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Smoked Pork Shoulder | Slow Cooker Method

This smoked pork shoulder recipe is slow cooked to perfection which makes the meat tender and delicious! Place the meat in the cooker, add some sugar and forget about it until it dings that it’s done.

Close up of slices of pork on a plate with gravy and potatoes and carrots

My favorite meat is smoked pork shoulder. The end. That is all. I confessed.

I feel better.

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Why do I have to confess that it’s my favorite meat?  There is no one breathing down my neck demanding to know.  And Christopher knows very well that it is my favorite.  Ask him, he will tell you that I say it every time I eat this glorious food.

I should probably stop doing that.


I wonder if that will really happen?

Probably not.

Sorry Christopher.

This post has been republished because it’s delicious and I wanted it to appear before Easter. The powers that be, (mainly the big search engine), want posts written a certain way. This is the one post that I refuse to re-write in that cookie cutter way.

It reflects the part of my personality that I show my family and friends which is funny and silly and I’m okay with that.

We are a participant in Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. #CommisionsEarned. You can read my disclosure here.

Helpful tips

  • If you are in the market for a crock pot or slow cooker. Get at least a 6 quart unit. It’s just hubby and myself in our household but it’s perfect as I freeze half of what I cook in it.
  • You can either get a shoulder with the bone in or boneless. I do prefer the one with the bone because then I can make pea soup.
  • If the meat comes with skin attached, you can either cut it off before you cook it or leave it on as I do.
a blue platter with sliced smoked shoulder on it
Photo Credit: Dishes Delish.

How to make a smoked pork shoulder

Brown sugar in the bottom of the crockpot pan

I grab my trusty crockpot and put some brown sugar on the bottom of the ceramic insert. I press it down and smile as I am doing it because – anticipation, my dear friends, anticipation! I save a little of the sugar for the top of the meat.

*I do the smoked shoulder shuffle, which resembles the hustle, but in a very small space.*

Next, comes the smoked pork shoulder picnic cut. The one I bought (pictured below) is 4 pounds. I’m so glad the store sells smoked shoulder in a smaller size. My sister cooks a HUGE shoulder, usually around 9 – 10 pounds. But, since it’s just hubby and I, 3 – 4 pounds will do nicely for us.

I take the shoulder out of its packaging and place it right on top of the brown sugar.

The pork shoulder on the brown sugar in the crockpot pan

The pork shoulder is screaming, “Give me some sugar, baby!  Some shu-gah!”

Soooo, I take the rest of the brown sugar and play patty cake with the top of the meat.

Brown sugar patted on the pork. It is in the crockpot insert

Now, I cover the crockpot and set the temperature to high and the timer to 4 hours.


I grab a chair, drag it over to the crockpot and sit and stare at the timer. It’s mesmerizing. Actually it’s boring, so, I get up and go about my day. That’s not to say that I don’t take sneak peeks at the timer, because I do.

It takes at least 2 hours for the brown sugar to melt, so don’t get nervous. There isn’t any need to baste the smoked pork shoulder, so leave it covered!

Two more hours pass and DING! My favorite sound in the whole wide world.

I gallop to the crockpot and whip the cover off, spraying the condensation that accrued on the cover in a pretty arc.

With my big forks, I stab the shoulder, lift it out of the crockpot and place it on a platter to rest at least 15 minutes before I cut into it.

How unfair is that?

The pork shoulder done and on a blue plate with steam rising above!

Look at that juice, PEOPLE!! Is anyone else as happy as I am this very minute? I think not, I think not!

So, 15 minutes drags on and on and on and on but I persevere and can finally cut into the shoulder.

I cut the skin off and cut some slices.

Slices of pork on the plate with some vegetables in the background

I pour the juice from the bottom of the crockpot into a little gravy boat.  Then I plate the meat with some roasted carrots and potatoes and scream for Christopher. He comes thundering down the stairs and skids to a stop right behind his chair. He sits, grinning in anticipation.

I place his plate in front of him, take off my apron and sit in front of my plate.

I look happily at Christoper and we both dig in. The rest is history.

A plate with slices of pork with carrots and potatoes on it along with another plate behind it

I hope you enjoy this smoked pork shoulder recipe as much as I do!  And please leave me a comment if you are so inclined as I’d love to hear from you.  Tell me what your favorite meat is!

And as always, may all your dishes be delish!

If you’ve tried this or any other recipe on the blog, I’d love the hear what you thought about it in the comments below.  I love hearing from you!  You can also FOLLOW ME on FACEBOOKTWITTERINSTAGRAM and PINTEREST to see more of my delicious food and delightful cocktails!

Slices of smoked pork shoulder on the platter

Smoked Pork Shoulder

Smoked pork shoulder is my very favorite meat and I love it prepared this way!
5 from 30 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Meat
Keyword: pork shoulder, slow cooker pork, smoked pork shoulder
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 5 minutes
Servings: 20 slices
Calories: 150kcal


  • 3.5 pound smoked pork shoulder picnic
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar


  • In the bottom of your crockpot, pat down most of the brown sugar
  • Place unwrapped smoked shoulder on top of the brown sugar
  • Pat the rest of the brown sugar on the smoked shoulder
  • Cover crockpot and set the timer for 4 hours on high
  • Once the timer dings, take the shoulder out and place on a platter and let it sit for 15 minutes before cutting into it
  • Cut skin off if it came with it
  • Slice
  • Eat
  • Enjoy


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Serving: 2slices | Calories: 150kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 36mg | Sodium: 41mg | Potassium: 187mg | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 5IU | Vitamin C: 0.4mg | Calcium: 10mg | Iron: 0.7mg
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From lighting up stages with her BA in theater to food journalist, Elaine Benoit's journey is a testament to passion's transformative power. As the CEO of Dishes Delish, she offers a blend of healthy, comforting recipes and exquisitely crafted cocktails. Beyond the kitchen, Elaine voiced her culinary adventures on her podcast, "Dishing," and co-owns Food Blogger Help, extending her expertise to guide budding food bloggers to success. Whether it's for a heartwarming dish or insights into food blogging, Elaine's diverse experiences make her a beacon in the culinary digital landscape.

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  1. This smoked picnic is wonderful, just as you said. I do have one question. My piece was a half picnic at 3.5 lb. and 4 hours was perfect. If I were to cook a whole one at about 7 lbs, how long would I need to cook it? Would it be 8 hours? (I will make some wonderful pea soup with the bone.)

    1. Hi Betty,

      I’m glad you like the recipe. If you cook a 7 lb picnic it should take the same amount of time, so check it at 4 hours but it might be 5 at the very most. I find that 4 hours on high is perfect. Good luck. And I love pea soup! Yummers.

    2. I’m going to try your way too! Next one I’m going to add 2-3 cups of hot apple cider to the pot. Frankly, I’ve never cooked anything in my crockpot without liquid! Gotta try it!! Thanks

      1. You really don’t need the liquid, The fat from the shoulder along with the brown sugar liquifies. But I say go for it. I’d love to know how it goes Richard.

  2. I have my own confession: I’ve never had smoked pork shoulder. You sure make it sound (and look) irresistible, though!

  3. Looks pretty perfect to me. Just in time for the Easter holiday! Not sure I’ve ever had this, but looks like something to try. Thanks for the inspiration!

  4. Wow, this looks like a really good piece of pork. I bet all this brown sugar makes it super delicious.

    1. It does Edyta. It makes a nice sauce or gravy to dribble on the pork as you eat it. Thanks for your comment!

  5. One of my favorites for Easter and Sunday dinners! Such a simple and delicious home cooked meal! I pinned for later!

  6. I never used to be a huge fan of hams and shoulder cuts but I have recently been won over by a few and this looks like another I am sure I’d enjoy.

  7. OMG that looks amazing! I’m obviously missing out because I have never had smoked pork shoulder. I’m not sure I can find it here in Italy, but I’m definitely going to try!

  8. We never tried Smoked Pork Shoulder but looking at your recipe I think I need to try.because it sounds great and delicious.

  9. YES….pork is SOOOO delicious. Hubby loves doing the “smokin” out on the grill. This is a great way to do it…especially in the dead of winter when he doesn’t want to go outside. So many things you can use this meat on too.

    1. Thanks Gloria! I don’t have a grill so the pork shoulder I buy is smoked already, which is very convenient for me!!

  10. I have never made smoked pork in the crockpot! It’s fairly genius, actually! I always do pulled pork in the crockpot! I totally have to try this! I can’t to see what you do with the leftovers!

  11. Slow cooker meals are just the best! I can’t believe this is really just two ingredients. It’s so great knowing some simple recipes like this! Looks like a real crowd pleaser.

  12. This smoked shoulder looks amazing and I’m excited to try it out so that I too can do the smoked pork shoulder shuffle! I have a similar dance when freshly baked cookies are coming out of the oven.

  13. My parents raised hogs on a small farm for years and still continue to do so! Love Pork shoulder. I’m going to try this in my Dutch oven. Such wonderful flavors! I pinned for later and stumbled! Such a great recipe!

  14. I am with you Elaine! Pork shoulder is my favorite! I am going to try this smokin good recipe too!

  15. I love that you can make this in a slow cooker, it takes all of the effort out of creating a delicious meal!! It looks like it’s cooked to perfection! Such an easy way to impress a hungry crowd!

  16. Oh I love the flavor of smoked meats! This looks so simple and delicious, and perfect for a weeknight meal.

  17. It’s been a long time since I’ve had a smoked pork shoulder. It’s so tasty and I love that you can make this version in a slow cooker!

  18. Wow, this pork looks so juicy! I never cooked smoked pork before, but looking at these pictures, I definitely should!)

  19. Smoked pork shoulder!!? Wow that sounds amazing! Meat looks absolutely perfect!My hubby would love this recipe.

  20. This recipe looks so easy and delicious! Love slow cooker recipes like this one. My husband would love this for dinner!

  21. I cook smoked shoulder all the time. I’m not sure about the brown sugar though. I cook it stove top with carrots potatoes cabbage and turnip. Its our favorite winter meal. I was looking for a slow cooker recipe . But with all the vegetables. Guess Ill try it!.

    1. Yum, Jan. We would have smoked shoulder in a boiled dinner. That’s what your recipe sounds like to me. I’m not a real “sweet added to meat lover” but for some reason, this really hits the spot. If you’re afraid it’s going to be too sweet, half the brown sugar.

    1. Hehe. You made my day, Brenda. I used to write most of my recipes like that, but I guess Google wasn’t amused. 😉 It really is my favorite meat.

  22. Elaine, I DO love your funny style of writing about this recipe, and it makes me want to make it like right NOW! I’m going to look for this cut of meat during my next InstaCart shopping trip! 🙂

    I enjoyed meeting you today on Skype! 🙂

  23. It is hilarious how you described this recipe. I want to cook my shoulder on low for 8 hours. It’s for my thanksgiving dinner, a small one cause it’s only me at the dinner table. Is 8 hours too long?

    1. Thanks Phyllis! Hehe. You can cook it on low for 8 hours. I’ve done it many times. Happy Thanksgiving and I hope you enjoy it. 🙂

    1. Hehe, thanks Jane. It was one of the times I let my humor out although Google doesn’t like that. 🙂 I hope you enjoyed it.

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