so, for out annual holiday party (which had rapidly escalated to 40-50 people)i decided to do a monumental heritage pork roast from the greenmarket. for this many people, it seemed less expensive and more forgiving of being served at room temperature. it was a butt roast, which upon examination appeared to be shoulder and ribs and other goodies, including, according the the farmer, guanciale.
party was to commence at 3pm, and after debating cooking methods, opted for the long and slow. so, the evening before, pork was removed from fridge and brought to room temperature. i then slashed the skin in a diamond pattern, and inserted 8 cloves worth of slivered garlic, a bunch of thyme and copious salt into slits in the skin and meat. more salt and pepper on the surface and onto a rack in a large roasting pan.
the beast went into a 180/185 oven, at aroung 11pm, and stayed in till about 2pm the next day. needless to say the entire house was suffused with the aroma of roasting pork. the meat was very tender, and easily separated into chunks along the muscle lines. the skin was carmelized, hardened but unburnt, perhaps most closely compared to an exceptionally fatty peanut brittle. many different types of meat were uncovered as roast was carved throughout the day, some fattier, some more muscley, others almost gelatinous, but all universally delicious. the skin acted as a crispy carapace, from which the meat was scooped and carved, finally leaving a few small chunks and a wide array of bones.
kept the drippings as a sort of memento, seemed almost a sin to discard something so fragrant. they await use in the fridge. any recommendations?
overall i found the cooking method immensely easy and succesfull, at least as illustrated by guests' glistening hands and faces, and paltry leftovers. the main difficulty was wrestling something of this weight and size into the oven. however, unlike a turkey, there was no basting, and therefore none of the related in/out. will make black lentil soup with the leftovers and bones tonight.
would definitely try this again, perhaps in the spring.