One of my favorite winter dishes is my 12-hour pork butt. It is an attempt to make an acceptable facsimile of the Hawaiian dish Kahlua Pig, a childhood staple. In the authentic island version a whole pig is roasted for 24-hours in an underground pit called an Imu. Being an urban apartment dweller this is quite impractical. My solution is one of the easiest, fool-proof recipes in my repertoire.
Take one piece pork butt (which is actually the shoulder) and lay it on a large sheet of tin foil. I wouldn't use anything smaller than a two-pound piece, I usually get one that's about three-four pounds. In this recipe fat is good, so don't let the butcher trim it off - and don't you either. If you're looking for fat-free, you're on the wrong blog.
Poke it all over with a fork. Pour natural liquid smoke over it, using about 1-tablespoon per pound of meat. Sprinkle with Hawaiian salt (or other flavorful coarse salt), again using about 1-tablespoon per pound of meat. Wrap it up in foil, being sure to fold over the edges and seal it well. Wrap in a second piece of foil if you're not sure. Put the foil wrapped butt onto a baking sheet and place in a 200-degree oven. Let cook 12-hours.
I usually start it at night before bed, so when I get up in the morning it is finished. I just turn off the oven and let it cool to room temperature. It is almost impossible to overcook, so don't worry if the time goes long because you've really slept in after a late night at the Spotted Pig.
Open up the foil and using your hands, start to work through the butt, gently and systematically pulling off the fat and discarding it, and pulling off the meat and puting it into a pot. Add the cooking liquid pooled in the bottom of the foil to the meat.
At this point you can put it into the fridge to keep until you're ready to eat. To serve, heat it slowly on the stove, adjust the salt and it's done. To eat it Local-style you'd make a big pile of white rice and sauteed cabbage topped with the pig. But the soft smoky shredded meat is not a bad pulled pork substitute either. You could easily opt for adding BBQ sauce and throwing it onto a bun with some cole slaw. And before the BBQ fanatics go loco on me - I did say substitute not authentic.
UPDATE 3.24.08: A new variation. Sauté the pork with a chiffonade of Swiss chard and a little barbecue sauce and serve over Falls Mill stone ground white corn grits.