Thrifty homesteaders knew how to cook all cuts of the hogs that were slaughtered in the winter. The shoulder, slow-roasted with fat and bone, produced a richly textured, deeply flavored meat worth smacking your lips for. Modern mountain cooks use the slow cooker to create the same effect that roasting in a woodstove, kept going all day for heat as well as cooking, once provided.
I buy pork from one of several producers in my neck of the Blue Ridge who pasture their pigs and process them humanely. They also tend to raise heritage pigs that naturally come with more fat, and the cuts I favor reflect that. The last roast I cooked like this weighed about 3-1/2 pounds at the market with a top fat layer about an inch deep. I trimmed that fat to 1/2 inch and the roast was then about 3 pounds.
Reprinted from Victuals. Copyright © 2016 by Ronni Lundy. Photographs copyright © 2016 by Johnny Autry. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC.