New England Boil Dinner or Boiled Smoked Pork Shoulder Dinner

New England Boil Dinner or Boiled Smoked Pork Shoulder Dinner| Recipe by Spicie Foodie

Up until one year ago I had no idea what a New England Boil Dinner was. It was my husband who discovered it online then asked me to make it. After his explanation and some joint Googling we determined that it was quite similar to the Irish-American St. Patrick’s meal of corned beef and cabbage.

New England Boil Dinner or Boiled Smoked Pork Shoulder Dinner| Recipe by Spicie Foodie

New England Boil Dinner is supposedly a traditional New England meal consisting of either beef, or smoked pork shoulder and boiled with assorted root vegetables and seasonings. From what we read many people used corned beef and still call the meal a New England Boil Dinner. But other sources explain that if using corned beef the name should be corned beef and cabbage -like the St. Patrick’s meal. On top of that some state that if made with smoked pork it should be called Boiled Smoked Pork Shoulder Dinner. Are you as confused as I am? It may not be correct but to keep matters simple I’m sticking with New England Boil Dinner. Okay.

New England Boil Dinner or Boiled Smoked Pork Shoulder Dinner| Recipe by Spicie Foodie

Regardless of what the name is or should be it’s a super simple meal worth trying at least once. I have to be honest that the idea of boiled meat didn’t sit well with me. I kept picturing greyish bland boiled meat -of which I’m no fan of. Fast forward a year later and now this has become one of my favorite comfort meals. There is nothing bland about it!

4.7 from 6 reviews
New England Boil Dinner or Boiled Smoked Pork Shoulder Dinner
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
New England Boil Dinner or Boiled Smoked Pork Shoulder Dinner. A one pot dish that is easy to prepare and inexpensive too.
Recipe type: Dinner, Pork, One Pot Dish, St. Patrick's Day
Cuisine: American
Serves: 4
  • 582g or 1.25 lb. smoked pork shoulder
  • 2 medium onions
  • 2 medium parsnip
  • 2 turnips or kohlrabi or 1 small celeriac
  • ¼ head of cabbage
  • 3 large potatoes
  • 2 medium carrots
  • salt if needed and to taste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 pepper corns
  • 3 crushed garlic cloves
  • 6 all spice
  • 2 cloves
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds
  • 6-10 cups water, or enough to cover the meat
  • extra water if needed
To Serve:
  • mustard
  • horse radish
  • bread
  1. In a large pot place the smoked pork and add water. Water should be enough to cover the meat. Add all of the spices, bring to a boil, turn heat down, cover and allow to simmer for one hour. While the pork is simmering peel and cut all of the vegetables into even sized pieces. The cabbage should be cut into 4 pieces. Set vegetables aside.
  2. After the hour taste the broth and adjust the seasonings if needed. Next gently place all of the vegetables into the simmering pot. Make sure most of the vegetables are covered with water or add more if needed. Bring to a boil and simmer until vegetables are soft.
  3. Gently drain the meat and vegetables. (see note) Slice the pork and serve with vegetables alongside it. Don't forget the mustard and horse radish too.
The meat and vegetables are drained from the cooking broth. Nearly all recipes tell you to discard the broth. I found that it tasted delicious! It can be used as a base for soup or you could do like I did and served the meal with a bit of broth at the bottom. Your choice but do taste before throwing it away.


New England Boil Dinner or Boiled Smoked Pork Shoulder Dinner| Recipe by Spicie Foodie

My recipe is an amalgamation of so many we found online. Basically I just winged it and we couldn’t be happier with the results. I do hope you give it a try because it’s not only delicious but simple and budget friendly. Enjoy!

New England Boil Dinner or Boiled Smoked Pork Shoulder Dinner| Recipe by Spicie Foodie  How about you have you ever heard of or eaten New England Boil Dinner? Do share!


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    • Lexi says

      This is the true New England Boiled Dinner. Boston born and bred, this is exactly what my Irish grandmother made. I still cook it the same way except I pour a pint of Guinness in there. Everything is so flavorful. Butter the veggies and pour some vinegar on the cabbage.

      With the leftover vegetables I make hash. Cut the vegetables up and put in a cast iron pan with some bacon fat and cook it up. Serve with the left over meat. I like vinegar so I put it on the hash.

      Guess what I’m cooking?

  1. says

    No, when we lived in New York, I didn’t hear of this one. It looks delicious and hearty. I have of “Corned Beef and Cabbage” thought…Irish origins, eaten close to St. Patrick’s Day. Beautiful photographs of the dish, that is one thing known!!

    • says

      Hi Sarah,
      I did read that about Corned Beef and Cabbage. But the funny thing was that many claim it is an Irish-American invention and not actually eaten in Ireland. One of my hubby’s Irish friends also confirmed this. Kinda of funny:) Thank you!!

  2. says

    It’s also very similar to Spain’s ‘cocido’ which is a 2-part meal. One day it’s the boiled dinner drained from the liquid, the next day it’s the liquid with some remnants as a soup called ‘caldo Gallego’. Italy, too, has a similar dish. I thoroughly enjoy boiled dinners and yet hardly make them. Thanks for the reminder.

    Gorgeous images!

  3. says

    The closest I have had to this kind of meal is the corn beef and cabbage we have at St. Patrick’s day. I like the look of your dinner better. :)

  4. says

    Funny, being Irish and having grown up in Boston (just south of), I grew up eating the corned beef version – only on St. Patty’s Day, and referred to as Boiled Dinner. I thought you had a typo for a minute there, but sure enough, a Google search turns up a bazillion versions of Boil Dinner. Either way, when you think about it too much, it does sound kinda gross. LOL It’s so good, I’m not sure why we only ever had it once a year! Ours always had turnips too. I’m not a big fan of those, or cabbage, so I was in it mainly for the carrots, potatoes, and corned beef – with lots of grainy mustard! Your photos are absolutely beautiful – makes me want to BOIL up a dinner this week! :)

  5. Eha says

    I’ll put another spoke in the wheel and say I was brought up on the ‘New England Boiled Dinner’ in Northern Europe. And I do not think most people even knew where NE was :) ! Methinks that was one of the most common meals served at home: sometimes just with beef, oft beef and ox tongue etc. Also, how does it really differ from the French version of cooking a number of meats just the same, serving the meats + vegetables dry with mustard +/- horseradish on the side, and then the most flavouful broth for afters!!!

  6. says

    I’ve never heard of New England boil dinner but it sure looks good! Love all of the vegetables you used. The color of the beef does look like corned beef, but the recipe doesn’t remind me of any corned beef and cabbage recipe I’ve ever seen. Yours is better!

  7. Carol says

    I grew up on this as well, in New Hampshire. If you simply add a large can of V-8 juice to the left over broth, then add left over ham and veggies, it makes a great soup. My family always called it ‘boner soup’, back in the 70’s before that actually meant what it means today :) I have not had it with the allspice and mustard seed added in, but I am going to make this recipe tomorrow with a ham.

  8. pammie says

    Using the flavor of the broth from cooking to make rice to compliment the meal is just tasty. Also, add chourice to the pot and you have so much more flavor.

  9. Tam says

    My mom used to make this for my dad all of the time while growing up! My dad’s family is Irish, and this was his favourite dinner. I had a craving for it last week, so I did a Google search to see if anything came up, and sure enough there were many different variations! However, yours is closest to my family’s recipe. We always used pickled cottage roll, never brisket. And we always used tons of seasonings- just like yours! I like it best this way. Thanks for the walk down memory lane, and I’m so glad you enjoyed your boiled dinner! Now, if only I could get more of my friends to try it…

    • says

      Hi Tam,

      That’s wonderful and so so glad to hear that my recipe is similar to your family’s. It’s really a delicious meal so it shouldn’t be something many people don’t like. Well, I love it!:)

  10. Marsha says

    Grew up on this. Boiled Dinner meant the meat was a smoked shoulder and Corned Beef and Cabbage was, well corned beef! I always include fresh beets cooked by themselves so as not to stain everything else red. This makes a delicious hash with the leftovers and when beets are added to the hash it is referred to Red Flannel hash. Making it tonight for my Texas nephew! Beautiful photos!

  11. Margo says

    Growing up in Boston, my Irish family had “Boiled Dinnah” every Sunday for “Suppah”. We only had corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick’s Day. Your recipe here is almost spot on from my mother’s. We like to serve ours with spicy mustard and horseradish sauce on the side. Thank you for sharing this – it’s so good!

  12. Kathy says

    I’m so happy to have found this. My grandmother made this all the time during my childhood in RI but we just called it “smoked shoulder” so it took some researching to discover what the cut of meat is called in the Midwest along with a recipe. I’m making it for Christmas this year !

  13. Susie says

    Hi, I’ve been eating “New England” Boiled Dinners for as long as I can remember. It’s my favorite meal. My mother made the best, but unfortunately I never wrote down the exact steps to make this dinner. Now I’m preparing to make my first boiled dinner, and am looking for recipes that most closely resemble my mothers (I used to watch her prepare it). It is such a simple meal, and I look forward to it. I’ve enjoyed looking at your recipe and your wonderful photos. Thanks so much for the tips! And by the way, I’m a life long New Englander!

  14. Pat says

    Hi, I am from Boston and always make our New England boiled dinnah (lol) with smoked shoulder ham.
    It is my Moms recipe and very simple. We just add a little sugar and apple cider vinegar to the water and boil the same as you do!! Your recipe sounds wonderful as well and will be trying it soon!!! TY

  15. Zelia says

    Another addition – I add a few sprigs of spearmint at the end of the meat cooking, and just to make everyone happy I also cook corned beef with the pork. Talk about excess, but it’s good.
    Your recipe is very close to the one my Mom made. Thanks for the refresher, she has forgotten how to make it (she’s 96) and I did not take notes when she used to make it.

  16. says

    Now that’s a good looking comfort meal. Whatever you call it I’m sure it’s delicious. Love everything about this recipe!

  17. Gordon Mac... says

    Have I ever heard of a New England Boiled dinner?? This has been one of my favorite meals since I was a kid growing up on the North Shore (of Boston). I’m making it for dinner tomorrow! This is a meal that goes a long way, after the dinner, with seconds and thirds of course, the leftover meat was put through a hand meat grinder with big chunks of onion. Makes the best ham salad you ever had! Now that all that’s left is the bone with scraps of meat left on it, that gets turned into a delicious split pea soup. A smoked shoulder goes a long way for not a lot of money, and it always tastes great!

  18. Gordon Mac... says

    And if it is made with a smoked shoulder it’s called a New England Boiled Dinner. You can boil corned beef, but where I’m from that’s not a boiled dinner, it’s corned beef and cabbage…


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