I am a useful person to have in an office, for birthdays I cook cakes (2 or 3 tier) or cupcakes or a selection of the 2. Most people love them (or say they do because I am the boss) and wolf them down pretty quickly however I have a friend who loves pork not cake. PP has an obsession with pork, if you talk bacon he starts to salivate mention sausages wrapped in bacon only if you have water proofs on.
PP (as I will call him for the sake of privacy) requested, yes I take requests as well, some form of pork cake. He was thinking along the lines of sausage, black pudding and bacon cooked in a cake shape. My thoughts immediately went to slow cooked pork shoulder and a form of doggy torture.
I went out to my brilliant local butcher (thank you Roger Brown) and purchased a large shoulder of pork, the whole thing, from a wonderful gloucester old spot pig who lived a cheerful life in a field grubbing about for food. It probably weighed about 4 kilos in total so just enough for PP with a little left over - PP is greedy.
To cook this baby I preheated the oven to 200 degrees and made a rub to anoint its precious skin and underbelly with. The rub is a slightly bastardised version of Nigel Slater's and consists of soy sauce, fresh ginger, chinese 5 spice (only a pinch), salt, pepper and chillies. You are looking for a paste rather than a liquid that will slid straight off.
Half the rub is spread onto the top and then it is shoved on the oven for half an hour, take it out and turn over. This bit is tricky as the thing is now huge, hot and sticky I sort of man handle it with any implement to hand but do be careful. Once on its back slather on the rest of the goo, turn down the oven to about 100 degrees, throw in a glass of water, bung it back in the oven and leave for 12 hours.
This was the mean bit. Harry, the pooch, sleeps in the kitchen. The smell is frankly heavenly and poor Harry was very dehydrated from all the drool.
Anyway the following morning I carried the beautifully browned baby into work to finish off in the oven there in time for lunch. You will need to flip the pork back over and turn the oven back up to about 200 to crisp up the crackling, this won't take long so keep an eye on it.
To demonstrate how good this is PP & the office had great jerk pork and festival for breakfast yet still managed to polish pretty much the whole shoulder off. Mmmmmmmmm........