 1/4 inch thick. I like to serve my ham with some dijon or creole mustard. Amazing! As you can see it is very easy for how to cook a picnic ham.

Ham is best served with sides that compliment the smoky and sweet taste of the ham.

Here are a few sides that are just ideal with a baked ham!

How to Cook a Smoked Picnic Ham Pork Shoulder

If you want to make something with the ham bone or leftover ham meat, here are a few great recipes!

Great recipes for a ham bone

How to Cook a Picnic Ham - Smoked Pork Shoulder

How to Cook a Smoked Picnic Ham Pork Shoulder
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Simple directions for how to bake a picnic ham in the oven. This brown sugar and orange glaze is perfect for smoked picnic pork shoulder!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 12


  • 1 smoked picnic ham (5-8 pounds)
  • 2 oranges, peeled
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup vinegar
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 2 tbsp mustard
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper


  • Preheat oven to 350F
  • Place picnic ham on a large roasting pan or baking dish, fat side up. Pour 3/4 cup of water into the bottom of the baking dish.
  • Cover roasting pan with foil and bake in the oven for 1 hour. This allows the rind to be removed easily.
  • Remove the foil and peel the rind off the top of the fat cap. Cut cross check slits into the fat and about 1/2 inch into the meat of the ham.
  • Puree remaining ingredients (oranges, brown sugar, vinegar, honey, mustard, cinnamon, salt and cayenne) in a blender to make the glaze. Brush some of the glaze all over the ham, making sure to get into the slits.
  • Bake for another 2 hours, uncovered. Brush the glaze after 1 hour cooking time and then again about 30 minutes later. Bake the remaining 30 minutes.
  • Once done cooking, the fat should be starting to crisp and the glaze nicely caramelized. Let the ham rest for about 5 minutes before carving.
  • Carve the ham into nice sized serving slices. Serve with glazed carrots, potatoes, squash and more!



Did you try this recipe?

Leave a comment and let me know how it turned out. Or, take a picture to share on Instagram and tag me @theblackpeppercorn.

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  • Can you make gravy with the drippings/glaze?

    • Reply
    • Hmmm. I’ve never tried that. Suppose you could make a sauce with it. You may need to let it simmer with some more juice or other liquid to get the right consistency.

      • Have made this many times. I use pineapples and orange juice with brown sugar. It is wonderful!

        • Reply
        • So glad you like the recipe!! Thanks for sharing

      • I didn’t know what ham was until I became an adult. Growing up we always had picnics “our ham”, it was cheap. After my parents were able to buy ham my mother never did, she preferred picnics. Coincidently, I haven’t cooked one for over 15-20 years and last week I saw some one cooking one on Youtube and now your site. I think it’s an omen. Time to get a picnic! I would suggest people who suffer from hypertension boil it a bit before baking unless the sodium content has been reduced from the past.

        • Reply
  • Could you leave vinegar out or substitute some e thing in its place

    • Reply
    • I am sure you could and substitute it with more juice or other liquid.

  • hubby couldnt wait for the ham to finish cooking. house smelled soooo good, recipe was also very good. Ty from someone who doesn’t like to cook

    • Reply
  • Im planning to make this in a few days. What type of vinegar ie: cider, white, etc. Ty

    • Reply
    • Hey! I just use white vinegar, but I am sure you could use another if you prefer. It might alter the taste some though.

  • Excellent recipe, I didn’t have any of the things to make the glaze so I used brown sugar warm water lingonberries and pumpkin pie spice it was outstanding. I served scalloped potatoes and baked beans and dinner rolls.

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  • Sounds delish. I have not cooked a shoulder in 15 yrs. I am doing it this weekend for company. I will let you know how it comes out

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  • Yes it was great tasted fantastic

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  • Awesome recipe Steve. We loved it, made exactly as written and wouldn’t change a thing. The ham was perfection, flavorful and tender, while the glaze was wonderful, great acidity and texture. Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful recipe, that we will enjoy again.

    • Reply
  • Can you do this recipe while ham is frozen? Does it just increase cooking time ?

    • Reply
    • I would not cook the ham frozen. The ham is so solid that I would be unsure how it would take to heat and cook through. I would thaw it first and then cook the ham according to this recipe.

  • I washed meat in cold water cut lines in fat put it in roasting pan with some water and few drops vinegar, covered with lid and baked in preaheated oven 350 F for 20 min. then lowered teperature to 300 F for 1 hour, after lowered teperature again to 250 F for next 2 hours or so, untill meat started falling of the bone, (means it was done.
    My smoked picnic ham come out very good without any additional ingredients (which I didn’t have all, anyway). Served with potatoes, sauerkraut, homemade bread, mustard and more.
    Thanks, 🙂

    • Reply
  • Hey can you eat this cold like ham or should it be hot

    • Reply
    • Once cooked, you can slice the ham and eat hot or cold. We love the ham sliced for sandwiches!

  • I followed your recipe to a T & it was delicious! I learned the people couldn’t come at the time stated & had to keep it warm it was very VERY tender! Almost pulled pork, although I turned the heat down in the oven

    • Reply

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  • Do you have any glazes that are not sweet that would enhance the flavor of the ham?

    • Reply
  • Made this tonight and it was amazing. At first I was hesitant about the amount of cinnamon but it turned out delicious. This is going into my binder of staple recipes. Thank you.

    • Reply

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